ICO influencer marketing — how to make a campaign work across paid, owned and earned media

Part 3 in our series on ICO Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Effective Outreach

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we looked at how to build your outreach list, and then segment it to create discrete campaigns to target advisors, investors or influencers. Targeting the latter audience of influencers is a highly specialised field in its own right.

Here in part 3 we will now dive deeper into the highly effective field of ICO Influencer Marketing. In this article, we’ll look at some of the considerations required to build an integrated multi-channel influencer-marketing campaign that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Preparing your multichannel influencer campaign

The first step is to work out the overall marketing mix for your campaign. You’ll utilise paid, owned and earned activity — balancing the right kind of tailored, valuable content for each.

Campaigns that blend paid, owned and earned activity together in an integrated way are proven to be more effective than those using a single channel. Nowhere is this more apparent than in influencer marketing, despite many influencers still offering single-channel activity in their promotional plans. But what does paid, owned and earned activity involve for influencers — and what are the specific considerations for each?


Paid influencer-marketing activity is more aligned to traditional advertising or sponsorship. It has the benefit of being highly controllable, and you’ll often get to agree content and messaging in advance. Given you’re paying for their services, you’ll have the benefit of working in partnership to create output such as YouTube or Telegram AMAs and Twitter promotions.

Influencers are likely to request payment upfront, unless you have an established relationship with them. Payment is also often requested in cryptocurrency, although some do accept fiat. Given payment is changing hands, ensuring your influencers are transparent and disclose the relationship they have with you is, we believe, not just a good way of protecting your reputation, but essential to operating within the guidelines of the financial and advertising regulatory bodies.


Earned influencer activity, which is more akin to public relations, relies on a different form of value exchange and is often less controllable than paid activity. For experts to communicate your messages, they’ll want something of value in return, whether that is access to an event, exclusive information, or something else other people do not have, that they and/or their followers will value.

While Earned activity is typically thought of as costing less than paid, there will often be hidden or deferred costs required to ensure that the value exchange is sufficient to create great results. Such examples might include hosting costs, or promotional items. Whilst money isn’t changing hands, some advertising guidelines provided by regulatory bodies such as the ASA and FCC advise that disclosure here is given.


Owned influencer activity involves leveraging the power of influencers on your own marketing assets and platforms. Inviting guest bloggers to write for your newsletter, or provide partner testimonials to your website or social media channels are great ways to achieve results. Respected influencers bring their credibility and reputation to your project.

As many influencers love to extend their own reach, you can often benefit from highly cost-effective campaigns utilising your owned media, especially if you already have a good audience of your own.

Putting it all together

A simple-but-effective ICO influencer-marketing campaign might involve a handful of influencers that are most relevant to your area of operation and campaign objectives — and that have been selected using the data from your outreach list. Each influencer will offer a slightly different audience and approach to content.

Based on your research into each influencer you can work out how they might fit together in an integrated plan, and with what use of paid, owned and earned activity. You’ll have far more success engaging with influencers, if you propose activity to them that follows their style and builds on previous promotional activity.

You can often maximise value delivery from each influencer by having them contribute where possible to more than one part of your campaign. For example, when using an influencer for paid activity, additional owned and earned activity by that influencer can often be negotiated into the fee.

This can often be very useful when ensuring you have a good frequency of messaging across your campaign period, rather than just relying on a few single points in the timeline.

Just remember, you activity’s success is dependent on the right choice of credible and relevant influencer — which is why a data-based selection approach is so important.

Moving on to engagement

We’ve now looked at how influencer marketing campaigns can be put together across paid, owned and earned activity strands. Whether you are engaging with advisors, investors or influencers, you should now be clear on your campaign’s objectives and strategy, have your outreach list clearly segmented, prioritised and researched, and be clear on some of the important techniques for influencer campaigns.

It’s now time to move into the outreach phase and start getting great results. We’ll look at this phase in some detail in our next article.

An alternative option — LiveLists

If you want to discover and engage the right investors, influencers and advisors to ensure your blockchain project is a success, but don’t have the time to follow the above process yourself (and want to reduce investment in agencies or pre-made lists to do this), Block Influence’s LiveLists product may be of interest.

It saves start-ups time and expenditure by creating bespoke outreach lists that you can access and own — in a matter of hours and at a fraction of the cost of hiring an agency or purchasing a list. LiveLists improves outreach quality and effectiveness — by giving founding teams the tools to do outreach themselves.

LiveLists is updated in real-time and contains all the information you’d need to achieve a wide range of outreach activities. Find out more here.



This article was originally pubished on medium.com, please join the discussion there now.