20 Key Planning Factors to Maximize Engagement

Bringing a virtual experience to life must involve a design approach that accesses new patterns of thinking. To help get you started, we are sharing the 20 tried-and-true engagement tactics we’ve found critical for a virtual or hybrid event.

Critical Engagement Tactics

1. Curated Content Delivery

Storytelling is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to curating content for a virtual event, more so than a face-to-face event, as participants need to remain engaged amidst a myriad of potential distractions. Designing the storyline for the entire event, assigning visuals, curating the most compelling content, and matching it to the most effective delivery method (web session, breakout, highly produced video, etc.) is paramount for an engaging experience. Likewise, intelligent use of content sponsorship opportunities can help optimize your budgets and achieve your goals. And the right type of communication (at the right time) can build excitement, inform, and leave a positive impact on your audience.

2. Professional Entertainment and Elements of Surprise

Behavioral science tells us that people need frequent “brain breaks” to stay actively engaged with digital content, therefore infusing entertainment into virtual events is a must-have for longer or multiday content sessions. Boost your audience’s energy levels with both announced and pop-up entertainment, especially after lengthier presentations. Bring in a popular solo artist, DJ, or rock band to play a set to create a relaxed and receptive audience for more serious or complex content. You may even be able to find hidden talent within your ranks. “Brain breaks” like these also serve as great surprise and delight moments, where participants can choose to include family members to share the experience, adding a benefit to the work-from-home culture.
Attendees need “brain breaks” to stay engaged. To keep your audience wondering what’s next, create moments of anticipation leading up to an event. A teaser mailer can be sent (including interactive gifts) pre-event and is especially important when an audience is remote.

3. Gamification

People love to play (especially when there are prizes involved) — so bring in several modes of gamification. Piquing interest through gamification is a great way to increase engagement for the participant and serves to promote any desired behaviors (learning, collaboration, competition, etc.). Award points for participation (via chat), for completing quizzes, or simply by getting familiar with the environment and finding hidden treasures. This creates energy, engagement, and community while showcasing the thought and attention to how the participants will experience the event.

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