Like many of you I’m off to SXSW this week! I launched my company at SXSW in 1996 with a dream to be a publicist and a stack of orange business cards. It’s safe to say, seen a lot over the years…
Guest Post by Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR
The following are some tips on how to successfully navigate your through the most overwhelming music conference of them all. And I would love to celebrate 19 YEARS in business with you – find me and let’s drink a margarita or get our minds blown by a fantastic band!
1. Envision What You Want Before You Arrive
Austin, Texas is a wonderful city, and its distractions are many. Keep in mind that this is not a vacation (even though you will have a blast!). It’s a work-related learning experience. With a little planning and foresight, you can have a million-dollar conference.
My first bit of advice: Arrive prepared. Know who will be attending and create some goals before you get there.
2. Connect Before You Arrive
Social Media is your BFF at SXSW – use the amazing SXSW site to network and make sure to follow people you might want to meet including brands, individuals who are speaking and of course bands! Take the time to curate a list on Twitter so you are following the good stuff when you arrive and of course search those all-important hashtags.
Tip: If you don’t have an extra charger for your phone you might want to get one before you get to town as your phone might just be what leads you to a magical moment!
3. Bring Business Cards
Yes, you should have a business card, and your card should not just have your name and number. It should have good information about what you or your band sounds like (your pitch) , your Twitter handle, Facebook, Instagram and links to any other places important contacts can find you online. A photo of you and /or a band logo would also be highly recommended.
4. Don’t Haul CDs
I don’t think I really have to say this but… I do not recommend bringing CDs. People are overwhelmed and standing on their feet all day and they don’t want anything extra to drag home in their carry ons. Get people’s business cards or connect on socials and then when you return home send your music digitally through Bandcamp, Spotify or Soundcloud.
5. Do Talk To Strangers
Don’t be scared to take risks and meet people. Conferences are friendly places. Just walk right up and ask “So, what brings you here?” You’ll have a new BFF in no time.
6. Attend Panels – You Will Learn Something
It’s tempting to blow the panels off and hit all of the day parties, but I encourage you to make an effort to sit in on at least one or two panels per day. Choose any topic that interests you, and sit in the front so that you can be among the meet the panelists after the session (as they will be swarmed at the end)
7. Get Mentored – You Will Meet VIPS
The best way to connect with important people in the music business is NOT actually hoping to bump into them randomly at the bar at a loud party (although magic can happen – Make your OWN MAGIC and sign up to meet them. There are a mind blowing amount of mentors this year including some of the smartest people I know in the business! Make sure that you have done your research, and have specific questions to ask them. Go here and book yourself! http://sxsw.com/music/conference/mentor-sessions
8. Take Time To Follow Up!
The moment you get home, make some photo albums on your Facebook & Instagram and tag #hashtag people you met and the great moments you had If you got emails make sure to send thank you notes.
Make a game of following up with every single person that you met and If they say yes, add them to your e-mail list. If you are active on Linkedin add them there. remember
TIP: Never send your pitch or talk about business in the initial e-mail or follow up be friendly and be helpful. If you do not follow up, your trip and hard work will have been a waste of your time. So, don’t rip yourself off here! Take the extra time before you go back to your crazy life!
9. Come Say Hi
I’d love to see you.
The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs in Music
Day: Wednesday, March 18
Room: Room 13AB Austin Convention Center
Start Time: 2:00 PM End Time: 3:00 PM
Pop by my panel or hit me on Twitter! @CyberPR