If you are planning on launching an ICO at some point in the near future then the last few weeks have probably caused you to re-calibrate your plans. The news that social networks have chosen to ban Crypto and ICO ads is not entirely surprising given the concerns about some of the entities that are being created. Yet it does in many ways impinge on the plans of serious ICO based companies who are now deprived of one of their key marketing tactics. At the time of writing Google is still accepting ICO ads, but the company says that it will introduce new guidelines in June.
Whether the bans have undermined the credibility of ICOs and cryptocurrency is a discussion for another time. It does mean however that companies who are serious about ICOs will need to work harder to get their message out to potential investors, and this means that content creation and media relations are going to be even more important.
At Clarity we are currently working with a number of companies who are moving towards an ICO. We tend to be very selective about the companies we work with too, choosing entities that meet our very strict criteria. It is a given in our minds though that while the ICO/Crypto space is in a degree of flux, both will become established business practices in the future.
So if you are thinking of an ICO here are few things to bear in mind.
1 You are going to have to double down on your creds
The media, investors, even PR companies are not interested in half -baked ideas dreamt up by people with limited experience in technology. In order to create and execute a successful PR programme the company needs to be able to demonstrate a significant degree of difference from the chancers who are flirting with the space.
This means having a team in place that has plenty of relevant experience. It means that you can demonstrate an MVP to show to potential investors as well as journalists. It also means having a bullet proof white paper that can clearly demonstrate the idea and how it will be executed.
With these creds it is easier for PR companies to interest the media in a story. For PR outreach the main game in town has to be proving that the company has credibility and has chosen an ICO because it suits their technology, or is a genuine route to disruption. Not just an seemingly quick and easy way of raising capital.
2 You need to know what your key news opportunities are
Your route to ICO presents you with at best three key news opportunities. You need to ensure that are ready to make the most of them. The first is who are you - who is in your team, what experience have they had etc. The second is what are you going to ICO. You don’t have to offer an exact date, but an intimation you are going to have an offering can be a news story. The third is around the pre-sale - can you show that you have important investors on board?
3 You need to build momentum first though
Even before you start your ICO journey your company needs to be establishing itself in its chosen field. There are number of way of doing this. Events and conferences are key, especially if you are in a position where you can create your own events, You can position yourself as an authority on your chosen area. Another tactic that has proved highly effective especially for European ICOs is newsjacking. There's an article here which expands on the process in more depth. Again though this is very hard to execute on unless you have a dedicated PR team in place.
4 Content is essential
There's a good chance that you are reading this article because you come across it via a search engine. In the ICO/Crypto world content is a very good way of creating awareness as not enough companies in the space devote enough resources to it. There is still demand for high quality thought leadership articles too and again if these can reflect your knowledge and experience in an industry sector it will only increase your credibility.
5 There are still paid for opportunities
The tech giants may have called time on ICO/Crypto advertising, but there are still many editorial driven ‘coin’ websites which will take both your ads and your content. Again it is so important have content that is on message and reflects your core strengths.
6 The ICO world is rapidly changing
Who knows though what might happen in the future. There is a school of thought that the ICO/Crypto/blockchain word might end up as the preserve for smaller invariably European states, as they can move fastest to implement structures and regulations that will deliver strong foundations for the companies and their processes. But then again who knows.
If you are looking to ICO get in touch. We have run ICOs out of our New York and London/Berlin offices. Get in contact here.
There's more on how to PR and ICO here.
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