Ctrl+Alt+Connect: Embracing virtual events in the new era of tech comms

Ctrl+Alt+Connect: Embracing virtual events in the new era of tech comms

Eve Smart

Eve Smart

After spending three years studying PR at university, then joining the tech comms world, I thought I knew public relations – parties, events, and meeting journalists every week. The reality, however, was very different.

Of course, in the pre-pandemic world, the communications industry thrived on in-person events – picture a bustling networking event, filled with eager professionals handing out business cards and exchanging their industry knowledge. However, the world has undergone a massive transformation, pushing us into a new era where virtual events have become the norm. Although it could be seen as disappointing, it is a blessing in disguise and us tech PRs should make the most of this shift to virtual events, and NOT just because we can be wearing a pair of pyjama pants where the webcam can’t see.

Adapting to change

The onset of the pandemic forced us to rethink the way we connect and communicate. In-person events and meetings had to take a backseat, making room for virtual alternatives. For comms, these digital formats can be leveraged not only for mere functionality, but also to thrive in the events space. Online events have proven to be a powerful tool for product launches, training sessions, and establishing thought leadership. Online platforms allow companies to reach more people than they ever could have dreamed of, eliminating geographical limitations. This increased accessibility can allow PR professionals to create impactful experiences and engage with a wider demographic – or really, any demographic, as long as they have an online account.

ABBA really weren’t lying when they said, ‘Money must be funny in a rich man’s world’. Ah, yes. Hilarious. For all companies, money really isn’t a joke, and here’s the punchline: events are EXPENSIVE. However, hosting virtual events often requires lower costs, meaning businesses can save on venue prices, travel expenses, and catering, reallocating those resources for better marketing or other PR initiatives.

Furthermore, virtual events have the advantage of incorporating interactive elements like live chats, Q&A sessions, polls, and virtual breakout rooms, which increase participation and ensure attendees get the most out of the experience.

Time saving and accessibility

Have you ever been to an event and thought: ‘Wow, I really could have been doing something better (like watching Below Deck) for the last threehours.’ I certainly have. One of the hidden benefits of virtual events is the time-saving aspect. Unlike traditional events, where attendees have to commit to a fixed schedule or location, virtual events offer flexibility. Participants can engage without travelling anywhere, and have access to recordings of sessions, allowing them to catch up or revisit content at their convenience – reducing FOMO and making everyone happy!

Don’t you forget about in-person events

Whilst it is true that virtual events have become an integral part of the tech communications world, it's important to note that in-person events will never truly disappear. The energy and personal connections that can be made at physical gatherings remain invaluable, and ultimately the future lies in finding the perfect balance between virtual and in-person experiences.

The expanded reach, as well as the significant savings of both time and money, mean that online events cannot be ignored. By harnessing the power of connections, tech PR professionals can navigate the world of virtual events with confidence, whilst still valuing the importance of in-person interactions. So, let's embrace the virtual events that are shaping the future of our industry. Oh, and I did mention that you can wear your pyjama bottoms, right? Oh, I did? Perfect.

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