The Current State of ICO Public Relations
I spent last weekend in San Francisco and Palo Alto at the blockchain-promoting Startup Societies Summit meeting with many lovely tech nerds. I worked social media as part of the volunteer team, so I got to view quite a bit of the conference even though I was a bit busy with the ever present technical issues.
One group I spent a bit of time chatting with are more my speed — the writers who are seeking PR, copywriting and media engagement gigs with tech companies and groups launching ICOs. Just last evening I was going over a video aimed at investors for a very clever pre-ICO with technology I am extremely interested in. Half of this was written in an Uber in Hollywood, so there is a stream of consciousness nature to the writing — but I believe it is good to have content published in a timely fashion, and blockchain freelance writing gigs are exploding right this very second. If you want to get involved, cancel your weekend plans and find your niche, because there are more clients available looking for qualified help than you can imagine.
From my chats with the groups who are already in this business, one thing that keeps coming up is that there is too much work. Everyone is being very supportive because there is far too much work to go around so competition is not on our minds, only strategies to fill the niches we prefer. So, here are my thoughts on freelancers who might be looking to get involved and connecting them with the pre-ICO developers who need us. Contact me if you’re in the pre-ICO phase and need a writer to develop a cleaner message.
- There is too much work available in this field, which means not all writers in this space are very well attuned to technology, internet culture, blockchain and ICOs. Blockchain has exploded in recent months so while there are many good PR folks who will be able to write a good campaign, the ones that are not specifically focused on your technology are going to need some extra time to research your company’s product if you want them to narrate the vision of what it will be doing for investors over several years. This is reasonable if you have a few months, but if you are launching next week then you have to find someone with expertise right away.
- This is a brand new space, so you will probably want to pick a copywriter (of which there are many) that you can get along with on a personal level (of which there are necessarily fewer) because there is not enough history in this field to be able to anticipate how much personal contact you will have with them. You may not know if they will only be around via email or if you realize they have to be tied into conference calls as well. Since we are in the Wild West, pre-Septembering stage, you also need to find someone who can analyze who your investors might be and figure out where on the internet they would appreciate being advertised on. This is not common knowledge (everyone is already tied into Ethereum, but what other sites do they visit?) and these buyer profiles have to be mined on a case by case basis, at least for now.
- There is a large, but slowly diminishing barrier to entry for people wishing to buy coins. There are many interested investors but the technology that runs blockchain is mistifying to newcomers, so people who should be interested in investing are not being given the chance to understand it. This is a real problem: your investors are not stupid but if it takes hours to explain to them why they should hand over their cash, you are wasting thousands of dollars worth of their time. Smart nerds using dozens of foreign terms too quickly alienates smart investors who don’t want to be talked down to.
- Explaining anything to do with blockchain via analogy (…it’s like a ledger, now I want you to imagine that this is a magic ledger and we are all magic wizards who can write in the ledger…) is obnoxious. Explaining via analogy is quick and dirty but if you understand the analogy, it just creates more questions. Avoid writers who want to pepper your press releases with analogies, because it means they don’t have an understanding of the math behind blockchain. They only have that superficial understanding.
- Quite a bit of the incoming work is from people who need their copy rewritten because it was authored by someone who does not speak English as a first language. If you are bilingual, this is exactly where you should be looking for new work.
- Many writers with deep roots in the online and tech spheres are therefore used to working with people on the autism spectrum. That is one of the reasons we writers are so valuable to you: the disability of autism is complete and utter honesty and a focus on things that you find interesting, which is usually not what the investors care about. Investors don’t care about the problems you are having with your software, they just want to know how they quickly they will make their money back on the product. If you are looking for a writer, find one who has a very high tolerance for being offended. Ask them which forums they browse. If they’re on r/watchPeopleDie then they probably won’t be easily offended if you want to avoid social faux pas in your working relationship. You can be blunt and straight to the point if you find someone with a long history of shitposting.
- I have never met a good copywriter who went to school for marketing. Find someone with a creative background, because creativity is often the missing piece when you’re running a pre-ICO with your fellow hard working STEM operatives. Many of us studied philosophy where we learned how to develop arguments.
- This is not a glamourous industry, but there is definitely a social aspect. I suspect the next move that extremely social freelancers in the tech PR field will take is to offer to be your guest at tech events in order to make sure you get the full experience of meeting everyone who will be interested in your product. This will undoubtably benefit female writers like myself who can leverage our social nature as added value.
Thank you for reading. Now, I will be taking my own advice and spending the weekend refining my message in order to work with more pre-ICOs because it has been a while since I last saw an industry I could jump into headfirst.