6 Lessons from Pivoting to Digital Events

By Joshua Chambers

We share our learnings on how to create engaging and professional digital events.

It has been 6 weeks since we launched GovInsider Live Studios to create digital events that help our community learn from global innovators.

Today we launched our Live interview series with global figures including Estonia’s ex-Prime Minister; the Under Secretary General of the United Nations; and Sandiaga Uno, a renown Indonesian campaigner and entrepreneur. Over 1,000 people have already engaged with the first!

Here are 6 lessons from that process, and learnings from our mistakes as well.

1. Message not the medium

It’s possible to get too swept up on different platforms or software choices. An audience will only engage with public sector content if it’s fundamentally helpful and exciting.

Think of what public servants are going through at the moment. There is a huge pressure on them and great demands on their time, from communications to finance and tech as well. They have to build new platforms; redistribute incredible sums of money; communicate with a worried citizenry. And that’s before we get the basics of keeping people safe.

It could be the fanciest bespoke event software in the world, replete with digital round tables or even avatars. That ain’t gonna move the needle if the ultimate content is a PowerPoint presentation shared over video conference.

2. Cut it up

Don’t be disheartened by what I said above. Just cut up your objectives and achieve each of them differently. That’s faster, cheaper and going to have a better outcome.

Want to share stories and thought leadership? Think of a great way to share your message. We’ve launched our new Live Video interview series, and our Govin60 weekly catch ups, to explore totally different types of content.

Need leads and connections? Video calls between great innovators are the best way, as are small scale, high value digital seminars.

How about pure networking? This is the trickiest thing, frankly. Honestly, you need to consider first why somebody would want to network with you, and what you can provide to them. Time pressed public servants can’t make time for serendipity, it has to be quite targeted, with a lot of hard work and no shortcuts.

3. Stand out

Want to launch things that are different? If you’re thinking of a 30 person sponsored webinar, maybe think again. How could you brand your series to stand out? What platform is your audience most likely to use? And what does the data say - we’re using 5 years of data analytics, combined with our AI engine, to optimise everything we do.

4. Quick but excellent

We’re aiming for a ‘professionally amateurish’ vibe to our recordings. By that I mean top quality production values, audio, and - of course - great content. But we’re fitting with the design ethos of the platforms we’re using. Fun and fresh, bright graphics and colours, snappy discussions, lots of interactivity.

5. Kill off some experiments

We’ve tried a number of things that simply haven’t worked. For instance, three weeks ago we converted one of our stories into a flat image with overlaid podcasting, including some Josh Groban thrown in for good measure.

On paper, it should have worked out great. The story was interesting and well read, but the audience didn’t respond well to the interactivity. So we just won’t be doing those again. No time to lose right now.

6. Set expectations and agree before starting

One of our early learnings from all digital marketing is the importance of setting out a roadmap for our partners, and agreeing shared objectives.

Once a project is underway, it can be possible to pivot all sorts of variables. The tricky bit is when different voices want to change the appearance of someone, or the angle they use when presenting, or the spokesperson or the backdrop or the case studies.

It's best to get these agreed early, as chopping and changing with video is much harder than presenting live at an event and switching up a PowerPoint. When we take a little time to onboard and agree our aims, it makes everything faster, smoother, and better quality.

Here's to another 6 weeks!