How blockchain will change marketing and copywriting
Blockchain’s first effect on marketing and copywriting came with the writing of the Bitcoin whitepaper and its distribution to a cryptocurrency mailing list in 2008.
Since then, all marketers and copywriters working in crypto and blockchain markets have been influenced by this document and the way it was distributed. However, the effect that this technology has had and will continue to have on the areas of marketing and copywriting goes much further.
Now, we have blockchain technology being used to improve marketing processes. We can also see specific marketing strategies and copywriting styles that have been tailored for these unique markets and audiences.
In the future, blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies are likely to transform the way marketers interact with the network of freelance workers they use to create campaigns and promote projects. These technologies are also likely to fundamentally alter the way projects are marketed to individuals who will retain more control of their identity and data online.
In this guide, we will explore the fundamental characteristics of blockchain technology that will have the most effect on marketing and copywriting, the effect that this technology has had on marketing and copywriting so far and what we can expect in the future.
Blockchain fundamentals for marketing and copywriting
To understand how blockchain technology has changed marketing and copywriting, as well as how it will in the future, it’s worth identifying some of the main features and benefits that make it stand out.
Transparency - Blockchain is ideal for transparent marketing, because the blockchain network supports a fully auditable and validated ledger of transactions. In areas where opacity or data centralisation have served to establish monopolies, distort markets and enable fraud, the transparency of a blockchain ledger can have a transformational effect. One of the most obvious areas where this is already making an impact is with programmatic advertising.
Security - Another important component of blockchain networks is cryptography, which helps ensure personal data is not easily compromised. In the Bitcoin network, this is all about keeping your bitcoins safe so that no-one else can spend them. In other networks, it enables individuals to control their personal identifiable information and interact with services without having to hand over lots of data. When you consider the value that marketers place on this type of data today, it is clear to see what a transformational effect blockchain technology could have on all sorts of marketing and advertising business models.
Efficiency - While many decentralised blockchain networks are less efficient than their centralised equivalents, some prioritise efficiency of transactions above all else. Either way though, increased efficiency within blockchain networks is usually enabled by a parallel technology, smart contracts. These allow individuals and organisations to interact and exchange value without the need for any human intermediary. Within marketing, these constructs will cut out a whole range of unnecessary middlemen and let two parties interact directly and efficiently.
How blockchain is used in marketing now
We know that blockchain can promise a host of benefits to marketers, but there are already companies capitalising on this technology to great effect. Here are three examples:
Havas launched a cryptocurrency for sports fans
Media and advertising giant Havas group worked with a French blockchain company to deliver a crypto-based loyalty programme for sports fans around the world. Havas executive Yann Baffalio said that the scheme would mean “fans finally get rewarded for their engagement and brands access a new passion-led asset”. In practice, fans are given digital coins as a reward for their loyalty for their favourite team. They can trade coins with other supports, swap them across other programmes and exchange them for club-related content. Think commemorative shirts or box seat tickets. Though in its infancy, this move could prove a game-changer for fan marketing and set a precedent for loyalty schemes in other sectors.
Adledger provides better trust in the digital media sector
Programmatic ad spending can be an opaque, convoluted area for marketers. Adledger seeks to clear up the mess by using blockchain to increase transparency and trust. Marketing agencies, brands and publishers can apply to be Adledger members. Once they’re in, they benefit from two solutions: one designed to help them comply with GDPR and one to improve campaign data. That means no longer having to ask ‘how many people saw my ad?’ or ‘when was my ad most effective?’. Blockchain allows Adledger to share this information across its membership base, accurately and rapidly.
Provenance lets customers see where their products came from
Provenance is one of the best direct examples of how blockchain can build trust between customers and brands. Brands like Unilever, Sainsburys and Rebel Kitchen are already taking advantage of Provenance – a blockchain system that allows for radical transparency over product development and supply chain. Provenance removes the guesswork about how things are made, how they are distributed and how sustainable some business practices are. As customers continue to demand information about the impact of their purchases, blockchain empowers Provenance to provide answers.
While these are just a few examples of how blockchain has changed marketing already, there are a lot more use cases for the future.
How blockchain will change marketing
We are already starting to see how blockchain technology can be used to improve marketing processes, as well as how a specific form of marketing is taking root within the blockchain and crypto space. These elements will continue to grow and adapt over time, while entirely new specialisms will also develop.
Blockchain marketing technology - According to Never Stop Marketing’s blockchain marketing technology report, the landscape for this type of solution has grown 13x in 18 months. Currently, most of the activity is in the areas of programmatic advertising, where blockchain can assist with preventing fraud, and customer relationship management (CRM), where data privacy and security are paramount.
These areas will continue to grow, with other innovative new solutions also becoming available. For example, a blockchain-based social network, which enables individuals to keep control of their personal data and the content they generate, might well be a major star of the blockchain marketing technology scene in the future.
Data sharing and privacy - So much of a marketer’s job these days is about capturing and utilising as much of the personal information and web interaction data they can in order to serve relevant messages at the right time to clients and prospects. Most blockchain networks use cryptography as part of a guiding principle that values personal privacy and ownership.
Therefore, blockchain marketers may have to rewire many of the assumptions and habits about digital marketing that they have built up over more than 20 years. One example of this change in approach can be seen with the Brave browser, which aims to block software that follows you around and shuns a free-to-use advertising-funded business model in favour of micropayments for your favourite sites. How will marketers get their message across in this new world?
Self sovereign marketing services - Taking this thought experiment one step further, blockchain marketers will not only have to get their heads around new ways of marketing but entirely new online business models.
If blockchain networks and protocols do come to underpin the decentralised web that some people believe will become an important part of the internet, marketers will need to adapt. This will mean reformatting marketing strategies to not rely on mass data collection, as well as helping to develop engaging and valuable microservices that individuals are willing to pay for.
How blockchain will change copywriting
Copywriting plays a major role in successful blockchain marketing and will therefore have to adapt to this major technological change in many of the same ways. Even technical and technology copywriters will have to increase their knowledge of how blockchain could transform underlying digital business models in order to successfully convey the benefits of this new approach.
Below are some of the specific ways that blockchain is likely to change copywriting in future.
Copywriting attribution - One of the most important achievements of Bitcoin was to make a digital asset that was scarce, in the sense that a single coin (or fraction of a coin) could not be copied and sent to another individual. An individual either owned the coin or, if they had sent it elsewhere, they didn’t - it couldn’t exist in two places at once.
When we transpose this onto the world of digital content, the potential for a new paradigm comes into focus. One of the most obvious consequences of the internet has been the mass reproduction and distribution of content around the web - just think about file sharing as an example. Therefore, it seems safe to assume that one of the future consequences of blockchain technology for copywriting might be proper attribution of original works, so the original writer is correctly attributed and rewarded for creation.
Increased technical knowledge - As mentioned, copywriters’ ability to understand and explain the transformational effect that blockchain and cryptocurrencies will have on a whole range of markets will increase as these networks become more established.
In some cases, projects will resort to using technical copywriters or those with some technology background as their need for specialised blockchain copywriters increases. However, they should be aware that being able to explain the benefits of blockchain involves understanding a whole range of parallel technologies and approaches, including smart contracts, cryptography and self sovereign identities. Copywriters that can demonstrate knowledge and experience across all these areas will become increasingly valuable in the future.
Freelancer business models - Blockchain copywriters and copywriting will also change in the sense that the operating model they use to interact with clients will need to adapt. Like other creatives, many copywriters operate as freelancers working for individuals, agencies and businesses on a project or contractual basis.
These ways of interacting will be changed by the automation that smart contracts enable. For example, a blockchain copywriter in the future might well be able to transact with their clients with cryptocurrencies, using a smart contract that mirrors the creative process and pays out tranches of the full price as the project progresses.
Best practice copywriting for blockchain marketing
One of the most important parts of communicating your blockchain product is using good quality written content. Copywriting about blockchain and crypto can run the risk of becoming either too vague or inaccessible to newcomers. When you’re starting with your blockchain copywriting, stick to these simple rules.
1. Be clear about your purpose and the problem you’re solving
It’s not enough to say your product is ‘the blockchain of X’. Just because you use blockchain technology, it doesn’t mean customers will automatically flock to your business. Always be clear in your copywriting what your company does and what problem it solves.
2. Avoid jargon and overly technical language (unless relevant)
The vast majority of people can get to grips with blockchain technology and its key features but not everyone can fully understand the sophisticated maths behind it. But unless your audience are engineers and data scientists, your copywriting doesn’t need to focus on these areas. Talk about the problems your company solves and, if you use technical language, explain what it means.
3. Expand on your benefits, not just your tech
Don’t fall into the trap of merely listing what your tech can do. Expand on why your product is good for your customers in your copywriting. For instance, you might mention how fast your system works. Great, now explain how that feature saves time and money for a customer’s business. A good rule to follow is that for every feature you reference, list a tangible benefit.
4. Focus on the positives of blockchain
As we’ve seen, blockchain solves a host of problems for today’s companies. Although blockchain isn’t in itself a selling point, there are plenty of opportunities to focus your copywriting on all the good things about blockchain. For example, blockchain is widely known for its transparency, efficiency, fraud prevention, security and decentralisation, so it’s important you don't miss these elements in your copy.
5. Build an FAQ
Maybe you’re a blockchain expert. That’s great, but many of your customers won’t be. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep informative resources on your site to guide newcomers. Keeping this up-to-date could have a great effect on your web traffic, especially as blockchain continues to evolve and become even more prominent in the marketing industry.