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Virtual Experiences That People Actually Show Up For - CCW #35

Community Chat Weekly #35 - Creating a Virtual Experience that People Show Up For

Community Chat Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.

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This week's edition of CCW is brought to you by our friend Chad Neufeld, Senior Marketing Manager at Chaordix.

Prefer video format? Check out Chad's talk about virtual experiences from the Community Chat Summit.

📆 How to Create a Virtual Experience that People Show Up For

Ah, the virtual event. A true magnet for mediocrity. All too often, ‘virtual experience’ means ‘webinar’. We read an event title we find enticing, click the big red ‘register’ button, and then instantly forget about the event until an hour before. We join some clunky interface a few minutes after the hour and then absentmindedly absorb content that (almost) always has the same format:

  1. The sponsor or organizer waxes poetically about the presenter for a few minutes.
  2. The presenter launches into the same powerpoint presentation they’ve done a dozen times for different organizations. Sometimes the content is interesting, but most times it would have been better as a blog post.
  3. The organizer jumps back on to ask the presenter a few softball questions and cherrypicks some softies from the audience chat or the Q&A panel.
  4. A sales email from the organizers lands in your inbox a few days later.

Translate Your ‘Why’ Into Substance

So you know your topic and you know who you want to show up for your event. Great start. Now comes the tricky part. Creating a substantive virtual experience for that group of people. How do you translate your ‘why’ into a great event? When I looked at the most interesting online experiences hosted by brands and organizations, most fell into one of six translation categories.

Translation One: First Thought

What is the standard structure in your industry? Maybe it is the webinar structure I mocked above, a lunch & learn, or a panel. Take the standard format and knock it out of the park.

Translation Two: Transport

Break down the walls between your organization and your audience. Maybe that means you take the audience on a virtual tour of your manufacturing facilities or set up a HQ live stream of your studio. Take your target audience behind the scenes.

Translation Three: Improv

It’s time to ‘yes, and’ your way through an online experience. Give yourself and your participants a space to explore & experiment. Arm yourself with a few starting points, and then make things as interactive as possible. The Wikipedia game is a great example of this approach. Start with a random Wikipedia page, and then click on the first hyperlinked word you aren’t familiar with. Repeat as desired.

Translation Four: Asynchronous

Virtual experiences do not all have to start at 10am and wrapped up by 10:59. Online experiences can involve contributions over time, and take place over a week or a month. Allowing people to submit their problems for the group to solve over the course of a few days might be a better fit than a live presentation.

Check out the rest of Chad's great post here!

🐦 Community Tweets

How many virtual events have you attended that were actually events?

The future is coming

Local communities are changing

📝 Blog Posts

A handful of recommended readings from the past week.

Six key principles to building healthy & positive communities (3 min read)
Vincent Boon shares six principles to healthy community building - openness, mutuality, positivity, education, reward and communication.

AMA with Brian Oblinger (4 min read)
Missed our AMA with Brian this week? Don't worry, we've got a transcript with his great answers for you!

🙌 Community Jobs

A handful of selected open jobs in the community industry.

Community Manager (Power Users Program Manager) @ GlobalLogic

Community & Operations @ Shuffle

Community Marketing Manager @ Hopin

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