Virtual Events: 50 Free Resources

Over the last year and a half, virtual events went from being a novelty to commonplace. Through trial and error, event organizers have quickly learned just how different running a virtual event is from an in-person.

Even though you’ve probably got a lot of experience under your belt, there’s still so much information out there that can help take your virtual event to the next level. 

That’s where this article can help. 

We’ve done the research and put together this list that includes 50 free resources on virtual events. It’s been organized into categories to make navigating to topics that interest you way easier. Having all these resources in one place will help you quickly find exactly what you’re looking for to elevate your next virtual event!

How to go virtual

Let’s start with the basics. What is a virtual event? A virtual event is an online gathering where participants engage virtually rather than in-person. It provides exhibitors the opportunity to inform, network, and do business, while attendees can consume content, make purchases, and make connections.

One key point to remember when running a virtual event is to treat it as an entirely unique experience rather than trying to duplicate an in-person experience. They are two completely different experiences and trying to have one mimic the other is a recipe for disaster. Instead, really lean into the virtual experience and plan an event that makes the most of the tools and features available to you. 

If you’ve run a virtual event before or are looking to run your very first one, these resources include lots of tips and pointers that will help kickstart your planning. 

  1. How NOT To Run A Virtual Event
  2. 50 Awesome Virtual Event Ideas for 2021
  3. 5 Ways to Boost Digital Marketing for Your Virtual Event
  4. Taking Your Trade Show Virtual? Rethink Your Business Model
  5. Switching to a Virtual Event? Here’s What You Should Know
  6. The Ultimate Engagement Guide for Your Virtual & Hybrid Events
  7. The Evolution of Events
  8. What Virtual Events Can Learn From Netflix and Tinder
  9. 20 Things We Learned From Our Virtual Events That Drew 50,000 Attendees
  10. 3 Reasons Why Virtual Events Shouldn't Take a Backseat as Live Events Return
  11. 7 Things To Do if Your Tech Fails at a Virtual Event
  12. 10 Engaging Entertainment Ideas for Your Next Virtual Event
  13. 37 Virtual Event Ideas for Your Next Online Event 

Networking at virtual events

Virtual event networking is one of the most important components of your virtual event. People and businesses are looking for opportunities to connect with new customers, find their next top hire, and connect with like-minded thinkers and entrepreneurs.

The reality is that with virtual events, networking isn’t as natural and serendipitous as an onsite encounter. As an event organizer, you must give attendees and sponsors the right tools to network from behind their respective screens. How you facilitate networking at your event can mean the difference between a major success or a flop.

To help you better understand the nuances of networking at virtual events and learn about best practices that you can adopt at your next event, check out these resources: 

  1. How to Maximize Networking During Virtual, Hybrid & In-Person Events
  2. How to Solve the Challenges of Networking in Virtual and Hybrid Events
  3. 10 Smart Tips for Keeping Attendees Engaged Before, During and After a Virtual Event
  4. Ask BizBash: How Can I Network During Stay-at-Home Orders?

Choosing a virtual platform

​​If you want to run a successful virtual event you need to use a platform that’s specifically designed for events.  Remember: your virtual event platform is essentially your online venue. This is why they need to be immersive experiences that help participants feel connected.

Prioritizing an all-in-one virtual event platform allows planners more creative freedom than webinar and video conferencing tools. Their features and capabilities are proven to generate the most engagement amongst virtual event attendees. 

The top virtual event platforms include tools and features that have the audience’s needs in mind. Choosing the right platform for your event could make or break it. That’s why these resources can help you navigate through all the options that are out there and find the platform that best suits your needs. 

  1. Virtual Event Platforms: The 2021 Guide
  2. Event MB: The Virtual Event Tech Guide 2021
  3. Checklist: 9 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Virtual Event Platform
  4. How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Virtual Events

Virtual event sponsorship

Virtual event sponsorship is when organizers of online events bring in partners who exchange services for visibility or pay sums of money to support the event in exchange for certain advantages. In theory, the principle of sponsorship remains the same as in-person events, it’s about getting the most eyes on your brand and increasing the opportunities for business. 

Many companies are asking themselves, "Why sponsor a virtual event?" because they're skeptical about the ROI, especially in comparison to what they are used to at physical events. This is where it takes some creative thinking. There are valuable online sponsorship opportunities that can be capitalized on, as long as you understand exactly how to market it to potential sponsors. These resources can help you:

  1. 14 Virtual Event Sponsorship Ideas To Maximize ROI
  2. 5 Ways Exhibitors Can Increase Leads During Virtual Events
  3. 5 Ways Organizers Can Help Their Virtual Exhibitors Get Leads
  4. Virtual or Hybrid: 5 Tips for Structuring Sponsorship
  5. 8 Virtual Event Sponsorship Ideas
  6. 9 Creative Ways to Integrate Sponsorships Into a Virtual Event
  7. 18 Virtual Event Sponsorship Ideas
  8. Six Proven Strategies for Delivering Real Value to Sponsors in a Virtual or Hybrid Event

Virtual event engagement

Networking isn't the only way to keep people engaged at a virtual event. Swapcard found that the best way to keep virtual attendees engaged at an online event is through speakers and content. It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to focus on one over the other. 

It’s always helpful to remind ourselves that people love to learn and hear about the latest industry insights. Memorable stories are what stay with us. We attend conferences to keep our knowledge fresh and stay up to date in our industry. In other words: events are driven by their content. 

One of the best ways to bolster attendee engagement is to create high-quality, engaging content that keeps attendees wanting more. Remember: the best content is interactive. It blends presentations with networking. The key to successful engagement is finding a way to blend captivating speakers and real opportunities to network.

If you’re looking to find inspiration on virtual event engagement, we’ve got you covered: 

  1. The Science of Virtual Event Engagement
  2. Could A La Carte Session Selection Increase Virtual Event Registrations?
  3. 4 Things All Virtual Event Producers Need to Know
  4. 7 Ideas for Driving Engagement at Virtual Events with Gamification
  5. 10 Engaging Entertainment Ideas for Your Next Virtual Event
  6. 36 Entertainment Ideas for Virtual and Hybrid Events
  7. 6 Ideas for Engaging Event Attendees Year-Round
  8. 4 Ways to Leverage Virtual Event Design to Increase Engagement
  9. 10 Smart Tips for Keeping Attendees Engaged Before, During, and After a Virtual Event

Email-Banner-The Science of Virtual

Monetizing virtual events

Monetization is the name of the game when it comes to running a virtual event. A larger audience often means more leads and more opportunities for sponsorships, with potential funders viewing the increased reach as a greater opportunity to get their brand in front of a bigger audience.

Virtual events remove geographical and financial barriers, meaning you can reach a much larger and more global audience. This not only increases the accessibility of your event, but it also increases your monetization opportunities.

Even if you’ve run a virtual event before, it can be confusing trying to narrow down exactly where your top monetization opportunities are. That’s why we’ve gathered these resources to help you navigate these murky waters. 

  1. How To Close Business Deals At A Virtual Event, According To Data
  2. Six Proven Strategies for Delivering Real Value to Sponsors in a Virtual or Hybrid Event
  3. Driving Qualified Leads Through Better Virtual and Hybrid Event Data
  4. How to Make Money on Virtual Events Without Charging Ticket Fees
  5. How Can You Improve Lead Generation at Virtual Events?
  6. Virtual Trade Shows: Sponsors Share the Biggest Hits and Misses
  7. Digital Monetization – An Untapped Goldmine for Eventprofs
  8. Companies Focus on How to Maximize Revenue From Virtual Events 

Virtual event case studies

What better way to gauge how to run your own virtual event than to see how others have done it before you? It never hurts to learn from fellow eventprofs and save yourself the headache of repeating their mistakes. Take a look at these virtual event case studies and discover what worked and what didn’t when going virtual: 

  1. SXSW + Swapcard: 5 Key Takeaways from SXSW’s first virtual edition
  2. Informa Tech Asia Finds Success Going Virtual With Swapcard
  3. 6 Smart Engagement Strategies From C2 Montréal's Virtual Conference
  4. Case Study: How Anheuser-Busch Has Created Innovative Events During the Pandemic

Virtual events can be tricky to plan and execute successfully. Whether you’re a seasoned event organizer or new to the game, we hope this list has proven useful in helping you find what you need.

If you're looking for additional advice on how best to run your next digital event - or even want someone else to do all of the heavy lifting for you - our team is here for you! 

Let’s go virtual together

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