SXSW has long been advising on how to build startup communities, as you can see from Kristian’s post back in 2009. This year’s “How to Build Entrepreneurship Communities” panel was no different. Successful startup communities still need capital, mentors and support systems to thrive.

Perhaps new to this year’s conversation, though, was the need for storytelling. The startup epicenters on the coasts have media bulwarks in their neighborhoods – Fast Company, Mashable, TechCrunch, The New York Times – lapping up their frenzy and pushing it out into the world. But what is the official news source for activity happening more inland? What publication would you turn to if you wanted to find out something about, say, Chicago’s startup community? The largely coastal based panel was at a loss (although one member did have hopes that Built might be the one to do it.)

Jeff Slobotski, one of the panel members, shared his experience with bringing leading news coverage further midland. In 2008, he founded Silicon Prairie News, a story platform that has helped increase awareness of entrepreneurial activity both within, and perhaps more importantly, outside of Omaha, Des Moines and Kansas City’s startup communities. Jeff advised that it’s important to build your reach through both online and offline experiences. He described their early success hosting events that attracted out of town/state talent into their communities (perhaps a catalyst for Big Omaha?). These types of events are big opportunities to share your talent, gain more traction, and also benefit from outside resources & inputs.

Indy’s fortunate to have a number of media outlets sharing startup stories – IBJ, Inside Indiana Business, StartupDigest, Verge, and Startup Spectator. As we grow a strong community, I think it will be important to continue to project outward – to connect our community and our startups from coast to coast.