Great promotion equates to successful ICO campaigns. However, there are a few challenges that all campaigns need to overcome in order to get the attention they desire.
There was a time when ICOs were so new and exciting that the launch of any of them was nearly an instant success. Remember Mastercoin back in 2013? Unfortunately, those days are gone.
There have been so many ponzi-schemes and bogus tokens that people have lost trust in ICOs and regulators have started to crackdown too. If you are considering promoting your ICO using PR then you will be faced with challenges like these.
Does your project even exist?
Journalists don’t want to write about a group of people speculating and making promises about something that doesn’t exist yet. Ideas are cheap and they can lead to great things but they don’t constitute a news story.
Bans on advertising and regulatory restrictions
Most of the major social media channels such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and SnapChat have banned advertisements for ICOs. In addition, regulatory agencies like the SEC have tightened up on ICO promotion practices. This means you need to be very careful about how you define and promote an ICO.
The average person still doesn’t have a solid understanding of ICOs, cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. The world’s eyes opened wide when bitcoin was topping out last December, but with major price volatility, risk, and scam tokens in the mix - it's difficult for people to get behind a new token.
This means that you need to work harder to earn support and trust from your audience by validating your project with a strong PR campaign.
Another challenge to successfully funding an ICO is that there is typically a split in the potential audiences. On the one side are the token investors who are looking to make their next big buck.
On the other side are people who are actually interested in the purpose or functionality of the project being funded. They are rarely they same person.
This means that PR campaigns need to target both audiences by appealing to seasoned investors and by encouraging new participation that rallies support for the project.
PR advice to overcome these challenges
With a clearer picture of the PR landscape let’s look at how you can navigate through these challenges to find success. Here are a few solid strategies that will make sure you are moving in the right direction.
1. Make sure you allocate the right budget
This might seem fairly obvious - but you need to spend money to make money. Simply slapping out a press release on your keyboard won’t be enough to earn you the monumental impact of PR that you will need. It takes time, talent, strategy, and a lot of hard work to get it done the right way. That will cost.
2. Put together a strong team
You can consider the success of your PR campaign similar to the way that investors sniff out the potential growth of a token. If the team behind your PR is smart and up-to-speed on the latest trends within the crypto and blockchain media landscape - then they will be the ones who are able to lead you to success. If they can’t spell cryptocurrency - watch out!
3. Write until your fingers fall off
Many people think that PR is just getting a media mention in a top-tier publication - but this is a bad way to think about it. Not only do you need content created about you - you need to create content to let everyone know what you are about. “Write until you wear through the keyboard,” says Crystal Stranger, co-founder of blockchain account start-up Peacounts, “Sometimes I feel like all I do right now is write articles, blog posts, replies to emails and social media, even though I have four other team members doing that too, but it really is paying off. We have had several investors approach us because of articles, press releases, and other press we have received.”
4. Tell incredible stories
This is PR 101 - but something that so many ICO campaigns forget. In 2018, the fact that your ICO exists doesn’t present even the glimmer of an interesting angle for any real journalist. There were well over 900 last year, so instead of telling the press you’re launching an ICO, explain how it’s going to make an impact in the world.
Let’s see an example pitch from one of our clients:
5. Understand your audience
You need to understand who you are speaking to in order to appeal to them in the right way. This is doubly important when you are pitching and trying to get the attention of a journalist or editor. Are you appealing to an advanced crypto audience that craves an understanding of the merits of your token? Or are you talking to a soccer mom who is worried about identity theft? Regardless - you need to be clearly identifying the elements of your story that appeals to each specific segment of your audience.
6. Ensure your website is top shelf
If you are going to be driving attention back to your ICO - then you need to make sure that you are putting your best foot-forward. This is not only important for getting the trust of backers - but it’s also crucial for proving your validity to interested journalists.
If your ICO project isn’t even in beta and your website is still in development journalists won’t even respond to say “no” to your pitch.
7. Use PR as one block in your marketing pyramid
You should not rely entirely on PR to promote your ICO. Even more importantly, you need to make sure that it is supporting your other marketing channels. “Market, but do so smartly and don't overpromise. A lot of ICOs fail not only due to lack of marketing, but also due to an excess of poor marketing,” Nick Saponaro, co-founder and lead developer of The Divi Project, suggests. “ICOs need to account for the amount fear, uncertainty, and doubt people feel towards the industry.”
8. Establish a personal brand behind the business
The personal brand of the ICO’s founders will go a long way towards the success of your campaign. Investors are always encouraged to check the credentials of a coin’s founders before putting money into it. An easy way to get started on this is by guest posting and demonstrating expertise on relevant topics. This helps individuals build their authority as a thought leader in their niche while raising awareness about their product at the same time.
Don’t forget the basic elements of PR
With the above advice in mind - it is crucial to pull on three fundamental strategies to use PR to promote your ICO campaign.
Hard Pitches to the Press
Sponsored and Paid Placements
Leveraging each of these PR strategies will help you be more successful in proliferating the presence of your ICO, establishing trust and authority with your audiences, and hopefully bring you the backers you need to kickstart your project.