Public relations for blockchain and AI: challenges, ethics and best practices
Helping any organization build an audience and maintain a meaningful relationship with it is no small task. When it comes to organizations that operate on the cutting edge of advanced technology, especially within an innovative industry such as blockchain or artificial intelligence, the practice of public relations becomes even more challenging. It still has to be good PR in a traditional sense, but the fluid and fast-paced nature of tech brings in an additional layer of complexity. PR practitioners in blockchain and AI industries should think of themselves as not just communicators, but educators as well.
Do the research
The capacity to educate the public comes with the state-of-the-art expertise on the ever-developing subject matter. It is not unusual for public relations professionals working in high-tech fields to have to sift through dozens of pages of white papers, technical reports, and developer blog posts in order to produce a one-page press release. Communicating the uses and benefits of advanced technology takes a deep understanding of how it works, and requires staying abreast of its newest developments – amid novel consensus mechanisms, governance models, and machine learning algorithms springing up almost daily.
There are usually a few people who know a lot about any emerging tech, and a good many who know some. High-profile technologies like blockchain and AI are often surrounded by a slew of hopes, fears, and misperceptions that take shape and get entrenched as the ranks of adopters expand. While the major goal of public relations professionals is to cut through this noise with sound, convincing, and efficient messaging, those who do PR in blockchain and AI industries should also be mindful of the ethical side of the job.
While there might be a temptation to harness hype waves for the immediate benefit of the client, PR professionals should never lose sight of the audience’s interests. Being honest and clear about the timeline of your new mainnet’s launch, or instilling reasonable expectations about what your machine learning tool can and cannot do to improve the workflow, is critical to maintaining user trust in the technology.
So how exactly should blockchain and AI public relations practitioners go about persuading the skeptics and educating those who are not yet in the know? It all boils down to talking about complex matters in a comprehensible and vivid manner. One powerful strategy here is storytelling. Any good tech story should include a number of key elements: what’s the real-life problem in question; what are some reasons why this problem exists; how does the technological solution address these fundamental reasons and thus tackle the problem. Connecting these dots in an accessible yet evidence-based way lays the groundwork for a solid relationship with the target audience.
Efficient PR in blockchain and AI requires a thorough knowledge of the intellectual landscape of these burgeoning fields as well. Oftentimes influential experts are not found on the front pages of tech magazines: their habitats these days include a range of platforms from Medium blogs to specialized subreddits to Telegram channels and chats. Tech-savvy thinkers, entrepreneurs, investors, and early adopters are those who are both knowledgeable and passionate about world-changing technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence. Their expertise and willingness to serve as ambassadors of their favorite tech could be put towards creating an efficient communication strategy – if you know where to find them and how to speak their language.
In sum, pursuing public relations in the field of cutting-edge technology is both challenging and rewarding. Few things can be as satisfying as being paid to learn about the latest technological solutions with the potential to change people’s lives for the better, spread the word and build communities around those solutions. But to do it right, especially in the demanding domains of blockchain and AI public relations, you have to make sure that you are on top of everything you do.
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