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MediaConnect introduces Tech Leaders brand to Kickstart

MediaConnect will introduce the Tech Leaders brand to its annual Kickstart conference as it seeks to extend its platform for helping Australia’s leading technology spokespeople to connect with media and influencers.

Kickstart Forum 2014 will be held at Sanctuary Cove resort from February 16 to 18 next year. The event brings approximately 50 of Australia’s most influential journalists together to hear about the trends that will shape the industry over the coming months.

MediaConnect CEO Phil Sim said that the decision to refresh Kickstart with the Tech Leader brand came following feedback from journalists and a review of the outcomes generated from most recent events.

“Kickstart has always generated media coverage, but it’s fair to say that it was an outcome we didn’t emphasise, instead promoting its networking and educational benefits,” Sim explained. “However, in recent years, the amount of exposure that Kickstart has received via both media articles and social media has exploded because the reality is online journalists are always looking to file.

“We felt that Kickstart Forum, while a strong brand within the tech media and PR community, didn’t really communicate to the public what the event was about, whereas Tech Leaders does that much better.”

Last year, for instance, Kickstart interviews formed the basis for two Sky Business News technology episodes and Malcolm Turnbull’s keynote generated more than 30 stories. Kickstart was also consistently a trending topic on Twitter during the event.

“We saw on Twitter a lot of people asking ‘what is this Kickstart Forum all about?’, and we believe Tech Leaders is much better positioning for the event, for those presenting and for those reporting on it.”

Sim said that all presentations would be professionally filmed and hosted on a soon-to-launch video-based website at techleaders.com.au.

“We’ve taken inspiration from the TED talks,” Sim remarked. “We want to get a whole bunch of really smart Australian technology professionals to talk about what’s changing our industry, because that’s the type of content journalists want to hear.”

Indeed, journalists will vote on what is the best presentation and will award a Tech Leader of 2014.

Tech Leaders will now make up the first two days of Kickstart Forum, with the third-day shifting to a product focus. 

“Kickstart Forum has become very business technology and thought-leadership focused over the last couple of years, and we felt the third-day needed something a little different. We’re also trying to provide a platform for those companies who are predominantly product-focused, and for more consumer technology journalists.”

Kickstart is now in its 12th year, and Sim said the secret to its success was a continual refinement of the format to fit the market requirements.

“It’s fair to say that the raison d'être for the event — that journalists had little time for face-to-face and background briefings — is as compelling as ever, as newsrooms and editorial resources continue to shrink.

“However, what we’ve found is that the publicity benefit of the event has ramped up dramatically and so we’re tweaking the brand and format to reflect that.”

Technology vendors and PRs interested in attending the event can contact Mike Woodcock on (02) 9894 6277 or mike@mediaconnect.com.au. Technology journalists and influencers who are interested in attending can express their interest by contacting Gursi Kaur at gursi@mediaconnect.com.au.

More information about Kickstart Forum 2014 can be found at www.kickstartforum.com.

Media relationships still key

​In September, MediaConnect hosted our annual Media Insights seminar. It's a full-day event, targetted mostly at those that are relatively new to PR, where they get to hear from approximately 20 of the country's top technology journalists.

The idea is that tech PR professionals develop a better understanding of the role of the IT journo and learn strategies and insight that will help them work more effectively with journalists going forward.

This year, two themes rang out throughout the entire day. Journalists constantly spoke about how time-poor they were, but also kept commenting on the need for PR professionals and technology vendors to try and build relationships.

From a journalist perspective this makes sense. If you don't have a lot of time, knowing who people are, what they can talk about as well as having a mutual understanding of each other's expectations and needs means that you can cut straight to the chase. Relationships become a particularly efficient and productive filtering process.

From a public relations point of view though, those two journalist requests, tend to run counter to each other. Unfortunately, journalists tend to have less time just to meet and greet, or get educational backgrounders because they have the relentless daily schedule that is generally inherent to online publishing.

This isn't a particularly new phenomenon. Indeed, MediaConnect's Kickstart Forum was created because of this dichotomy more than ten years ago. However, the challenge of getting those relationships in place, and nurturing and growing them over time, when many journalists don't spend a lot of time away from their desk is particularly pressing right now. It's probably fair to say that most publications and newsrooms are operating with less resources than they have ever had before.

MediaConnect launches Kickstart 2013

​MediaConnect has today launched Kickstart 2013 the technology sector's premier networking event for companies that communicate with the IT media.

This year's event will be held at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Queensland Sunshine Coast from Sunday, February 17 to Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

MediaConnect CEO Phil Sim said that even prior to today's launch there has been unprecedented interest in companies signalling their intention to attend this year's Kickstart event.

"It's no secret that journalists today are time-poor and subsequently getting face-to-face time with journalists and building those critical media relationships has never been more difficult," Sim said.

"The birth of this event way back in 2003 was based around the idea of an intensive, three-day conference that was incredibly time-efficient for both technology executives and journalists, and it seems like every year that concept has only become more relevant and practical."

Kickstart Forum is attended by approximately 50 of Australia's most influential technology journalists, typically representing nearly all major technology publications in both Australia and New Zealand.

Journalists will hear from, and network with, up to 40 IT vendors with the goal of discussing the major themes that are likely to shape the year ahead in the technology sector.

Some of the companies that have presented at Tech Leaders Forum