A version of this story appeared in Total Annarchy, my fortnightly newsletter that helps you be a better writer, storyteller, marketer. Get it in your inbox; you’ll love it.
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Jeremiah Owyang has been a friend for a long time. I credit him for getting me (as MarketingProfs) onto Twitter in 2007—eleventy-billion year ago in internet time.
In 2007, I didn’t understand why I needed to be on Twitter. (“What’s the business goal? What am I supposed to do with it there, exactly? What’s the point?”)
But I gave it a go. And 458K followers and countless opportunities later… I get it. Well, I got it a long time ago.
A few weeks ago Jeremiah messaged me again:
“If you have a community, you can have an economy.”
He was explaining Creator Coins, recently introduced by a company called Rally.io. Jeremiah is an adviser to Rally.
A Creator Coin is a digital currency that represents the brand of a Creator. It helps any one of us give unique value to fans and communities… and vice-versa.
I avoided using the word “cryptocurrency” in that last paragraph, by the way. It adds a techie veneer that suggests what C3PO uses to buy Chewbacca’s kibble.
Think of Creator Coins like this:
The United States has the US dollar. Denmark has the krone. Armenia has the dram. And so now any creator—Instagrammer, TikTokker, podcaster, or… (you know where this is going…) newsletter typist like me—can have their own currency, too. (h/t Joe Pulizzi for the explanation)
Right now, there are only 80 creators coins on the Rally platform, so the ability to create a coin felt special and rare. And also a bit of an experiment.
I could see creating a Jaybird coin for the MarketingProfs community, for example. I can see other brands with strong communities doing the same—maybe yours?
The best way to learn is from the inside-out: I decided to play with it myself to fully understand it.
I’d Like to Have a WORD With You
On Friday I launched the $WORD coin, in partnership with Rally.io and with thanks to my Emotional Support Owyang (LOL), who fielded one million questions from me. (“What’s the business goal? What am I supposed to do with it, exactly? What’s the point?”)
History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.
I chose WORD for specific reasons.
Coin names are limited to 3-5 letters (ANNARCHY was out, ANN was potentially in). And once you choose, you’re wed for life. Like The Crown pre-Season 3 Princess Margaret.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it to stand for something bigger than myself. And I wanted it to have a little playfulness, because… well, that’s my thing.
I asked Twitter, which delivered a few solid contenders like AHA (marketing/writing inspiration)! Or AHAND (giving you a hand?). Then Ian Gertler nailed it with WORD.
WORD felt right.
Even better: Rally IDs include the $ before every name, so the name renders as $WORD. “The pen is mightier than the sword,” wrote novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton two centuries ago.
- “I give my word” is a promise. (Trust is everything in marketing.)
- “Word” in slang signals “truth.”
- Of course it’s the best-known writing platform (thanks, Microsoft).
- And finally—it’s the thing itself: A combo of characters assembled to carry ideas to you, me… everyone, everywhere.
Creator Coins: So what’s in it for you?
A coin is a symbol of community.
Much of the joy of writing to you every other week is the feeling of camaraderie. The peer-to-peer vibe. I’m writing to you as an individual, not as some amorphous, faceless “audience.”
I write TO you—which is why this newsletter and blog is far more interesting to me than a journal entry. It’s a conversation, not a monologue.
So to me a coin codifies something important. It creates a shared symbol of community.
Yeah, yeah…. To what end? Coins could enable some ideas I’ve tossed around for a while:
- Access to private calls, consulting, podcasts
- Trading for exclusive content
- Rewards for superfans (the most Annarchist!) or newsletter referrals
- Community kudos: Rewarding, tipping, recognizing the good work (and good words) of one another. (Making writing and creating less lonely?)
- The ability to earn $WORD you might pay forward. (I like this one a lot.)
That’s only the start.
This is new. We’re at the beginning. What else? I don’t know… you tell me: Got ideas? Send me an email! Let’s figure this out together.
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