Todd Barrish
Todd Barrish

Web3. Crypto. Metaverse. NFTs. Is there anything buzzier at the moment than these disruptive, polarizing and world-building technologies? From Facebook’s rebrand to NFT releases from GameStop and AMC, we’re in a frenzied media environment for all things metaverse and crypto.

In these early innings, no one can claim to know how these technologies will evolve or which players will end up on top. Engineers and entrepreneurs are working tirelessly to innovate the type of products and solutions that will turn the metaverse and Web3 from novelties to necessities. However, these founders and entrepreneurs should also be thinking about what role communications and PR will play in the launch of their new brands and services.

If the news cycle and conversation surrounding Web3 and the metaverse change on a daily basis, how can industry leaders expect to grab media attention and create a coherent narrative? While it may seem daunting, a few key strategies can help thoughtful executives cut through the noise and make a name for themselves. There may never be a better moment to become a Web3 thought leader.

The moment of opportunity for Web3 leaders

When you work in public relations, one of the most common things you hear from clients is that they want to “create a category”—often one in which they’re the only player. True moments of category creation don’t come easily, and they often take years to establish and validate. But with Web3 and the metaverse, we’re witnessing the creation not just of a new category but of an entire industry that is ripe for leadership.

Cryptocurrencies, NFTs and the metaverse have captured the public imagination, yet they’ve also been met with a healthy dose of confusion and skepticism. This moment presents a major need for thought leadership. If a Web3 founder can explain how their technology works and why we should care, they’ll be doing a service not just for their own organization, but for the industry at large. With so much left to be defined in the primordial soup of the metaverse and Web3, it won’t take much for true thought leaders to establish credibility. And once a knowledgeable, visionary leader proves they have something valuable to say, they’ll become a go-to source for the thousands of media stories to come on these red-hot topics.

The caveat

In a market defined more by hope and optimism than products and proof points, we’re inevitably going to see companies trying to capitalize on the attention without having the technology to back up their claims. Five years ago, with companies clamoring to take advantage of artificial intelligence and digital transformation, hundreds of startups touted the “advanced algorithms and machine learning” that underpinned their products. And while some enterprise buyers may have been convinced by the marketing and invested in what amounted to vaporware, these wannabe AI innovators eventually found themselves pushed out of the market by those companies who could deliver what they promised.

The current Web3 environment cries out for thought leadership, but the last thing we need are the “fake it ‘til you make it” entrepreneurs who believe they can succeed simply by gaining notoriety. We need real experts, creative thinkers who have done their homework and can explain what’s coming next for the metaverse and our crypto economy. As Web3 founders fight for funding and market share, those who can deploy smart, thoughtful PR and content strategies will find that they have a much easier time attracting attention from top VCs and customers.

Translators, teachers and students

The role of a good piece of thought leadership is about bringing clarity to complexity: a subject matter expert takes their detailed, domain-specific knowledge and translates it into a narrative that is engaging and understandable for a less familiar audience. The thought leaders who rise to the top of the Web3 and metaverse spheres will be those who are skilled at both translating complex concepts and teaching readers about how they work. And like all of our favorite teachers, they’ll be able to do it in a way that makes us care and want to learn more.

In a dynamic industry, our Web3 thought leaders will need to embrace one more role besides translator and teacher. These leaders will also need to commit to being perpetual students, always doing their research and learning more about the newest innovations and what might be coming around the corner. Those executives who reach a point of expertise and then rest on their laurels will quickly find that their knowledge is outdated and uninteresting, while those who do the hard work of staying on the cutting edge will discover that they’ve built an organic audience of fans and disciples.

It’s time for a real thought leader in Web3 and the metaverse. Now who’s going to seize the moment?


Todd Barrish is President of Indicate Media.