For many event planners, their initial reaction to the word “livestream” is to worry about how it’ll impact attendance. The overarching goal with any event is to drive registrations – but with new technology, who says that attendance has to all be in-person?
As a matter of fact, livestreaming all or part of your event can actually have a POSITIVE impact on future in-person attendance. (Not to mention other areas…did someone say “non-dues revenue”??) That said, we have a few suggestions for how to incorporate livestreaming at your next event, while being conscious of your in-person attendance goals:
Highlight networking opportunities – and make them STRONG
What’s one thing that CAN’T be livestreamed? Your event’s networking components! Hype them up in your event promotion so your members understand the value of being in the same room as their colleagues. But think beyond any dedicated networking receptions: What would attendees get out of sharing meals together, chatting in the hallways between sessions, etc.?
Plus, adding livestreaming allows you to shift your mindset a little bit and really put some energy behind the networking components. Appetizers, drinks, some kind of entertainment – those are all the basics, but explore how you can add some excitement to these opportunities and really take them to the next level. (Which gives you even MORE to talk about in promotions!)
Be selective with what you stream
There are no rules to livestreaming, so it’s really up to you what you’d like to make available to online attendees. Perhaps it’s just the keynote presentations, or keynotes and some select breakouts – whatever you choose, there’s something to be said for limiting content for online attendees in order to encourage in-person attendance.
That said, if you do limit what you livestream, consider at least recording every session to have that video available for future use.
Don’t announce the livestream option right away
Again, there are no rules! So you could wait to announce what sessions you’ll be livestreaming (or that you’ll be livestreaming at all) until you’ve reached a certain number of registrations. If you can, though, try to avoid directly sending that announcement to anyone who’s already registered to attend in person.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to replace the energy of attending an event in person – and your members know that! Those who want to be on-site will be on-site, and offering a livestream will only help to grow your overall audience and encourage more attendance next year.
Need more event planning tips, in general? Get your free download of Association Event Planning: The Complete Guide below!