11 ways to prepare for hosting a virtual event

11 ways to prepare for hosting a virtual event

Woman watching a virtual event from home with wine

ThunderTix has been building a series of virtual event guides to help you kick off your first virtual event. Check out our resources on why you should go virtual then dig into content covering topics like our beginners guide to video streaming for live events and how to sell tickets for virtual events.

With this checklist, we'll cover 11 items to prepare for hosting your first virtual event.

  1. Find the video streaming platform that works best for you
  2. Prepare your costume, props, and set
  3. Ensure your best internet connection possible
  4. Minimize distractions
  5. Rehearse and do live practice
  6. Advertise and market your virtual event
  7. Collaborate with business partners to promote your event
  8. Notify patrons on how to get in your virtual door
  9. Sell tickets online
  10. Run a pre-event check an hour before the show
  11. Admit all attendees prior to starting

Virtual Event Checklist

  1. Find the video streaming platform that works best for you:
    Zoom, and Youtube, and Facebook Live, oh my! There are many options when it comes to picking your video streaming platform, so take care and consider your needs before making a decision on the one that will work best for you. How many people do you expect to have signed up for a performance? Which platforms can support this audience size? What sort of controls do you need? Do you want to be able to mute your audience or turn off their video? Do you want to be able to chat with your audience through text? What is the cost of the platform to you and your patrons? Review what each platform offers and how it aligns with your needs before kicking off your first virtual event.
  2. Prepare your costume, props, and set
    Though your audience may only be able to see you from the torso up, consider what you would normally wear for your performance and if it will work well virtually. Other than hats that may shade your face, it is likely best to go with what you would normally wear on set for a live in-person performance. Take inventory on props and other needed materials for the setup of your costume and impromptu stage. We recommend looking into importing pictures for a virtual background. Source photos from your phone, Google Images, Yelp, and Zillow.
  3. Ensure your best Internet connection possible
    With so much preparation, the last thing you need is to leave your audience with a frozen and pixelated picture of your face right before you reach the punch line. Before testing your virtual performance clear your browser’s cache, power cycle your router, and restart your computer an hour ahead of your virtual event to give you the fastest Internet speeds possible.
  4. Minimize distractions
    Put that at-home office to use or make your bedroom into a production studio to keep all audience eyes and ears on you. Ahead of rehearsal, get your virtual stage in shape for showtime. Check out your lighting, turn the TV off, have your dog set up with a bone in another room, and turn your phone on Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb.
  5. Rehearsal and testing
    Who doesn’t like an excuse to drink and catch up with loved ones? Virtual happy hour with several friends can serve as needed social time while doubling as a great avenue for testing your virtual event. With several people on a call at once, you can test out your host capabilities from admitting people to the live event to muting their microphone. Rehearse your performance and if you will be muting your audience then do the same for your test event. Ask if everyone can hear you and see you clearly. Perhaps wiping down your webcam or investing in headphones or a microphone is in order. Ask happy hour mates if they find anything distracting or if they are having any trouble hearing or seeing you during your performance. Take and apply their feedback before breaking a leg!
  6. Get the word out about your virtual event
    you have a virtual platform for live streaming, your stage is set, your costume and props are on-hand, all that is left is to get bums in seats (or on living room couches). A perk to using Facebook Live is that you will be able to inform your followers, send them reminders, and get them tuned in for the show all in one place. If you have these services, you can also send out an email invitation to your patrons using a mass emailing tool from within your ticketing software or from MailChimp or Constant Contact. Don’t forget to inform your following well beyond your community borders! Your virtual event market has just gotten exponentially larger than previously available.
  7. Collaborate to promote your virtual event
    Collaboration is key! Consider with whom you might partner. Are there other events that have overlapping content? Other community studios that may be willing to co-host a talent show before reaching out to your surrounding neighborhoods for support? Don’t be scared to befriend new teammates and offer to market their events to your loyal patrons and ask that they do the same. Think about who may need similar support and how you can help one another.
  8. Inform patrons on how to get in your virtual door
    the devil is in the details! After all of this work to get your broadcast going, don’t forget to inform patrons on how to get inside the virtual door. Make a checklist covering information that your audience should see in their email confirmation or a pre-event reminder email sent 1-2 hours before the virtual event: a link, ID, Password, instructions, etc. or other details that will admit your patrons to the virtual event. Include all of these in your virtual event confirmation email before launching tickets on sale.
  9. Sell your tickets
    Shift your focus toward developing your virtual stage and perfecting your broadcast while ThunderTix helps with outreach and handles ticket processing. View our how-to guide covering virtual performance ticket sales and check out our stimulus package starting at just $10/month to help you get through this temporary, at-home event period for the Coronavirus crisis. Contact us to learn more.
  10. “Lights, Camera”...
    You're almost ready to say “Action”! It won’t hurt to check that everything is running smoothly for an hour or so before the show. Restart your computer and clear your browser’s cache one last time so that your Internet can keep pace with your wit! Get on a call with your co-host, a friend, or fellow performer to check your lighting, camera, audio, your ability to mute your virtual event attendees, etc.
  11. “Rolling!”
    you may not be the only one tripping over the power chords for this set, so perhaps you would like to lend a little extra time to your less tech-savvy latecomers than you would during an in-person event. Admit all attendees into the video meeting before beginning, mute mics and turn off audience webcams unless you are looking to engage your crowd, have your virtual background and props ready to go. It's showtime!

Using careful planning, a well-executed script in our made-for-virtual world, and pre-event announcements, your virtual event will be enjoyed by all! Stay tuned as we cover video streaming services like Youtube to help you decide on the platform that best suits your needs. If you haven’t already, sign up for ThunderTix’s stimulus special to collect donations and sell gift cards for tomorrow’s in-person events while processing tickets for your first virtual performance today starting at only $10/month.