Emma Lawton, blockchain PR account manager at The PHA Group, presents her tips to ensuring that blockchain businesses can create cut-through in a crowded market.
While 2018 saw unprecedented levels of investment in blockchain-based companies – more than $6.3 billion was raised through ICOs in the first three months alone according to Coin Desk – it also saw major media fatigue and scepticism grow in the industry.
Despite this, there are still plenty of opportunities for credible companies who are harnessing blockchain technology to solve actual problems to tell their story. As the industry matures, we are naturally seeing those who jumped on the hype train drop off, allowing for the genuine players to come to the fore.
What’s needed to grab journalists’ attention in the face of increasing scepticism is a comprehensive and consistent comms strategy. I’ve outlined a few key pointers on what that should look like.
Technology by its very nature is neutral, which means blockchain could be applied in any sector imaginable. The trick however is to ensure that you are genuinely using blockchain to solve a pre-existing problem and that this is at the very heart of your messaging.
From day one you need to position yourself as more than just another blockchain start-up. A clearly defined message for the vertical(s) you operate in, be it finance, recruitment or even energy, targeting key stakeholders is very important; they need to understand your value proposition without being confused by technical jargon.
Before picking up the phone to a journalist, you must have a clear view of the value your blockchain solution will bring to the people you’re targeting.
While there have been a number of ‘experts’ over the last few years who have contributed to the general feeling of blockchain fatigue, journalists are keen to speak to genuinely knowledgeable people on the topic.
It’s really important for founders and key spokespeople to make their names known; humanising the company while establishing it as a leading expert in the field. A big mistake is focusing purely on the blockchain press; real credibility in this space comes from being covered in the mainstream national and vertical trade press as well as the likes of Coin Desk.
There is a huge opportunity for spokespeople to share knowledge and add genuine value to the wider conversation through extended op-ed articles, interviews and speaking slots. This is essential, as only producing articles about why your business is the best simply leads to journalist fatigue, fewer column inches and the impression that you’re not interested in supporting the wider industry.
While Twitter and LinkedIn are the go-to channels for businesses, with Instagram for those more consumer-focused, Telegram and Slack take number one place when it comes to engaging with blockchain and cryptocurrency communities.
The two platforms enable direct engagement with founders and developers, so expect detailed, technical questions too heavy to include in a website Q&A to be asked here. As with any form of social media, moderation and message continuity are key to success.
What gets published in an interview or article must be backed up by what is communicated to investors, platform users and clients in the social channels – sending mixed messages never helped anyone.
While Reddit is also a channel which can help you to effectively communicate a blockchain company – authenticity is vital. Redditers are notorious for calling out brands for inauthentically advertising on the platform; they’ve even been known to trace IP addresses back to agencies – calling out PRs!
If you are going to use Reddit, be 100% transparent and make sure you contribute to the wider conversation – or you will be ousted from the site.
Competition for the media spotlight has never been fiercer. To stand out from the blockchain crowd and grab fatigued journalists’ attention, a consistent comms strategy that establishes the business as a credible leading expert in blockchain is an absolute must.
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