We’re less than a month from SXSW which means you’re probably deep in the throes of implementing and executing the momentum building strategies you plotted, designed and developed in Phase 1 since, as 2016 statistics for SXSW show, the challenge to increase visibility, position yourself as an expert, and get the most for your invested time, money and effort is very real:

SXSW 2016 statistics reveal there were 70,000 trade show, exhibit and party attendees with nearly 38,000 participants for SXSW Interactive alone (including 82 foreign countries) of which 3,093 were speakers at nearly 1400 sessions.


As you can see from the graph below provided by our friends at Sysomos (thanks @dberkowitz), the level of activity surrounding SXSW on Twitter and Tumblr started to see a visible uptick in activity plus spikes in late January.  

This conversation will continue to build right up and throughout the SXSW event, so having something useful to add to it with regular frequency over time is how you start to reap rewards from noisy events like SXSW.

Let’s dive into what you should be doing to capture your share of the real-time conversations that make the most sense for you.

Phase 2 is all about getting cozy with consistency and making it happen. This will be much easier to achieve if you spent time wisely planning in Phase 1 in a way that sets you up for success now.

As we mentioned before, with 200K to 300K pieces of news being published and vying for our attention daily, a big key to overcoming limitations like lack of visibility, small startup budgets and a crowded noisy event is ensuring you have enough time to build momentum with a constant stream of relevant news, content and social interaction. By doing this, it is possible to level the playing field while at the same increase visibility and impact.


About 1 month out: Up till now, it’s been mostly brainstorming, compiling, and timelining, along with other planning activities that set the stage for this phase. And consistent is the only game in town from this point on because it’s the strategy that ensures a critical mass of earned and owned media will accumulate to create momentum leading up to and throughout SXSW.

We’ve been around long enough to know there’s zero chance a one-off blog post, press release, LinkedIn article or a couple tweets will turn you into an industry expert at any time of year, much less for SXSW.

By implementing and executing a well oiled strategy you will build a priceless foundation of trust, authenticity and visibility that’s needed to make it possible for you to breakthrough and have an impact.

Essential thinking, actions and tactics to have in place about one month before SXSW include:

Are you on schedule? Based on the timeline you mapped out, now is the time to make sure you stick to it as closely as possible because it’s the backbone of creating the consistent cadence that makes all the difference in getting the most out of SXSW.

Content development. During Phase 1 you brainstormed, mapped out and likely began gathering resources and initial development of your content strategy. Phase 2 is a continuation of developing the content based on those ideas and topics that will build your momentum and deliver your key messages.

Fame game plan. If you’re planning to make one or more key company announcements leading up to or during SXSW, your press materials should be ready to go and outreach to reporters in progress to determine who is covering the subject and who is interested.  

Extend the invites. In Phase 1 we recommended that you create your short list of names and contact info of the reporters, influencers and other tastemakers planning to attend SXSW and note those you’d most like some face time with.

Early Phase 2 is when you want to begin feeling out who on your list will not just be there but who is open to meeting up. Schedules of the most highly desired will book up about 2 weeks out. We know you don’t want to have to rely on serendipity and ambush as your face-to-face strategy, right?

Now is when you want to start getting in touch with your short list and finding out who is open to meeting. Confirm these with calendar invites.

Content syndication and amplification. This is when you want to start publishing, syndicating and amplifying your content strategy on a timely schedule that leads you right up to and through the big March event to build and maintain that consistent conversation. Schedule blog posts and social media to make the most of every piece of content. Include them in your newsletter.

Tune in & start mingling. Tune into SXSW media channels (Twitter, blogs, etc.) and search relevant hashtags to find the right conversations to get involved with and so you’re up to speed on current topics and trends. Then get out your lists of social media handles and start participating, retweeting, and giving shout outs. This could be a combination of planned Tweet Tips of the Day that you pulled from v/blog posts,  retweets, or hopping on breaking headlines that you have expertise and perspective to share.

Phase one is where you want to invest quality focused time because it sets you up for success as your timeline progresses through to Phase two, three and a post-event lessons learned wrap-up and next steps. The better prepared you are the greater your ability to leverage whatever develops serendipitously and the more ROI you’ll enjoy.

Many of our current clients are also looking at raising their profile through major industry events, parties or unique ideas. We can help you brainstorm new concepts and support these activities, as they can offer great exposure – not just with reporters, but analysts, end users and other influencers as well.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you get the most out of major conferences in the future, then please contact us.

Finally, you can take our game plan with you or keep it on your smartphone for easy reference or for sharing with your network - DOWNLOAD HERE.