One of the biggest challenges event planners face when hosting a virtual event is ensuring high levels of audience engagement. Virtual events carry many benefits to event organizers and planners. They provide lower overhead costs which means a greater return on investment and they can be marketing to a wider audience, meaning attendees can be drawn from a global pool.
Unfortunately, pre-recorded events tend to have lower engagement and watch rates, so to remedy this, you need to have live elements and features. But, this isn’t necessarily a perfect solution either. When viewers are located all throughout the world, it can be nearly impossible to find a time that works for all time zones, and asking presenters to present the same content over and over again will not fly.
One style of virtual event production that can resolve this complication is Simulive. If you’ve never heard of Simulive, don’t fret. In fact, you’ve probably already experienced it and maybe did not realize it. This article will break down what Simulive is, why you need it, and how to use it for your next virtual event!
What is Simulive?
Simulive is not a brand or hosting platform. Instead, it is the merging of two words to create a style of virtual event production similar to a live webinar. Simulive stands for “Simulated Live” and is often referred to as a simulated live webinar. In essence, it is a pre-recorded session that is not necessarily publicized as being “pre-recorded.” The session can then be posted at allotted times across a number of time zones. The Simulive session usually has an adopted “expert” or moderator and a Q&A session so that attendees can still interact with the presented information in the same way that they would interact with this information during live virtual events.
This style of event is not meant to mislead the viewer. Instead, it allows your event to operate similar to a webinar and still provide many of the benefits of a live event. In this way, Simulive can provide many of the benefits of a physical event while functioning entirely online. From the attendee experience, a Simulive event looks like a live presentation that is scheduled to occur at a set time of day. So, if an attendee logs in late or during the presentation, they will not be able to replay any of the content that they missed as the event appears to be happening in real-time.
However, similar to a webinar, the event is already a recorded presentation, and the presentation can be recorded to include whatever style of interaction that the event goes with (such as a Q&A session). That way, those viewers who tuned in a little later can still view the recorded presentation, PowerPoint slides, and any additional resources by accessing an event backlog.
Benefits of Hosting a Virtual Event Using Simulive
There are many benefits to hosting an event with the Simulive interaction style. To start, Simulive allows for your guest speakers to pre-record their presentation so that they do not have to be available to present at a given time slot. This also allows them to perfect their presentation to their desires.
Additionally, the Simulive event style is the best in terms of scheduling. While it may seem like a nightmare to schedule out the same content at staggered times throughout time zones, this will make viewers much more comfortable, pleased, and interested in your event. They will feel like that event has been tailor-made to their time zone and their busy lifestyle.
Viewers will also perceive the event as being different from a webinar or even a live webinar, and instead see the event as a bonafide “live event.” This gives Simulive greater marketing appeal. In turn, this will make the audience more eager to promote the event on their social media sites.
Why You Should Use Simulive for Your Next Virtual Event
If these benefits have not yet sold you on the Simulive event style, there are several more reasons you should consider using it for your next virtual event or hybrid event:
Flexibility: Because the session is pre-recorded, there is a lot more flexibility for all participants involved, from the exhibitors to the attendees, event organizers, and brands. By pre-recording the sessions, you will be able to have all the video content completed weeks before the event is on. And, this information can be provided to all the exhibitors or vendors so that they can better prepare for the event. Additionally, this allows more time for the presenters and vendors to focus on lead generation rather than learning about the content along with the attendees.
Less expensive than live streaming: Because the stream does not have to be pushed through live, you no longer have to rely on a stable network connection (for all involved) in order for the event to look high-quality. After all, when a virtual event experiences a poor network connection, it shows, and this looks bad on the event production team, presenters, and vendors. Instead, with a Simulated live webcast, you can seamlessly upload the videos to your event hosting platform. This will also minimize the chance of technical errors occurring.
More control over content quality: Sometimes a live event can go haywire. This might be the doing of the presenter themselves, perhaps they were unprepared, or there might be technical issues. It is in every event organizers’ best interest to eliminate these issues. By pre-recording the content, you will have control over the content quality, technical quality, and session interactions.
The presenter can participate more actively in the discussion: Presenting either a PowerPoint presentation or a keynote comes with some level of anxiety. So when it comes time for the Q&A after the presentation, it might be a little more difficult to process the questions and to provide quality answers. If the presenter does not need to present, they can be more invested in the discussion.
Better for all time zones: Running a live event can be difficult if the event is to be streamed across a number of time zones. No matter how much care you take, you will not be able to accommodate all time zones. With a simulated live event, you can schedule it at the same time across all time zones. So, for example, the event can be scheduled at 1 pm, regardless of where anyone is located. Or, you can stagger it to within 5-10 minutes of each so that the presenter can hop from one timezone to the next to answer questions.
Reuse and rerun: Recording your content and providing it as part of a content backlog is crucial for keeping clients/customers engaged with your brand, for appealing to more audiences, and continuing education or professional development. With the pre-recorded session already recorded, you can then easily upload this content to a website or platform and offer it as bonus content to a select group of people. Additionally, this type of content can be provided to the attendees as a special bonus for attending the event.
Less worry about technology issues: With any live, online interaction, there is a worry that technical issues will wreak havoc on the event. It can be difficult to control this mechanism, and even with a dedicated IT team in charge of managing technology, issues will still arise. Pre-record the sessions so that your IT and personnel can focus on other things that matter. In this way, the event will run similar to an automated webinar in that it runs automatically except for where interaction is required.
Easier to recruit top speakers: A top speaker might be interested in your event but they are unable to present live for some reason. Whether it is because of the presentation style, their current technical set up, or the time zone difference, you want to be able to recruit the best speakers on your topic or industry focus. Allowing them the option to pre-record their session will show that they can do a lot more when it comes to their presentation. This may encourage them to step outside of the norm when it comes to presenting in virtual formats, and this will allow them to raise the bar in terms of content quality.
Live engagement: If your event organizing team does not have to worry about providing high-quality videos during the event, this means that more energy can be spent on the engagement. There is a lot of engagement opportunities in live events. And while the event streaming platform should automate this aspect of your event, it can be difficult to manage it in real-time. In addition to this, the pre-recorded session simply allows for presenters and attendees to stay engaged as well as for exhibitors to more seamlessly interact with attendees during the event.
Better sponsor activation: Sponsors like to know that the event they’re supporting will go off without a hitch. By ensuring that pre-recorded videos are submitted, they are reassured that the event will have fewer technical difficulties and more attendee engagement. Sponsors will also like the marketability of a Simulive event. Promote it!
Less stress and better results/ease of use: Running any event, whether it be online, in person, live, or hybrid, is stressful. The bottom line is that a Simulive event reduces stress for all persons involved.
How to Use Simulive for Your Virtual Event
Hosting a virtual event as a Simulive webinar or simulated webcast is relatively simple and there is more than one way to do it right.
In general, you can expect that presenters, administrator information, and sponsorships can be pre-recorded and then designated to run in given time slots.
However, there is the added element of ensuring that people are interacting “live” with the event in some capacity. Here are some of the ways that this can happen:
A pre-recorded video and/or presentation followed by a live Q&A. This means that the presenter, moderator, or expert is available either during the presentation (if they are not the presenter) or after the presentation to take the Q&A. If the presenter will be in front of the camera in both the presentation and Q&A, make sure to consider things like the time of day and the clothing they are wearing during each presentation as not aligning this will clue the audience in to differences. One way to go about this is to limit the Q&A to non-video or ask that someone else do the Q&A.
Answering questions with a presenter console. The presenter console is the console that the event streaming platform uses in order to display the presentation. If you want the presenter to be active in the presenter console, make sure the presenter designates given times when they stop talking or presenting in order to answer questions in the chat. They will have to type the responses. If you want to save all the questions for after, then the presenter could be going through the presenter console during the presentation and save the answers for after. This option is easier when you have multiple presenters.
Moderate a live session chat room. You can enable a chat room to exist coincidentally with the presentation or after; it’s your call. Regardless, make sure that someone is there to answer the questions that are posed.
Sponsorship, admin promotion, and product demo sessions. Outside of the presenter being simulated live, you will also consider sponsorship ads and other administrative details. These “sessions” could be held in a similar way, with live people interacting with the attendees during a pre-recorded session. It is easier to use Simulive with these types of sessions because the viewer might not care who it is that they are conversing with. You could consider having a pseudo-live registration page, but make sure there is either live engagement or an automated message sent to confirm registration.
Live webcasting for hybrid events. If you are holding a physical event and you want to stream some parts of the event online, you could host a Simulive event as a type of live webcasting. Unless done properly, the viewer may be able to tell when the event is completely live and when it is prerecorded. Instead of trying to trick the viewer, promote certain sections as simulated live, such as recording the presentations but enabling the live feed throughout the event and during Q&A. This way the online viewer can still interact with the live audience and live presenter.
When adopting Simulive for your virtual event, remember to always practice honesty. Regardless of the many benefits of Simulive event production, your attendees will not want to feel like they were hoodwinked or lied to.
If there are ways that you cannot get around the Simulive performance, then let them know that that session was pre-recorded and that there will be a live respondent available at a specific time.
Simulive is an intuitive way for virtual events to engage with remote attendees. Not only does it open up event promotion across a number of time zones, but it is also more appealing to presenters, keynote speakers, and vendors, due to ease of access.