If 2020 was the year that changed the world, 2021 is the year the world adapted to its new reality. Like everybody else, the PR industry faced huge challenges as a result of the pandemic: live events were cancelled left, right and centre, and marketing strategies were suddenly impossible.
But like the rest of the world, we found a way to adapt. The hottest PR trends of 2021 reflect an adaptation to this new reality. They represent attempts to engage in new and exciting ways with a public whose priorities and interests have changed enormously.
The shift towards online events has been building for a number of years, but the necessities of social distancing accelerated the process. Events have always been a key part of PR, and the most savvy agencies were able to see the shift online as an opportunity rather than a limitation.
Online events can draw in a global audience that might otherwise have been unable to attend, but it’s important to rethink the planning and structure of these events, as what’s effective in person doesn’t necessarily work online. Here are some of our favourite tips for running online events:
1. Boost user interaction
Creating mechanisms for guests to interact with one another during the event is a great way to boost user experience. This could run alongside the event on social media, with hashtags, or with in-built messaging services. Participants will leave feeling like they’ve actually attended an event, rather than watched a lecture!
2. Virtual environments
You could even create a virtual immersive environment: the SBC Digital Summit created a virtual networking lounge that looked just like an actual lounge, where guests could meet eachother. Cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty, meanwhile, created an exclusive virtual house party for their launch, complete with bouncer and dance floor!
3. Live performances
All of us are missing the human connection we get at live events, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try and recreate that at home. Integrating performances, whether concerts or live comedy, is a great way to make your event memorable and entertaining.
Nothing gets people excited like the chance to win something. Giveaways can be a fun element to virtual events, and way to drive engagement with new audiences. Why not get participants to share something about the event on social media using a dedicated hashtag, in order to enter the competition
5. Get creative
Bringing artists on board to create live illustrations as a representation of the event is another quirky approach that some brands have taken up. It might seem like an unusual way to keep participants engaged, but let’s be honest, we’d all be happy with anything that doesn’t resemble another Zoom call!
The best online events make participants feel they are experiencing something new thanks to the online format, rather than missing out. Don’t be afraid to try something different and have fun!
In 2020 Think PR held online events for more than 1000 participants. Maybe your event could be next?