The Challenge Kelly Faced.
When COVID-19 hit, community-building organizations SPARK Orlando and Olora worked together to figure out a way to host a virtual event for the first time–one that could help them inspire and educate freelancers. Their goal? To reach one hundred freelancers.
Braintrust Talent and Multimedia Content Creator Kelly Lamano and her team put together the entire event in just four months, while reaching more than one thousand people virtually.
“The challenge was to turn this into something that’s virtual–something that people weren’t going to get bogged down with because of video fatigue and the time it takes to sit in front of a computer when they could be spending time with their family.”
- Kelly Lamano, Multimedia Content Creator on Braintrust
The Obstacles Kelly Faced.
1. This event, The Freelancers Conference, had never been done before.
There was zero readiness for this kind of turnaround, so Kelly and her team had to start from scratch. She had to build a team of volunteers, research and sign on with the best event platform, set up the right marketing integrations, and establish an online presence overnight.
2. Most freelancers were suffering from Zoom fatigue.
At the onset of the pandemic, everybody was sick of Zoom. Trying to entice people to spend MORE time online while providing them with valuable information was going to be a real challenge. Kelly knew this virtual event needed to be unlike anything else freelancers could experience remotely–fun, interactive, and rewarding.
3. Timing was everything.
The event had already been announced which meant Kelly and her team had just four months to build out the entire virtual event from the ground up. They didn’t have any time to waste.
How Kelly Tackled the Project.
1. Kelly enlisted a global network of speakers and partners.
Kelly knew that engaging speakers would be a huge incentive for people to want to attend the event - and that speakers need to have as much advance notice as possible before agreeing to present. In order to give the team enough time to promote the event on social media, Kelly began to enlist a network of engaging event speakers (including Shirley Yang from Braintrust!), sponsors, and partners as fast as possible.
With SPARK Orlando being a chapter of the Freelancers Union, a national nonprofit, the national support was crucial in promoting the event to freelancers and small business owners.
2. She built out the entire event on a new event platform.
Virtual events were unlike any structure Kelly prepared for with previous in-person SPARK Orlando events. She had to reimagine every facet of the event to suit a virtual platform instead, and then prepare for any possible glitches. She set up marketing integrations, website and event SEO, and live streaming capabilities to make the event as seamless and interactive as possible.
3. Kelly implemented an international marketing strategy.
To market the event to a global audience of possible attendees, Kelly and her team needed to use every distribution channel at their disposal. She leveraged email marketing, social media, SEO, partnerships, and online promotions to garner interest and boost attendance.
The Solution Kelly Achieved.
Kelly and her team recruited 32 speakers to help lead a total of 16 workshops and six keynotes over the course of the two-day virtual event. And even with a short turnaround, Kelly and her team turned it into an international event that was attended by more than a thousand individuals from 24 different countries.
“I so appreciated that this event was online as I’m not able to attend national conferences very often due to the timing and expense of travel. Even if things go back to 'normal,' I hope you’ll continue to consider offering more online webinars and conferences in the future!”
- The Freelancers Conference 2020 event attendee
The Results Kelly Achieved.
1. The event brought in 1,325 attendees from 24 countries.
When the event registration opened, just 100 attendees registered. By the time the event finished, more than a thousand freelancers had participated in the two-day event, thanks to increased accessibility and effective event promotion.
2. The event raised $5,000+ in donations to the Freelancers Relief Fund.
Not only was the event a success, but Kelly and her team offered a recording of the conference in exchange for a donation. In total, and in partnership with the event sponsors and attendees, the event raised more than $5,000 for the Freelancers Relief Fund, a fund supporting freelancers impacted by the pandemic.
3. Kelly immediately began booking more virtual events.
The response was so positive that Kelly was immediately approached by speakers and other attendees to help them host virtual events of their own. She then hosted her own events–dedicated to small business leaders and freelancers.
Why Kelly Chose Braintrust.
"Braintrust has connected me with fantastic contract roles. I love that the network and its clients provide opportunities to work on interesting projects while continuing to work a customized schedule.
A few years ago, I joined the Muses App, founded by Braintrust's VP of Community Shirley Yang, where I met other business owners and landed jobs in writing, copy editing, and photography with small to medium-sized businesses. When I learned about Braintrust, I was immediately drawn to its collaborative and community-driven mission."
Braintrust's Discord community and virtual events also give me an opportunity to connect with freelancers and business owners from around the world. From interview tips to finding new projects and freelancing how-tos, we're always sharing resources."
- Kelly Lamano, Multimedia Content Creator on Braintrust
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