The Express Blog

9 Creative Ideas for an Engaging and Successful Hybrid Event

Hybrid events have well and truly established themselves as the event format of the future. 

When done well, they provide endless benefits for organisations that can facilitate meaningful connections with their target audience, no matter where they are in the world.

However, the success of a hybrid event relies on the ability to attract and engage in-person attendees and online participants. If the event is too long, boring, or not optimised for a remote audience, all the hard work that went into your preparation could be for nothing.

Want to ensure your hybrid event is engaging and successful? These 9 creative ideas will help you produce an incredible hybrid event that you and your audience will love.

1. Think like your audience 

Before diving into the fun of brainstorming creative event ideas, it’s important to get into the mind of your audience so you can understand the content and features that will excite them enough to sign up and engage. 

Even if you already have a deep understanding of your audience and their expectations, when it comes to satisfying the needs of both physical attendees and those that are joining in virtually, there are extra considerations you need to make. Research is key. Tools like Google Trends can help you uncover event trends in your industry, but you should also gather your team together for a brainstorm session around the following questions:

  • How tech-savvy is your audience?
  • What are their personal and business goals?
  • Do they like to ask questions or are they passive observers?
  • How can this event help make them successful?

2. Personalise for a digital audience 

Your virtual audience will always be at a slight disadvantage to your in-person audience, simply because it’s much harder to remain engaged through a screen than it is in a physical location. 

To overcome this, your virtual audience needs to feel like you’re speaking to them personally. Keep sessions as short and sharp as possible. Consider breaking up your agenda into different topic clusters so that those with certain interests can join in on relevant sessions easily, rather than dropping off halfway through your event because they aren’t connecting with your content. Intimate ‘fireside chats’ and breakout discussions are other tactics you can use to avoid screen fatigue and keep your at-home audience engaged.

3. Don't be afraid to entertain 

The beauty of hybrid events is that your remote audience can still get involved with all the fun that’s going on in-venue. And while the goal of your event is to reach KPIs and help your audience towards their own success, don’t be afraid to include some lighthearted entertainment to break up any dry topics or longer sessions. 

Virtual music concerts, art contests, and stand-up comedy have all been used by leading organisations to make their hybrid events more memorable and immersive. 

4. Include live chat 

A good hybrid event platform should include a live-chat function so that virtual attendees can network, discuss ideas and ask questions. To encourage the use of the chat option, try assigning a staff member to act as a chat moderator, who can kickstart topic discussions, ask questions or even start a topical quiz offering prizes and incentives to the participants who get involved.

5. Use gamification to your advantage 

That brings us to the idea of incorporating gamification into your hybrid event to improve audience engagement. Gamification is a proven motivator for people to involve themselves more in group discussions—not to mention it can be a lot of fun and a great learning tactic. Try some of these creative event game ideas:

  • Group challenges where breakaway groups compete in topical trivia or other games
  • Setting up a leader board where attendees who go to the most keynotes, training, or other interactive activities win a prize
  • Have a virtual and physical lucky door prize
  • Have a live poll at the end of each session to gauge audience sentiment

This is a great way to get your sponsors involved as they can provide the prizes and increase their exposure to your audience.

6. Pre-record content 

When you include pre-recorded content in your hybrid event, a world of opportunity opens up. Not only does pre-recorded content allow you to edit and refine your message to deliver a highly polished presentation, but it also helps take the audience outside the four walls of your venue or their screen. Why not film segments on location somewhere interesting to interweave into a speaker's presentation? 

You can also ask influential experts who may not be able to make it to your event to record a message for your attendees, film product demonstrations, or create visual aids to drive home key messages. When live speakers combine with pre-recorded content, the sky really is the limit.

7. Virtual expo halls

To help attract sponsors to your event, provide a link for online attendees to access a virtual expo hall. This way, sponsors can promote themselves and link back to their own websites or they can sponsor packs that offer special discounts, one-on-one virtual chats, and other marketing materials.

8. Include your branded logo, colours, and customised virtual backgrounds 

Choose a hybrid event provider who can customise the look and feel of your event through custom branding, logos, and virtual backgrounds. Since you may have speakers joining in remotely, a branded background gives your event a cohesive, professional feel. 

Improve sponsor impressions by having them provide a short brand video to be played before sessions begin.

9. Record your event for future marketing initiatives 

The creativity doesn’t stop just because your event is over. Once complete, utilise footage from your event to create multiple assets that you can use in your marketing initiatives for years to come. 

You can chop up your footage in multiple ways. Try pulling great quotes from your speakers to use as Tweets or incorporate into blog topics. Stitch together a video of your attendees having a great time to help promote future events and deep dive into the audience engagement metrics that your hybrid event provider delivers to you post-event. 

These engagement metrics are essential for measuring whether your creative hybrid event ideas were a success—so choose a platform that will provide you with valuable data.

Ready to start brainstorming your own creative hybrid event ideas?

The team at Express Virtual Meetings are experts in creating engaging and successful hybrid events that help organisations reach their goals and inspire their audience. With our managed virtual event service, we can guide you on creative ideas that work and will enhance your offering and the technology your attendees will use to access your event.

As well as being Australian-owned and managed, we’re so sure you’ll love the hybrid event that we create with you, that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Book a free demo with the team today for 10% off your first virtual event or call us on 1300 849 300.

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