What would happen if we hire a professional PR & Marketing agency to promote Steem?

in steem •  4 months ago 

I think most would agree marketing has not been one of Steem's strong suits.

I think most would also agree that Steem (desparately) needs more users.

And I am guessing most would likely agree that one tried and tested way of getting more users is to do Marketing.

These assertions are not of course in any way new.

We have been hearing these sentiments for well over a year on Steem.

Is now the time to act?


The Story so far

There have been some small efforts of marketing Steem, but so far these have been rather piece-meal, under resourced, and uncoordinated.

Steemit Inc has put out a limited number of press releases, which particularly recently, have gained some media coverage. But their resources are limited.

The marketing baton has therefore has been passed over to the community and individual apps.

Some of the apps such as @Splinterlands and @ReggaeSteem are becoming increasingly active, and successful, at promoting their individual projects.

Community led marketing of Steem itself has been limited to a number of adhoc efforts primarily on Twitter and to a lesser degree on Reddit and Quora. In the past Jerry Banfield did put out some advertising on Facebook, but that was only for a limited period.

There is certainly some appetite in the community to do marketing, but limited resources, funding, skills, and direction have hampered progress to date.


The Steem Proposal System

The Steem Proposal System now presents an opportunity not available before. The SPS currently has over 2400 SBD (US$ 1880) to distribute per day. At present only a third of this is being given out to projects.

So far the SPS has given out over 41,000 SBD, but none of that has gone to any outward marketing projects.

There are not at present any obvious or significant marketing projects being put to the SPS.

Would an option therefore be to fast-track and outsource the marketing of Steem to a professional PR and marketing company?

While the SPS funding might not support a world leading agency, taking say just a third of the SPS budget - $600 per day - certainly would be sufficient to retain a decent middle weight company.


I am sure at this point some will object and say that only Steemians know enough about Steem to market it.

I would disagree. You go to experts when you need experts to do an expert job.

We could benefit greatly from a fresh pair of professional eyes that can look at Steem with a wordly view, unhampered by Steem politics and tribalism.


What would be the process?

  1. Agree a brief and a budget to put out to interested agencies.

  2. Invite expressions of interest and make a short list.

  3. Ask the shortlisted agencies to present their ideas and plans.

  4. Select the winning agency.

  5. Award an initial contract of say 6 months, with possibly a 3 month break point.

  6. Require the winning agency to attend a one-hour progress update and Q & A session every two weeks hosted by MSP Waves or the Ramble.

  7. Review progress every 3 months to determine if the contract is continued.


What might be included in the brief for the first 3 / 6 months

  1. A discovery period of 2 weeks that would include one or two community forums, and interviews with key players.

  2. A requirement for a rolling program of press releases of at least 1 or 2 per week.

  3. The preparation and execution of a social media plan.

  4. The preparation and execution of an advertising campaign at various budget levels.

  5. Attendance at fortnightly update sessions, and quarterly reviews.


Budget

I would suggest a SPS proposal for 800 SBD per day for an initial 6 month period. This would provide for a budget to the marketing agency of say $450 per day, or $13,500 per month, and allow some contingency for any non SPS funded periods and/or additional advertising campaign costs.


Risks

There is a risk that the marketing agency may fail to deliver, but the contract would include clear performance targets. If the agency fails to meet these then the contract an be terminated.

The bigger risk will be the mechanism of funding via the SPS. If a contract is commenced and the proposal then drops out of the SPS 'funding zone' for any length of time this would present a problem.

To mitigate this one route would be to start the proposal for say a month before commencing a contract with an agency. It would be very useful if a grouping of major stakeholders would make an open commitment to supporting the proposal for at least 3 months.


How to take this forward

The starting point will be who can, should or will take this forward?

Anyone could submit a proposal to the SPS, but it will carry more weight if it comes from the Steem Foundation, or a grouping of bigger stakeholders or witnesses.

The whole project, particularly in terms of the budgets involved needs more discussion and refinement, but this post is really just to throw the idea up in the air to see if anyone wants to catch it...



[ graphic by @pennsif ]

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While I agree Marketing STEEM is a priority, at the same point I think the whole blockchain needs a rethink on how they market it to people. The single biggest reason we have people join and then leave after a few posts is the Marketing...Earn for your voice - the whole system is pitched you can blog and earn crypto rewards for your posts. But as we all know - starting from scratch knowing no one it does not matter how amazing your post content is - you will be lucky to get any of these magic upvotes. This creates a false expectation - people expect to be able to create a blog post and get rewards - while in reality it takes time to get established and build a following that will support your work and give you the rewards.

The single best marketing point of Steem blockchain nobody is promoting, you can join and blog for pretty much free (if you take the time to find someone who will create an account for you - and maybe a starter delegation to go with it) and every post you make is backed by a decentralised blockchain stored worldwide by over 150 Active Witnesses. How many people have started a blog on any old blogging site, put hundreds of hours into content only for it to vanish because the servers got shut down? With Steem your blog has a guarantee to be around for as long as you post - because it's backed by so many people not just one server host.

That's your selling point, create your blog and it will always be there, every post is backed by a decentralised blockchain. You don't need to pay someone to market that, you just need to give people an expectation and meet it.

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

All good points. It will also be important to market the whole steem ecosystem - not just the blogging platform part of it.

I cannot agree MORE with this!!!!

It's HUGE.
We could benefit greatly from a fresh pair of professional eyes that can look at Steem with a wordly view, unhampered by Steem politics and tribalism

Thank you for the support. Hopefully we can find a way to move this forward.

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

The SPS currently has over 2400 SBD (US$ 1880) to distribute per day

True. However the refill rate is only about 1600 per day so spending above 1600/day depletes the fund. It could be done on a one time or short term basis, but it wouldn't be sustainable.

However:

  1. Your proposal to spend 800 per day fits within the refill budget
  2. Rewards from posts can also be used. Some of the existing proposal recipients have used a hybrid model of getting some funding from SPS and some from posts.
  3. Beneficiary rewards from posts can be used to refill the SPS faster.

On the matter of funds not being guaranteed (which would therefore make it difficult or not impossible to sign a services contract), this is one reason to want to fill the SPS fund to a higher balance rather than deplete it. Doing so allows faster payouts of the entire contract amount, so approval becomes more of a binary decision (which allows for signing a contract or not) rather than a slow stream of funds which could be cut off in month or two for various reasons.

Thanks for the extra info on the SPS. Is that 1600 SBD refill rate growing significantly?

Planning for contingency and continuity has to be managed carefully.

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

The automatic refill rate is a function of the market cap (mostly price) of STEEM. So it really depends on the price of STEEM going up to increase it, or a fork that increased the share of inflation going to SPS. At the same time, a decrease in the price of STEEM would reduce the fill rate.

I didn't include beneficiaries or donations in that rate, only the automatic refill. I believe these to generally be small (apart from a one-time donation from Steemit Inc that helped jump start the fund), but that could conceivably change. For example, there is currently a high trending post (advert) with a bunch of paid votes and 100% SPS beneficiary. If such a thing really caught on, then I guess there might be more funding consistently going into SPS.

Working the budget to be sustainable will be all important. We will have to work with what we have.

Hopefully, of course, one outcome of the marketing would be some upward movement on the Steem price.

I absolutely LOVE this idea!!!!
If something like this were to be pulled off by a decent market group...I just might be tempted to come back hahaha

Not that anyone is waiting for that...

But I kinda have been :)

I'm going to pimp this post on #pypt today with @shadowspub :)

Also...did you see the Steem Summit proposal?
You should definitely come!!! Even if you just tune in by video! There is a post on it tbat will be on PYPT today so if you want to hear more....drop by! Its starting now!

☺️

That's great, thank you. And great to see you back on Steem.

Hopefully the idea can gain traction.

Just reading about the Steem Summit at this very moment and adding it to today's Steem News.

Awesome!!!

And i never left... Just stopped posting . Still supported in comments and some.shows... but kinda waiting for something like you just proposed hahahha

Im actually the one who wrote the proposal for the alliance for the Steem Summit hehehe

So I've been here...just....lurking and waiting :)

Keep me posted on any updates on the Block Party and the Steem Summit.

Steemit Inc have gone very quiet and many of us expected them to use their resources for some marketing. We desperately need something to bring in more people. Twitter initiatives may have limited success. I have created a few accounts for people, but my reach is limited.

The SPS presents an opportunity - I think we should grab it with both hands and get in some 'hired guns'.

Have been screaming and shouting for the very same topic for months...yet unless a big name decides to start a serious discussion regarding this matter it's like preaching to the choir...

We know we need pro marketers...do they?

I guess it would need commitment from some of the biggest hitters to push forward.

I think the biggest SPS voters so far include @theycallmedan @proxy.token @smooth @blocktrades @lukestokes @therealwolf @forum.orcinorum @blockbrothers @clayop...

I wonder if any of them would pick up on this sort of project?

Why not? It would be a win - win for everyone.

The funds are available...sitting...waiting to be used. As a matter of fact I think that it would be the top proposal in no time approved by the whole community...

I like this optimistic view...

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

I would support a well-presented proposal, but even if all of us supported it, this still doesn't guarantee the funding would remain activated for the entire time. There are plenty of non-voting stakeholders who could start voting and cut off or redirect the funding, and it is also possible over six months that new stakeholders become active or some existing stakeholders become inactive.

So any plan would need to address the contingency of partial funding.

Yes that is the nature (limitation) of the SPS. Have to work with what we have, and plan accordingly.

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

Right. It isn't an issue that is unique to this proposal. We've encouraged everyone making proposals to think about and state clearly what they will do in the event of partial funding.

Yes I have picked up on that. Definitely an issue to address in a proposal.

I love this idea. @cervantes will support such project.

Great thank you for the support @gargon

I'd love to make this topic: Should We Outsource MArketing?

A session at the upcoming SteemSummit in Niagara, Upstate New York, this June.

https://steemit.com/blockpartytwo/@bluefinstudios/steemit-summit-and-the-block-party

Hahahhahaa great minds think alike!!!!!

I just wrote the same.comment above! Lol

Thanks for presenting this on #pypt @pypt @dreemsteem

Yes thank you @dreemsteem

This is a nice idea. It can work. However, Steem should also focus on increasing its user base. That will automatically do a lot of work.

Posted via Steemleo

That will be one of the main goals of the marketing - to increase the user base.

@pennsif, this seems to be a great idea ; but UI friendliness and quick on boarding (sign up) needs to be really as good as Splinterlands (as an example) to get people to come on-board.

That, is what Steemit platform is lacking and Communities is supposed to be the one that makes the on-boarding experience great.

That itself still needs a lot of tweaking.


That being said, there are "other ways for marketing".

Rice-illicious (@hive-102405) monthly cook-off is a test project that would get (first) Steemians and (hopefully) later mass application from applicants all across the globe to enter later.

We are now testing on any cooks (amateurs or pros) who will join in the fun; and we will see how it reacts before even thinking of pushing the right proposal for a full steem ahead outright cook-off

Posted using Partiko Android

Onboarding is alas still a problem. Hopefully the @steemonboarding project can help solve that.

There are indeed many ways to market, the more the better.

Hope it goes well with Rice-illicious - keep me informed on progress with that.

Submission is closing today. We will be compiling and validating the finals for judges to decide. To stay tuned!

I 100% agree. From this breif post alone it sounds like you've got a really thorough plan. I really like a bunch of your ideas and personally feel that well thought out marketing is a necessity for mass adoption. 2020's going to be a BIG year for crypto & hopefully a HUGE year for Steem.

2020 will be a big year for Steem.

I would vote for that!

Excellent thanks.

Congratulations @pennsif!
Your post was mentioned in the Steem Hit Parade in the following category:

  • Comments - Ranked 8 with 50 comments

Would be an interesting notion, and I'm surprised nobody has already.

I've not spotted anything so far.

Personally, I wouldn't spend a penny on Marketing #Steem.

Done correctly, #Steem could generate cash to promote itself.

People are thinking about this all wrong.!!

Stephen

My thoughts exactly! Problem is not marketing a flawed product, but the product itself. Fix the product, the marketing will fix itself...

I like what you think and care about, the right question is do really steemit team care about this? Is their main goal to grow Steemit and Steem blockchain at all? Once this question is yes, that I am sure it is worth it to discuss and find solution for. Marketing agencies would be a great solution for bringing popularity to Steem, but I believe PR wouldn't be enough without having new updates and changes to Steemit. Since I started more than two years ago, nothing changed so far besides the Featured system and Ads shown into Steemit.

We would have to marketing the whole package - beyond Steemit.Com, to include all the dapps, apps etc.

There would be enough PR stories available - some more powerful than others though.

Let SMTs and communities be out for users and be tested. Then it will help to push on marketing

Yes they will be a part of the marketing.

Are you gonna buy all that sbd?

I don't think the market will take that much weight.
I'm surprised we get the support we do get.

That's a problem indeed...

Flag a spammer.

That will be situation generally if the SPS is to continue increasing its payouts...

Chicken and egg,...
Who buys when insiders dump even near all time lows?

Too bad stinc pissed away all that shiny brand new goodwill we had going.
'We need the bots to keep roi high.'
'If people can't sell their votes, what will they do with them?'
Smdh.

I'm almost vegan...

Lol, i love bacon!
But have mostly stopped beef.

  ·  4 months ago (edited)

As a general idea, I'm all up for using the SPS to create added value. And marketing is a way of doing that by changing the image of Steem, creating awareness, and bringing in more users, investors and potentially new businesses.

I have a question and a concern here. The question is if we should do it after launching SMTs or start now.

The concern is about the inflation of SBD. We don't have a strong sink for them, other than dumping on the market or converting to STEEM (and if I'm not wrong, at these prices it's still unprofitable to convert). I wish SPS would offer alternative payment options, if not now, in the future.

I think we definitely we need to start the ball rolling now. It would take 2 months minimum to get this up and running. SMTs will be definitely be part of the marketing message, but there must more than just SMTs. Putting all the eggs in one basket won't be ideal.

Re the SBD issue, I don't know the answer. But we have to work with what we have.

I may be a pessimist, but my perspective is that unless there's a vision for how a new user has a good experience once they're here, advertising and PR to attract new users would largely be wasted money. A while back I tried to convince people who share my hobby to try out blogging on Steemit: some rejected it immediately when they didn't see any content they found appealing on the Trending page which they were seeing, some gave up when their accounts took forever to get created (this may be fixed now?), and others gave up when the rewards system didn't seem rewarding enough. My conclusion at the time was that there was no point in trying to convince people to come here unless and until I had a reasonable expectation that they'd have a better experience (for example, me having enough SP to give content I value a nice upvote myself without hoping for an audience for niche content to materialize from the ether).

There is more to marketing than advertising and PR. The essence of marketing is figuring out what story you want the customer to believe, and having a product that enables people to believe that story. To me that seems more like it's about the vision for the ecosystem and the features the platforms provide than it is about advertising or PR.

Account creation is improving, there are alternative front ends like Steempeak, there is Steempress, and there are all the other apps and dapps in the ecosystem.

Steem is not a one-trick pony, and it is not a money tree.

And of course there is more to marketing than advertising and PR. That is why a professional marketing company will be needed to help explore and evolve the vision, the message and the stories to tell.

I will definitely support once sps is up.

Great thank you.

Go for it, I've always wanted to see the sps being used more for non-code purposes/marketing. But I would be careful with a lot of the parameters, and what we are selling.

A good point to market steem would be right before the smt launch, and after communities have launched (aka beta.steemit.com is steemit.com) imo.

There will be a lead-in time to get this up and running which likely take it into the timezone between communities and SMT.

Determining what is the best sales message will be part of the discovery process with a chosen agency. It would be interesting to get a professional outsiders view on what Steem has to offer.

I'm for it, I see no other way to move past this stagnant stage.

Maybe in a full bull market, but outside of that it all smells like standing water

  ·  4 months ago Reveal Comment