How tech is transforming content
How tech is transforming content
With a dynamic mix of new and developing technologies, the nature of content has dramatically changed the way we design hybrid and in-person meetings and events. At the recent Ideas Exchange event, FCM Meetings & Events asked industry guests about the challenge of providing effective and universal access to content that is relevant and engaging for in-person gatherings, hybrid events and virtual audiences.
How has the rise of hybrid shaped your approach events?
For Dana Brown of TAFE NSW, hybrid events were the solution to COVID. They have totally transformed the way TAFE NSW reaches its audience.
“When COVID hit we had no technological insight within our event team, but thanks to FCM Meetings & Events we learnt very quickly – delivering our first online Open Day in 2020. Open Days are essential to drive enrolment and are the biggest event of the year. Our first online event was a big learning curve, but ultimately a success, with 1000 people attending – which helped us to build trust in the virtual format internally.
“Previously with physical Open Days we would have 12 of our 300 campuses open, but with a virtual Open Day we could include all campuses. In fact, the 2021 Open Day ran online for 4.5 days and attracted 5,500 people. We’ve been able drive enrolments by reaching so many more people, across multiple regions, for the same budget.
We also embraced on-demand content for visitors before, during and after the event, including podcast content, to extend and prolong event engagement. It’s been so successful that we’ll stay with the virtual Open Day format, but we still need to have a face-to-face element to include our teaching departments and to encourage people to tour their local TAFE in person.
At Marina Bay Sands, Singapore the demand for hybrid events was the catalyst for a massive investment in world-leading broadcast technology. As a venue, their goal was to find unique solutions for customers by creating events that harnessed 3D technology, augmented reality, holographic telepresence and virtual reality for a totally immersive experience. In 2021 they also launched their ‘virtual meeting place’, a customisable platform for in-person and virtual audiences, which supports audience networking and enables event organisers to have an extra source of revenue by effectively embedding sponsorship opportunities.
The pros and cons of hybrid events
Ideas Exchange gathered a range of perspectives on the benefits and pitfalls of hybrid events.
|On demand content available before, during and after event||Curating content for two audience experiences is more complex|
|Allows greater access to a wider audience||Loss of face-to-face engagement and immediate feedback, in comparison to in-person audience|
|Enables the audience to choose their own journey through an event||It can be difficult to deliver the same value to both an in-person and a virtual audience, to equalise the experience|
|Events can be experienced in ways that fit different needs, interests, time constraints and how attendees prefer to consume information||Hybrid cannot be applied to all event types. For example, it’s difficult to replicate the excitement on an awards night online|
|If two event sessions clash, in-person audiences can attend one and then catch up on the other when the content is available to view online||
With virtual events, organisers have to wear many hats and need to apply a more creative lens to content
|Can deliver pre, during and post-event content, and on-demand content, to expand the footprint of the event||Adds a whole new layer of capability and complexity, which involves engaging people with specialised tech skills.|
|Hybrid models create new levels of access for audiences and expand the reach of event content to more audience segments.|
What makes good digital content, great?
Content consumption and learning design is now an increasingly important consideration as more digital experiences are added into the mix. So … what makes digital content sing?
- Content needs to be bite sized, digestible and to the point (Ted Talk style).
- Varying the delivery method, providing choice and using different media
- Content needs to be strategic and measurable, allowing you to design future experiences from the quantitative and qualitative data
- Content that has been designed because you know your audience well. For example, younger audiences consume content via their mobiles
- Great content is immersive and allows the audience to interact with it
- Content that has been created by engaging your audience in its development, to create audience advocacy
- Involves story telling and takes your audience on the journey with you
- Content that requires engagement - polls, surveys, instant messaging and click to play.
Audience choice or tailored content – which hits the spot?
Now audiences can participate and engage in event experiences their own way, they also want more control over the content they consume. Tegan Usback, representing medical company Alcon, believes that effective meetings and events must give the audience a voice in the content design, through collaboration and discussion.
“The audience voice is essential. So in the lead up to an event we consult key opinion leaders, or an advisory board, to drill down to what information they want. But more importantly, we also go out to a broader community to talk directly to peers in the field to find out what the moving topics are for them. Then we use this much broader range of opinions to shape the content to the audience.
This enhances engagement and creates an inclusivity and advocacy that involves a larger audience in curating the conversation, not just a select few stakeholders. In our experience, when an audience is involved from the start – rather than just on event day – their engagement pre, during and post event is much greater.