Hybrid-Webinar Events: Combining Your Online and Offline Attendees

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Hybrid-Webinar Events: Combining Your Online and Offline Attendees

Have you ever heard of a webinar hybrid event? Starting from the beginning, during Covid-19, businesses switch their entire events strategy to almost entirely online events and webinars.

This obviously provides the opportunity of still hosting events at a time when physical events are not possible, but a lot is left to be desired when it comes to being on a webinar, mainly engagement, networking, and ticketing. (Though we do have a guide that helps you get around these obstacles.)

But now as we see cities opening up, we’re in a weird limbo of being able to go out to meetings and conferences again but just locally, as we’re still unable to travel to most other areas to attend far distance events. This is where a hybrid webinar-conference might start to make sense.

What’s a Hybrid Webinar?

webinar speaker

A webinar hybrid is a physical in-person event or series of in-person events that have been integrated seamlessly with an online audience who can listen to speakers, engage with activities, and network with attendees both online and offline.

A hybridized event is more than just a live stream of an event to an online audience, it’s an event that’s run on a platform that benefits both attendees on the event floor and those watching online by providing a digital space for the two audiences to interact, while still attending the same content.

Some hybrid events even use this aspect to host multiple in-person events across the world in different locations, so the same event can take place in different cities simultaneously, while still having each audience come together as a whole digital audience online

Examples of Hybrid Webinars

Imagine you’re at an event and you’re in the crowd watching the panel discussion for instance. There's 40 something people in the room, but there could be hundreds more watching from online.

After the event, you want to talk and network with your fellow attendees, so talk to some folks in the room, but what about those hundreds of other viewers from the internet?

Just flip out your phone and just like that, you can open an app that gets you in touch with communities, chat rooms, business card exchanges, Q&A forums, and more so that you can engage and network with both online and offline audiences.

On the reverse side, if you’re not able to travel for any reason, but you still want to attend a popular conference out of the country, simply log into the event online and you’ll be tuned into the event’s speakers, panels, shows, etc.

But now, with a hybridized event, you’re not just tuned into the event’s content, you’re also on an engaging platform that is helping you communicate with other attendees who are online, and those that are on the floor. Discuss in live chats for each session of the event, submit live polls according to event types, exchange digital business cards, and more.

Launching a Hybrid Event

conference networking tips

Launching a hybrid event is a semi-complex situation, but most platforms these days that you’re used to using to handle your event management needs are similar in a lot of respects.

What you’re used to

Some things you may be familiar with in a hybrid webinar platform are some of the basics that don’t disappear suddenly because you’re hybridizing your event.

You’ll need a contact management system, or CRM, an email marketing tool, an event website or webpage, and a ticketing interface for attendees to register and optionally purchase tickets.

Nothing about these needs has changed for any reason when concerning a hybrid event, and more or less you’ve likely used them before. If not, there’s plenty of documentation that comes with most basic event management software that can explain it for you.

In a nutshell, the pre-event preparation is going to be similar with some slight deviance in wording, including making it clear in your promotional materials and website that the event is both for in-person attendees and viewers online.

The difficult part is accurately explaining that online attendees can engage with attendees on the event floor, and this wording concern is still a learning curve for first-time hybrid event organizers.

What you’re not used to

However, what you may not be used to when running a hybridized webinar, is the level of digital interface needed to seamlessly engage both online and offline audiences.

This includes properly preparing any speakers, panelists, or hosts with the running of the show and how the in-person show is inexorably intertwined with the online audience, and that their online viewers are just as interactive with the event itself as the people on the show floor.

For instance, the first thing needed to be tackled is the platform itself, and understanding what a hybrid platform does to make these engagements happen.

This could be a live chat room, a live stream/webinar module, live polling, digital business card exchanging, direct messaging, and more.

These types of engagement mediums are probably something not implemented in typical physical events, while some may be present in webinars.

It’s about having a mindset that these engagements are optional, but also encourage that they are used so that both online and offline audiences can benefit.

Remember that a lot of the reason people want to attend events is for the networking aspect, and by completing the bridge between the online and offline audience, you’ve now provided an astounding amount of value to your hybrid event.

You’ve bridged gaps that have existed for years, and you’ve removed a lot of cons for both event types by doing so while keeping all the pros.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to hybridize your events and webinars or otherwise create engaging events and webinars, contact us today and we’ll show you how to bring your events to life with our all in one engagement platform.

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