• Alex Mane

11 Ideas for Virtual Events

Do the words “online event” make you think of lengthy webinars or live streaming business conferences? You’re in the majority. But 2020 is changing the game when it comes to hosting events virtually – especially now that COVID-19 is forcing many of us to stay home.

Around the world, resourceful event professionals are getting creative in how they’re using live streaming to broaden their reach, and they’re not always doing it on big budgets.

Thanks to inexpensive technology and tools, events of all sizes can reap the rewards of going online. Here are 11 ideas to help you pivot quickly and plan your event online.

The value of virtual events

While virtual events may seem like they’d be less engaging, you’d be surprised at the value they can bring. They allow you to bring a wider audience together, and travel costs that could have prevented attendees from being able to attend a live event are no longer an issue.

Plus, virtual means lower overhead costs – after all, you’re not budgeting for a venue, event staff, and other in-person line items. So, you get to drastically reduce your outgoings (not to mention your carbon emissions), while spending more on curating the best virtual event possible.

Lastly, there’s the data. It’s much easier to track who is watching what when everyone is tuning in online. All that attendee data is music to sponsors’ ears, which can make securing the best ones for your online event far easier.

11 ideas for virtual events

So, how can you translate your in-person event experience into something valuable for people online? It’s all about using the right format to give attendees what they want (for example, an online yoga class, family concert, or virtual training) and offering ways to connect via chat features.

To help you get inspired, here’s eight ways to make your event virtual:

  1. Teach a workshop on your business expertise

  2. Interview an industry influencer

  3. Show how to make your most popular recipe

  4. Host a series of courses on perennial gardening

  5. Run a question and answer session about your business

  6. Demo your brand-new product

  7. Run an awareness webinar prompting attendees to donate to your cause

  8. Teach your yoga/art/dance class online

And here are three examples of what virtual events look like in action:

HR Virtual Summit

The world’s largest virtual HR conference attracts over 30,000 attendees ever year. All sessions are virtual, including keynotes and breakouts. Chat features support audience participation and attendees are rewarded with industry professional credits for free.

3% Conference

Founded with a mission to help increase the number of female creative directors, the 3% Conference provides live stream access for a reduced cost to its line-up of speakers from the worlds of advertising, marketing, PR, tech, non-profits, and more.


While not an annual event, Coursera has mastered the free and online course niche, offering content to help people build their skills. Visit their website for inspiration on how to run engaging classes for people tuning in from all over the world.

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