Unveiling the Do’s and Don'ts of Digital Conferences

Our experience adapting to unforeseen circumstances helped clients navigate the new virtual landscape for events.

Jacob Moon
Co-Founder & GM, Salt Lake City

Virtual events quickly became the norm in 2020. Almost every conference in the tech industry shifted from an in-person to a digital format. Some handled the transition smoothly while others scrambled, but Method’s experience in coordinating events and adapting to unforeseen circumstances helped our clients navigate the new virtual landscape. 

All virtual events are unique, and each requires a different strategy and approach depending on a company’s goals. Domo, for example, had to act fast since their Domopalooza conference happened in March — right as lockdown orders went into effect. Just 12 business days before the event’s kickoff, we helped Domo announce it was going 100% virtual, earning interest from reporters covering the tech industry. We then worked with Domo to share their learnings and advice, which resulted in interviews with the SaaStr Podcast and SiliconAngle. 

For another client, PagerDuty, their virtual event was slated the same week as multiple others, so we knew reporters would be overloaded. To stand out, we offered reporters details about the event’s news and briefings with executives ahead of time. We ultimately secured seven media briefings and nearly 50 pieces of coverage around the event — including an interview on Bloomberg Technology.

Conferences weren’t the only events that moved online this year. We also coordinated a virtual bell-ringing for Skillz and helped BrightPlan host a successful webinar panel, among many others.

From everything we learned this year, here are a few of our top tips for virtual events going into 2021: 

– Get media involved in programming in some way. This has worked for several of our clients, from a fireside chat with executives to moderating a customer panel. 

– Bring in surprise guests to garner more interest.

– Appeal to new attendees. With no travel and no price tag, the bar to attend has been lowered dramatically. 

– Live + interactive — we’ve heard repeatedly that live events get much higher audience engagement than recorded ones. That said, it’s good to make recorded video accessible afterward. 

– Reset expectations — media are now attending multiple events a week, rather than one company being their focus for a few days, so coverage is coming through slightly slower. Anticipate this shift in attention. 

– A little prep goes a long way — ensure PR assets are ready and available to share before pre-briefs to reduce back-and-forth with journalists.