By Kaila Krajewski
If you’re not in the business of blockchain in all its decentralised, open-sourced greatness, then clearly you’ve had your head under a rock for the past year. Every tech-savvy mega brain has boarded the blockchain bus, but as any startup business has learned, a solid marketing strategy is necessary to get off the ground into the digital sphere, and on the screens of those already in the game.
So how do you publicise a blockchain startup? Surprisingly, it’s not unlike publicising any other startup: you need a solid business foundation and to be able to answer any tough questions a potential investor might pose (or post). Then it’s about identifying your audience, reaching out to media outlets for coverage and networking, networking, networking. Let’s dive in:
Your audience is going to fall into one of two categories: those who understand blockchain, and those who don’t. Although it seems like a simple notion, many companies fall into the trap of equating jargon with expertise. Just because you can throw around a few “hash rates” and “private keys” doesn’t mean your reader will trust you. Even when writing for a blockchain enthusiast, simplify your message. Stuffing lengthy sentences with complicated terms is boring, and your reader will scroll or click out within seconds.
Sure, you can get a little more technical when drafting your message for the crypto hipsters. But don’t forget that intro to marketing class lesson: simplify. The more complex your topic, the more you need to simplify.
Whether you’re claiming to be the world’s first educational cryptocurrency or you’re the go-to place to purchase intellectual property, you want the world to know your story and what better way to do that than to reach out to financial and technology publications?
Although the larger publications usually only publish success stories, such as Bancor, which earlier this year raised $153 million in three hours, and Stox, which raised $33 million in 34 hours, blockchain news continues to be popular. Pitch your platform as you would to an investor. What makes this one unique? Why should readers be interested and why now? These are questions writers and editors look to answer, so do some of the heavy lifting for them.
Create a rapport with your publication contacts. They often receive hundreds of emails asking for coverage. Treat them as you would a business acquaintance, and consider sending important updates as your platform grows.
We know, you want your platform to appear in the big publications, which guarantees several thousand readers. But don’t ignore the smaller tech publications such as CoinDesk or Bitcoin News. Viral content isn’t solely based on the size of the platform, so consider every stepping stone when expanding your reach.
Mainstream channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are of course prime opportunities for creating audience awareness. Ensure you have updated, professional and engaging information on each of these platforms. Engage with your audience regularly, which helps push your posts to the top of the newsfeed. Even consider promoting your posts if budget dollars allow, which can double and even triple your existing reach, targetting your ideal audience.
For the hardcore crypto fans, consider more niche communication platforms such as such as Telegram and Slack. Start with a welcome message to introduce yourself and your startup. Engage in the open discussions, water coolers and Q&As. Avoid overly promoting your startup, as you could be flagged or even removed.
The most popular and democratising content platform is Reddit, which is used by blockchain members to participate in discussions through relevant subreddits and hosting AMAs (Ask Me Anythings) for its members. As a blockchain-based platform, Reddit it particularly popular with experts in the field for its authenticity through transparent content.
Thought Leadership Through Guest Posts
Radio, podcast and TV outlets regularly seek experts who understand the blockchain industry and its ever-changing nuances. Pitch yourself as an expert guest (because we assume you are) and volunteer time to engage in discussions, provide expert commentary and offer guidance to Bitcoin newbies. This is the time to add value to the industry, which is the best and most organic way to gain a loyal audience.
Write opinion pieces that can be shared not only on your own blog, but on the blogs of blockchain companies such as CryptoCoinsNews, Revain’s Medium and AVC. These sites increase your credibility as a blockchain entrepreneur; people looking to invest their hard-earned cash want to make sure it’s with a knowledgeable and stable company.
Speaking Opportunities and Networking Events
Blockchain conferences are popping up faster than you can say Comicon. So brush your hair, practice your blockchain pitch in the mirror and get socialising. Blockchain in Africa, Big Cyber Security Show in Mumbai, Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference in Slovenia — you don’t have to look long to find one near you. Do your research on attendees that should connect with, and keynotes you shouldn’t miss. Reach out to the planning committee beforehand to ask about speaking engagements.
Networking is the most crucial aspect of any marketing campaign, despite blockchain’s home in the cloud. Map out the major blockchain events in and around your area, and don’t be hesitant to take to the stage and pitch your ideas to potential business partners, investors and journalists. Don’t make it a one-time thing, either. Be present often — at competitions, lectures and conferences to pick the brains of those around you, as well as offering your own insight. This will you not only strengthen your own startup business, but also plants your startup seed into the minds of others.
Think Globally; Act Locally
We’ve all heard horror stories of startups that expand too quickly, revelling in their early success, only to crash and burn by overspending before the gears of sales have fully funded the initial business costs. When trying to expand your reach, the goal is to dream big, and take small steps. Don’t lose focus of your long-term goals, but don’t minimise the short-term steps because your head is stuck in the Bitcoin clouds.
What does this mean? Don’t waste your time and hard-earned startup funding by placing teams in all of your target markets around the world. Stay slim, working only with your small core team of developers, sales professionals and marketing gurus. If you’re expanding faster than your team knows how to handle, outsource some of the tasks to freelancers. Be cautious about bringing on new full-time members; there will always be time for that down the road as your expanding startup sees consistent and stable growth.