Live streaming has always been one of the most vulnerable parts of any web conference. Set up, technology choice, sound & image quality – seems like a lot of stuff to be worried about. Let’s examine what risks you can face making a web conference live stream and learn how to troubleshoot them.
Live Stream Key Error
Stream key is a special code used to identify a source of video streaming, to show the stream on a website. Sometimes, preparing a web conference live stream on Facebook live, you can get popup errors like “failed to connect” or “couldn’t get the access to the stream key”. In this case, make sure you’re using the latest version of your broadcasting software (e.g. OBS, Wirecast, or XSplit), and your stream key is correct – check if you copied the correct stream key from Facebook to the chosen streaming software. If it still doesn’t work, reset the key and try again.
Poor Conference Streaming Quality
To have a smooth picture and sound doesn’t necessarily require buying expensive equipment. To avoid any issues with the stream quality, better use wired internet. WIFI is unstable and it requires software to optimise itself constantly. Check if you connected the equipment parts the right way to reveal where exactly the problem hides – the camera, microphone, software or lighting if any are used.
Not Correct Testing
Test everything as closely as possible to the actual event. While the stream might run well on OBS or vMix preview, test the embedded stream in the environment your audience will be attending, eg. Worksup. If you do not wish your audience to witness your tests make a copy of your event and test the embedded live stream there. There you can adjust the sync etc in peace.
A YouTube Live Stream Is Not Embeddable
Sometimes the live streaming is not embeddable on Youtube due to the host’s account limitations. Before making a stream, make sure that the host’s number of subscribers allows streaming, as for now, you can’t do this with less than 1000 followers. Another reason could be that the host reached the daily live streaming limit, in this case, to proceed with the stream, you need to wait for 24 hours.
Streaming Unauthorised Content
Youtube and Facebook scan third-party content for matches, including both audio and video. When such copies are identified, you’ll be required to stop streaming the third-party’s content. Only when complying with it, you’re allowed to continue, in other cases, your stream will be terminated.
Sound and Video Are Not Synchronized
The sound goes ahead of the video stream or goes other way round. Another annoying issue that can badly influence attendees’ experience of a web conference. To avoid such situations, before the event, make sure the sync between the audio and video is adjusted.
One of the most challenging parts of the planning process is virtual event promotion. You could organize the fanciest coolest event ever, but hey, what’s the point if no one knows about it? Let’s examine possible ways of how to make a buzz before your event. Photo by Joanna Jõhvikas.
Ideas For Virtual Event Promotion
As opposed to the duration, event promotion channels can be similar for both large and small scale events. We prepared 10 unusual yet simple to implement ideas for the virtual event promotion that can help you to reach thousands of people.
#1 Collaboration with sponsors
Yes, we know it’s your job to advertise sponsors. But who said they can’t advertise you as well? If the sponsors’ audience can be relevant to your virtual event, reach out to them asking for an announcement on their website or social media. To save time, prepare the content you want to be published, in advance.
#2 Slack communities
There are thousands of Slack channels with announcements which everyone can freely join. Depending on the virtual event topic, search for the relevant channels whose members potentially might be interested in attending your event.
#3 Google hidden possibilities
Not only Google Ads can make your virtual event seen. If your organization has a Google My Business account, post your announcement there. The service also allows to track the performance and check analytics.
If your virtual event is regular, consider creating a page about it on Wikipedia. Tell a story about the history of the event, its purposes and the impact it makes. Also, you can describe who stands behind the processes or add some interesting facts about the event.
#5 Event on Linkedin
Recently, Linkedin allowed creating separate pages for events. Just like on Facebook, you can set an event with the main information about the event, and thus easier promote the virtual event on Linkedin.
#6 Power of the influential speakers
Make a list of event speakers who may have a wide network of relevant connections and ask them about a favor. Such influencers are always gladly sharing the announcement of their next big talk encouraging their readers to attend an event.
#7 Event forums & communities
Think about the problems your virtual event can help to solve, then engage in the relevant forums and communities telling about that. Be as specific as possible, as your job firstly is to help, then to promote.
Working with different vendors such as design, video or sound companies, think about them as an additional source of the virtual event promotion. Where relevant, ask about the post in social media. In return, you can recommend them to your personal network.
#9 Landing page with an educational blog
Use your event landing page to provide valuable content that people will want to share: articles, tools, interviews will increase your virtual event’s brand awareness and make it more visible.
#10 Share the “making of” experience
If you’re struggling with content marketing for your event, try sharing the scenes behind the organization. Show photos and videos of the preparation, or even stories about the challenges or fails you faced. This can help you to build empathy and connection with your readers.
Combining the suggested ways would make a virtual event promotion process easier for you. If you are stuck on another planning stage and need a piece of advice, book a free consultation with our virtual event expert.
A piece of advice on how to make people love your virtual events more and pay attention to them.
At the beginning of 2020, thousands of event organizers all over the world rushed to switch to the new event format that seemed to be the only chance to save jobs and the event industry in general. Some of them already got some experience organizing virtual events here and there in the past. While others – the majority – had no idea not only how to switch to the virtual mode, but most important, how to make an audience like it.
It’s been a few months already, and a lot of event agencies have chosen their unique way to move forward. They developed an in-house solution, started cooperation with vendors, or simply stopped on Zoom. Some of them mixed. At that date, the main agency focus, in most cases, laid within a how-to-stay-alive trajectory. While reality dictated that if we want to save events, we should focus on people, not processes.
The most valuable component – human – has often been missed in the equation. It clearly explains why when a company, which seemed to find a solution not to sink in the mud of unexpected changes, failed. Everyone would agree that a dry live stream speech with 10 min canyouhearme in the beginning and 5 chat questions at the end, is not something you‘d like to experience again. Such poorly organized events lead to the myth that virtual events are boring. Or that they’re just a worse version of traditional. Or – our favourite – virtual events are with us only till the virus vaccine found, right? Wrong.
At Worksup, we know that virtual events experience could also be as breathtaking, fun, and exciting as it used to be with traditional events. Of course, only if cooked with the right recipe. So what is the magic of making attendees want to attend your next virtual event? We’re sharing 3 actions organizers often forget about that might become crucial for every virtual event.
1. Initial audience research
When everyone is sure that virtual events should be all interesting and interactive, not many may think that the interactivities differ depending on an event and audience type. For some of the events, it’s worth using virtual tasks, for others, it’s better to go with open-ended questions. Even if a platform provides a variety of different features, be careful: you may not need the whole combo to make attendees happy. The easiest way would be to make initial research learning your audience, their preferences, and interests. You can learn about your attendees by asking some questions during the online registration process or, if an event is not very big, by reviewing their professional profiles on websites like Linkedin. Those half an hour spent could give you a better vision for whom you’re doing it all and even influence important decisions. In case you don’t have enough time for that, Worksup experienced consultants are always eager to advise you on the most suitable way of setting up activities for your event. You can get a free recommendation for your virtual event optimization by filling this form.
2. Stop skipping demos, really
Sometimes, experienced event organizers are suffering from knowing it all syndrome. Thinking that nothing can impress or challenge them anymore, they confidently do a lot of stuff by themselves in their way. All good, there’s only one “but”: this productivity do-it-alone rule doesn’t work with virtual events. Often organizers are opening a virtual event platform, walk around, make a test event (if a platform’s functionality allows), and then closing the tab as it’s not as expected. Again, wrong. The best way to discover the virtual platform’s capabilities is to watch its demo – find it on the homepage or kindly ask the support to present to you the benefits of the solution. For example, at Worksup, you can book a free consultation or demo with this link. Exploring the features alone, you may miss valuable functionality that may be beneficial for your event. The demo is another 30 minutes you need to invest in the virtual event organization to make it on a professional level. Believe us – you won’t regret that.
3. Virtual events need a Plan B
Yes, even in the fanciest event platforms, the quality of the sound can unexpectedly go down. Yes, and the pictures too. We know no one likes that, we too, but the harsh truth is, on the internet, it can happen. Isn’t it the event organizers nightmare? Such situations are the right time for your Plan B. What do you mean you don’t have one?
On virtual events, like on any traditional ones, some troubles could wait for you just around the corner. Virtual events seem to be more dangerous as there are more things you can not control (you think so). It doesn’t mean your event is more likely to collapse. In a nutshell, no matter, what kind of event you are organizing: if you haven’t worked with risks in advance, or if you haven’t prepared Plan B, there are no excuses for that. Here comes the last 30 min task for you. Before every event, no matter the format, prepare a list of at least 10 risks of it-can-go-wrong points. In front of each of them, write the solutions accordingly. Working out the worst-case scenarios and solutions to them in your head makes chances that any trouble will get you out of control just miserable. In the end, you will thank yourself a few times for doing it.
Trying to cut time on valuable things in event planning (yet sometimes not the most interesting ones) rarely leads to something great or memorable. Virtual events, like any others, require a responsible approach and attention to detail. What you need to remember is that often exactly the detail plays a crucial role in the attendees’ minds and you can master them with patience.
“Only within half a year, thousands of film premieres, theatre performances, conferences, and sports competitions have been postponed or cancelled all over the world. At the same time, people’s desire to get more inspiration or more information never stopped. In this confrontation, online technologies build a powerful bridge between people and businesses to stay connected and united during these uncertain times. In this context, events are something that has always been a glue for inspiration, knowledge, and getting new connections, and it should transform into a virtual format now”, – writes Endrik Randoja.
This year’s Eurovision cancellation is a good example of how leaders of many institutions have acted over the last century, despite having the well-structured IT capabilities. At a time when Europe needed something in common and there even was a kind of application solution for this, the opportunity was missed.
Technically, artists from different countries could have performed even from their kitchens, providing a high-quality resolution, and interesting show overall. It could have created an extremely different experience for all sides – organizers, performers, and viewers, and become perhaps the most significant Eurovision in its history.
Let’s do it in 2021
Almost since the beginning of the year, a lot of European venues have been full of orders to postpone events that had to take place in spring to be held in autumn, and now for the next year. I’d say there are at least three “buts” in this matter. Firstly, it’s a mistake to think that later on, there will be more time or money to keep the audience together than it is now. Secondly, due to the “hot” events season this fall and even the next spring, it will be rather difficult to switch yourself between all the events happening – it relates to both organizers and attendees. And lastly, we need to consider that the virus is already living in our reality since the beginning of 2020. And while at a lot of European countries we can already anticipate the second wave coming, on the other hand, there are countries, like the US – where the whole mess has just begun not long ago. Therefore, no one takes responsibility to state for how long the emergency will last and how quickly people will return the courage to establish new professional connections with other people during the physical events again.
Now or never
For example, recently we decided the fate of one conference that was planned to be held in the early fall. Firstly we made a decision to postpone it to the next year, though, after some critical thinking, it was finally decided that the conference will be organized during the nearest time in a virtual format. Discussing with colleagues and analyzing all pros and cons, we concluded that this sector needs ideas and information right now, and we didn’t want to be the ones who stop this headway.
Currently, despite most European countries are starting to ease the lockdown and some companies allow working from offices, a lot of employees are still struggling with doing so, and prefer to continue working from home. The same situation is happening with events – for example, in Central and Eastern Europe where traditional event format has been allowed with following some restrictions – keeping distance, regular hand washing, and participants number limitation. Nevertheless, despite the long-awaited possibility to finally meet offline, the reality is that even following all the rules and taking measures, organizers still struggle with gathering attendees together. The reason is that people know: the restrictions have been eased but the virus – has not. And such “defensive” behaviour could stay with us for a long time even after the vaccine will be found.
When events become virtual, there’s a special approach towards them too. Now, service providers have got the opportunity to “prove themselves in new circumstances”, and provide their best whenever it’s possible. Getting professional partners who will support under the new set of conditions, will enable you to provide the same good customer experience during virtual events.
Taking into account the opportunities that we currently have, event organizers are perhaps the fastest and easiest ones to adapt to the new reality and provide the same quality services. At the same time, it made the organizers also be more careful. There are fears that there is not as much funding for virtual events as in the regular events offline. But it’s important to understand that some costs such as the venue and catering are significantly lower too.
Another beneficial advantage is that in a virtual event the number of participants can be unlimited. It is much easier to involve famous performers from all over the world without any logistics obstacles. Participants also can get much brighter experience in a virtual environment making interactions with speakers and other “attendees” online.
A hybrid future
There are many opinions that a lot of industries won’t be the same after the crisis. For example, now a lot of organizers don’t see any reasons why conferences should always be offline when virtual participation can provide the same experience: getting relevant information, having meetings with other participants, listening to inspiring speeches, or listing some sponsorship offers.
Perhaps, it’ll be useful to make a thinking exercise, imagine how events would look like if the crisis lasts for a long time? We need to consider this scenario as well. The Olympics were postponed, but if there were a virtual 100-meter run with the world champions, that would be interesting to watch. For e-games, the virtual world is commonplace and it already attracts millions of people globally. How to adopt this experience in other fields is a challenging question now.
Of course, most of us live with the belief that everything will recover quickly and that conferences and festivals will take place in the usual way in the nearest times. It’s important to stay positive, and at the same time to take action and adapt to the reality and opportunities that we currently have when we can organize even larger and better virtual versions of events.
If you’re an event organizer, you probably know very well what multitasking is. When there’re so much to do, it becomes harder to juggle with tasks and get the things done. Endrik Randoja, CEO of Worksup, points out different productivity traps and advises ways to prevent them to work more efficiently.
As a lot of life has gone virtual, people became even more obsessed with meetings than before. In larger organizations, the day divides into meetings, and lots of work gets done during them. Therefore, clients propose many meetings planning even a small event. They know that they only have attention to the event during the meeting, and do not work for it in between. For conference organizers, this means an extra time allocated to the project. It’s better to set a sufficient meeting plan and motivate a client to do this part also in between the meetings from the beginning.
In the case of traditional events, the planning cycle sometimes spun over a year. Often that is a way too long time to work extensively on a project, and many things change content-wise in one year. With virtual events, the other extreme has occurred. Events are expected to be organized within a week. For an event organizer, it means dropping other projects and diving into the urgent ones. It is a big distraction to the usual and healthy workflow, and you’ll lag in quality. Work with clients who understand and appreciate the optimal planning cycle.
Lack of standardisation
With virtual events emerging, everyone involved is set back in terms of experience and proven work practices. Many things in the project need to be created or re-invented. Generating new practices and concepts from scratch is creative but time and effort consuming. Start immediately document new concepts, practices, and processes to scale these, and creatively use them for many events.
New technology partners
Finding a suitable technological solution for your event takes time to investigate it before making the deal. Better measure nine times before the cut. Don’t believe sales talk but demand real-life demos and access to previous events. Make sure you understand if the promised features are out of the box or will be created specially. It is a different project to create event software as a software development project compared to buying a solution that is already there. For the event organizer, it means days of extra effort and tons of grey hair.
From now, you can connect partners and create new professional relations during events with the expo. Learn more about the new Worksup feature in the new article.
It turned out we don’t need 10 000 hrs of practice to master a skill. Still, learning how to be a remarkable event organizer takes a lot of effort. The good news is we can get better at something not only by practising it but also by learning from others. The article guides through the successful event organizers’ characteristics and rules to improve organizational skills. So how the performance of event professionals is different?
They eat the frog first
Creating a general plan without defining priorities and time-consuming tasks, you step into a #somethingwentwrong risk. Often, event organizers instantly follow a to-do list and start execution from the beginning. A checklist is an advantage, but we can do way better. Successful event organizers divide the list into the three complexity blocks to sort tasks by levels. Put them to elementary, medium, or advanced blocks depending on the complexity and priority. Reading each assignment, ask yourself: “What chances that something will go wrong here? How much time would I need to find a solution?”. If answers to both questions equal “lots of” this is where you need to start. Choose the blocks name whatever you want. The most important is to define prioritized and time-consuming elements and begin with its execution.
They keep everyone on the same page
When you organize an event, you may mistakenly think that a lot of things clear for you are clear for everyone. Sure, it could be understandable how the software works or what are the team responsibilities. The funniest stuff begins when it’s not. Generally, a lot of event organizers are informing the closest team members of what’s happening. But great event organizers make sure that every contractor also knows a goal of the event, technical details, and what the expected result. They make regular checks to see if everyone’s on the same page. And make sure that stakeholders not only get tasks but a chance to ask general organizational questions.
They can quickly adapt
The pandemic situation has shown that things can dramatically change within a short time. Professional event organizers always have a plan B. They know that scenario when everything goes smoothly sadly doesn’t happen too often. Therefore, they inspect the possible risks in advance. When an event organizer – the chair event person – is in panic, so that imagine what do participants or other stakeholders can think about the whole organization. When something unexpected happens that ruins or changes plans, firstly, real professionals get patient and start to create a new road to go: no judgments, no complaints, only a fresh eye to find the most efficient solution.
They are good networkers
To be a great event organizer, you don’t need to be a born extrovert. Doing events is always about teamwork, no matter how many years of experience you have. When something goes not according to the plan, having a wide network of people will be especially helpful. Remarkable event organizers are genuinely interested in others: what they do for life, what are their struggles or hobbies. So that when the right moment comes, they spend less time searching for a partner to collaborate with and solve issues quicker. It’s important that when you get to know new people you do it sincerely and not for taking advantage in the future. Also, be ready to help others too. A win-win strategy is a key for any business relations.
They are not afraid to ask help
It is all about fears. With two years of experience, we afraid to ask help as everyone will think about you as a fool (spoiler alert: they will not). Working 15 years, we afraid to ask help as everyone will think you are not a professional. In reality, of course, it looks different. Luckily, task delegation and admitting that you are not a rockstar at everything are in vogue again. Great event managers are eager to let other people do something they’re not that good at. Asking for help or a piece of advice is a great option too. It seems very easy, but because of the inability to ask help on time, a lot of projects crash.
Learning and following the mentioned characteristics will help you to feel more confident before and during events. Be ready for changes, adapt quickly, and surround yourself with professionals to create a unique experience for everyone.
Open our new article about event organizers’ mistakes during a virtual event to avoid them in the future.
Not a secret, that most event organizers are more used to work with traditional rather than virtual events. When it comes to online organization, it’s often unclear what value and advantages there are compared to the traditional approach. The article reveals a hidden gem of virtual events that will help you to create a brighter experience for participants.
It’s time for global stars
Organizing a virtual event, use its advantages to the fullest: instead of calling good old local speakers, start thinking wider and remind what professionals globally you’ve always dreamed to cooperate with. Use the power of networking, and introductions to invite them to your event. To increase the chances of getting great speakers onboard, briefly explain your ultimate event goal. In order to create an emotional connection with the whole organizational process prove that you’re working on something special, not just “the next trivial event”. Virtual events also present an opportunity to onboard superstars with much less fee compared to traditional events.
More efficient networking
We can’t live without communication and traditional events have always been a playground to find new fellows. Luckily, nowadays technologies allow not only to listen to a speaker but also to connect with other attendees. For example, Worksup’s networking feature allows participants to write messages to each other, set up appointments, or make video calls during a virtual event.
For many, it is an even more comfortable way of contacting new people compared to face-to-face encounters at traditional events. After choosing a platform, investigate how all stakeholders can communicate through the technology you chose. Next, provide guidance on how to use it or make sure the moderator will clear it up.
Different but special atmosphere
A lot of people are missing a traditional conference vibe and atmosphere. The truth is, virtual events shouldn’t compete, as long as they can create a different, even more unique experience. Just add some fantasy, generate different activities, and try to see your event with the eyes of an attendee: do you like what you see? Would you recommend this event to your friend next time?
At Worksup, we help event organizers to make atmospheric conferences with tools like online tasks or virtual expo. So that every participant can find something “wow” that they would want to share on Facebook right this day.
Extended audience circle
With virtual events, it seems to be way easier to attract a bigger audience as now you can advertise an event even outside of your region. It’s mostly true, but keep in mind, the possibility to engage more people provides as many opportunities as challenges.
Going global, be ready for a bigger competition, using different marketing approaches, and putting even more effort to stay visible. Advertising events in the international arena is not the quickest task to do, but following a well-prepared marketing strategy will help to make your message seen.
There are hundreds of ways to stand out doing virtual events. Every company could find its own approach to open the potential. If you’re not sure how to do deal with it, book a free consultation with a Worksup expert below:
Despite the organization of virtual conferences has become more popular, a lot of virtual event planners are still making mistakes that lead to poor participants’ experience. The positive side is, the more we fail the more we learn and evolve. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”. At Worksup, we also believe that one can become a more efficient organizer learning from others’ failures rather than your own. This article outlines 3 virtual event mistakes to avoid during the planning and recommends what to do instead.
#1 Ain’t no sunshine… when there are no tests made
Imagine, you found a cutting-edge event platform for your virtual event. You invited the most desirable speakers, sponsors agreed to support you and all registered participants are now waiting for the start. Doesn’t it sound like an event of the dream, huh? But wait, let’s see what happens next. In the beginning, you say a brief introduction, welcome every participant and then you give a word to the first most wanted speaker, let’s say, Peter, who’s based in a different city. The time comes, everyone sees Peter but an echo after each word prevents understanding a single sentence. The sound is terrible and not Peter nor the event organizer can do something about that. As a result, two speeches failed during the event due to the poor sound quality. The audience was outraged. And this could be prevented.
Even if the virtual event tool seems to be very promising, test its every component – polls, Q&A, networking, and other sections you’re going to use on a live event. Try to call every speaker through the platform to check the quality of their sound and video. Make sure, you’re checking the same devices which speakers will be using during a real event. Testing an attendee perspective is the best solution to eliminate any unexpected issues. Usually, these 30 minutes of your time make a very big difference. On Worksup, you can test any event for free.
#2 Wrong Software Choice
A lot of event planners are choosing video conference tools like Zoom as a software for hosting online events. Seeking a quick live streaming solution, they often get disappointed when it turns out, it’s hard to keep the audience engaged and interact with them through it. Usually, such video platforms are most suitable for 1:1 meetings or webinars where the key purpose is watching and listening to a speaker. When it comes to the organization of small or medium-sized events online, buying a ticket, participants are expecting to get more “perks” except seeing a speaker’s presentation.
In contrast to this, there are events platforms developed especially for hybrid and virtual events hosting. Depending on how many people you plan to gather online and what is the purpose of the event, you can choose different activities for your audience starting from Q&A and polls to individual tasks that will keep everyone engaged. Usually, they also allow doing 1:1 video calls for participants networking to promote professional relations during events. Another advantage for businesses is the possibility to brand an event in a corporate style – use your colors, logo, and fonts. For example, to feel the real conference atmosphere, Worksup provides an opportunity to create an online expo where users can do talking with a company consultant, or take a brochure like they usually do on a real event.
#3 Not Proving Guidelines
After testing most of the virtual platform features by yourself, you may mistakenly think that a lot of the elements will be obvious for everybody. It’s true to say that there are many easy to use platforms with a nice user interface. Though even in this case, event participants, who may have never used it before, could be confused about how to navigate around the platform. As a result, even if you’ve chosen a prominent software with dozens of features, there’s a very high possibility that most of the attendees won’t know what to do with half of them.
Every stakeholder of the event has to be well informed about the features of the software and what you as an organizer plan to do with it. In addition to attendees, these include speakers and moderators, your tech team, even your own events team. The big problem also lies in arrogance from any of these towards following the instructions and testing. You often hear, “I have done these hundreds of times”. But each new event is different, with different teams and technology. You as an organizer can make it or break it by how well you can coach your stakeholders and carry out tests.
What can you do in this case? At the beginning of the event, when you or an event moderator welcomed the participants, it’s a golden minute to make a quick overview of the platform: briefly describe how everything works, what features it has and how to access them. The best option is to do this also before the event with a letter. Establishing professional relations during online events shouldn’t be complicated and clear guidance is the best solution for that.
Following these easy to use recommendations, will let every stakeholder get brighter experience preventing virtual event mistakes