Our hearts go out to all of you who have been affected by this sudden and serious pandemic.
We know that canceling your event must have been a tough choice and probably one that has left you concerned about the future of yourself, your event crew and your community. With events being one of the hardest-hit markets across the globe, all we can do is ask, 'what next?'.
Whatever the event you had planned, from sports to festivals, the only wrong thing you can do now is nothing. We've had our team scouring the internet for the best thoughts and advice on event alternatives and now we are delivering them directly to you.
1. Take it online
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Virtual Events market was starting to take off. This means that there are a number of companies out there with solutions that are made for this very challenge. Even your event doesn't seem like it would fit a virtual format, you might find more opportunities than you think.
If your sporting even was canceled, now you have a dedicated group of people who could be excited to watch talks from key people in your field.
When you begin planning a personal event, deciding what is important to you is key. Will you be streaming a single speaker or a panel of speakers? In that case, you probably already have a tool you can use, like Teams or Zoom.
Is audience feedback a major part? Perhaps live-streaming on Facebook or even Twitch would suit you best. Quizzes? Try Kahoot!. Breakout networking spaces? Public Slack channels might fit the bill. What level of production value? What timezones? How will you communicate with all of the presenters and support staff?
Create something fantastic to serve your community and present a positive face to the world.
2. Social media
In the digital age, even when society goes into a physical lockdown the world of social media only grows stronger. In fact, even the WHO has set up its own TikTok account.
With an event comes Facebook event pages, Twitter hashtags and Instagram posts - all of which have people engaging with them. Now is the time to take that information and put it to good use. Not only is social media a great way to reach out to your audience, but it's also an excellent way for them to reach you. Be active across the range of social you use, and think about ways to leverage your audience. For example, you could use Facebook polls to see what might suit them best when planing alternatives for your event.
However, keep it positive, don't try to be a COVID expert, and avoid the pitfalls that could cause problems.
3. Get creative
It can be hard to get motivation back when you've taken a rough hit. A little blue-sky thinking might be just what you need to get your team and community excited again.
One of our sporting-focused partners, EventPlus, has been doing some thinking of their own and suggested a few ideas:
Virtual challenges - Give out "challenges" people can do at home then report back how they went and compare with others.
Online get-togethers - Organize a video conference for listening to a previous winner or instructor etc. and give out spot prizes.
Loyalty and achievement programmes - Take past results or attendance data and create initiatives to recognize and reward community members.
Check out their fantastic blog post for more details on this and much more insightful advice.
You could even go way out of the box and turn your tournament into a sports video game tournament instead.
As long as your community is safe, healthy and positively engaged with your brand, you're making the best of a rough situation.
Has your event been impacted by COVID-19? We'd like to hear from you. What challenges are you currently facing? What have you tried that you'd like to share with others?
Ben is a freelance creator who focuses on storytelling and problem-solving. With a background in theatre and specialising in the IT industry, his creative approach lends itself to any challenge. He loves watching, reading and playing stories just as much as he loves creating them.