Companies across an array of industries are facing the pain of having to cancel events due to the global pandemic, and because of that, many of them have turned to hosting virtual conferences instead. Here at Wistia, we’re no strangers to the world of virtual conferences. Just a few years ago we held our very own virtual conference called CouchCon, which took the place of our annual in-person conference, WistiaFest.
CouchCon featured 13 marketing experts who shared their experiences using video to solve common marketing challenges. And when it was all said and done, we realized we had a ton of valuable video content to show for it.
Flash forward a few years, and Wistia Channels has made showcasing our CouchCon content even better and more binge-worthy! In this post, we’re giving you our best tips to help you get the most out of your virtual conference’s content using a Wistia Channel. Let’s get into it!
If your business puts the time and effort into creating unique branding for your virtual conference, you can customize your Wistia Channel to reflect those designs. Take a look at our CouchCon Channel for example. We created custom thumbnails, uploaded our CouchCon logo, and stuck to all the colors in the event’s brand guidelines to make sure everything looked consistent. Remember, as with any other Wistia video, you have full control over the thumbnails displayed on each video on your Channel.
Another branding must-have? You can also choose between Light or Dark Mode depending on the look and feel of your conference’s brand (and the content you have displayed). When you’re viewing a project, simply go to Edit > Color > Background to modify this setting. For your banner, instead of a static image, you also have the option to throw in a looping video background! Now you’re looking snazzy.
Creating a promo video to build hype on social media is a great way to get people interested in attending your virtual conference, and it also makes for the perfect trailer on your Channel. By including a trailer, folks will get a feel for what your event will be like before they dive into the rest of your content. You might be wondering how you can create a promo video for a virtual conference that hasn’t happened yet or has already happened but primarily featured webcam footage. One suggestion we have right off the bat is to rely on b-roll from conferences or events you’ve hosted in the past and repurposing that into a new video. Alternatively, you could crowdsource some footage of your guests waving to the camera, doing a silly dance, or playing with their pet! Why not have some fun with it?
When you showcase your content on a Channel, your viewers will only see your content. So, even if they’re tempted to click on a different video and dive right in, skipping the trailer all together, they’re still only being exposed to content on your Channel. Unlike uploading your content to third-party sites like YouTube, there’s no risk of your viewers being distracted by unwanted ads or related content served up by competitors. Once viewers are at the end of a video, they’ll see a little “Up Next” modal pop up, giving them a preview of the next session in the queue. Look how sleek that is!
Clearly adding titles and descriptions to all of the videos on your Channel will give people a taste of what they can expect from each session — before they start watching. Your descriptions can also be used to build a bit of intrigue without giving too many details away.
On our CouchCon Channel, for example, we incorporated our speaker’s names and social media handles on the thumbnails themselves, which freed up some space for us to get creative with the name of each session.
Here’s an example of what that looks like:
Regardless of your creative approach, we recommend sticking to a consistent naming convention across all of the content on your Channel. This will help keep things cohesive and will drive home the “conference” feeling. If you’ve ever been to a conference, you’ve seen agendas packed with enticing titles for workshops and sessions. Keep that in mind when writing the copy for the titles of each episode! Remember, this is a conference just like any other — except it’s virtual.
Depending on the schedule of your virtual conference, you might be covering a bunch of different topics from a number of speakers. One way you can make it easier for people to sift through your content to find what they’re looking for is by creating sections in your Channel with clips you’ve edited down.
For example, at our live-streamed event, Change the Channel, we brought in some special guests to talk about how they’re creating episodic content to build their brand and grow their audiences. Since this content was related, but separate from the big keynote address our co-founders gave, we organized these clips under their own category titled “Learn from the experts.”
Sharing behind-the-scenes footage from the event itself can also make for engaging content your audience might be interested in. Even if it’s just bloopers or videos featuring your team getting set up, people tend to engage with purely entertaining content, so why not give it a whirl?
Another factor to consider when setting up your Channel is which layout will do the best job of showcasing your content. You can choose between a Carousel or Grid format by simply clicking on Layout. Typically, the Carousel format is great when you have a large number of videos within each section of your Channel. This setup lets viewers scroll through all your videos easily. The Grid format, however, shows all of your video thumbnails in one grid, no scrolling necessary. We chose this format for our CouchCon Channel because we didn’t have a ton of videos and sections and wanted to showcase all the content up-front.
Take a peek at what we created for Change the Channel:
We know that pivoting from an in-person conference to a virtual one is challenging, but pulling off a virtual conference can still be super valuable for your audience. Just think of all the evergreen content that’ll come out of it. And with Wistia Channels, you can get the most out of all your hard work to showcase in a binge-worthy format on your site. As they say, there’s a first for everything, and we think this first is worth the investment!