In an industry filled with overhyped projects and lacking clear regulation, it’s hard for great companies to cut through the noise.
Because the crypto sector is so fast-paced and converges elements of finance, technology, business and politics, building a positive reputation requires a skill set that reaches audiences through traditional media, trade publications, influencers, podcasters, social media, events, content and much more. This is often too much for startup founders to tackle themselves, so they partner with PR firms.
In the process of building a crypto company, it can be hard to decide when to bring on a PR professional or team. Too late, and your competitors have an edge, even if they don’t have the tech or adoption to back it up. Too soon, and you’ve wasted valuable capital by entering into a partnership unprepared.
I’ve worked with crypto founders for the better part of the past decade and learned that preparedness for PR essentially comes down to a few key questions. If you’re considering hiring a PR firm for your crypto startup, take the time to consider the following:
Do you have news to share and clear objectives for PR?
You’d be surprised by how many founders approach PR firms wanting to be in The Wall Street Journal without a story they’re willing to tell.
Before you hire a PR firm, ask yourself if you have news to share and if you’re clear on what expectations and objectives you have for PR.
While public relations is much more than media opportunities, it helps to have a steady drumbeat of news. Whether it be funding rounds, product launches, key partnerships, or new hires, milestones like these are a great impetus for onboarding a PR team. In crypto, building credibility is key, and these types of announcements signify your progress and legitimacy.
Beyond that, ask yourself if you have a clear goal for what PR can achieve. Some crypto clients come to us looking to grow their user base or developer ecosystem, while others are looking to recruit talent and stand out from the competition. Being open about this will help you better align with your agency and more accurately measure their success.
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Do you have a spokesperson?
I’ve learned that just because someone launches a company, it doesn’t mean they want to talk about it.
Particularly in crypto, many founders prefer to focus on the tech and development side of the project. They don’t want to allocate their time to media opportunities or events. They may even want to stay as private and anonymous as possible. I’ve also met founders who like talking to the media, but only if it’s about their company.
While these positions are valid, they can represent a significant challenge when it comes to PR.
Successful spokespeople need to be willing to allocate time to speaking with reporters and other publicity initiatives, and they need to provide commentary on topics other than their core business.
It comes down to flexibility. The people we work with (reporters, podcast hosts, event organizers, etc.) all need experts to speak on industry trends and major news events — and sometimes at a moment’s notice.
The best client/agency relationships are those in which the spokesperson is willing to make reasonable accommodations to speak with reporters on a deadline, and who are comfortable speaking about broad topics impacting their industry.
Your spokesperson does not have to be a founder, either. It can be a CEO, another C-level executive or a VP. It just needs to be someone clearly identified within the organization with the willingness to participate.
Do you have the budget?
Like any professional service, good PR firms require an investment.
If you’re still in the early days of fundraising, it’s probably too early to reach out to a PR firm. Instead, reach out to your network and talk to freelancers who can help create your company’s blog, social accounts, community and brand voice. Then, when the time comes, you’ll be well prepared to scale up your PR efforts.
A PR firm can help you build strong messaging, stand out from the crowd and gain a level of visibility that you’ve never had before. PR professionals can act as true partners to your company as you grow your business. Make sure you’re willing to put the time and investment into taking full advantage of what an agency can offer.
So, are you ready?
Going through the process of establishing a vision, plan and strategy for your company is just the beginning.
Every crypto startup should have clear objectives on what they hope to achieve when working with PR firms. They should identify a spokesperson who is flexible and willing to speak on a variety of topics. And finally, they should recognize that good PR requires an investment.
Once you can check these boxes, you’re ready for what could be one of the most impactful professional partnerships you embark on in the early stages of your business.
Molly Glennon is the Head of Crypto at Ditto PR.
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.