[Discussion] Press Releases at MakerDAO

What Is a Press Release?

A press release is a piece of news or information that companies send out to inform the public about something noteworthy or of material significance. Press releases are often handled by a company’s public relations(PR) department. (source)

Over the last few months, I’ve seen this topic brought up a number of times;

When will the DAO start doing press releases?

And I think people are right for thinking about this–in fact, I’ve been thinking about it too. Press Releases are a powerful communication tool for many good reasons:

  • Can be used for multiple purposes.
  • Can help us improve our image.
  • Can enhance the effectiveness of our marketing plans.
  • Creates a channel through which we reach a wider audience.
  • Gives us Instant exposure for what we consider to be important.
  • Offers readers(and journalists) a level of convenience.
  • Gives us more ability to steer and manage our own narrative.
  • Gives us the opportunity to refine our messaging.
  • Engages potential customers.
  • Helps distribute our content across more channels.
  • May potentially help with SEO.
  • Gives the media a foundation to build their stories from.

In today’s world, press releases are not as standard as they used to be. In many cases, a handful of relationships with great journalists is enough. The questions we should be asking though, is, what’s right for MakerDAO?

Questions up for discussion

  1. Should we do press releases at all?
  2. What kinds of press releases should we do?
  3. Who owns them, who is involved in producing them?

My personal view:

  1. Yes, I think the benefits are many and it almost feels like a no-brainer. The one thing I hope for is that we develop healthy criteria for what we put out so that we don’t create noise. I am curious to hear views against press releases.
  2. What makes the most sense to me:
    Crisis Communications Press Release (for when shit hits the fan),
    Product Launch Press Releases (for when PSMs, FlashMint Modules, etc come out),
    Product Improvement Press Releases(similar to above),
    Merger, Acquisition & Partnership Press Releases (for major news, not for smaller partnerships and integrations)
  3. I think one CU should “own” the process for coordinating, publishing, and distributing Press Releases and should collaborate with other CUs to put it all together. With my current view on the MakerDAO comms landscape(see below), I think Content Production should own this and work with the DAO to get it right. Also, given that the GovComms scope includes Emergency Communications Support, we can specifically own the Crisis Communication Press Releases since we would already be involved in coordinating comms around crisis events.

Current Communication Teams Landscape at MakerDAO

At time of posting, MakerDAO does not have a “Public Relations” Core Unit. Instead, it has:

And is on its way to having:

On the horizon:

  • ??? unclear beyond the above.

Public Relations at Maker, I sense, will be a group effort between teams and not solely owned by any-one team. PR already bleeds into Marketing teams pretty often in traditional companies, so the fact that it would be embedded across all our communication teams makes sense to me.

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I’m all for it. Ultimately the DAO can only speak by voting on content (such as with @iammeeoh’s letter to a16z) but it giving a “MakerDAO press releases mandate” to a CU or special-purpose team is a very good idea.

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Yes, it would be valuable for us to have an individual or a small team responsible for producing and distributing press releases, fielding questions from journalists about those releases, and fielding day-to-day questions from reporters.

Reporters are going to write stories about us whether we talk to them or not; by talking to them, we can help them write more informed articles and play a role in shaping public perception of MakerDAO.

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Is this part of the responsibility of the marketing team? Also, why doesn’t Maker have a podcast? Saffron Finance has one and it is helpful for educating while promoting to the masses.

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Totally agree here–most companies will use their Marketing Team to spread the word. An example of this is the Maker Twitter account–do we really think it gets any traction? I don’t. I follow it and it barely shows up on my feed. But a Marketing Team–now they can take it far, IMO.

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Yes, although we should remember that MakerDAO is not like an ordinary company where there is an “official and final viewpoint”.

MakerDAO is (I think) something in the middle between a company and a purely decentralised open opensource project.

  1. unlike a pure anarchic opensource project, we have a source of authority: MKR on-chain votes.
  2. unlike a company, the vote only reflects a relative majority of opinions.

So, if we want to introduce a CU for “press releases” we should always be careful that such CU only illustrates the results of the votes, and does not express strong opinions (there is no CEO).

For example, to illustrate what I am trying to say by means of an extreme example, even if a

“are you in favour of KYC”

on-chain vote received a 55% YES, I would find it ackward if the PRESS CU went to say in TV that MakerDAO is in favour of KYC.

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This, 100%.

Press Releases from a Maker Core Unit should be accurate and objective. Viewpoints, in general, I don’t think will need to come through Press Releases – I think our scope should be pretty narrow and well-defined :point_down:

And when we represent the story behind the changes, products, acquisitions, etc, we must aim to tell the true story of alternative views and sentiments.

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In general, yes, PR should be coordinated with marketing but which marketing team are you referring to?

Content Production will be distributing audio from the webinars we outlined in our last update as well as other events hosted by the community, including @PaperImperium’s Speaker Series on podcasting channels so Maker will soon have a podcast.

Definitely - we should be able to trust whoever’s responsible to share facts appropriately when possible and gather opinions or help whoever’s inquiring navigate our processes for gathering opinions.

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Good! Maybe we can get a non-English language one in there, too, if anyone wants to do one.

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We have a lot of active Hispanic community in maker, which is the most active around here outside of English. I think it would be a good idea to have that second language in Spanish.

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Thanks, David, for starting this discussion.

  1. Yes
  2. What you have listed, plus key milestones
  3. Crisis communications is one of the most challenging areas in PR communications. Hats off to the Governance Communications team that has put a lot of thought into it and formed a plan. As for other press releases, if the content team plans to handle all press releases from start to finish, then that’d be fine with our unit.

As a communications professional and former journalist, I can say that having one place to go to for information, whether urgent or not, is very important for journalists.

Clarifying responsibility is a start. As the next step, I suggest we form a collaborative group with key members across three units to ensure that the journalists only need to go to one place to get their information. That way, we can also avoid working in silos and effectively communicate as a DAO.

We should keep in mind that producing press releases is one of the tasks of Public Relations. There’s more to PR, including the following:
*Pitching interviews and stories with major news outlets and publications to increase our visibility
*Research on public opinions
*Media training
*Filter and facilitate interview requests
*Interview preparation
*Answering questions from media
*Building relationship with the press
*Promoting and lobbying
*Counseling
*It protects a brand’s reputation and image

Our unit with PR experts has included PR as part of our proposal. We are working on a revised proposal and will share that with the community in the near future.

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