We’re on a mission to make managing virtual events easy, fun, and engaging! We’ve been talking to awesome event organizers who jumped right into hosting their first virtual events in the last few months to find out what works and what doesn’t. This is a completely new landscape for many, but we can all learn from each other to shed light on the challenges and also the benefits of going online with your event. 


A Large Live Event

Out of Chicago is the first and largest annual, midwest photography conference in the United States. The conference also creates multiple destination conferences each year. The COVID-19 pandemic created many obstacles in the production of the event uncertainty as to whether they would be able to hold the live conference they had grown accustomed to.

The Founder’s Vision

Chris Smith, the founder and organizer of Out of Chicago, knew their community still wanted to learn and have experiences together. The team stuck behind their mission of bringing together a diverse, leading line-up of instructors together to help train the craft of photography.

A Fateful Decision

Chris and the team decided that they would shift their conference to a completely virtual 3-day conference: Out of Chicago Live. The event was an overwhelming success, primarily due to the passionate and curious instructors. They encouraged the audience of photographers to keep learning something new and transform their craft.

This first virtual event experience also taught Chris and his team four valuable lessons for first-time virtual event organizers.

Map The Online User Journey

From registration to event-day access, have a clear picture of what the full experience will be for your attendees.

Get Familiar With All The Tools and Technology

Spend extra time educating yourself and your team on all the technology and platforms that will be used throughout the event. Troubleshooting isn’t just for the IT or AV department anymore. Make sure every speaker and panelist has a dedicated presenter or co-host in their session to help address technical issues and provide backup plans.

Automate Everything You Can

You won’t have time to manage inviting attendees or creating new virtual conference rooms during your event. Create automated systems to help make everything run smoothly.

Be Sensitive & Accommodate All Levels of Interaction

Some attendees may not feel comfortable with using video and some will be very excited and into virtually engaging. Be prepared to deal with all levels of comfort and offer options for how your attendees can engage.

A Successful Virtual Experience

Chris Smith’s Out of Chicago was an overwhelming success. Incorporating his tips and advice into your next virtual event can help make sure your next (or first!) virtual event is a success too.

How to Use Hosts To Help Make Your Virtual Event A Success

How To Run Successful Virtual Events

Interested in learning more?
Check out our webinar How To Run Successful Virtual Events. This fast-paced, 60-minute webinar will help you become a virtual event maestro answering questions such as:

  • How do I prepare and plan for my virtual event?
  • Who do I need on my team to ensure my virtual event’s success?
  • How do I create an interactive experience with my virtual event?
  • What software, equipment, and infrastructure do I need to organize and run my virtual event?
  • What are the best ways to market my virtual event?
  • How do I follow up with attendees after the event is over?

This on-demand webinar is 100% free but only offered for a limited timeSign up today before it comes down.

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Author: Rachel Drudi

As an event producer and creative collaborator, with a focus on community relations and a passion for design thinking, Rachel helps create and manage experiences on and offline; working at the intersection between ideation and execution. Rachel is here to help you set your business and event apart by focusing on the way your customers, clients, and community interact and engage with you. She especially loves working with companies that are just getting started.