Free webinars are background noise, so says Nick Gold, managing director of Speakers Corner. Discover why content is key to delivering event magic – whether it’s digital or live…


There isn’t anything that can demonstrate why us humans are social creatures more than a live experience. The shared moments from that memorable event forever stick in the mind of all who attended.

But we are in different times and those one-off experiences, the curated magical touches, cannot be felt right now. We understand that an experience through a screen is not the same as real life. So, the conference and events industry needs to re-imagine, not replicate. We need to focus on what can still deliver a unique and valuable experience in a virtual world. We need to deliver memories where the scope for imagination is only limited by the technology supplying it.

And so, where does this imagination come from? Where does the adrenaline rush, sense of wonder and amazement from live experiences come from? My answer is that there can only be one place right now and that is from the content. Without the opportunity to engage the full range of senses, we must focus on what the audience will hear and see on their screen.

There is no doubt that over time, as we get used to the new virtual world and we start to explore the boundaries that we have imposed on ourselves and see how we can push them then the experiential side of the virtual event will improve and enhance the experience for the attendee. But in the meantime, the focus has to be on content.

With the virtual environment having no barriers to entry, the glut of content available to an individual is ever expanding. This availability carries the burden of an expectation of free content, but this is an education process of a marketplace that has become front and centre of people’s perspectives. Elevating a virtual event through the content it delivers will create value above and beyond a free webinar. For all of us in the event and conference industry, while the live event is not feasible, this differentiation of the “free webinar” from a “virtual event” is critical and its messaging needs to lay bare the comparison.

To put it crudely, this is the difference between watching your favourite band at a sold-out Wembley Stadium to a cover band playing an interpretation of their songs in the pub on a Saturday night. The free webinar might deliver the information, but it is background noise.

But let’s end on a positive note. The opportunity we have right now is unprecedented. There are no historical comparisons for audiences to lean on. Events and experiences that deliver knowledge, spark ideas, educate and innovate, create networking and shared dialogue will be the starting block for audiences to recover, thrive and prosper. That experience alone will forever be embedded in the mind and soul of the individual who was sitting in front of their device. I won’t end by saying content is king. It is far more important than that.