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6 things you need to know before creating a virtual awards ceremony


Navigating the new world of virtual events has not been easy going over the past few months. With little government advice, the decision to turn a live occasion virtual needs rigorous planning. And with so many new platforms popping up, just knowing where to start can be a challenge. But after researching innovative ideas and formats with old and new suppliers, we are incredibly proud of the virtual awards that we have created for our clients so far, and look forward to delivering many more in the future.

Here are some things we have learnt during this time, and our top tips for any organisation considering a virtual awards ceremony:

Communicate regularly
Virtual awards are new to us all, and attendees need to know what to expect on the day. Frequently asked questions include, will they be on a live video call and will they need to make an acceptance speech if they win? When will they receive the joining instructions and how long will the virtual awards ceremony last? Sending out multiple reminders of how to join is a big help, and ensures the instructions are always at the top of the inbox for showtime.

Provide live engagement
While we may have teams fatigue – and the thought of including 1,000 attendees on a live zoom call filled us with dread – we wanted to be able to offer another way for those watching to be able to communicate with each other. A simple chat box added onto the live stream platform has proved immensely popular, with all the attendees wishing the shortlist good luck and congratulating the winners.

Get the most from social media
We may not all be in one room together, but we can still make the best use of social media by encouraging everyone to send in photos of where they are watching from and with whom. Whether participants are having a socially-distanced meeting in the office or are at home with family, we want to see them celebrating. Tweeting the winner announcements in real time is even more important during a virtual event so they can shout about their success straight away.

Include your judges in the show – and thank them
Live and virtual award ceremonies really wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the hard work put in by the judges in reviewing the entries, so make sure they are given a heartfelt thank you and try to include them in the winner announcements too

Don’t forget the sponsors who make the awards possible!
Your sponsors are the most important partners and deserve a big thank you, too, for adapting to the new virtual world and the opportunities available to them. Include them as much as possible, ask them to provide short adverts for the awards, and give them as much screen time as you can.

Shout about your winners after the occasion
It’s important to still shout about all the winners after the virtual awards has taken place. Although the virtual awards may be free to attend and not as time-consuming as a live event not everyone may be able to attend still. Promote your winners to your full audience and enable them to be able to watch later at their leisure. If you’ve missed any of our virtual award ceremonies, then you can catch up on-demand and watch the IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards also the Recruiter Awards.


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