by JoAnn Peroutka, VP, Strategic Services at Level5 Events by The Expo Group
In today’s current realities of social-distancing and online living, finding the most compelling ways to bring stories to life offers a new set of challenges. Quickly developing a methodology for how best to segment your audiences, an understanding of the types of content that are relevant and the sophistication levels expected during delivery will determine how well your message will cut through the clutter.
By now, we all understand the importance of narrative, aka storytelling, in helping our audiences connect with our content. And science is now backing up what we’ve known for years: experiencing powerful stories can change emotion, perspective, lives.
What’s evolving on a daily basis are the expectations that our constituents have when interacting with the stories we tell. While we continue to explore the possibilities and best practices relating to digital content, hosting virtual events and integrating delivery systems in accessible and seamless ways, we thought it might be helpful to share a few of our favorite tips gleaned from decades of experience and hundreds of gatherings.
Mix it Up
Take a page from online education pedagogy and mix the media you use. A combination of synchronous (live, interactive sessions) and asynchronous (user-directed sessions) works well, allowing audience members to experience the content as a group (think live webinar) while providing ways to continue the conversation post-session (follow-up chats, links to additional information, videos).
Short and Sweet
While less has almost always been more, in these days of being “zoomed out” sharing short bursts of content is often welcome. There’s a reason that Netflix and Quibi are creating more short show content for today’s audiences. Even in our own Level5 events, our program segments and videos tend to be no longer than 3 to 4 minutes each.
The Feeling is Mutual
Find ways to show your audiences that you are missing them as much as they are missing you. Whether it’s snaps of favorite spots that are off-limits at the moment or hearing inspiring messages from campus favorites (rock star alums, Miss Ida in the food line), picking the right location and the right person to share your message means you get it. We love this video from our friends at the University of Florida.
Consult the Experts
One of the beauties of higher ed is that there are experts literally in your “backyard.” How amazing that you can reach out to the sociologists and psychologists and education faculty for their thoughts on how we humans absorb and embrace information. Just as exciting is the ability to provide access to your experts who can provide insights into today’s most pressing issues. Imagine inviting your donors to engage in these types of up-to-the-moment conversations. Game changing!
As always, we’d love to help you think it through. Just let us know how we can help.