The following article is authored by Miahi Herman – Founder & CEO of Herman.Media.
We at Humans of Blockchain ™ recognize such highly skilled individuals and promote their opinions/ outlook for the Blockchain Industry.
This article was first published at https://herman.media/blockchain-pr-tips
Blockchain technology is incredibly versatile and flexible, allowing for potentially seamless integration with several other technologies. Due to its numerous advantages and potential use-cases which cut across global industries, many companies are now seeking to pursue blockchain-based projects in an attempt to capitalize on its increasing popularity. The go-to method for raising funds for these pro-blockchain companies is launching an ICO or an STO; however, ICO/STO management can be an intricate process with a lot of nuances especially when it comes to blockchain PR.
Blockchain PR is one of the most essential aspects of managing a blockchain business; unfortunately, most startups tend to neglect or pay little attention to PR management. Alongside poor business execution, having a weak PR game is one of the primary reasons there is a growing number of failed blockchain projects around the world. However, this is quickly starting to change as startups are coming to the realization that you cannot have success without great PR.
When it comes to running a blockchain business, the importance of PR management cannot be underemphasized. For an industry whose total global investment (as of 2018) stood at $1.3 billion shattering the previous year’s record, it is not surprising that many companies in the blockchain niche are now competing for the media’s attention to help spread the word about their offering. As the industry gets more competitive, adopting and effectively utilizing a comprehensive communication and PR strategy is becoming an arduous task.
To lighten this burden and help you with PR navigation, we have compiled a list of DO’S and DON’T’s for blockchain PR management. This will serve as key guidelines that will steer your company in the right direction towards achieving your marketing goals.
Blockchain PR: DOs (good practices)
1. Brand structuring
Before embarking on your blockchain PR journey, it is incredibly important that your brand is appropriately structured. This step is crucial, and it is where a lot of early mistakes happen. Your brand’s message, values and services must be simple, clear and easy to understand. Enumerating the benefits of your product in simple terms will not only attract potential investors, but it will allow your message to spread faster.
Remember Steve Jobs’ famous quote “Less is more.”
Many companies make the mistake of bombarding readers with a lot of technical “jargon” and caveats or worse, being too ambiguous, at the end of the day, the brand’s actual message is lost and seldom understood; investors quickly move on, searching for the next shiny object. It is also worth noting you can amplify your brand’s message by utilizing surveys and quantitative research this will help create a sense of urgency and build a case for the need for your product/service.
At the other end of the spectrum, like those companies who spent too much time perfecting their message that it keeps them from ever launching their product to the world. Find a balance between these two.
2. Send out press releases
There is a common fallacy that press releases are dead; don’t fall for this! The press release is still one of the most effective strategies for spreading the word about your project. The press release is a crucial marketing tool because it is relatively easy to do and could enable you to expand your audience reach fairly quickly. The press release is dual in function; it allows you to get out important information while simultaneously building your brand’s image, it is the perfect double-edged sword in blockchain PR and should not be underestimated.
When writing press releases, you should ensure the title is catchy, include an “about your company” section and most importantly hire competent writing services. Watch out for their prices as most writing services under $50 are of substandard quality.
The ideal length of a press release should be around 400, maximum 500 words. If it’s longer than that, it means that there’s unnecessary information – remember that most editors don’t have more than five seconds to look at a press release. The about section shouldn’t take more than 20% of the whole release length – no one will read 300 words about a company, no matter how disrupting it may be.
Also, no matter how great your writer is, send the press release to a professional proofreader as well.
3. Quality over quantity
Nowadays, promotion is largely done online; therefore, blockchain startups should prioritize the promotion of their brand online because this is where a large number of potential investors can be found. Typically, online advertisement will involve the deployment of several SEO techniques especially the use of backlinks. Popular search engines, like Google, use backlinks as a significant criterion for website ranking. Most crypto websites make the mistake of seeking mentions in a lot of random sites, hoping that the multiple mentions will improve their ranking, this cannot be further from the truth.
To push your website ahead of your competitors, it will be quite beneficial to get a handful of strong brand mentions from a few respectable publications rather than getting 20 backlinks from websites with 10,000 visits/month. This approach will provide better link juice and will allow your site to gain authority quicker. When it comes to building backlinks, the aphorism “quality over quantity” always holds true.
Steve Jobs’ quote deserves another mention “Less is more.”
Long-term, it will help your business more if you get a mention (+ a backlink) from Forbes, Wired, Entrepreneur, HackerNoon, Cointelegraph, and CCN, than getting 1,000 links from irrelevant, low-trafficked websites. It’s beneficial not only in terms of SEO but also in terms of branding, awareness, and trust.
4. Establishing leadership
Leadership establishment is another critical aspect of blockchain PR particularly when one considers the growing lack of trust in the industry due to a large number of failed/failing projects. Leaders inspire trust, and if you want potential investors to have confidence in your product, you should portray yourself as a leader in your space.
This can be done by creating authored, opinion-based articles known as bylined articles. These type of articles are advantageous because they help improve your credibility and establish you as a thought leader in your field while at the same time drawing attention to your company and your product offering. Leadership in the blockchain niche can also be established through participation in public speaking events and crypto hackathons.
Having published a couple of bylined articles also increases your chances of scoring a contributor account with that (those) publication(s), which means you are now one of their regular writers.
Blockchain PR: DON’Ts (mistakes to avoid)
1. Concentrating too much on the ICO/STO (fundraising)
Considering how important the ICO/STO is for fundraising, it is not surprising that many crypto startups end up dedicating too much time to ICO/STO promotion while ignoring their company and their product offering. In the fiercely competitive blockchain industry, this could be a fatal mistake. While promoting the ICO/STO, you must not forget how important it is to brand your product and your company, always remember that the ICO/STO is temporary, but your company will remain even after the ICO is over. Make sure people associate your name with value.
2. Setting up PR too late
Picking the right PR team can be problematic, especially since this space is pretty much saturated. ICO/STO projects either make the mistake of patronizing a PR team when it is too late or rushing to pick a PR team and ending up with an incompetent one. Learn from their failures; do not make the same mistakes. Start working with your PR team way ahead of your ICO/STO launch so that your company can start appearing in the media early on, setting up your PR team late in the game will mean that most of the PR efforts won’t yield the appropriate results.
READ MORE: How to Launch a Successful ICO/STO Campaign
Also, you must know what to look out for before working with a PR team. Most of all, you must consider their experience in the blockchain niche, their dedication, and transparency as well as their track record. Avoid PR agencies that don’t send you some surveys or make introductory calls to find out more about your company. Also, if their only resource for delivering publicity is your website, it’s a big NO. There are many scams in PR, so you must be alert and selective.
Another flag, when it comes to PR results, is that if they promise you big outlets delivered in a matter of days, it’s usually a NO-NO. Quality PR work involves brainstorming sessions, picking up the right angles, drafting pitches and articles plus getting them approved, and a ton of followup emails.
Most of our packages take about three to five months to complete. The first 20 – 30 days are for planning, drafting, approval, and pitching. Results usually come in starting with month number two.
3. Lack of media channel diversification
Due to the vastness of the internet, proper blockchain PR requires taking advantage of a wide range of media channels. Do not put all your eggs in one basket and limit yourself to a few social media avenues because potential investors who are really interested in your offering could be on the other channels you may have ignored.
Some companies are fond of creating long and boring press releases and publishing them only on the company’s blog; you cannot expect to capture new audience/users by doing this. Ensure that press releases and other similar articles are published on various channels and social media outlets. The internet is a big place, take advantage of it!
Having the same press release published on 15 crypto websites is not a PR strategy or campaign. A strong PR/publicity campaign involves a combination of press releases (both organic and sponsored), strong brand mentions, founder/CEO interviews and even bylined articles published in CEO’s name to build her/his authority.
4. Having unrealistic expectations
This is another major problem with a lot of ICO/STO projects; they think PR will solve all their marketing problems and become the sole source for traffic generation. This philosophy is wrong. You must understand that PR isn’t magic; it is reputation branding and should only be viewed as part of your overall marketing strategy. There are other aspects of marketing to consider like planning, segmentation, market research, target and positioning, advertising, etc. The main goal of PR is branding, for PR to be truly successful, you must ensure that other aspects of your business are adequately handled.
Branding has the power to build trust, raise awareness, drive investors and even push up conversion rates. Use it at your own risk.
5. Don’t EVER Give Up!
Adapt, edit, brainstorm new ideas and try again. The key in any running a successful PR campaign is consistency; you must consistently make your pitch to journalists, contributors, editors, keep spreading the word about your company and the solutions you’re offering. It may not always work on the first try, but if you keep at it for 6 months while adhering to the tips in this guide, you will definitely see results.
As a piece of bonus advice, we urge you not to quit the PR campaign after the ICO/STO phase is over. Some of these projects vanish from social media space after their fundraising efforts; this is a counterproductive move which will make many people suspicious about the authenticity of your company. PR and marketing are more of long term strategies which will continue to improve your company’s public image long after the ICO/STO. Of course, following the ICO/STO, you may decide to change your approach, re-adjust your budget and frequency, but the bottom line is, you should never terminate your PR strategy.
Look at Nike, Coca-Cola, Starbucks – are they still putting big bucks in PR? Then why wouldn’t you?!