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Here's How to Ruin Your Media Relationship With a Top Tier Crypto Reporter

Media is all about who you know.

More importantly, it’s about who you know that’s willing to do you a favor. While sometimes you’ll find yourself sitting on a piece of news so juicy that crypto journalists will be lining up around the corner to get an interview with you, this is not the case for most press releases.

Here’s how to handle things, or rather, how not to handle things, when talking to a crypto journalist.

Table of Contents

Force an Embargo

Perhaps the fastest way to tank your credibility with a reporter in the crypto media is to send all your press releases under embargo without asking.

A press embargo is a restriction placed on journalists regarding the timing of when a piece of news can be published. If you have information they don’t want getting out early, you can typically arrange an embargo. The journalist agrees to prepare an article and hold off on publishing until the agreed date and time.

That’s all well and good when both parties have agreed to terms. However, reporters don’t appreciate being given information and told they can’t use it in the same breath. If a journalist receives an embargoed press release in their inbox, they can safely assume that many other journalists have received the same thing. 

Because there’s no prior agreement, there’s no obligation to stick to the embargo, and it’s likely that at least one outlet will break the news early, wasting the time of everyone who sticks to it.

Now, don’t get us wrong here. By all means, request an embargo. Some examples:

  • We’re entering a strategic partnership with an influential company
  • We’re addressing rumors of layoffs and don’t want to spook the market
  • A major change of leadership is underway in our company

These examples are perfectly suitable for an embargo. Misinformation or half-truths can cause market panic and reputational damage, and there’s nothing wrong with requesting an embargo.

On the other hand:

  • We’re launching a new app feature and want all media outlets to push our story at the same time.
  • Our stakeholder wants to comment on run-of-the-mill market events to score a free backlink.
  • We’ve made a minor update we’d like to share for publicity.

There is no need for an embargo in these cases.

But the key takeaway here shouldn’t be when to use or not use an embargo.

It’s that you should never try to force an embargo, i.e., send a full press release labeled “under embargo,” unless the outlet has already agreed.

Otherwise, you’re treating media professionals like your personal paid stenographer rather than a fully autonomous journalist, and these kinds of PR stunts are quite played out these days.

Break an Embargo

While we’re on the subject, changing terms after a journalist has already agreed to work on your story is another big no-no.

In an online group for crypto journalists, one said:

 “Sometimes I felt like I was gonna lose my mind dealing with embargoes in crypto news as they would get sent and then updated with slight alterations a few hours later.”

If a journalist has agreed to cover your story at a set time and then you ask them to change the story shortly beforehand, you’re not making yourself any friends in crypto media circles.

Remember, embargoes are best used sparingly, often to prevent potentially market-moving news from getting out ahead of time without providing context. If a major hack has occurred and you want to make sure the news coverage comes with all the facts, sure, use an embargo. Use it, stick to it, try not to change the rules

However, embargoes should not be employed to try and force ten different outlets to swamp the news feeds with a run-of-the-mill company update.

In summary, if you’re considering an embargo for your next press release, do yourself a favor.

Think again.


Use Them for Free Advertising by Promising an “Exclusive”

Make no mistake, exclusive content is a cornerstone of any media outlet’s business. The issue, of course, is determining what merits an exclusive.

It’s all too common in crypto media circles for companies to attempt to pass off what should really be a paid advertorial as an exclusive news opportunity.

Here are some examples. Should they fall under the category of an exclusive?

  • Our company just hired a new marketing manager
  • We’ve updated our wallet to support more crypto tokens
  • We’re doing a promo or giveaway on our website

The above are all examples of low-level updates that by rights a company should have to pay an outlet to cover. Framing minor updates as an exclusive insults the intelligence of the reporter you’re reaching out to and doesn’t do your relationship with them any favors.

On the other hand:

  • We’ve just merged with a major company
  • We’ve just done a major survey full of useful data for industry analysts
  • Our high-profile CEO is available for interview on a trending topic

These are more in line with what’s appropriate for an exclusive. Of course, much of this depends on the status of your organization, which brings us to our next point.


Overestimate Your Worth

Don’t get us wrong here. Ambition, tenacity, and confidence are all valuable qualities for marketers to have in any industry.

However, it’s important to stay grounded in reality. If your company isn’t a really major player, and it’s not on the cusp of significantly disrupting the industry, your news might not be particularly newsworthy.

It’s very common for companies to get so caught up in their own work that they fail to see the bigger picture. Consider that the pitch you’re about to send a crypto journalist is likely the tenth one they’ve read since lunch. If you’re not on the same page as them in terms of what merits news coverage, you’re not going to be able to get through to them.

What’s worse, you’re going to take up their time and make them less amenable to reading your proposals down the line.


Rely on Gimmicks and Buzzwords

This should go without saying, and yet here we are, immersed in a world of marketers who think they can bullsh*t a journalist into publishing a story about vaporware.

Put it this way. Let’s say you jazz up your pitch to a journalist by dangling promises of synergy, innovation, bleeding-edge technology, and decentralization. Now let’s say the technology you’re pitching doesn’t truly feature any of these things, but the journalist is impressed enough to run with the story anyway.

Great, congratulations. You probably aren’t working with a very good media outlet.

Top-tier media professionals can see right through all of the tactics mentioned in this article. Unnecessary embargoes, disingenuous exclusive pitches, and pie-in-the-sky pitches full of crypto jargon are not going to cut it with the top dogs. You’re only going to alienate yourself by engaging in those tactics.


It’s About Mutual Respect

In the end, when it comes to crypto PR; your relationship with a crypto journalist is like any relationship. You need to value the time of the person you’re trying to deal with, and treat them like someone with their head screwed on.

There’s nothing wrong with reaching out respectfully with minor news updates to see if they’ll bite. You can also feel free to ask if they’d agree to an embargo, if you have something truly top secret that would be catastrophic if released too early (but do this before sending them the information).

One thing that might be appreciated is asking a journalist what kind of content they’re looking to publish. Once you open a line of communication like that, one based on mutual respect and cooperation, you’re elevating yourself head and shoulders adobe the rest of the marketers flooding the reporter’s inbox with junk.

When you’ve got their attention, you’ll be perfectly positioned to craft the right pitch at the right time to boost your company profile all the way to the stratosphere.

Give it a try. Quality and patience will win out over fast-talking tactics 100% of the time.

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