How to Translate Blockchain to Mainstream Audiences
In December of 2017, the blockchain world had been rolling through an important year in social and technological movement when Bitcoin reached its highest price of all time, $19,783.06. Never breaking the $20,000 mark, but causing a month-long uproar from the general public and mainstream media alike. Coinbase hit the Top Downloads section of the iTunes store, and crypto was being reported on daily by Bloomberg, MSNBC, Cheddar, and countless blogs. Then in 2018, the price cooled and so did the attention that came with it. Capturing that level of authority and value outside of the industry is what public relations firms in the decentralized space are aiming to do for their partners. However, there are many things a team can do before bringing in an agency that will tip the odds in their favor.
Understanding how to get in front of the eyes of the general public means understanding who is already captivated by the blockchain industry, who is peaking in, and how to unlock the door. In 2014, research was carried out by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A questionnaire posted on websites frequented by Bitcoin users, like Bitcoin.org, Reddit and Twitter found that the average age of respondents was about 33 years old and nearly half of them came from the US. Majorly these are males. Although because of the nature of privacy that the decentralized industry allows, it is hard to lock down more than a generalized character breakdown like this.
Be a Leader and Facilitator
When I was a kid, I remember my first trip to the local comic book store. I walked around, rifled through long boxes of comics dating back ten, twenty, and even fifty years before I was born. I knew the superheroes that I liked from television, but there were so many stories, so many books that didn’t make a lick of sense. That was because they were issues halfway through story lines — right in the thick of the hero’s journey. I still remember leaving the store without buying any comics, because I got overwhelmed and everyone who was working and shopping there was more advanced than I. Many weeks later, I went back after advice from a cousin who gave me a small list of “places to start” that opened the door to a path into the depths of this community. Now it seems natural to crisscross issues, story arcs, and jumping into new stories, but at first, it felt impossible to the point where I gave up. Crypto is having the same, intimidating issue for people in the mainstream culture bubble. It has to be our job to use public relations to give them their places to start.
What we do know is those individuals who are underrepresented, are women and people over the age of 45. Both of these are incredibly valuable demographics to the mainstream media, so unlocking them can be your company’s key to capturing publication. The solution becomes translating your messages into stories, building relatable circumstances, and giving more avenues for entry to beginners. Let’s break down these aspects a little more.
“ When you look at how much content people are consuming through mobile devices, the visual aspect is even more important.” — Lou Hoffman
Building your story
Written stories are how we’ve been communicating ideas, morals, and history since as far back as the father of history himself, Herodotus, so it is no surprise that most public relations strategies involve building narratives. However, what matters most to your broader audience is not connecting with a story arc, but the feeling of what good stories do to us. Many press releases in crypto focus on product releases, updates to tech, and other vital information that has about as much to do with the hero’s journey as cooking dinner does. Instead of striving to create narratives to reach broader audiences, we should utilize techniques to build upon visuals and create more interesting corporate communications with anecdotal storytelling. Lou Hoffman, the CEO of The Hoffman Agency said, “ When you look at how much content people are consuming through mobile devices, the visual aspect is even more important. That is where we’re heading. There’s the opportunity for corporate blogs — most are dreadful.” Loosening up on your corporate communications strategies when pitching to media outlets can benefit your media relations, and allow for more anecdotal insertions into stories.
Making it all relatable
With so many people consuming news through Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Telegram, and other mobile applications, it is vital to understand that our communications cannot just be whitepapers, press releases, and quotes for journalists. Strategies for reaching mainstream audiences must incorporate visual storytelling, which we can achieve through infographics, explainer videos, or even more personally through interviews with executive team members. Giving your ICO, for example, a real face to the public can go along way to making people understand. We often try to keep ourselves as on message as we can, but if we are trying to align with media partners, then journalists want precisely the opposite of that. They want your CEO to be interesting, anecdotal, and empathetic. By relinquishing that persona of authority in exchange for more relatable moments, we make people feel comfortable coming along with us for whatever journey — no matter how much or how little they understand. We give them a place to start.
Finding new points of entry
Pop culture is a great way to frame further information to this generation of media-obsessed communities. So paying attention to people like Neil deGrasse Tyson can make a huge difference. We can spend hours explaining something in great detail to our teams and peers, but when trying to expand our reach, we can use what they already know to make the best case. Pop culture is a great foundation to build off of, and Neil deGrasse Tyson argues just that in this must-watch video by Big Think.
By utilizing pop culture, we are accessing new people through paths they are already comfortable walking down. Having the ability to frame your public relations this way will make your tech instantly more palpable and appealing to journalists.
Of course, there is no guaranteed way to get yourself into the news, but understanding how people are consuming media and information creates a huge advantage for your team to find opportunities more consistently. Relationships are earned and not bought, so just like going into that comic book store as a kid, if we aren’t there to tell people how to get started, nothing is stopping them from walking out for good — intimidated and embarrassed. Know who is talking about you and know whom you want to start talking to, then you will discover ways to be relatable to anyone.
Space Made Media is Blockchain & Cryptocurrency PR Agency hellbent on communicating the future with the world. For more information or to chat with us about partnering, visit our website: SpaceMadeMedia.com