Blockchain technology has truly grown up and moved out of its Bitcoin parent’s house. Its potential reach across non-financial sectors is mindblowing: Imagine the possibilities of unified healthcare records for patients and doctors, or the benefits of a validated voting system during elections. These applications of blockchain technology are already in use and in development by companies around the globe. But with so many fantastic applications, why is blockchain technology still relatively unknown and so frequently misunderstood?
With a background in successfully marketing lifestyle companies in interesting and consumable ways, I have spent the last year using my experience to make distributed technology as palatable as a new beachside restaurant. Working with companies trailblazing into industries that have never even heard of blockchain, I’ve quickly learned the best and worst ways to go about marketing for distributed technologies.
The average Joe has a pretty tough time wrapping his head around any new technology, but for something as foreign as blockchain, this learning curve gains another few degrees of steepness. Before blockchain can truly change the way the world operates, it needs to become part of our common language, like the internet did in the 1990s. The confusion over the benefits blockchain brings, its relation to Bitcoin, and the jargon attached to it are all issues that are currently plaguing the space.
How Blockchain Companies Can Make Themselves Known
- Leave out the jargon. When people discuss developments related to the internet, it’s typically about services like Facebook and email. That’s why the average Joe won’t care about the technical infrastructure or protocol layers of your technology. Throw away your clever words, and communicate your company’s essential value in the most simple and clear way possible.
- Differentiate yourself from the black market. Often synonymized with the occasionally misbehaving Bitcoin, blockchain companies need to assert themselves as the harborers of everything good (and legal). Take a good, hard look at your marketplace — from your direct competitors and potential business partners to the reporters who cover them. You could use TalkWalker Alerts to track the positive (and negative) coverage of these companies and ideas, and brainstorm how to recycle this feedback positively into your strategy. Form relationships with reporters speaking positively about the space, and help educate those still harboring skepticism.
- Take advantage of speaking opportunities. Some of the most innovative blockchain companies I’ve seen are either too shy, or think they’re too busy to utilize the wealth of speaking opportunities at their disposal. Regularly research conferences, panels and events happening in your industry and participate in them. Also, don’t be afraid to suggest and create events and speaking engagements of your own, as these will allow you to have more control over the conversation. Recent media hype around blockchain gives you a unique privilege when pitching for these opportunities, and being seen amongst your industry peers and the press alike is essential to becoming a thought leader.
- Establish a voice through content marketing. Along with speaking engagements, regularly posting content on industry topics is essential to establishing yourself as a thought leader. It helps increase traffic to your website, which can translate to lead generation through “call to action” links in your articles. You could even use a tool like SimilarWeb to discover publications and blogs with the best traffic, and pitch byline opportunities for them.
- Establish a web presence. Use keywords, key publications and contacts to unlock the benefits of search engine optimization. I’ve worked with companies where just a couple of tactical blog mentions and posts thrust them from eight pages deep in Google search results to the very top. Ensure backlinks to your website take people to the kind of landing page they’ll be excited to look at. Although high-quality websites are typically not a pain point for the tech-focused blockchain company, you must ensure that your website backs up the innovation of your business model.
- Throw a party. Make a splash by hosting a fabulous event or throwing an unforgettable party to celebrate your company’s launch, anniversary, or major milestone. Accompany this with video, photographers, demos and cutting-edge vendors to maximize the appeal of the event. By becoming the talk of the town, you’ll attract the interest of prospective employees and reporters alike. And in the media age, going viral is the holy grail of marketing.