South by Southwest 2014: human spam, power poses and crowdsourced comedy

If you’ve never been to South by Southwest, the annual social media and interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, it’s tough to describe the combination of laid-back-high-tech energy that makes the Festival standout.

Austin, a charming college town, may not the easiest place to get to, but once you arrive and get your bearings, you’re swept up in the swirl of the event.

It’s been a few weeks since it ended so I thought I’d reflect on five highlights from my third SXSW:

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Media relations versus new PR

What do you think of when you hear the word PR? Some people say advertising. But most equate PR with media coverage, as in big above the fold articles with eye-catching photos and standout quotes.

The industry has many names for that. PR agencies call it media relations. Publicists call it publicity. And in our paid-earned-owned-shared content marketing landscape, we refer to it as earned media.

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Six things that will be on my mind in 2014

Well, we’re starting 2014 with a polar vortex that swooped in on North America and caused frigid below zero temperatures across much of the continent. The polar vortex is one of the things I’ve learned so far in January.

I also learned that a few days ago the temperature in Winnipeg was similar to the temperature on Mars. Why didn’t they tell me that growing up? It would have explained so much!

So I thought I’d begin the year with six things I learned about digital and social media in 2013 that will be top of mind in the new year.

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Carrying the PR Baton is a blast – and you don’t need to know how to twirl

There are some ideas you just know will fly (or twirl).

And when I hear about one of those, I always get excited imagining the possibilities. And then, if it’s really a standout idea, I get a twinge of envy, too – as in: I wish I’d thought of that…

That’s the case with the PR Baton, a new initiative created by Dana Hughens and the Clairemont Communications team. 

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Social media is fast. Relationships still take time

I was talking with a seasoned PR practitioner who recognizes she’s not as up to speed on social media as she could be. She was doing some work for a not-for-profit and asked if I had any advice on how they could engage bloggers and influencers.

I asked her a few questions:

  • What are your goals?
  • Has the organization taken any time to build relationships?
  • Does the group maintain an active presence on social networks? 
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