If you're just now thinking about how to get the most media exposure out of your trip to SXSW Music, then you're way behind the curve. But there's still time to make some meaningful moves that can improve your trip beyond the immediate experience.SXSW used to be a place where, if you got booked, you could just show up and make things happen. But the growing noise of more bands, more fans, bigger acts and hyperactive brands means that just showing up is likely to result in a very weak ROI.
This year SXSW Music takes place March 12 through 17 so next week is your last full week for advance preparation and media outreach. But SXSW Interactive starts on the 8th and, though it's not the only competing action, it's especially relevant to bands because both celebrity musicians and smaller acts will already be on hand to suck the air out of the room for the unprepared.
Here are three things you can still do to get the most attention for simply going to SXSW and performing, whether officially or unofficially.
Contact Your Hometown Media
Wherever you're currently based, let local media (print, radio, tv, web) know that you're going to SXSW and that you're available to tell them about your plans, to update them and feed them news once you're there and to recap and debrief once you return.
Just going and performing may be enough to get local media interested but do your best to come up with a distinctive hook that makes it easier for the press to find a reason to cover you. Don't just focus on music media but consider outlets that cover other topics such as business and pitch accordingly. Also consider places you used to live, such as college media, for the "where are they now" angle.
StoryAmp would be a useful tool to check out ASAP. If you're spending a lot of money on your SXSW adventure, consider spending a little more though they've got some nice free options as well.
Prepare A Video Shoot of Your Show
Start organizing a video shoot of your show or shows and related appearances now. Also plan on shooting additional footage on your way and while you're there. Anticipate uploading some clips while you're there and then editing a nice video when you get back home.
Reach out to fans and friends that are going and encourage them to shoot footage as well. As my recent three part series on Vyclone, CrowdSync and Switchcam revealed, there are numerous tools for taking mobile footage and creating live concert videos. In particular, Vyclone and CrowdSync are designed to output edited video on the spot.
Check out Switchcam's services for aggregating footage and editing after the event. Keep in mind that you'll be able to output footage synced to your soundboard recording to YouTube for free through the end of SXSW. Sign up for a Switchcam account now and contact support before leaving for SXSW to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Organize Your Social Media Presence Beforehand
The #sxsw hashtag is the most obvious tool for getting your social media updates in front of interested parties who aren't at SXSW. If you haven't been active in the obvious places like Twitter and Instagram, set up those accounts and fire a few shots beforehand so you know what you're doing.
It's all pretty simple but once you hit the road there will be many distractions. Don't just rely on #sxsw because that hashtag's already in wide use and will produce a virtual flood of information during SXSW proper.
Now's the time to start identifying relevant hashtags related to SXSW Music with publicity potential. For example, Tumblr is now curating #music and highlighting especially interesting content.
Keep in mind that the ease of posting to social media accounts using a hashtag will make the obvious options as noisy and crowded as SXSW itself. But don't let that fact push you into spam mode by employing off-topic hashtags. That's a good way to get attention for being a jerk.
Instead, let your family, friends and fans know that you'll be using a special hashtag, #yourbandsname for example, and also check and see if local media or relevant blogs are encouraging use of a designated hashtag for such events. But don't use more than 2 or 3 max and choose them with care. If you're not in hip hop, go check out what's happening in hip hop social media for a cautionary tale illustrating how to make such tools almost totally useless.
And If You Come Up With a Unique Solution
Let me know afterwards how you broke through the noise. There will be a brief window of opportunity in the media immediately after SXSW for relevant news and recaps. If you've got something relevant for Hypebot, please let me know.
But don't wait till you're all rested up and planning your next victory. Get out the word while you're still freshly exhausted cause even SXSW will fade much quicker than you might imagine.
[Thumbnail image: Poster for Choose Me.]