The media has maintained a frenzied approach towards initial coin offerings (ICOs) that are at truly height of its evolution. This is a world where, until a few months ago, the magic word ICO was enough to get massive media exposure – however this is rapidly changing with the public becoming increasingly skeptical.
At DM Communications, we are in a continuous contact with the journalists, witnessing the changing needs of the media. There are no shortage of angles to consider when launching an ICO today. Since the media has stopped treating ICOs as a marvel of our generation, new projects must do more to get the attention of potential investors.
The allure of an ICO
Until a few months ago, the use of the word ICO alone was sufficient to secure a position in a well-known publication or outlet. However, fast forwarding to the present, an uptick of crowdfunding, regulations, and scrutiny in the public atmosphere has forced everyone to adapt.
It seems that the media process within the orbit of ICOs is drawing parallels to the same world that startups and applications have experienced. A few years ago, when the first applications were launched, they were greeted with a thrilling embrace in the media.
Every child who worked from a garage, or mentioned the word “app” became an attraction to the media, drawing publicity as well. However, over time, this process and innovation was internalized by the media as well as the public. Today, an app is nothing more than a tool that improves UX and UI – and for it to be meaningful, it demands more than just a vision or buzzwords.
At the present, media venues as well as the public look not just at an app but the technology behind it, as well as the essence of the project, how it benefits our lives, and how the venture makes natural use of the possibilities inherent in the technology.
Additionally, various start-ups have also successfully harnessed public excitement to raise enormous sums of cash for ventures that do not necessarily exist. As such, media venues have begun seeking to better understand why a given service is expected to become big and conquer every smartphone.
As part of our work for dozens of companies in the field of technology and finance, we are faced with questions that stress the media and a larger audience today. This is true whether it is public relations, crisis management, lead generation and more.
For my part, I’ve focused on the most common topics we encounter from reporters. An enterprise that does not know how to provide a detailed response to these issues will be perceived as a bush league by the media and will not receive the exposure it’s seeking.
In terms of ICOs, do yourself a great favor and before you go public, know how to answer these questions seriously. If you find that parts of your puzzle are still missing, spend more time making improvements that will save you a lot of money later on.
Programmers on payroll and a beta version of the product will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing
If we go back to comparing the world of applications, then the world of ICOs is also evolving. The fact that entrepreneurs claim that they will use Blockchain technology in the product’s framework has ceased to be perceived as more than just a vision at best, or statements without cover at worst.
At this very moment, the ICO industry is forming an identity. It seems that an enterprise that can show an existing product or anything close enough to this garners extensive media coverage. Entrepreneurs in this field will save a fortune if they invest resources in some developers and will be able to show a beta version working towards the ICO.
The first question that we are asked by reporters when we work on behalf of our clients is whether we can show an existing product. An enterprise that addresses this point creates an advantage in a market where many have a screenshot of the future user interface and no more.
News, news, and more news
So your idea is revolutionary, that’s an excellent starting point, but it’s not enough. We come across exciting concepts on a daily basis, and so does the media. One of the recurring questions on the part of the media is how the story behind the initiative truly changes, in the here and now, the existing world.
Show your genuine difference points – connect the differentiation and the narrative to the ground of reality and check that your story is still new knowledge even after the vision and dreams were isolated from what you have to offer now. For example, I came across an entrepreneur who, as a response to such questions, read me the project’s roadmap, thinking that it’s going to be enough, and told me miracles about what would happen in a short time if they only raised $60 million.
Well, I think this topic was summed up perfectly by a close friend of mine, which happen to be a well-known journalist on an international news website based in the UK. “I get pitched ten times a day regarding ICOs. You say that in two months the beta version is ready? So, let’s do a story about it then.”
Promises for a future event, even if this is expected to take shape in a matter of weeks, will lead the media to wait at best or to disregard at worst. The tight and stressful schedules that characterize ICOs do not allow this. You should strive to provide immediate news, beyond the narrative, and avoid giving information about what would happen in a short time if you do not wish to receive such answers.
Large and well-known names of investors, partners, Advisory Board members, etc. can sometimes replace the need for an existing product or join it and become an item in their right.
There is no doubt that recruiting a well-known international name for your Advisory Board will help PR to communicate with the media and with potential investors. In cases where you are looking for such connections, I would emphasize two points in which I see entrepreneurs are lacking.
First, be aware of yourself and the names you recruit. A well-known phenomenon is that an entrepreneur looks at the ICO itself in a non-objective manner. When you think that you have recruited a big name, ask yourself honestly whether this is a well-known person in the international arena.
The world is big, and people with many successes behind them and tens of millions of dollars of capital will not necessarily be a catalyst for exposure and interest on the part of the media. Secondly, look for within the sector that relates to your project. Big names do not have to come only from the Blockchain world. If your project is active in health, sports, tourism, etc., look for familiar names in these respective sectors.
They may appreciate what you have to offer more than someone who is not knowledgeable in the field and comes from a financial and technological background only. Joining a well-known figure in the area from which your venture operates will help to provide no-less media exposure.
Not only Blockchain
Today when you want to create media exposure to a new venture, you turn to the technology sections, but you must first look at the communications sections that cover the fields of your project.
For example, a technological enterprise that solves a legal problem must also address the media dealing with the law and not just covering technology. In many ICOs with which we work, it seems that media dealing with crypto is still considered mistakenly as the only relevant sector to approach.
Well, this was indeed the reality until not long ago and no doubt, this media is central. However, investors are everywhere. People from all corners of the world and from all aspects of life acquire cryptocurrencies and the way to meet them are not necessarily in the narrow media of industry.
Does the project have a local angle?
An efficient way to produce a trigger for exposure is the local angle. The idea is to think about how to create a story that will be relevant for a specific country. If possible, then a state where there is a growing interest in ICOs. For example, a member of the Advisory Board that you have successfully recruited who is not recognized in the international arena, but is known in a specific country can produce exposure in the same region.
If your project is related to sports, and you have not been able to recruit an NBA basketball player as a partner, supporter, etc., you can always contact well-known athletes in their own countries. This alternative is much cheaper, and although it requires work, it can produce quite a bit of exposure.
Even a project that is dealing with a problem that has more relevance to a specific country can generate increased exposure in that country. For example, an enterprise dealing with transportation problems will be relevant to countries where this issue is sensitive, as an initiative that addresses issues related to cost-reduction in the health system will be relevant to countries where such needs exist.
Look for the local angles as these will be a springboard for media exposure.
How much did you raise? Or in other words, tell me something interesting
How much money has been raised is a tricky question that we encounter from journalists. If your project is of interest to the media according to the parameters in which a journalist judge, this point, shouldn’t be a barrier. If you have an existing product that solves a real problem, the fact that you have not been able to raise money will not necessarily lead to a lack of interest or exposure.
When the “how much you’ve raised” question arises as a first question, the subtext comes from it is lack of interest. The reporter implies that although you think your story is unique, he saw these kinds of stories quite a bit, and that only news regarding $10 million that you’ve raised will save it and make it publication worthy.
Could be worse
The future is likely to be more complicated. If we go back to the evolution that characterized the world of applications, we see that even an existing product has stopped providing a stimulus for exposure.
Today, applications are equal to each enterprise and are required to show large numbers of users, names of well-known investors and other data that make the work tough for the entrepreneurs, while filtering “white noise” information that the media perceives as inappropriate.
We are not far from the time when any initiative associated with Blockchain will receive the same treatment where an existing product alone will not provide validity for organic exposure in the media. We will witness a growing demand for real users of technology, significant sums of investments, phenomenal success, and additional data indicating that the startup is operating and thriving.
Therefore, the present is still full of opportunities. Those who are seeking to survive and succeed, should invest in an existing product, perhaps in a small community around it, and create a reality that will connect the vision to the ground of existence and validate the project.
Sure, this is not as simple as it was six months ago, but software development is a simple solution comparing to the future alternative that will lead to a drastic decline in the wave of ICOs we are witnessing.
With skepticism comes understanding. The flood of crowdfunding has made journalists, even those who are not in the field, aware of the technology. The Blockchain is no longer an amorphous concept and there is a demand for depth. Entrepreneurs who internalize this will ultimately benefit.
David Malits is the owner of DM Communications, a PR and PPC performance agency. David also specializes in crisis communications, reputation management, content creation and SEO for companies in the fields of finance, technology, regulation, and Blockchain. For any inquiries or questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org