The Checklist: How to Set up Virtual Events – Part 3 of 5

This is the third of five parts on setting up online events. While focusing on storytelling, the information applies to any performing arts or virtual event. Our blog as well as our All Things Story Virtual Workshop Series are wonderful professional development resources.


  • Part 1 – Event Type, Audience, Timing & Pricing – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Choosing the Right Platform & Registration – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Rapports & Introductions – TODAY
  • Part 4 – Test Runs, Sound Checks & Logistics
  • Part 5 – Feedback Forms and Follow-Ups

Once registration is under way, what details will your attendees need?Potential participants?

People want a confirmation of registration right away.

For our first virtual workshops, we asked for proof of payment. This was doing the opposite of what we discovered would be better for the future.

An automatic email is sent whenever people pay online whether done through Square, Wild Apricot, or any number of registration systems. Had we paused and thought about that, we would not need to add another step such as “proof of payment.”

In the beginning, we also chose to confirm and send out our first email to registrants a couple days before the event. This made some people nervous who registered a month or more before. Automated emails are better unless you plan on checking and sending manual emails each day.

The following is the most important information in the form of 1-3 emails to registrants (3 emails is best -day of payment, day before, day-of an hour before):

  • Registration confirmation (same day of payment)
  • Repeat of date/time/title of virtual event WITH time zone as well as ability to convert time zones (explained in Part 1, )
  • Any link(s) and passcode(s) needed to access the virtual event OR web addresses to find event if live-streamed (recommend same day of payment and repeated for reminder email day before as well as day-of event)
  • Any training, if any, for attendees to watch before event (such as our 5-minute Zoom Basics training)
  • Indication if there will be mingling/early entry before as well as after the virtual event
  • Easy contact of the host – telephone to call/text as well as email checked every day

Consider these optional add-ons to your emails to registrants:

  • Any special line or two from the presenter(s) as a welcome message (different than message from the host/you)
  • Reminder of any extra benefits to those who paid suggested price or higher such as access to video/audio from event
  • Pdf handout if virtual workshop or educational in any way (perhaps better to send after the event rather than before)
  • Any other message(s) from the organization of other upcoming events
  • Whatever you wish…though the longer the messages get, the less likely to be read completely

With your registrants cared for, then think about who has yet to sign up for your event.

Here is a “to do” list that can be as long or as short as you feel necessary:

  1. Add to your website
    • Dedicate events page that is easy to find
    • Include countdown on the homepage either as a widget or through plug-ins (hint of plug-ins that work for WordPress websites or search online for plug-ins available to whatever company hosts your website)
  2. Create and execute countdown plan for social media/emails/texts/calls
    • Countdown can mean a post every day once you reach a month away or at least a one-week countdown
    • Popular use of countdown is spotlighting the skills of the presenter(s)
    • Typical phrases are “3 days before…” or “last chance”
    • You can have help in scheduling these posts ahead of time and peruse “15 Of the Best Social Media Posting and Scheduling Tools” by Influencer MarketingHub
  3. List event on online calendars – local, national, international
  4. Discover other ways to spread the word such as “30 Creative Event Promotion Ideas to Increase Attendance” on the Eventbrite Blog
  5. Develop and send out press releases
    • Live and virtual events need press releases – does your website have an easy “Press Kit” page seen from the home page?
    • Create 1-page or shorter press release in Word or similar software that is easy to copy and past as well as tailor for the different TV, radio, blog, magazine, newspaper, podcast contacts
    • Include most important details at top
      • Date(s) of Event
      • “Media Advisory” and “For Immediate Release”
      • Contact Name, Telephone/Email
    • Include more details below
      • Eye-catching yet informative title
      • County/State/Country followed by no more than 2-4 paragraphs
      • At-a-glance listing of – What, When, Where, Cost, Audience, For more info (website)
      • Any funders/grants given to make the event possible
    • Never send out press releases on Mondays or Fridays…but better to send out than not at all; Tuesdays-Thursdays are best from 9am-Noon of the media’s time zone
    • Feel free to send out press releases for different events once a month to keep rapport and familiarity with the media

Time will fly by.

We never accomplish all we intended to do to promote an event. Still, we are happy with what we can do.

Give yourself permission to NOT get everything done that you had wished to do. Celebrate from the small to the big items you check off your lists.

Continue with us with Part 4 to “Test Runs, Sound Checks & Logistics” for those important actions that make a difference before show time.

You can make this virtual. You can realize your dreams for it.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

Participate or present as part of the All Things Story Virtual Workshop Series that kicks off Monday, September 7, 2020 with Simon Brooks.

Published by storycrossroads

Story Crossroads fosters creative and compassionate communities through the art of storytelling. 501(c)(3)

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