There are many PR pros on the ground in Austin this week, helping their companies and clients get noticed at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.
But most of you are probably reading this from your office or home—which aren’t in Austin. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few things while the event is happening.
I’ve been reading and observing the #SWSX tweet stream and hashtag on Twitter, and noticed numerous ways to discover useful information from SXSW and interact with your peers in Austin.
Here are five of those ways.
1. Tap the treasure trove of information.
Go to Slideshare.net
and view recent SXSW presentations. Some are even downloadable. The competition to be a presenter is fierce, so only the best of the best make it. Be assured, there are new ideas and information to be discovered. Use the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and simply type in “SXSW.” You can expand your search to order the results by date.
2. Follow the SXSW tweet stream (live or later).
If you're on Twitter, go to the search bar and simply type in the hashtag #SXSW
. It will bring up the latest SXSW tweets in real time. You'll be able to hone in on sub-tags as well. Click on any one of them to begin following that stream. The SXSW tweet stream goes so fast it's almost unreadable, but you can find interesting people to follow by using this technique.
3. Join the conversation—wherever you are (even if it’s not Austin).
Want to comment on the SXSW tweet stream? It hardly matters if you are present at the event. Most people in Austin are tweeting each other from across town anyway. Just be relevant, nice, and brief— and don't forget to tag your info with #SXSW. You can @ reply someone if you want to make sure you get their attention.
Quite a few technology giants (as well as startups) launch new products and services at SXSW. Check out all the panels, presentations, and sponsored events on the official SXSW site
. Also, take a look at the official launch of SlideRocket
. Pretty cool.
5. Plan your PR for next year.
Just like a traditional trade show, pitching a journalist or a blogger starts well before the event. Do not expect to reach someone right before the next SXSW, or during the event. I've heard several journalists complain that by then it's too late to pitch them, and that they don't plan to answer work e-mail until they return to the office.
A version of this story first appeared on the blog Public Relations Princess.