PR advice that crypto founders wish they’d heard sooner
Something I’ve noticed throughout my years as a PR consultant for dozens of crypto projects is that all founders want good PR, but few understand what it looks like. Founders and CEOs come to PR firms in the hopes that they will shape their image in the press, and about halfway through the engagement together, they tend to say, “Wow, I really see the value of this now. I understand how this works.”
And that’s great. The value of effective public relations is priceless, regardless of whether the client understands that right away. When a founder is able to cultivate a strong media presence and name recognition—when their publicist helps them say the right thing, at the right time, in the right outlet—that can translate into a strong reputation and, eventually, leads.
But the truth is, the sooner the founder understands that, the more effective the PR and the faster the results. My goal in writing this article is to help crypto and blockchain founders approach PR from a place of knowledge and come prepared to work hand in hand with their publicist to produce the best results early on. I often tell founders that PR is a marathon, not a race. Let’s go over some key tips for founders who want to win it.
PR vs. marketing
There are founders across the span of tech that will hire a PR agency to achieve marketing goals. That’s a misstep that ends up leaving all parties frustrated and wasting the potential for an effective PR strategy. But what does “effective” mean in PR? What can PR accomplish that marketing can’t?
Let’s imagine for a moment a situation in which your startup has been executing only marketing campaigns. Even if your key performance indicators (KPIs) are perfect, any VC or potential investor searching you on Google will only find overtly pay-to-play ads and perhaps SEO blogs on your website, but zero coverage by actual journalists.
It won’t matter to the VC how brilliant your thoughts are as a founder if they were only published on your company blog. They’re likely to think, ”If not a single news editor cared about these guys, why should I?” That’s where PR comes in.
Not only will potential partners and investors see that your company and product have been covered in the news sites that matter, but they’ll see your bylines in the opinion sections of those websites. They’ll see you on event panels, hear your voice on podcasts and take you as a serious thought leader capable of making a real impact in the industry.
The strength of a PR campaign
PR professionals leverage their media connections, storytelling prowess and strategy experience to tell your story and grab headlines. For maximum impact, it’s important for you to trust PR companies with any information or announcements you have so that they can pick the strongest strategy.
For PR pros, it’s truly tragic when founders spend hours explaining to us why they believe they are the next hottest project on the market, only to then tweet that they have raised money without giving us a heads up about it first. It doesn’t matter how great the language we use to describe your project sounds if we don’t have stories to pitch.
And that’s the idea here: Your PR is only as good as the quality of your stories. Of course, an effective publicist will maximize your coverage no matter the circumstances. But a big funding announcement, strategic partnership or product launch is the surest route into publications like CoinTelegraph, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, etc.
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Let your PR company handle announcements
This is PR 101 for communications professionals, but many founders don’t quite understand why it’s important to hand over announcing duties to your PR firm.
Journalists are there to cover the news. So the moment you’ve made your announcement about that $20 million you raised public on your Twitter account or blog, you can wave goodbye to that extensive exclusive strategy your publicist has been working on for weeks. At that point, it’s no longer news and no reporter will touch it with a nine-foot rod.
Speak to journalists in plain English
It’s tempting to pack PR titles and interviews with reporters with the marketing language you’ve worked so hard to produce — but don’t. Journalists don’t speak jargon. They want to know in plain English what your product is and why they should care about it.
Your brand new DeFi protocol might be the most revolutionary, disruptive and groundbreaking development in crypto since Vitalik came up with Ethereum. But all of those adjectives are red flags for journalists because they’re so overused that at this point, they’ve become buzzwords that can mean anything and everything.
The way to write catchy and effective PR language is to rely on the most impressive, concrete facts about your product or announcement, and hammer down — using objective language — why they make you unique in the market. Leonardo DiCaprio might be able to get away with saying he’s special to the press, but until you’re the biggest founder in crypto, you bear the burden of proving why you’re special.
Events are back on the menu
In the age of Zoom and sliding in journalists’ Twitter DMs, it’s easy to forget how important face time is for founders. In the same way authors can’t sell books without touring and musicians can’t make bank without performing, the most charismatic founder on your team needs to show their face on as many panels and as many conferences as possible.
People remember faces more than they remember names. They want to hear you speak about solutions to industry-wide challenges beyond the expanse of your product. Visionaries tend to do better than single-product salesmen.
I urge you to keep in mind the above tips next time you work with PR. If you’re still unhappy with the results, then the problem just might lie with your publicist.
Motti Peer is the founder and CEO of ReBlonde, an award-winning PR agancy specializing in technology and crypto.
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.