When networking used to be built around live events, you had to remember to capture content — in fact, to make sure you got everything, you needed a separate plan from the regular event agenda. Now, though, everything is content. When everything happens virtually, on social platforms or video chat, it can all be recorded at the click of a button and repurposed for later uses.
- Digital video to live on a brand’s owned channels
- Short-form video to post on social media
- Blog posts
- Podcast material
And much more.
The workforce’s move to remote collaboration has been a perfect catalyst for an accelerated move toward the teamlancing model, where small groups come together to execute all sorts of projects in the virtual space — oftentimes, each group focused on a different aspect of a larger campaign. And teamlancing is perfectly suited to the explosion of small virtual events that corporations are forced to execute these days when their normal event calendar has disappeared.
People may not love virtual events in place of real ones — to be honest, the novelty of Instagram Live dance parties and Zoom weddings wore out fast — but for business purposes, virtual events are, in some cases, proving more popular. The crowds and mindless business card exchange ritual are gone. Quality conversation and connection are realistic objectives. Teamlancers, with their ability to be nimble and adjust their resources to fit the task at hand, are extremely well suited to support companies as they adapt to the new normal.
7 examples of events gone virtual and how teamlancing can help
1. Virtual tastings require teamlancers with good taste.
Instead of booking a room at a restaurant, many food and beverage brands are hosting virtual events. They typically work with a freelance PR team and a freelance event team, hiring a freelance catering team to put together a food sample box and bottle(s) of wine, and ship them out to attendees. Everyone comes together on Zoom while a culinary expert leads the attendees through the tasting experience.
Encourage attendees to post photos of their food and wine to Instagram. Save the Zoom presentation by the culinary expert, and have a videography/editing team turn it into video marketing content. Put social content teams to the task of creating pairings posts for the brand’s owned channels. Recipe content is also extremely popular right now if you’ve got a culinary team on your teamlancer Rolodex.
2. Artist showcase platform
This has been done by liquor brands, art fairs, maker communities and music communities. Often hosted by social media personalities or collectives, these events bring industry decision-makers, arts supporters and media together virtually to check out new talent in a showcase setting. It’s similar to when up-and-coming artists used to do musical showcases or private showings of their art… only it’s quieter, less smoky, and the drinks are much less expensive.
Obviously, the artists are happy to have their “show” shared with as many people as possible, even people who didn’t attend the virtual event, so if you decide to host one of these, make sure and get a high-quality recording of every performance that takes place.
Also, on the flip side, if your business is promoting artists, create content that helps artists get better at the business side of things – online courses or virtual business boot camps that focus on this are very needed since artists who rely on live events usually don’t think too much about building an online business.
3. Virtual product launches
The candid guideline from media is, as long as you’re sending out product for sampling along with the presentation, virtual launches can be fun. For some types of products, such as cosmetics or athletic wear, some people actually prefer to check out the samples in the privacy of their own home — with a brand expert right there on the screen to help answer questions or give styling instructions.
Forget the press release or media advisory. What you’re going to get from this type of virtual event is lifestyle content. Plan accordingly. Here are some tips:
- Give people an activity, not just a Powerpoint. They want to be engaged, and Powerpoint presentations don’t engage people even in the nicest rooms on Earth, much less their living rooms. Make it fun and interactive!
- The most important teamlance crew here is the AV team because it’s their responsibility to ensure the presenters can go live at the right moment and stay online, that all visual materials come up the way they’re supposed to, and that no attendees have issues joining and interacting.
- If there is some sort of tutorial involved, have a production team create a video version of it in addition to the livestreamed lesson. Some people like to watch a live video later, but others want the short-and-sweet lesson.
- Make sure and note attendees’ questions so you can create FAQ content for consumers later.
- Think about utilizing a virtual photo booth to encourage attendees to take “event pics” and share.
4. Virtual fireside chats
There have been a thousand versions of panels and talks, but the “fireside chat” is good positioning because it evokes intimacy, a casual vibe, evening hours and perhaps a nice adult beverage. While nobody is really beside a fire — especially in the summer — this is really a clever way to package a small-scale panel discussion that takes place in the Happy Hour time window.
Some great learnings and dialogue are coming from the small virtual discussion format these days. Perhaps because the setup is always a bit awkward, and people’s guard comes down when they’re physically at home, answers tend to be less polished and more open.
A written and design teamlance collab can do justice to the great content that comes out of this by recording it and reviewing later for:
- Short cutdowns and snippets
- Pull quotes for Instagram graphics
- Transcribe the best Q+A moments for blog posts
- Screengrabs of great visual moments to publish as images
Make sure and create profiles for all the panelists. Also, since these are usually work events with the goal of sharing information, webinars can go over well. Definitely this shatters the “fireside with a cocktail” mystique, but sharing out the webinar deck later might be appreciated with the attendees who were really there to learn.
5. Livestreaming classes
At a point early in the pandemic, everyone was using their time at home to learn things, enthusiastically. Mainly they were learning to bake bread, but there were also hosted lessons teaching everything from cocktail mixing to gourmet cooking to yoga online. These will probably continue, as part of brand programming, until the country is fully open for business again — so figure out how to make them better every time.
Even more than product launches, everything in this category is a lifestyle event with the potential to create great lifestyle content around it. Moreover, because publications are now covering virtual happenings in their “What to Do” and “Top Activities” coverage, if your virtual class is really well-executed, it might actually earn some media. So, if you’ve got a chef engaged to do culinary classes, try doing them on IG Live, on Zoom, on Facebook Live, on IG Stories, and maybe on a niche platform. See if your talent has a favored platform.
Create photo content, text tutorials, short- and medium-form video, and even save the full version of streaming video presentations to see about cutting the highlights to repost.
Social media personalities have seen a huge spike in traffic to their educational content since April. People with a large following often have their own teamlance groups that they will pull in to help create their style of content, which will augment whatever your teamlancers produce.
This is the type of creative collaboration that some might dislike because it incorporates different visual and storytelling styles instead of a uniform brand look. But brand managers often love the variety since it showcases their brand in different ways.
6. Virtual fundraisers allow teamlancers to support good causes
After some early nerves, nonprofit development pros found that, with the right audience and some clever targeted programming, it’s possible to raise as much money through a virtual fundraiser as a live event… and at a much lower cost. Auctions and raffles don’t need people present in order to participate. Event production teams have stayed busy, booking presenters and entertainers. In this space, the audiovisual or IT teamlancers might be the most important, since they need to make sure the whole thing stays online during the vital event window.
Whatever the nonprofit is, create a lot of content around it in advance of the event to remind the donors what cause they’re helping keep afloat. Multiple video and storytelling teamlance groups can be kept busy in the run-up to larger fundraisers.
Any key person within the organization should record a personal message to donors. People who have benefitted from the charity in the past year should be encouraged to share photos and personal stories. Go the extra mile to make sure anyone who donates items for auction, raffle or gift bags gets a spotlight on the event or organization’s website.
7. Employee appreciation events let teamlancers buoy up the staff
This is a tricky type of event to pull off when people are so used to working with each other in person… more so if they still do have to perform essential work in person, but would really rather not be there other times. Still, it’s possible to honor employees, to give gifts or scholarships to their families, and to bring in special guests and entertainers. It’s important to do this, too, in order to combat feelings of disconnect.
Full-time employees are often used to the social aspects of office culture, whereas teamlancers with a remote work history usually didn’t have that and therefore don’t miss it, and are happy to step into the planning and support roles to help bring upbeat culture into the virtual space.
Whether it’s a virtual concert, virtual bingo night (with prizes!), virtual teambuilding exercise or virtual graduation, remember: These are the types of events that people really do look back at footage or photos a couple years later and remember — hopefully as a bright spot in a weird and tumultuous time.
Virtual event? Teamlancing to the rescue
We all hope for a time when happy hours, fireside chats, employee appreciation events and other connection opportunities can take place in “the real world” once again. But in the meantime, one unintentional advantage of remote work is that you reap a bumper crop of repurposed content from all those video calls, livestreams and webinars. And teamlancers, who are so used to virtual relationships and working without a safety net, can help displaced full-time employees get used to the new normal.