Covid-19 has meant the format of almost everything we do has to be reconsidered – and this is especially true for media events. The thought of press launches and presentations under current guidelines gives me a panic. So we now need to look to virtual media events.


But, take a typical Christmas in July retail event; how on earth do you put up eight Christmas trees, untangle countless fairy lights, bring a whole house to life with festive sparkle, give 150 media a guided tour and hand out goody bags, all while respecting social distancing guidelines and remaining as outwardly jolly as Bing Crosby himself?


Taking a lead from event television (for me anyway!), including the finales of RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Real Housewives of Cheshire, the answer is moving an event to an online format that combines the slick professionalism of a typical press or influencer gathering with the personality and potential for mishaps that video calls always bring.


Here’s some top tips on how to tackle organising a virtual media event:


  1. Pick your platform

    We all know there’s chock loads of options for video calling, but for a great event, choosing the best platform possible for your brand and audience is wise – rather than simply dialling into a Zoom call. For interactivity and adding videos or other media into your event, take a look at Demio. Or if you’d like more of a corporate TED-talk feel, consider Blue Jeans, for example

  2. Pack in the panache

    After months of online calls, we’re all craving entertainment and fun, which is where a virtual media event can really help. Add in video content, include music, design a proper back-drop, dress-up if you’re a speaker or invite a surprise guest. A successful event needs to feel special, especially if it’s remote. So if you’re doing a Christmas launch in July, for instance, make sure all of the speakers are in festive jumpers and party frocks and pile the decorations high behind them for a truly Yuletide feel

  3. Instigate interactivity 

    Whatever your platform, make sure guests feel part of the action by making use of the Q&A function, encouraging reactions on social media and by asking people to feedback or take part in the discussion too

  4. Practice makes perfect

    If you do nothing else, make sure to have a dress rehearsal so any technical hiccups or potential pitfalls can be worked through

  5. Check out the competition

    Get yourself into some online events yourself for inspiration and to see how, despite the distance, a virtual media event can be something truly memorable and engaging. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has shared guided video tours of its gallery with expert curators. When else would you get the chance to have a one-off tour and a private, close-up look at priceless artwork?


We’re already working on virtual formats for events ranging from festive press shows to trade conferences and more.


Drop us a line if you’d like a hand with an online gathering you’re planning and check out our report A Game Plan For Brands During And After Covid-19 for more advice on how to handle PR and marketing as we emerge into the ‘new normal’.

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About the Author

Corey Kitchener