Internet hosting Stay (Digital!) Occasions: Classes from Planning the Progress Summit

With some creativity and the precise instruments, you may interact an viewers and nurture a group nearly.

Again in January, my workforce at was busy planning one other yr of thrilling in-person occasions — group meetups, convention keynotes, cubicles, and in-person demos — at giant exhibit halls and inns around the globe.

Then the world modified in a single day, and due to a worldwide pandemic, our Occasions workforce — identical to a lot of you working your individual companies — needed to rethink the whole lot about how we join with individuals. 

So we went again to work. We’ve discovered a lot in simply 5 months, and it culminates within the upcoming Growth Summit — our first-ever multi-day digital convention. It’s going to be a jam-packed program stuffed with skilled recommendation from enterprise leaders and entrepreneurs. We’ll even have breakout classes with our personal WordPress specialists, the Automattic Happiness Engineers, taking you thru the whole lot you have to find out about constructing a robust, quick web site that works nice for search engine optimization, eCommerce, and rising what you are promoting. 

Within the lead-up to the Summit, we wished to share the whole lot we’ve discovered to date about working digital occasions, from YouTube to webinars to Fb Stay and ticket gross sales. There are dozens of nice options for staying linked to and supporting your viewers — right here’s what’s been working for us: 

Stay webinars 

In April, we launched a collection of day by day webinars, 30-minute stay demos and Q&As direct from our Happiness Engineers, 5 days per week. These webinars stroll individuals by way of the fundamentals of getting began with We additionally launched just a few topical webinars — deeper dives into particular subjects: eCommerce 101, rising an viewers, utilizing the WordPress app, and podcasting, to call just a few.

We selected Zoom to host these as a result of it’s a preferred platform that enables for key webinar components like pre-registration/signups, display screen sharing, and Q&A. We pulled these collectively rapidly, so going with a well-recognized answer was key for us and our viewers. 

To broaden our attain, we additionally streamed to our Fb, Instagram, and YouTube channels. This was a easy integration that Zoom gives already, and we noticed our viewership develop exponentially. 

Pre-recorded vs. stay instruction 

At digital occasions, one query all the time comes up: pre-recorded or stay? We choose a mix! Stay is nice when doable; it provides attendees a chance to work together with audio system, audio system can personalize the content material based mostly on questions being requested, and attendees can work together with each other, forming connections with like-minded content material creators and entrepreneurs. 

Stay content material additionally has challenges: web connections can minimize out, computer systems can shut down unexpectedly, and there are extra alternatives for interruption (does anybody else’s canine bark the minute you get on a stay video?). It additionally requires all members to be on-line on the similar time, which could be logistically difficult.

Our recommendation: Take a look at, take a look at, take a look at! If a speaker isn’t snug presenting stay, there may be the choice to do a mix — a pre-recorded session with a stay Q&A within the chat. We’ve discovered it to work very well, and it provides attendees the identical entry to the presenter.

The Progress Summit 

We helped of us to get on-line rapidly with our day by day webinars and dove into deeper subjects every month, and now we wish to show you how to develop your web site. Enter The Official Growth Summit, occurring subsequent week, August 11-13.

We gathered ceaselessly requested questions over the previous few months, listened to your requests for stay classes throughout extra time zones, and located inspiration from customers that we felt wanted to be shared broadly.  

The Progress Summit takes a deeper dive into subjects and gives hands-on WordPress coaching for anybody trying to get on-line. You’ll have the chance to ask questions stay, join with audio system, go to our digital Happiness Bar for 1:1 assist, and join with different attendees throughout the networking breaks. 

Some key highlights from the agenda

  • Utilizing the block editor
  • Customizing your web site
  • Rising your viewers
  • Bettering your content material rating (search engine optimization)
  • Making a advertising plan 
  • Increasing from running a blog to podcasting 
  • Earning profits together with your web site
  • And a lot extra… 

We wished a platform for this occasion that may act as an immersive occasion expertise. There are numerous nice platforms for this, together with Accelevents and Hopin. We’ll be experimenting with a lot of them within the coming months (Keep in mind: take a look at!). A number of key options we regarded for: 

  • Ease of self-production
  • Capacity for simultaneous classes
  • Total consumer expertise
  • Stream of the occasion — central location for agenda, speaker bios, networking, and extra
  • Networking options
  • Viewers engagement — polling, stay chat, and extra
  • Analytics
  • Registration throughout the platform
  • Accessibility
  • Customization
  • Speaker (digital) inexperienced rooms

The perfect half? This occasion is being provided twice a day in order that we cowl all time zones. And should you can’t be a part of us stay, attendees may have entry to all content material from all time zones, after the occasion.

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