Salvage Canceled Presentations & Conferences with Online Video

Many of us are quickly coming to realize that amid the current concerns around coronavirus COVID-19 transmission, those meetings, presentations, speeches and even conferences on our schedule will likely be canceled if they have not been already. In some cases, a phone or conference call can replace many face-to-face meetings, but from a public relations and marketing perspective, it falls short of the desired impact you want to have. Luckily, live video streaming technology has advanced to the point that you have many opportunities to salvage canceled presentations, speeches and even conferences with live online video.

Whether you look to Facebook Live or YouTube Live for publicly available events or webinars/webcasts for client briefings and presentations, here are a few tips from our experience to both maintain your company’s momentum and exemplify your resilience.

Take That Town Hall or Community Event to Facebook Live

While emails, conference calls and Twitter chats are all potential options, when you still need that face time with a group of people without the option to meet face-to-face, consider Facebook Live. It allows you to share live video and engage in real-time with your followers on social media. That means the ability to answer questions and have open feedback without things devolving into a thousand emails or individual social messages. 

Our team has used Facebook Live to highlight client reports with live Q&A and integrated graphics or even conduct 30-minute panel discussions where all the questions come from online viewers. We’ve even produced live walkthrough tours with professional audio. And our client, Catholic High School for Boys, recently used the technology to broadcast their morning mass amid the school’s closure following the Coronavirus crisis. 

Facebook Live provides a recording of the final event that remains on your page for anyone who missed the event, also allowing you to share it with others by email afterward.

Transform Canceled Conferences Into Virtual Events

Even small conferences get complicated with space reservations, speaker coordination and program development – and that doesn’t even account for all of the travel. While the travel planning is a bust, you can save much of that work by taking the conference online. There are many options here, depending on the time you have to prepare, your appetite for ingenuity and the technical ability of the people on your team. 

One excellent option is to use webinar platforms that allow you to coordinate registration for individual presentations, calendar reminders, links, reminders and follow-up notes. Depending on your service, you could even hold multiple presentations simultaneously just like you were planning, meaning you can simply recycle the existing schedule. Just spin up a microsite to organize all the registrations or add the links for individual webcasts to your existing online schedules.

Presenters – who may still be scattered around the state, country or world – can join each event remotely with the assistance of a coordinator, turn on their webcam and present their slides in real time. They can even take questions. In the past, our team has coordinated webinar presentations that included up to six presenters from four different countries, each with a live video feed and shared presentation deck. And now with platforms such as Zoom, you can even conduct breakout sessions within the wider meeting, coming back together whenever the organizer decides.

It may seem like a lot of moving parts, but these platforms offer the opportunity to highlight key thought leaders in dynamic ways. And like Facebook Live, another great benefit of this strategy is that you’ll still get recordings of all the presentations to share later. As for networking associated with live conferences, you can always set up separate chat rooms to share at the end of presentations where attendees can continue the conversation on their own.

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Get the Presentation Right

An important thing to remember when it comes to online video is that presentation still matters. Speakers don’t have the same adrenaline rush they get from presenting in front of a group of people, but they still need to bring that same energy to their live video webcast, even if they’re doing it from their home office. Consider developing some guidelines to help them with things like lighting, audio and framing for their online appearance if they haven’t done this before. Presentation slides still need to be dynamic as well. 

If you have time, set up media training and/or rehearsals with everyone to make sure they’re comfortable in front of the camera too. We’ve seen some of the greatest in-person speakers struggle when they suddenly find themselves addressing an inanimate camera versus a crowd of excited people. With some practice and your help, they can often adapt to the new virtual presentation environment quickly. 

Quality Matters in Live Video

While you can’t practice complete control over remote webcam video feeds from presenters scattered around the world, you can make sure your principal speakers look and sound great. Consider laptop webcams entry-level for webinar presentations. And while everyone loves to rave about smartphone video quality (and you can do a virtual video webinar from a smartphone on many platforms) it still only looks or sounds good with the right lighting, a dedicated microphone and someone who knows what they’re doing. 

At minimum, develop some live video standards in a user-friendly document and then distribute it to everyone you’re going to put on camera. Network television bookers distribute these whenever they do Skype interviews with guests, but our team has consistently been able to exceed their expectations by replacing webcams and laptop microphones with professional cameras, microphones, studio lighting and high-quality Skype video feeds. That same technical know-how applies to other live online video streaming events like Facebook Live, YouTube or webinars/webcasts as well.

If you want to wow your online presentation or virtual conference, consider tracking down someone who’s done it before and knows what they’re doing. Not all public relations and digital marketing practitioners today have experience incorporating professional video, audio and production elements into live online events, including the incorporation of multiple cameras. Be sure to track down those who have the experience because that kind of quality could absolutely impress your audiences, particularly when they were almost sure the entire thing was going to be called off completely.


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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

In the Account Supervisor position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or creative/strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives.
  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on at least three clients.
  • Manage the implementation of work plans and ensure client deliverables are successfully met on deadline.
  • Play a leadership role in the sales process by identifying additional services to sell to existing clients and assisting with RFP responses, new business proposals, presentations, etc. with senior leadership or independently.
  • Display a strong understanding of and effectively communicate Ghidotti’s service offerings to existing clients.
  • Successfully supervise at least one junior staff member, including providing guidance on their professional growth.
  • Begin to play a role in the agency’s marketing efforts, guiding aspects of certain campaigns and/or helping to execute in their areas of expertise.

Account Services: 

  • Play a clear leadership role in the planning and execution of integrated marketing campaigns for clients.
  • Develop and write comprehensive strategic marketing plans for clients.
  • Handle vendor contracts and ensure proper billing.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of successfully meeting deadlines and timelines.
  • Handle day-of logistics on behalf of clients, responding quickly and effectively.
  • Assist in providing leadership and professional development on client relations, helping team members improve their skills in managing conflict, presentations, sales, etc.

Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns, marketing collateral, etc.
  • Oversee the development of marketing materials and branding campaigns.
  • Manage creative marketing campaigns on behalf of clients.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of leading brainstorms, and providing and implementing creative ideas for proposals, presentations, etc.
  • Continually provide new and ‘fresh’ ideas for proposals, new business proposals and current clients’ marketing campaigns.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at

Experience in public relations, content marketing, digital media and influencer marketing is a must, but here is what we really want in a fellow Rock Star. Don’t let it scare ya – we just have high standards!

  • You anticipate every move of our clients and us.
  • You dream of ways to crack the Instagram gold mine in your sleep.
  • You are resourceful.
  • You are humble.
  • You know what needs to be done because it just comes naturally.
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  • You take our vague guidance and get it done.
  • You are fast, yet error-free and awesome.
  • You care about every single, tiny, little detail.
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  • You know you are extraawesome, and totally own that.
  • You meet deadlines even when you only have minutes to do it.
  • You can handle your own drama. Better yet, you don’t have any.
  • You have a life outside of work that you love and nurture.
  • You loathe micromanagers and don’t need one.
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  • You sing karaoke and have “that song” when you really need to bring it.
  • You ask questions when appropriate. (Basically, you don’t ask us how to spell someone’s name because you know how to Google as if your life depends on it).
  • You treat our clients and your team members with respect.
  • You are funny.
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  • You are a good friend and co-worker.
  • You are creative and think of winning marketing ideas in your sleep.
  • You love writing award entries. Like it’s your job!
  • You are resourceful. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again.

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

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  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

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  5. Summer Fridays

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  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

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