Tips for SXSW PanelPicker Success: The Title

Written by Hugh Forrest | Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Russ Unger Make your voice heard at SXSW 2014.
Russ Unger at SXSW IA 2013.
Photo by Robert Tobiansky

Monday, July 1 marks the first day of entry for the 2014 SXSW PanelPicker process.

Based on our numbers from last year, SXSW Interactive expects to receive more than 3000 speaking proposals before this entry process closes at the end of the day on Friday, July 26.

So how can you ensure that your amazing idea doesn't get lost in the mix? Crafting a great title is an obvious (but often overlooked) aspect of a successful proposal. A great title simply and accurately and succinctly reflects the focus of your idea, such that people can understand what your session will cover even without reading your description.

Vague, non-descriptive language is a common mistake on titles -- but if readers can't comprehend the basic focus of your proposal without also reading the description, then you probably need to re-think your approach. If you can make the title witty and attention-getting, then wonderful. But please don't let wit sidetrack you from the more significant goals of simple, accurate and succinct.

Finally, we remind you that PanelPicker titles can not be longer than seven words -- so think short. Even within the shortness of this seven word constraint, we strongly suggest putting the most important words at the beginning of the proposal (so "HTML5: Seven Secrets for Success" is much better than "Seven Secrets for Success for HTML5").

For more info on this process, please refer to the PanelPicker FAQ.