by Guest Post
By Jackson Wightman, Allison Aitken and Borjana Slipicevic
Facebook’s ban on ads pertaining to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) presents blockchain entrepreneurs with a serious challenge.
Building community via Facebook ads that drove people to landing pages where they then opted into an email list, had been a key tactic for those launching ICOs.
Outside of a compelling project with solid investment opportunity, an engaged and robust community remains the foundation of successful ICOs.
This means that the PR channel – specifically generating earned media coverage of a project before the ICO in both crypto and mainstream press – has increased in importance. Positive earned media coverage has many benefits to any company or project but, given Facebook’s move, it is now an important part of getting the word out at the top of the funnel and building a community and email list.
But PR is finicky, fickle channel. It’s hard to control. Here are five ways to ensure you get the PR process around your ICO right:
- Pitch the product and project, not the ICO. Your ICO is big news to you, but not so much to anyone else. When you pitch media you are best to focus on the initiative(s) the ICO will fund. The media are going to be more impressed by the planned outcome and the problem your project solves. Likewise, you need a prototype. Even if its unpolished, it strengthens your story and demonstrates that your idea is more than a concept.
- Press needs to drop pre ICO. Between 80 and 90 percent of tokens are sold on the first day of an ICO. You’re likely going to offer a huge discount on tokens to those who buy on day one of the sale. This means the best time for press to drop is in the two weeks before the ICO opens. While no one can force media to publish in a specific time frame you need to adjust your PR outreach plan to try and make this happen. Press that drops late is worth exponentially less.
- A mix of press can make all the difference. As we mentioned above, you need to cover all the bases. Look at how many mainstream outlets are writing about crypto. An article in a legacy outlet is valuable. Plus, many smaller crypto outlets will either catch on to this mainstream coverage with pieces of their own or simply syndicate content. The best media coverage is always that which allows a company to connect with its audiences. In our experience for an ICO that usually means some legacy media and some crypto focused outlets.
- Have a clear and credible ICO roadmap. A large part of media cynicism tends to center around delivery. Any firm launching an ICO must provide a crystal clear roadmap and refer to it in any interactions with the fourth estate. Be prepared to speak to your security measures and your plans around regulatory approval.
- Stress the team and advisors. Due to the credibility gap around ICOs reporters are concerned about the team behind a project. This underlines the importance recruiting a solid advisory board pre ICO. It also necessitates a core team whose competencies strongly suggest they can deliver. Journalists who cover ICOs are almost always concerned with an ICO team’s bios. Messaging around this needs to be super tight. Don’t begin media outreach until you have this in order.
Jackson Wightman, Allison Aitken and Borjana Slipicevic are partners at Proper Propaganda, a PR agency that helps technology companies craft and spread their stories.
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