How Expert Showrunners Keep Virtual Events and Webinars Engaging

How Expert Showrunners Keep Virtual Events and Webinars Engaging

Delivering an impactful virtual event or webinar requires a great topic or theme and flawless execution led by a showrunner. The key to flawless execution is to develop a run of show and designate a single showrunner responsible for delivering.  Appointing a showrunner will ensure that your event is well-executed, that your speakers perform their best, and that your event’s message is crystal clear. 

If you’re new to the world of virtual events – or your marketing team is looking to uplevel their events or webinars – it’s key to have an event showrunner at the helm. Here’s why.

What, Exactly, is a Showrunner?

A showrunner is the person with creative authority and management responsibility for your virtual event or webinar. They create the overall vision of the show – including the story, the creative, and the direction. Showrunners are the definitive voice for how the show will be run.

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5 Ways Showrunners Can Execute Effective Virtual Events and Webinars

There’s no denying a showrunner has a lot on their plate. From the theme of the event, to keeping the speakers and segments on track, to facilitating audience engagement – there are a lot of details that go into running a successful virtual event.

Choose a theme for your event – and stick to it.

Your event or webinar needs to have a cohesive look and feel that will bring your message together through the other creative elements that’ll make your webinar go wow.

Think about how you want your audience to feel when considering the theme of your show, and brainstorm ideas for the creative you’ll use throughout by using a mood board to start solidifying the vibe. Remember that the best brands theme their webinars front to back; the casting, message, graphics, set, music, and energy all work together. The showrunner is especially helpful here when many different voices come into the fray. During webinars when there are a lot of elements in play, discrepancies in tone and theme can sprout up quickly. It’s the showrunner’s responsibility to see what works, see what doesn’t, assess creative accordingly, and decide what works with the original theme. 

Showrunners make bold and aligned creative decisions.

Showrunners help to determine the creative direction that will engage the audience with visuals that align with the theme. Telling your story with the skillful use of color and emotion all go into how you can energize the audience and tie everything back to your message. 

Music can also be a perfect way to cut between segments or graphics to add some more personality to your webinar. You can use on-theme, attention-grabbing sound bites to make all your segments feel fresh and keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

Be deliberate about segment lengths.

Every great event consists of segments: that is, the 5 to 20-minute pieces of content that make up a full show. They create a natural flow and bring in organic variety within your event. 

In today’s world of short attention spans and never-ending distractions, it’s important to be concise, which is why segments help to put parameters around your speakers and topics, all in an effort to stay laser-focused on the purpose of your webinar. Exceptional showrunners, then,  know how to keep speakers focused on their topic, or to gracefully start to wind down a conversation when they see their time is going over – all to ensure that the segments are the right length of time for maximum audience engagement. 

How Expert Showrunners Keep Virtual Events and Webinars Engaging
Showrunners help to determine the creative direction that will engage the audience with visuals that align with the theme.

Keep your event fresh and dynamic.

Within your segments, you’ll want to make sure that the shot is changed-up every fifteen to sixty seconds, depending on the segment’s content or who’s speaking. This type of editing and production adds an element of variety and ensures the audience stays focused and excited about your message. Showrunners can help to make executive decisions during post-production, when it may be imperative to cut (what was once) important bits, to ensure show quality and cultivate utmost audience engagement.

This also aligns with how most of us consume content outside of virtual events and webinars – like what we watch on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. When this type of content is just a click or tap away, showrunners have to make sure their own event’s content can compete.

Showrunners prodive opportunities to ask questions throughout.

Q&A doesn’t need to be saved for just the end – and, in fact, it shouldn’t, as the audience may already be tuned in or gone altogether. Rather, the showrunner needs to create opportunities for the audience to ask questions throughout the show. This technique keeps people engaged, drawing the audience in and making them feel a part of the story you’re sharing and creating together in real time. 

When it is time to ask questions, be sure to give them a moment to pause and ask themselves genuinely if they do before moving on. In doing that, they’ll be able to reflect on the very content you’re serving up.

Setting the right theme for your virtual event is at the forefront of every good showrunner’s mind. Right alongside that is ensuring the story you tell throughout the event stays as the throughline, so you can drive your event’s message home and connect with your audience. Ultimately, showrunners stay alert throughout their event and are able to confidently make executive decisions, guide the direction of the show, and ensure that the content’s story is told accurately and effectively. 

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