How to engage audiences virtually is the number one question we get from clients. And it’s no wonder. Audiences have had so much screen time, they are jaded. They want (and deserve) more in exchange for their time. So what’s the secret? While we do use tech tools like polls, chat boxes and the like, the real power of technology is in creating experiences. We see it every day on Netflix, Hulu, CNN, ESPN, even the local news. The secret is television-quality content.
When it comes to audience engagement, that’s where we start. Let’s explore how.
Reimagine the virtual interview:
Audiences crave genuine person to person exchanges, which used to be limited to in-person events. Now with the help of some sophisticated broadcasting technology, we can bring people thousands of miles apart together. Did you see Oprah Winfrey’s interview of former President Obama? (If not, you can view it here.).The interview appeared to be run in Oprah’s living room, while in reality the two were on opposite coasts. The illusion was a surprise that drew the audience in and enabled them to connect with the conversations that felt more authentic.
Cramer does the same thing. Take a look at our broadcast team demonstrating a similar look. On the left, you see what the staging looks like, and on the right, you see what the video feed would look like.
The Power of Face-to-Face Interviews:
Don’t need a full virtual room for your interview but looking for another way to up-level? Take inspiration from the networks that have been creating engaging remote interviews for years. They mimic a real face-to-face conversation by bringing guests on screen in studio. The MLB Network Tonight recently used this tactic, take a look. It’s so much better than the traditional talking heads filling little squares on our screens. The studio creates the opportunity for a fresh exchange. Breaking free from the video call setup, signals to your audience that this is something different and worth their time.
Below you can see one of Cramer’s clients using this strategy at a recent event. You can see the full event here.
Give Your Attendees a Presence:
The experience of anonymity is common for virtual attendees, leading to lower engagement and shorter watch times. If you don’t feel seen, it’s easy to disconnect. It’s important to make your audience feel part of the event to improve engagement. More than the features of your event platform, we are talking about literally bringing them into your program. Using a studio allows you to give a voice and presence to your audience. Check out how the Emmy Awards in 2020 did this. Host, Jimmy Kimmel, was able to exchange with the remote audiences in a way that brought energy to the event similar to the feeling you would get with an in-person audience. Your audience may not be at the venue, but when it feels like they are, the experience is more fun and authentic for everyone.
Below you can see one of Cramer’s clients bringing their audience into the program for an interactive awards night as part of their national sales meeting. You can see the full case study here.
Explore New Dimensions:
Bringing your event virtual opens the opportunity to exceed what is possible at an in-person venue. The magic of virtual keynotes is creating an experience to surprise and delight your audience. For example, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg did just this in his CES keynote, watch here. Utilizing augmented reality technology, Vestberg brought the audience into his presentation by taking them on a visual tour to demonstrate the real-life applications of 5G, the core topic of his keynote. Audiences were captivated by the presentation in a way previously reserved for the entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix. Activating the audience’s imagination is the key to driving real engagement.
Below you can see the Cramer team creating a similar experience. The talent stands in front of a green screen. While on the screen in the front left, you can see him transported to a new virtual environment.
Technology is enabling more personal and meaningful virtual events. Captivate your audience with unique and creative ways to share your message. Always consider how technology can enhance your presentations and conversations. When used well, technology enables you to amplify the important messages you are trying to emphasize.
If you’re intrigued to see how you can deploy the right tech for your event, reach out to the Cramer team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to continue the conversation!