When it comes to getting the word out about your upcoming Initial Coin Offering (ICO), the tried and true methods of content marketing can help you reach your target audience.
The trick, like all content marketing efforts, is to give yourself enough lead time to generate interest and traffic in your content and if you’ve ever executed a content marketing strategy, you know it takes a lot of work.
What’s great about content marketing though, is that it can solve the problem of time vs. money for a lot of startups looking to save money on their marketing. And while you should never skimp on your marketing budget, at the end of the day, you just might not have enough left to put into expensive advertising.
If there’s one thing content marketing does for companies, it helps keep the budget under wraps. So if you are planning an ICO for the new year, or anytime in the future, make content marketing your friend.
Here’s how you can use content marketing to promote your ICO.
1. Plan, Plan, and then Plan Again
Content marketing is strategic. It requires a lot of planning. If you plan to just write one or two articles a month and share them on social media a few times, you aren’t going to get anywhere. It takes a lot of time to plan a content marketing strategy of this size and scale.
Think about it this way: if you are asking people to invest potentially millions of dollars - and let’s be honest, it’s usually millions of dollars in total - then you should be prepared to offer them something in return that you didn’t slap together in a one-hour meeting.
Some companies take months or even years getting ready for their ICO and if you are just getting to the point where you are getting ready to start marketing your launch, you might have some catching up to do.
Give yourself at least a year of promotional content marketing even if you don’t quite know what the end result is going to be. When you decide, “Hey, we’re going to do an ICO,” start writing.
Your plan should include high-level ideas and always focus on educating your audience. This is not about sales, although, the point of any good content marketing piece is to drive the reader to want to do business with you.
That is achieved through education. And if you are doing it correctly, your reader will want to come back for more. They’ll share your content, not because you might have a cool product someday, but because you are adding to the conversation.
Keep education and information in mind at all times when creating your content marketing plan.
Think about the details as well. Think about the purpose of each piece and map out several months worth of titles and topics that you can write about. If you can’t compose the content yourself, you can always hire a writer, but don’t let this important part of the process slide.
Time is your friend in these situations so don’t put off until tomorrow what can be written, published, and shared today. You cannot buy back time, and even the heartiest marketing budget can’t help your ICO succeed if you launch with only a few weeks of marketing time behind you.
So make time to plan so you don’t waste time later. Don’t negotiate with time, use it to your advantage.
2. Produce and Publish Regularly
A common problem busy startups run into is that they take on too much at the outset of the ICO launch. Everyone is really excited and they want to write so many things and then in short order, the flame fizzles and more pressing work takes over.
It starts with missing one blog, then two, and then suddenly, it’s been three weeks since someone in the company has shared anything online about what’s going on in the company.
Without a consistency presence online, your ICO is just one more thing people need to seek out and find and believe it when we say, they won’t seek it out and find it.
You are responsible for getting that information in front of people, so make sure you commit to publishing your content regularly. There’s really no excuse for not publishing.
Again, if you are seeking millions of dollars in funding, the least you could do is make sure you put out statements and information to the public once in a while. If your readers are waiting for updates, that’s not good. The idea is to provide them with ongoing, consistent, and relevant information.
As for social media, it is at your disposal and you should be using it to push your content out as long as you can. Once you enter into the ICO, there are often rules about social media posting that need to be followed, and you should stick to verbiage such as “participants of the ICO” instead of “investors” because it is not the same thing.
A basic content marketing strategy includes a cornerstone piece of content that you can use as a jumping off point for all of your other content in a time period. For example, you might write a piece at the start of the month, and then write 2-3 smaller pieces throughout the month that tie into the theme of the larger piece. Using the headlines from each piece, including the cornerstone piece, you can publish captions to social media.
Your best bet? Hire a marketing team or agency to handle this for you. More specifically, hire a marketing team that is familiar with ICO launches and the rules and regulations around them so that you don’t get in hot water before you ever get started.
When you create your content, or when you work with a marketing agency to create your marketing strategy, be very careful about making promises that you can’t keep. This is especially true of technology or health care related ICOs.
It’s easy to say you are going to change the world and make everything better, but it is much more effective and realistic to say that you are going to improve upon one area of an industry.
Disruption doesn’t have to be about overhauling an entire field - it could just be about making it easier to communicate, share information, or buy products. Your IT team will also appreciate it if you don’t make claims in writing about what your product or service can and can’t do.
3. Circle Back and Update Content
If you have given yourself enough of a runway, you should have time to circle back to some of your early content and update it. There’s no question that the product you first announced is going to change.
It’s important that you update your whitepaper on a regular basis and share the changes with your readers. Whitepapers should be available on your ICO launch site and any information published about the product or service should derive from that document.
Again, if you don’t know how to put together a whitepaper for yourselves, there are plenty of copywriters and consultants that can do a great job of getting your vision on paper.
It’s important that your whitepaper is reviewed by your lawyers to make sure there is nothing in the document that you could be held liable for - this is where making promises comes in, so avoid doing that at all costs.
Speak in “future terms” not definite terms. For example, you could say, “the technology will help bring families closer together using proprietary technology,” but you shouldn’t say definitely, “the technology brings people closer together…”
There are several reasons for this. First, you probably don’t actually have a product at this point. At least, most pre-ICO companies don’t have their product developed because that’s what the ICO is for: to raise money for the product build.
Second, you don’t know if that is what the product will actually end up doing. A lot is going to change between your announcement and launch and you want to make sure you are not overpromising and underdelivering. You also want to give yourself flexibility with your target market.
Many startups decide ahead of time what problem they are going to solve, only to find out that is not the problem customers wanted to solve. Third, your proprietary technology might not be proprietary for long with so many up-and-coming technology companies, an original idea is only original for so long.
Whenever the company shifts gears, which happens a lot in startups, documentation needs to be updated and new content should be put out announcing the change. An experienced marketing and content firm can handle all of this for you.
It’s important that you develop a good relationship with your copywriting team so that they understand what it is you are trying to do and can capture the essence of your goals in the writing that is shared with the world.
4. Take Questions:
Once your content is out there, you should prepare for the backlash and criticism that is sure to follow. No matter how good your idea or product is, there will be someone in the wings waiting to cut it down to size.
Have a game plan for responding to these kinds of interactions and develop a company-wide response to complaints, nay-sayers, and internet trolls in general. remember that your company is in front of the world and how you respond in writing is remembered by those who read it. This is where a good Public Relations team will come in handy.
5. Time vs. Money
We mentioned at the start of this piece that content marketing can solve the time vs. money problem that a lot of startups experience. There just isn’t a lot of cash to go around when a company is trying to get off the ground, hence, the need for an ICO.
However, the less time you have to promote your ICO, the more money you will end up spending. This is true in several areas of operation: if you need a team of marketers and public relations specialists to put together a quick and dirty marketing campaign, it will cost more than if you have been casually publishing for the last year.
If you need to hire someone to manage the chat forums, that will also cost money. However, if you give yourself enough time, you can put out engaging and unique content that educate sand informs and gets people talking about your company long before you are even ready to launch your ICO.
Don’t leave time on the table: use it to your advantage to promote your ICO. Content marketing is effective and can be combined with many other marketing strategies to ensure your ICO is successful. But you need to get started as soon as possible. You’ll be glad you did.
Having grown up in a family owned business, and now working as the Content Director for Karrass - a company specializing in negotiation training for businesses - John is grateful for the many opportunities he's had to share his passion for business and writing.