There is a big problem in the field of ICO and blockchain as a whole — startups need media publications, but there’s just no time to improve relationships with the media, and their journalists are tired of pitches about yet another revolutionary project that will turn the industry on its head.
My main recommendation is to find a person or become that person who is able to generate ideas for potential media opportunities, and who can embody and convey them to journalists.
One competent specialist who is ready to fully take on this responsibility and just one precise hit which catches the interest of journalists can cover almost all startup marketing needs, and save the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are usually wasted on standard and ineffective advertising methods, such as contextual advertising, banners, spam, etc.
Journalists like communicating with people who always have news to share. And it doesn’t even matter how big the news is; the very fact that you are the source of something new is important. Learning to create media opportunities is both simple and difficult at the same time. It’s not easy, since you will have to reconsider how you relate to things that are happening, and think about how to, in fact, become a journalist yourself. Simple, because learning to see what is newsworthy in everything will allow you to do this automatically.
Do you think you have nothing to show to journalists except a rehash of your White Paper? Of course not. There is an incredible scope for creative work to be done in absolutely any field, no matter how boring it seems initially.
Here, I will cite several methods that have been successfully used by experienced PR managers for creating media opportunities.
1. Research, surveys, forecasts
Research, polls, forecasts, and selected facts will always be in demand among journalists and readers. When you do analyses, not only do you get free mentions, but also show off your expertise. When creating a media opportunity based on analysis, the main thing to remember is that the information provided cannot be superficial, approximate, or unreliable. If you’re not sure about the numbers, you’re better off not disclosing the information.
You can do research on anything, but only, of course, if you can build your brand into this “anything.” You can use forecasts as media opportunities. After all, your company has expertise in a certain subject. You might as well share it. For example, you’re working on creating a crypto exchange. Ask your boss to provide a forecast of the exchange rates for popular cryptocurrencies.
Jonathan D. Abramson, President at Bluetone Marketing Inc:
For earned PR placements we always recommend and assist in writing leadership-thought pieces for our clients in which the articles reflect stats and evidence-based research instead of just a “fluff” piece so to speak.
Kevin Doubleday, PR & Marketing Coordinator at Fluree PBC:
Сombine relevant, value-driven content with the right media format. In this specific case, the value-driven content that went semi-viral and generate tens of thousands of engaged eyeballs was a comprehensive list of blockchain use cases, and the media format was an infographic and accompanying blog post.
Among ICO PR people, the technique known as “newsjacking” (news piracy) is becoming increasingly popular. The point here is that in order to create a media opportunity, you need to find a buzzworthy event and link your news to it.
Monitor the daily news and current trends, and keep an eye on both influencers and competitors. Focus on your target audience, learn what these people post “likes” for, comment on, and most often repost. Some media opportunities literally materialize from thin air, but there are more predictable opportunities which will allow you to time your news: holidays, public events, premieres or the beginning of a particular season, for example.
Work quickly. No one will care about your message if it appears several days after an event.
Be careful with risky topics like catastrophes, natural disasters, epidemics, etc. If you can’t integrate your own news into these stories properly, it’s better not to even try. Try your best not to discuss politics or religion.
Learn from the mistakes of others. Keep an eye on your competition. Chances are they are already ahead of the curve on current trends and have put out their content. Analyze the style with which they present information, the extent of audience involvement, and read the comments. Could it be it’s just not worth the hassle?
A good media opportunity can be obtained when you create a product or project in partnership with another company.
If you are in a strategic partnership with a large company, you should understand that they also want to stand out. You can just go up to your partner and say: “Guys, you don’t need to do anything; we’ll just show your logo and the brand, and go to the media. Just tell them we are actually doing this with you.” Because of their brand, a publication will be a much smoother process.
Giséle Bisson, Managing Partner at Chain Reaction PR:
By partnering, we are also able to leverage the brand and reach of our partners, and get included in their press coverage. Their name on our Press Release helps it get noticed — and their community helps share our Twitter coverage and amplify it.
4. Appointments and anniversaries
Appointments and anniversaries are media opportunities that don’t even need to be invented. Any personnel reshuffle is an excellent opportunity to discuss the background, position and prospects of a new employee. And it’s possible to use the anniversary to tie in promotions and special offers, and to arrange interviews with top mass media people.
5. Flashmobs and sweepstakes
A flashmob or a sweepstakes campaign will be a win-win media opportunity. Funny videos can go totally viral. Provided the implementation is effective, it won’t be hard to touch the right nerve with the audience.
Generally speaking, flashmobs and sweepstakes are being increasingly used by many companies, so if you have never done it before and want to learn from the experience of your competitors, there is plenty of material already available on the web.
6. Specific key dates
Study a calendar. This way, you can pre-compile a list of media opportunities for the whole year ahead. The agenda then becomes not only just news, but also calendar-based. Every year in itself becomes a key date for a whole slew of events.
And there are also annual special days, such as Children’s Day, Taxi Driver’s Day, Fisherman’s Day, HR Managers Day, etc. You can also bring in different “world days” such as Groundhog Day, International Cat Day, World Car-Free Day and many others that can thematically match up with your goals.
However, don’t approach media opportunities like these without your tongue planted firmly in your cheek. Be humorous, and try to surprise your audience.
Another way to create a media opportunity is to hold a contest. If the contest format is interesting, and the reward worthwhile, the event will certainly attract the interest of journalists. In addition, contests tend to be a smash hit on social networks, and they produce a good viral effect. Thus, you won’t just get the media interested, but also pump up your pages on social networks.
8. Interview with a famous person
A media personality can be a media opportunity in itself. If you have one in your company, you are lucky. Come up with an actual opportunity and offer the media an interview with that person.
This type of reporting has always been held in high esteem by readers. And it’s not surprising, as everyone wants to peek through the keyhole and see what is usually hidden from view.
Let a journalist peek under the hood of your company. If necessary, pay for the flight and accommodation. Arrange an excursion to your revolutionary mining farm (for example), invite him or her to an event you have organized, and definitely show off your trendy office. It is important that the journalist is given the opportunity not only to see everything, but also to communicate with employees at all levels, from management to ordinary workers.
Do it right — get something big and bold published that will effectively be able to promote your company forever.
Publish an open letter, and get into polemics and protesting — this is another way to create media opportunities. Nowadays in the crypto community, there are holy wars waged every day on any number of topics. You can also write a polemic if you think you have something to say.
Of course, this is a double-edged sword. You need to be prepared for negative backlash and think in advance about how you will deflect it. One accidental comment can do serious damage to one’s reputation. Be discreet and try not to attack someone’s positions or interests directly.
This, of course, is quite a risky tactic, and I do not necessarily think it should be used. I just want to remind you that, as they say, everything can be PR.
Create a charity program or action. The media generally loves charitable initiatives and will periodically publish information about them. By the way, this kind of thing does not necessarily imply a financial outlay. Employees of your organization can volunteer or provide organizational support.
Liza Horowitz, CMO at Fast Access Blockchain:
Many blockchain and ICO projects forget that “honesty is the best policy”. Ask yourself, would my mom or grandpa be proud of how I am attracting attention? Find ways to elevate others, it is not all about you. One way to get attention, is to partner with someone doing something real and good for society.
12. Establish an award
For example, create a reward for contributions to the development of blockchain or crypto journalism. This option can have a long-lasting effect if the reward becomes an annual affair. And it also acts as a big boost to the image of the company, as the one who rewards others has already reached the top. It is also a good way to find sponsors.
13. A selection of facts
Collect the largest list of facts from your field of activity. Lists like these have good virality, and journalists can use some of these items for their articles, and reference you. You will also attract the attention of your target audience.
And, in conclusion, just a few pieces of advice:
Understand that everyone is really tired of stories about how good the next startup is. So, if you come up with something new and different, you can truly stand out. Show you have ingenuity.
Andrew Lallos, Business Development Associate at Corl:
Great ideas or moments don’t need to be complex. Often times, that “aha” moment comes from simply having a unique or disruptive approach to a common problem — it doesn’t need to be a hot, new product. Simplicity, or “why didn’t I think of that?”, that’s what drives the story, and the mentions.
Nataliya Lemeshevskaya, CMO at SOVA:
One mind-blowing newsbreak is better than 10 “peanuts”. Focus on what really stands out of your project or business, pack it and start the media attack (if they don’t attack you first). If you don’t have a budget for PR, work hard on content quality. It is better to hire a high-experienced writer once, who will work out the ‘product placement’.