Matt Schifrin, Vice President and Investments Editor of Forbes Media, speaks with Linda Bentley, Director of Business Development, Forbes, about the success of Forbes’ virtual events strategy. In this second part, Matt discusses best practices learned from four virtual events. This includes value of the virtual networking lounges for moderated chats, Q&A with industry experts and pre-recording webcasts/presentations.
Linda: Are there any best practices that you can share with other publishers?
Matt: Well, we’ve been done four different virtual events and each one that we’ve done we’ve learned how to do them better. One thing that we’ve noticed is that don’t underestimate the value of virtual networking lounges. We found that during many of our events, hundred and sometimes thousands attendees would end up in these virtual networking lounges. What we did on our second virtual event , we started holding moderated chats out of these networking lounges.
These events tend to be learning experiences. You learn more and more about audience behavior. I think one of the things that we’ve done effectively, that InXpo has been great in offering us its technology, is allowing our experts to remotely answer questions from the audience. Our audience really wants access to our experts that we bring to conference, but they really want to be able to ask them questions directly. And using the technology that InXpo provides, they can easily type in their questions, the speaker or panelist will then answer questions in a video or audio format. It’s really seamless.
Another nice thing that InXpo has offered us is what they call simulive. So we will tape say 80% of the whole conference and then only on the day of the event we go live with the Q&A portion. The audience seems to love this. The speakers love this because they don’t have to fly to Las Vegas or Orlando and spent two nights at a hotel that they don’t want to be at and lose all of that productivity.
So they love the idea of that “I’m going to be at a Forbes’ event, it’s a great show case for me and I really don’t have to be inconveniences at all.”
And lastly one of the things that is kind of a best practice, when we run these events, I have a small staff that actually runs the events. You don’t have to be congregating in one room. We have people in Boston, we have people all over manning their computers and essentially running this massive trade show. I mean, in fact, during one of our event we had over 13,000 registrants of individual investors and it went off extremely smoothly.
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