A long time ago, in another lifetime, I wrote about cryptocurrency news for The Next Web. I’d make fun of the characters in the industry, as well as the relative froth in what was, and still is a very early industry. I’ve also done a great deal of Bitcoin Marketing and Public Relations, and I want to dig into what I’ve seen in the last few years in my first proper post on The Future Buzz. This includes cryptocurrency public relations launches ranging from very deep, technical crypto products, all the way to being able to use your cryptocurrency in 30,000 stores nationwide.
Lesson 1: Almost nobody cares if your CEO has an opinion on the price of Bitcoin
Depending on what day you’re reading the news, there are roughly 300,000 articles about the price of Bitcoin. Today it’s that Facebook is launching their own cryptocurrency. Tomorrow cryptocurrency marketing experts will say it’s because of the long term effects of Facebook’s cryptocurrency. The day after Bitcoin could go up or down, and yet more people will guess what it means.
Here’s the truth: it doesn’t mean anything, and for the most part nobody cares if your CEO has guessed the reason. 99% of cryptocurrency marketing and public relations people are scrambling to try and get their CEO (or themselves) in front of reporters to report on the price of Bitcoin, and I can guarantee they don’t really know why. Sure, they can vaguely estimate that some news story moved it up or down, but for the most part it’s very hard to actually nail down what moves it.
More importantly, if you’re spamming reporters as a cryptocurrency public relations “professional” that your CEO has the dark secret that moved the cryptocurrency markets, you’re doing both them and the reporter a disservice. Nobody cares!
Lesson 2: Cryptocurrency marketing and public relations is full of charlatans – and it’s your job to prove you’re not one of them
I learned this one the hard way with a few bad clients, but god there’s a lot of quasi-legal, quasi-real crap in this industry. What this means is that, fairly, cryptocurrency marketing and PR has become a game of working uphill against the fair expectation that almost everything in cryptocurrency is at best vaporware, or at worst a scam. Even Facebook’s new cryptocurrency was called a scam by Nouriel Roubini, AKA. Doctor Doom:
From my personal experience, this means that in any cryptocurrency marketing or PR, professionals should prepare in advance for an assault of cynicism. This means asking your client the hard questions, and having concrete, real-world examples of how your product works and why it’s actually trustworthy. This could mean having a respectable third party, like an investor or influencer outside of crypto that you can reference.
Lesson 3: Don’t launch without a minimum viable product (on the actual blockchain)
This one’s really simple, and applies to almost every single industry, but in particular with cryptocurrency marketing and public relations: don’t launch without some sort of god damn product. I’ve learned this painfully a few times – no matter how good your intentions are, no matter how many documents you have, no matter how many investors you’ve got, you need something.
I hate to say this, but this also means the damn thing needs to be on the mainnet – not a testnet. This means that you need to have a real, functioning product, working on the Ethereum mainnet (if it’s that kind of product), or on its own blockchain but in an operational way. It has to do the thing it’s meant to do in a way that’s accessible to the real world.
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