It’s always been wise to include a crisis communications plan in your event marketing strategy. In 2021 however, the “what ifs” of that plan look a little different than in other years. (Click here to read about our holistic approach to event marketing.) While crisis communication plans generally prepare for the worst case scenarios (like a natural disaster), the greatest threat to events this year is a common foe: technological difficulty. This seemingly low-level problem can be debilitating if you’re hosting from home without team of I.T. staffers ready to step in if things get glitchy. So what does crisis communications for event marketing look like in a predominantly virtual world? Here are a few of the essentials you should include in your crisis communications plan for digital events.
Stress Tests as Event Marketing
Are you hosting a conference, awards ceremony, or live music event? If so, you may be relying on a streaming platform to deliver your video content to viewers in real-time. Live streaming is a familiar and fun way to connect with a virtual audience. Unfortunately, not all websites are primed to handle the amount of traffic live streams generate at once. If your site is unaccustomed to high traffic volumes, you may experience a site crash. Downtime will leave your audience disappointed and wondering what happened to the event they paid to attend.
To avoid unwanted downtime, you may want to conduct a stress test before the live event. A stress test is designed to evaluate how well a software application performs under extreme traffic conditions – for example, when a hundred people access your website at once. By conducting a stress test before the event, you can stream with confidence that your content will be delivered no matter if you have 50 guests or 500.
Crisis Communications for Events Need a Dream Team
Every event deserves a stellar crisis management team. Although the environment has changed, online events still face the possibility of last-minute crises. For example, registered guests may find themselves unable to login to your event stream. Or, unwanted comments may crop up in the shared chat feature. You need a crisis management team equipped to handle both the technological aspect of such crises (e.g. shutting down the chat thread), as well as the outreach component (updating guests via email and other channels). We’d recommend using a responsibilities matrix to determine the tasks each team member will handle. This will ensure you can tackle challenges quickly and efficiently.