SXSW 2017 begins on March 10. If you’ve spent the last two months planning and executing your content, PR, networking and social media strategy as we’ve been discussing throughout Phase 1 and Phase 2, you’ll begin to experience the advantages of all the momentum this process is building. This is important because as we’ve been noting, 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.
We saw in the graph from our last discussion that the level of activity surrounding SXSW on Twitter and Tumblr started to see a visible uptick in activity, including a few spikes, in late January. That conversation has continued to build and if you’ve been consistent with your communications strategy, you are watching it live as your own momentum builds. This is exactly what’s needed for a noisy tent pole event like SXSW.
Now it’s time to get clear about your priorities for going live at SXSW in a way that’s meaningful for you.
Phase 3 is about real-time. What are you going to do on the ground once you’re there. If you planned wisely in Phase 1 and are maintaining your consistency now throughout Phase 2, going live at SXSW will be the logical progression and extension of all that you’ve been doing.
Considering that 200K to 300K news articles are being published and vying for our attention daily, it is important to have spent the past several weeks building momentum with a constant stream of relevant news, content and social interaction. This process is a big key to overcoming limitations like lack of visibility and small startup budgets when trying to have an impact at crowded noisy tent pole events. With enough time and a commitment to consistency, it’s possible to level the playing field.
Winning @ SXSW - PHASE 3 - BE THE NEWS YOU WANT TO SEE
At SXSW: Now is when that critical mass of earned and owned media will be worth their weight in sweat equity. Going into SXSW as an engaged participant with something thoughtful to say provides an advantage in terms your ability to identify and capitalize on what happens in the moment.
You’ll not only have a share of voice but you’ll have developed a filter for knowing what’s important vs. what’s a gimmick or just irrelevant. This kind of feel and insider knowledge sets you apart as someone who has expert insight and authority.
If Phase 2 is characterized by the creation of a priceless foundation of trust, authenticity and visibility that makes it possible for you to breakthrough and have an impact, Phase 3 is notable for providing the opportunity for you to become the news you want to see.
Essential thinking, actions and tactics to prioritize at SXSW include:
Real-time strategy. This is the time to decide on key in-the-moment tactics that you’ll execute over the course of the event. Maybe you’ll send out your tweet of the day, head to a daily breakfast meeting, and then live stream from a session that’s getting buzzy from word-of-mouth.
Be the news you want to see. It’s your media show now. What do you want to do? Create a video web series of interviews with key influencers? Bolster this by breaking news via live streaming about announcements and hot sessions as they happen? Live stream from your own session or panel? Or a party? This is when and where to do it.
Fame game press coverage and expert sourcing. Did you schedule a key company announcement during SXSW? Did you do interviews beforehand so that articles will publish in sync, or do you have interviews lined up with journalists while you’re at SXSW in the flesh? Be sure to let the journalists on your list know you’re available to serve as an expert source on trends, reactions and more.
Face-to-Face meetings. If you brainstormed your list of key influencers, reached out to explore a possible in-person coffee or brunch, you’re all set and the meetings just need final logistical confirmations.
Keep in mind most journalists and high profile influencers and tastemakers will have booked their schedules by about 2 weeks beforehand.
If you didn’t confirm meetings in advance, all hope is not completely lost. Serendipity can be a wonderful thing once in awhile in a right place, right time kinda way. On the other hand, accidental meetings by ambush could be disappointing.
Content syndication and amplification. Phase 1 was the planning and development of the content published on blogs, distributed via email, and syndicated and amplified on social media to build the critical mass of earned and owned media that creates the expert foundation from which you can now do it live in real time as the action happens.
Social media mingling. All the social media mingling you’ve done online using hashtags to extend your reach, visibility, and to find relevant conversations and retweeting and @mentioning key journalists, influencers and tastemakers should continue. Find out where people are heading, where they’ve been, the inside comments on the best, and the worst.
Don’t stop now. Sharing, liking, tweeting, snapping and Facebook live streaming real-time in the moment can demonstrate your insider status and leadership. Share your own tips and what’s hot or not. Do a daily tweet on where you’re headed and why, then do a nightly tweet of how it turned it out.
You be the tastemaker. With the momentum you’ve built by participating in conversations before you arrived, many folks will see your social interactions as the reliable source.
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 let's talk.
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.