Posts Tagged ‘SXSW’

Public Relations and the Rise of SXSW

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

By Tiffany Engleman

Professionals in the field of public relations have been creating positive buzz about organizations for years. The music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) has been held in Austin, Texas since 1986, but until recently, was relatively unknown to the rest of the United States. Through news releases and first-rate press materials, SXSW’s public relations team along with Porter Novelli (an Austin-based public relations firm) began to expand the festival into something much greater than just music. SXSW was then able to create brand recognition as well as brand recall across the country.

  • To begin spreading the word about SXSW, these public relations professionals constructed a campaign to widely advertise an exciting and new aspect of the event. In August 2008, a news release was published revealing the introduction of the “Panel Picker” to help create a preliminary buzz for the March 2009 event. The “Panel Picker” was an interactive online voting application that attendees would be able to access and vote prior to the festival.
  • Porter Novelli also constructed an assortment of first-rate press materials. The press kit included a concise schedule, “hot” picks for panel and evening activities, industry contact information, and personalized event information. Toolkits were also provided that included press release templates, wire distribution options, and PR advice for the conference.

Through the tactics of news releases and press kits, South by Southwest has been able to join the SXSW Film Conference and SXSW Interactive Festival and expand their identity across the country to attract a significant number of new people to the conference. public relations professionals knew they had reached new heights when the Guardian of London reported, “SXSW Interactive spans gaming, web content, web design, development, academia, social media, mobile…but what it does more than any other event is a special mix of the arts and digital culture with technology. There are no suits, no boring product pitches, — SXSW is about ideas and trends in new digital tools and technologies.

Sourcing: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.