Founder & CEO of SlicedBrand, a global PR agency with an award winning team, she’s successfully led PR for thousands of technology companies
When any buzzword comes along, seemingly everyone wants to be associated with it. For a while, the words “guru” or “ninja” appeared in the LinkedIn profile of scores of professionals, a phenomenon that quickly inspired a backlash against the use of the terms. A similar thing is happening right now with the term “metaverse” since Facebook announced its name change to Meta. Suddenly, every company is promoting itself as a metaverse company, despite the fact that the industry is in its infancy. Brands shouldn’t be built from buzzwords.
Just because the metaverse is a hot topic doesn’t mean your startup should jump on the buzzword bandwagon. You need to first consider whether your company is relevant. If your startup is working on the technologies or use cases paving the way for the metaverse, it’s going to take some effort to get noticed among all those competing for coverage. Here are some tips for how to do that.
Find and foster relationships with the right journalists.
Metaverse startups should start by looking at who’s covering the space. This means not only which publications, but also which writers to approach at those outlets. Not all tech journalists cover all aspects of an industry. Some focus on funding announcements, while others may write solely about gaming.
In addition to reading every tech publication possible, Twitter is an important medium for finding the right reporters. Once you identify who’s covering the kinds of announcements you will be making, follow them on social media. Establish connections and get to know not only their beats but the “type” of story that most appeals to them. It is also important to follow specific hashtags on Twitter, as well as potentially on Reddit.
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If a journalist you follow publishes on Substack, subscribe to their posts. Immersive journalism is already exploring metaverse potential, and companies in the space should get to know which reporters are creating these kinds of experiences and which types of projects lend themselves to immersive coverage.
Research which narratives and messages resonate.
It’s early days in the metaverse, and many companies are just experimenting with their messaging to see what works and what doesn’t. Look at the angles and topics that reporters are most interested in writing about, and pay attention to how people react to specific narratives — especially which announcements are met with applause and which are met with eyerolls and a long thread of sarcastic tweets. Learn from the successes and mistakes of others in crafting messages that will resonate with your target audience. We’re living in a new age, and this requires creative thinking and new angles to stand out.
Explore new ways of engaging with your community.
The metaverse is more than just interactive online gaming, and it’s opening up interesting ways for companies to engage with their communities. Startups in this space need to walk the talk and incorporate the use of the metaverse into their PR strategies. The metaverse is enabling creatives to reach fans and consumers in a whole new way, helping them bypass Web 2.0 gatekeepers like Facebook, which notoriously limits the ability of Brand Pages to reach their followers.
Celebrities are exploring the metaverse as a way to forge new connections with fans. For instance, Snoop Dogg now has a mansion inside The Sandbox and is building experiences that people are getting on waitlists to attend. Musicians are realizing that immersive, metaverse-based concerts can bring fans far closer than a mere livestream. Metaverse companies should also be creating PR-worthy events their community members can share with friends and on social media to generate additional buzz.
Become known as a thought leader.
A primary tenet of good public relations is for company founders to become known as thought leaders in their industry. The same holds true for businesses involved in the metaverse. Position yourself as a thought leader by finding the media outlets that are publishing guest posts about the metaverse and pitching them your own articles, preferably with perspectives that have not been presented before.
As mentioned above, watch the buzzwords. The ability to convey complex concepts with simple, understandable language and examples can do more to raise your profile as a thought leader than simply stringing together a bunch of terms that are hot in the tech space. You can also seek out podcasts that are talking about the metaverse and pitch yourself as a potential guest.
Book speaking opportunities.
While writing guest posts on metaverse topics is one way to position yourself as a thought leader in the space, speaking opportunities is another approach. You can research events that have the metaverse as a focus or look for broader tech conferences that include metaverse topics. Getting booked for an event is something that requires a lot of lead time, as many organizers start planning their program up to a year in advance. If your startup has a limited budget, you can look specifically for events that are being streamed live online and pitch yourself as a potential panelist for metaverse topics.
Perfect your storytelling skills.
Because the metaverse is such a hot topic right now, your startup’s key messages will need to be focused on capturing the hearts and minds of audiences — and the attention of journalists. For this, buzzwords won’t cut it. Building a metaverse brand will require good storytelling and the ability to help people understand what these technologies will do for them.
We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what applications the metaverse holds in store, and the hype will continue to build. It is possible for a metaverse startup to stand out among the noise in the tech space, despite how crowded it already seems. With time and effort, you’ll be able to get your company’s name in the headlines — and for all the right reasons.
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Author: Ayelet Noff, Forbes Councils Member