If you’ve already hired a virtual event planner, they’re likely utilizing their own custom event planning checklist. Odds are they’ve curated it over time, and likely created one for each of the unique types of events that they help host.
Creating a unique virtual event planning checklist is the best way to stay on track and make sure that you’re covering all of your bases as you develop, design and host your online event.
The steps below provide guidelines as a tool to get you started in creating a specialized checklist for planning your own virtual event. Having an individualized virtual event planning checklist is the first step in hosting a successful event.
Recommended Reading: Types of Virtual Events
An Initial Internal Checklist (16-20 Weeks From Your Virtual Event)
- Decide if this event will be a full hybrid event or completely virtual.
- Assemble a team of professionals who will help coordinate the event.
- Establish the name of your event and associated branding.
- Assign event planning roles and decide if volunteers will be needed.
- Establish a preliminary budget.
- Establish a target audience and buyer personas to help guide your decisions.
- Build a spreadsheet or information command center that the virtual event planner and team can access at any time.
- Set attendance goals.
- Choose your outside vendors.
- Choose your target virtual event speakers and entertainment professionals.
- Establish sponsorship goals and opportunities.
- Build sponsorship packages that are attractive to your target partners.
- Develop a detailed master event timeline.
- Develop a detailed marketing timeline.
- Choose a virtual event platform or an online conferencing platform for the event.
- Decide on marketing materials: Will it all be virtual documents, will there be swag such as t-shirts, hats, or pins, etc.
- Set prices for attending the event.
- Establish how attendees will pay for and obtain tickets to the virtual event.
- Establish event dates/times.
- Develop sponsorship, vendor, and speaker email templates for outreach.
- Create an overview document that quickly describes the event:
- Include logos, an event description, branded content like a name or tagline, and why people or businesses would attend.
- Decide if you’ll need a website to promote the event.
The Outreach and Extended Planning Phase (8-12 weeks Prior to Your Online Event)
- Begin reaching out to your potential sponsors with your created packages — always be open to their suggestions and custom requests.
- Reach out to vendors to see if their representatives are able to attend — be sure to include your estimated attendance goals and the type of audience they can expect.
- Reach out to speakers you’d like to have, and promote that your event is taking proposals to attract other speakers you might not have initially considered.
- Have a simple, descriptive website or landing page built that is attractive, simple to use, and gives attendees, sponsors, vendors, and speakers all of the information that they need on the event and how to obtain tickets.
- Include downloadable material and shareable materials to help with marketing and convenient instructions.
- Update and/or create social media profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are particularly good for B2B outreach, but consider Reddit and other niche channels as well).
- Start purchasing and ordering your swag materials.
The Focused Curation Phase (4-6 weeks Prior to Your Virtual Event)
- Establish specific roles and responsibilities for your team, providing itemized priorities for each team member
- .Confirm expectations for your sponsors. Report on metrics related to what they can expect from participating in your event.
- Tighten up contracts with vendors in readiness for your event.
- Provide specific timeline information to your presenters.
- Get final confirmation on speakers’ or presenters’ topics and additional materials that they will make available to attendees.
- Continue building and updating your event website as you gather more specific presenter information, schedules, and other details.
- Open registration for your event.
- Push your marketing campaign to get people to register
- Use social media, emails, cross promotions, and other digital advertising efforts.
- Encourage registrants, speakers and vendors to follow and share the event on their social media platforms.
- Continue promoting your virtual event on your social media platforms with weekly updates.
- Include photos and videos of previous years’ attendees and of your team working to create the current event.
Preparing Final Details and Tying Up Loose Ends (1-3 Weeks Prior to Your Virtual Event)
- Confirm that all partners have an established way of contacting you, your team, and each other during the event.
- Having a shared spreadsheet for contacts is an easy way to make sure that everyone stays up-to-date.
- Prime your support staff on what their roles and responsibilities will be during the event.
- Send reminders to attendees via email.
- Post event reminders and promotions on social media once a week until the week of the event. At that point start posting daily.
- Run a livestream test. Offer the test at more than one time so that presenters have a few opportunities to get familiar with the platform that you’ll be using.
- Gather and finalize any pre-recorded content from presenters and build it into the event schedule.
- Establish multiple backup plans for presenters in case there are problems with the technology during the event.
- Provide attendees with information on how to get the most out of the event
- Include suggestions on the best ways to use their time and instructions if they need to download software or launch meetings/webinars.
- If you have an event landing page or website, create FAQ content.
- Include troubleshooting resources and contact information for technical support.
- Create the audience polls or framework for Q&A sessions that you’ll be using during the event.
- Make your real-time surveys for attendees and your post-event surveys for attendees, sponsors and speakers.
What We’ve All Been Working Toward (The Day of Your Event)
- Have a team huddle before the event to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- The morning of the event, remind presenters how to get in touch with tech support during the event.
- Check in with all presenters, sponsors, and vendors regularly. Make it easy for them to coordinate with you throughout the event.
- Start your social media blasts. Send reminders through your social media platforms the morning of the event.
- Send reminders four hours, two hours, one hour, and 15 minutes before the event begins.
- Send a reminder email to all registered participants 1 hour before the event begins.
- Send a brief positive message to your speakers, reminding them of how excited your organization is to have them attend and present.
- Send an appreciative message to your sponsors, reminding them of the importance of their involvement in making this a worthwhile event.
A Checklist for Successful Follow up (Post Event)
- Do a post event shout out on social media. Share photos and positive comments from attendees.
- Thank attendees for their presence. Send an email directly to registered attendees thanking them for joining and reminding them of the event’s value.
- Provide links to recordings of meetings or webinars and access to any additional materials.
- Create a highlights reel to share on social media. This can also be used for promotions when you host the event again.
- Send surveys. Get feedback from the attendees on what they enjoyed and what didn’t quite land. Keep the surveys short and direct.
- Thank your sponsors. Make sure they know that their participation was integral to the success of the event and inform them of its success by sharing metrics.
- Send thank you messages to speakers giving positive and informative feedback based on the information that you receive from attendees.
- Follow up with partner organizations thanking them for their work and asking for feedback on any areas they felt could be improved for next time.
- Follow up with vendors thanking them for their involvement.
- Update your budget with final costs, assessments, and invoices.
- Create a post event report that contains all of the information leading up to the event and insights, notes, comments, and feedback from the event.
- Identify what worked and what could be improved to start planning your next virtual event!
Now that you have your checklist down, make sure you’re prepared to generate qualified leads with help from our Guide To Generating Leads With Virtual Events.