From Dogecoin to the collapse of FTX to the vision of a cashless society, the world of cryptocurrency can seem overwhelming and difficult to navigate, especially from a PR perspective. Macro conversations about the future of finance abound, so there’s no shortage of opportunities to feature client expertise and commentary on crypto. The challenge lies in learning the ins and outs of a complicated industry and designing a resilient, fast-paced program.
If you’re given the chance to work with a company operating in the crypto industry for the first time, consider reading Jeff John Roberts’ Kings of Crypto. The book does an excellent job of explaining the basics of crypto, the evolution of the industry, and the origins of blockchain technology.
For folks looking to optimize their existing crypto programs, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve pulled together five helpful tips based on our experience in the space to help you navigate the world of crypto PR.
Get really, really familiar with the industry.
Regardless of what industry you’re operating in, the news moves pretty fast. But this is especially true for cryptocurrency, as it’s a relatively new technology that’s under constant scrutiny from the media and governing bodies alike. It’s critical to stay on top of relevant conversations, regulations, and hot-button industry trends so you can plug your clients in wherever you can.
In 2021, for example, the Chinese government announced it was banning crypto mining. Within minutes of hearing the news, Kickstand secured an on-air interview for a crypto client with Bloomberg TV. The outlet wanted to discuss the implications of this ban less than an hour after we secured the interview – that meant our team had to draft talking points, prep our spokesperson, and ensure he connected with the producer for a sound check minutes before the live segment.
This process was a whirlwind to say the least, and to move this fast we had to familiarize ourselves with the news almost immediately. Not to mention it was a live TV segment, so there were no do-overs or room for error. No pressure, right?! Crafting and arming our spokesperson with the right messaging in time for him to feel comfortable speaking on the topic wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t come to the table with an intimate knowledge of the crypto industry.
Build an ambitious team.
Crypto isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a fast-paced, complex industry that can be frustrating at times. That means you need to build a PR team that’s resilient, creative, and can think on their feet. Kickstand’s win with Bloomberg TV wouldn’t have been possible without a shared sense of urgency and the ability to come together as a team under immense pressure.
When assembling a team for a crypto client, you want as many people as possible on board. With so many moving parts, you need a clear delineation between responsibilities like tracking the news, searching for potential media opportunities, and strategizing with your client.
Make sure your team holds consistent meetings to discuss pitch topics and trends that warrant a rapid response. On the bright side, there’s always something to comment on or contribute to in the crypto world! It’s just a matter of identifying those opportunities quickly and preparing your client to the best of your abilities.
Identify which topics your client is able to address.
The crypto world is vast, and there’s an infinite amount of topics your program can explore. The industry has expanded so much that reporters now specialize their coverage to certain areas within it, so don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s imperative that you sit down with your clients ahead of time to determine which topics they’re capable and willing to speak to.
Are they an expert in digital wallets? Blockchain technology? DeFi? Hone in on their expertise and make sure you’re amplifying it to the right audience. Furthermore, not every pitch topic has to be about how crypto is changing the world of finance. While reporters certainly care about those conversations, many are more interested in discussing the complexities of the industry. At Kickstand, we’ve seen more success targeting folks who prefer interviewing experts who share their specialized knowledge or can provide insights on more specific topics.
Rely on your client’s expertise.
This tip goes hand in hand with what we’ve explained above. Learning about cryptocurrency can be exhilarating, but it’s also an uphill battle. Just when you think you’ve mastered the basics, a new asset or regulation is introduced that you now need to wrap your head around.
Since this is an industry that’s constantly growing and changing, new systems and terminology are bound to arise. When this happens, don’t be afraid to tap your client for a few questions. Without taking advantage of their experience and expertise, how can you design a PR program that keeps up with the pace of the industry? Even a 20-minute phone call with them will show you’re not only eager to learn from them, but that you’re also committed to staying on top of industry and media trends.
Learn how to positively position your client when the news is negative.
While there’s much to celebrate in the crypto industry, it’s impossible to discuss this space without addressing the controversies and negative headlines that often get the most airtime. The first half of 2022 saw a period of market cooling called “crypto winter,” wherein the price of every major cryptocurrency dropped following the collapse of TerraUSD and LUNA. As a result, many companies experienced tremendous layoffs, funds were frozen, and several exchanges filed for bankruptcy.
Across every industry, it’s our job as PR professionals to walk the delicate line between telling positive stories with our clients and being respectful when negative trends arise. When people look at crypto through a critical lens, for example, they’ll often cite the environmental impacts of bitcoin mining. Instead of ignoring the issue (or worse, denying it), try arming your client with nuanced messaging on why advancements in the industry are necessary to reduce environmental impacts.
We often tell our clients that the crypto industry is still young. It’s only been around for a decade, and there’s still much progress to be made and mistakes to learn from. Dipping your toes into crypto PR can be daunting, but it’s also ripe with opportunities to hone new skills and wow clients in unexpected ways.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or working with your first crypto client, remember that curiosity is the name of the game. By staying curious about your customers and the industry itself, you can turn that thirst for knowledge into some big media wins.