Building Revenue with Online Event Extensions

May 18, 2012

It’s no secret that live events are becoming increasingly integrated with the online world. Attend an expo and you’re likely to see someone tweeting about it next to you, and behind you . . . and across the room. Question and answer sessions may include questions fielded from remote attendees, while your participant packet will probably include a link where you will be able to view each presentation you sat in on and even those you didn’t.

More and more publishers are leveraging online event extensions to get more revenue from their live events and increase audience engagement. Benefits include:

  • Expanding dialogue between participants and sponsors.
  • More registrations and leads, which equate a bigger marketing footprint (in some cases, leads have been doubled by online extensions).
  • Giving a greater reach to the content you have already created for the live event.

A recent webcast sponsored by Performedia, shed a little light on online extensions and a few tips for executing them.

First, what is an Online Event Extension?

Essentially, it’s a way to get content from your live event online, so that those who can’t attend can still benefit from it and interact with the community. This happens in three ways:

1)    On demand

2)    Live

3)    As Live (where remote participants gain access to content from the live event and can interact with the speakers during set times, post-event.)

A few tips for success:

  • Start small.
  • Create separate marketing plans and demos to get sponsors on board.
  • Don’t “cannibalize” the live audience; build on it.
  • Market the online event to geographic areas outside of the live event location.
  • Ensure that your speakers/presenters understand the live extension and sign releases that include this component.
  • Have reliable AV and technical support in place and present during the event.
    • Include an audience mic and a plan for handling online questions.
  • Choose on-demand or as live, to avoid the time zone challenges of a simulcast.
  • Clean up the content for on-demand presentation, to limit distractions.
  • Think creatively about integrating mobile and social media.
  • Consider providing video booth tours that allow sponsors connect more directly with remote participants.
  • Make sure your SaaS CMS has a strong events/directories component that allows you to market your events and engage visitors before, during and after.