So you’re a DIY marketer looking for the PR playbook that will take your project to the moon? We commend you for your bravery; we remember our own journey along that path and know the process well. It’s an exciting and rewarding endeavour, but definitely not one without challenges, so allow us to share our years of experience with you in this guide to PR for NFTs.
Before we dive into things: as an agency, we always need to provide this disclaimer. While DIY efforts are necessary for many projects, it is still recommended to consult with a professional service if you do not have prior experience. If you have a significant amount riding on this PR campaign, we suggest taking a look at this list of the 5 best NFT PR services available to help you crush your goals.
NFT PR vs Traditional PR
PR campaigns for an NFT can look a little different than traditional niches, as the NFT space is relatively informal and more community-centric. The media outlets are enthusiastic about the industry, and the journalists are often builders in their own rights. The channels NFT enthusiasts consume media from are not atypical; while blog content is still prevalent, we now see communities entering the mix. While these might not be traditional PR channels, they are a very relevant audience source for Web3, with communities frequently sharing their written content in channels that are at times larger than their organic traffic pools. While finding a journalist with a platform is useful, it is even more valuable to find a journalist or platform that produces content and supports a greater community.
When managing PR, be it traditional or NFT-related, it’s important to remember that it should be seen primarily as a brand awareness campaign. While it’s not impossible to secure efficient conversions from an earned PR campaign, it’s difficult and often unpredictable. In the earned PR game, beggars can’t be choosers. While we might procure a long list of journalists to report on our story, only a small percent of them will actually convert. This means that your story might not show on your most desired platforms. In addition to this, PR stories are not necessarily promotional in nature. Generally, you want to submit an exciting story that covers updates about your company that the greater community would be interested in. While this might not drive direct conversions, it will keep your brand relevant and contribute to conversions further down the line.
Paid vs Earned
Before we jump into the how-to’s, it’s essential to explain the differences between earned and paid PR. The distinction is simple: earned PR is acquiring media coverage without paying any fees. It includes extensive outreach and research without any kind of guaranteed coverage. Earned PR will be the focus of this article. Paid PR is how it sounds — you pay to have your story published. This process requires fewer moving parts and can almost always guarantee some form of placement, but it can be a hefty investment.
With that out of the way, let’s jump into the Nitty Gritty of earned PR!
What Media Works For NFTs?
While many in the Web2 space might urge you towards only finding journalists who post to traditional media outlets like magazines, journals, or blogs, we believe that the approach needs to be modified for an NFT project. Like we’ve said before, the NFT audience is extremely diversified and advanced. They get their news from a variety of sources like Discord communities, social media, newsletters, blogs, Web3 platforms, and more. With this in mind, we encourage you to step outside the box and stay adaptable for your audience.
We like to consider platforms with influence, from influencers to communities, as “journalists” who can get your message out. While every platform with influence might not fall into this category, there is a significant portion that does. If a platform shares updates, news, and projects from the greater NFT industry, they are capable of doing the same with your story. We have often found this to be a more effective method than using traditional channels, as the NFT audience tends to favour platforms they have a connection with and communities they trust. In addition, we find these sources to be more approachable. You can establish a more organic connection with these platforms and have an easier time cutting through the noise in their inbox.
Now that we have discussed the “where”, let’s dive into the process itself.
Steps For a Successful Earned PR Campaign
Let’s start with establishing a direction for your campaign. This process is vital in order to extract the most out of your efforts. It is important to do these steps in order, as skipping steps can leave you unprepared in later stages of the process. To keep you on the right path, here is our 5 step process for earned PR for your NFT project.
Laying a strong foundation for your campaign is arguably the most important piece of it. Getting this part right is crucial in guiding your entire operations and efforts. Without clear and defined goals, you end up wasting resources working toward an end game that doesn’t make sense for your business. Ask yourself, where exactly do you need to start when planning your campaign?
All campaigns start with an intention. What are you trying to achieve? Go through and answer all the questions below to give yourself a start:
What is your ultimate conversion goal? Are you looking for traffic? Purchases? Sign-ups? Brand awareness? Define your answer here.
What channels do you want to target? Are you going traditional with standard media outlets like blogs and news platforms, or will you stretch out further and expand into influencers, newsletters, and communities?
How many people are you trying to reach?
How many placements do you want to secure?
What are you trying to promote? A new feature? A partnership? A new team member?
What is your budget?
How are you going to achieve your goals? Are you hiring an agency? A service? Are you doing this in-house?
Who is your target audience?
What is your target audience interested in?
These are just a few critical questions to start you off. Keep in mind that every campaign is different and might require more or fewer questions to get you started. Take some time and adjust these questions for your specific project, if needed.
2. Create Your Story
When creating your story, you have to think about what the key takeaways are for your target audience. The most important part of this is crafting your story in a way that is useful to a journalist. This means your story cannot be promotional in nature. A journalist won’t just run an advertisement for you out of the goodness of their heart — they want to report on real news that will capture their audience, so develop a story that is interesting and gets your point across.
3. Build Your Media List
After you have answered some key questions about your campaign, you’re ready to build your media wish list. Start your research and find where you would want your announcement to be presented. Build a long list of the platforms you want to be featured on — we recommend at least 80 prospects. Include important pieces of information like name, links, niche, and contact information.
If you want our team’s internal document for media research and outreach, sign up below and we’ll email it to you!
4. Develop Your Pitch
Your pitch is different from your story: it’s how you introduce your story to a journalist or media platform. This part is crucial because it’s how you get your foot in the door. The trick is that you must develop a short yet compelling pitch that catches the attention of the journalist, so make your words count. They might be receiving dozens of pitches a day, so how will you stand out from the rest of them?
It’s important to keep in mind that cold pitching isn’t always the answer. Test and play with different approaches to getting in contact with the media. Sometimes a slow approach can work best, meaning that you establish rapport with the journalist before pitching. Reach out and compliment their work, or even provide a constructive suggestion on how to improve a certain article of theirs, if you have something to add. This will show them that you actually read their content and have a sincere interest in working with them. By introducing yourself this way, your story isn’t a cold pitch when you come to it. This can be effective, but it is time-consuming and takes patience.
A last crucial step in outreach is research and organisation. Maintain an organised database of your contacts, keeping careful count of who you have reached out to and what stage of the outreach process you are in. It is imperative to send at least one, if not two, follow up messages to make sure the journalist at least sees your pitch. Having an organised process for this helps make sure no journalists slip through the cracks and improves conversion rate considerably.
Again, for those interested: sign up below and receive a FREE template for media outreach from our experienced team!
PR is one of the most difficult campaigns to run. It’s a true numbers game and requires experience. You need to have a solid understanding of the industry you’re working in to be able to truly cater to the needs of the audience, and thus the journalists. PR can also be extremely time- and resource-intensive with the potential for low yields. As mentioned previously, we recommend using PR as a brand awareness and traffic campaign opposed to directly generating conversions.
If you are a bootstrapped startup, or really any company that is low on resources, we do not recommend partaking in a DIY PR campaign. We strongly recommend using a professional service like Thunderclap or us here at Space Age to ensure the success of your campaign.
With that, we say good luck and keep pushing forward!