Like most crypto journalists, Will Foxley has a horror story about a bad encounter he had with a dodgy PR person. The former tech reporter at CoinDesk recalls being embarrassed in his first few days on the job after he relied on bad information fed to him in an announcement.
“I got burned by a bad PR agent within, like, two or three weeks on the job, where they gave me false press release information,” he says. “I didn’t quite verify it enough and then got called out by one of the higher industry people. That’s like the quickest way to ruin your relationship with a journalist.”
He’s quick to add a disclaimer that “there are some great PR people out there,” but he estimates the good guys only account for about 20% of the industry. The “lower 80%” either don’t care about, or don’t understand the technology, or the fact journalists put their reputations on the line whenever they run a story.
“They only have an interest in pumping whatever the coin they’re tasked with pumping and getting whatever company they need into whatever headline, which is really unfortunate. And it leads to a lot of burnout among journalists, and a lot of frustration.”
Fortunately, the best crypto PR practitioners understand how to play the game and act accordingly. “The most important currency we have is trust,” says David Wachsman, founder and CEO of the eponymous PR firm. “We have to earn that because the one thing I know for certain is reporters are a cynical bunch, and they know when something feels off.”
It’s a dangerous game to get wrong because PR agents and sometimes entire agencies can get blacklisted by publications or develop a bad reputation industry-wide, explains Foxley.
“If you don’t like a PR person, you tell at least everyone that you’re working with at your organization,” says Foxley, who is now the editorial director at Compass Mining. “I saw that quite often. You’re like, ‘They’re from that firm? Don’t talk to…