What comes to mind when you think about the thought leaders you admire the most? Is it book tours, massive stages, TED Talks, keynote appearances, or even YouTube accounts and Instagram profiles? There is no shortage of distinct insights and perspectives in the modern digital world; yet, even if someone expresses their beliefs online eloquently only sometimes qualify them as a thought leader. The distinct qualities of a thought leader make them stand out from others.

So, Who Is a Thought Leader?

Highly respected, a thought leader is an individual with expertise and innovative ideas in a particular field, the one everyone looks to for guidance and inspiration. Known for their ability to think creatively and develop fresh perspectives and solutions to problems, they may be researchers, educators, executives, or other professionals who can effectively communicate their ideas, inspire others to think differently, and consider new possibilities.

What Does a Thought Leader Do?

So, what does a thought leader do? Well, thought leaders are pioneers and innovators at the forefront of new developments and trends, known for their knowledge and expertise in areas of focus. They consistently seek further information to expand their understanding. Besides sharing ideas and insights through various mediums, thought leaders may also hold other responsibilities, such as teaching, researching, or leading an organization.

Characteristics of a Thought Leader

When an individual backs up their words with their actions, and others believe what they say, that person gains credibility, respect, and a thought leadership position. Here are some key characteristics of a thought leader and what sets these individuals apart as true thought leaders in their field:

(1) Deep Knowledge and Expertise 

One of the critical characteristics of a thought leader is their deep knowledge and expertise in their area of focus-thoroughly understanding the subject and staying current with the latest research and developments in the field. Thought leaders constantly learn and seek new information to expand their knowledge and stay ahead of the curve.

(2) Ability to Communicate Ideas Effectively

Another characteristic of a thought leader is their ability to communicate their ideas effectively. Including being able to articulate complex concepts clearly and concisely, having strong writing skills, and the ability to engage an audience. Generally, thought leaders use a variety of mediums, such as writing articles, giving talks, or using social media, to share ideas and insights.

(3) Creative and Innovative Thinking

In addition to their knowledge and communication skills, thought leaders are also known for their creativity and innovative thinking. Nearly all thought leaders think outside the box and come up with fresh perspectives and solutions to problems. They are fearless in challenging the status quo and propose new ideas, even controversial or unconventional ones.

(4) Vision and Strategic Thinking

Thought leaders have a crystal clear picture of the future and can think strategically about how to accomplish the objectives that they have set for themselves. They take in the whole situation and consider how their choices will affect the greater picture in the long run while outlining a path to achievement and motivating others to follow it to achieve ultimate success.

(5) Strong Leadership Skills

As the name suggests, thought leaders inspire and encourage individuals to succeed. They can establish a productive and cooperative working atmosphere that encourages creative and innovative thinking. They can successfully delegate responsibilities to others, which allows them to develop trust and credibility within the team and the stakeholders.

(6) Ability to Build Relationships

Those considered thought leaders can cultivate robust ties and extensive networks within their respective fields. They can form connections with other individuals and work together on various projects and activities. They can leverage their networks to get information and insights and keep up with the most recent advances in their industry, allowing them to remain updated.

(7) Dedication and Passion

Thought leaders are fully devoted to their area and highly enthusiastic about their job. They are motivated by a strong sense of purpose and the desire to have a good influence on the world. They are also committed to putting in the long hours and showing the devotion necessary to accomplish their objectives and positively impact their respective field.

(8) Ethical and Values-Driven

Strong ethical principles and a dedication to always acting in the most morally commendable manner are other characteristics common among thought leaders. Dedicated to fostering a bright and sustaintainable future, they make their choices in a way open to scrutiny and actively seek improvements. Also, they balance the company’s requirements and duties toward society and the environment.

(9) Adaptability and Resilience

Thought leaders are resilient in the face of adversity and can adjust their approach to new situations effectively. They can draw valuable lessons from their mistakes and turn them into chances for personal development and advancement for themselves and others. Thought leaders concentrate on their objectives and keep moving ahead despite fundamental challenges.

(10) Authenticity and Humility

Thought leaders always maintain a high level of authenticity and sincerity in their interactions with others while earning respect and credibility from those around them. They are confident in who they are and don’t have any issues with being themselves in public. Finally, they are modest leaders who acknowledge the contributions of others and make an effort to learn from whoever comes across them.

A Note on CEO Thought Leadership

CEO thought leadership is a specific form of thought leadership that occurs at the highest levels of an organization. As far as the definition is concerned, a CEO thought leader is an executive who not only has a deep understanding of their particular industry and company but also can inspire and motivate others to achieve success. These individuals can effectively communicate their vision and strategy to the team and stakeholders and build buy-in and support for their ideas.

In addition to their role within their organization, CEO thought leaders also often have a broader impact on their industry and society. They may be called upon to speak at conferences or be featured in media outlets, and their ideas and insights are often highly sought after.

CEO thought leadership requires a combination of knowledge, communication skills, strategic thinking, and leadership abilities to create a positive, collaborative work environment that fosters innovation and progress. Simply put, CEO thought leaders significantly impact their organization and industry and are an invaluable asset to any company—and we couldn’t agree more.

How to Become a Thought Leader?

Here are a few steps you can take to become a thought leader in your respective field:

  • Identify your area of expertise: To become a thought leader, you must deeply understand a particular subject. Identify the areas in which you have the most knowledge and expertise.
  • Build your credibility: To be seen as a thought leader, you must establish yourself as a credible source of information. This can be done through speaking engagements, writing articles or books, and sharing your expertise through social media or other online platforms.
  • Engage with your audience: Thought leaders are experts and thought starters. Thus, to become one, you must engage with your audience by asking and answering questions, starting conversations, and seeking opportunities to share your expertise with others.
  • Network and collaborate with other thought leaders: Thought leaders are often part of a larger community of experts. Build relationships with other thought leaders in your field and collaborate with them on projects or initiatives. You can also connect with them on LinkedIn.
  • Stay current: Thought leaders constantly learn about the latest developments in their field. Continually educate yourself and stay current on the latest trends and research.

By following these steps, you can establish yourself as a respected expert and have the opportunity to shape public opinion, influence decision-making, and positively impact your field.

Famous Thought Leaders to Follow

Each of these thought leaders is an expert in their fields, but they have also used the PR tools at their disposal to become industry or household names.

  • Malcolm Gladwell: Malcolm Timothy Gladwell is a best-selling author and Canadian journalist who writes about the social sciences, psychology, and human behavior.
  • Simon Sinek: Simon Oliver Sinek is a British-born American motivational speaker and author known for his work on leadership and organizational behavior and multiple best-sellers.
  • Brené Brown: Casandra Brené Brown is a researcher, professor, lecturer, author, speaker, and Podcast host, who focuses on topics such as vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
  • Tim Ferriss: Timothy Ferriss is an American investor, entrepreneur, podcaster, lifestyle guru, and author who writes about productivity, time management, and self-improvement.
  • Seth Godin: Seth W. Godin is an American entrepreneur, former dot com business executive, speaker, and author who writes about marketing, branding, and business strategy.
  • Maria Popova: Popova is a Bulgarian-born, American-based essayist, writer, and editor who curates and comments on interesting articles, books, and other media on her blog.
  • Daniel Kahneman: Kahneman is an Israeli-American notable Nobel laureate and psychologist known for his work on decision-making, behavioral economics, and cognitive psychology.
  • Jim Collins: James C. “Jim” Collins is an American researcher, speaker, author, and business consultant known for his corporate strategy and leadership work in the corporate sector.

The Future of Thought Leadership

It is difficult to predict the future of thought leadership, as various factors, including technological advances, societal changes, and shifts in industries and markets, influence it. However, the role of thought leadership will likely continue to evolve and expand in the coming years. One potential trend is increased technology and social media use in thought leadership.

As more people turn to the internet for information and connection, thought leaders may find new ways to use online platforms to share ideas and engage with their audience. This may include using social media websites like YouTube or Facebook, blogging platforms, or creating online courses, Podcasts, or webinars. Another trend may be the rise of diverse and inclusive thought leadership.

As society becomes more diverse and globalized, there will likely be greater demand for thought leaders from various backgrounds and experiences, including thought leaders from underrepresented groups. Overall, the future of thought leadership will continue to be shaped by society’s changing needs, and thought leadership will play a crucial role in addressing these challenges and finding innovative solutions. It will continue to be a driving force for progress and change.

Final Thoughts

As you probably know by now, a well-rounded individual who is not bothered by being the focus of attention among the public is a thought leader. Believe it or not, it’s not a role for everyone, so before you pursue thought leadership status, be sure you’ve found the appropriate individual with all the characteristics of a thought leader to set your business on the right track toward success.

Finally, this brings us to the end of this blog; now it’s time to hear from you. Any questions or comments? Or maybe there’s something we missed? Either way, feel free to leave a comment below.

Are you wondering, “what is thought leadership?” Read on to find everything you need to know about the concept and its best practices!
Thought leadership is one of the words that rile up the buzzword police more than almost any other term. Joel Kurtzman, the founding editor-in-chief of “Strategy & Business” magazine, was the first to use the term in 1994 to refer to an individual who has an in-depth knowledge of a company marketplace, a comprehension of the customer’s requirements, as well as innovative and distinctive ideas and points of view. However, what does “thought leadership” mean in the 21st century?

What Is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership is the dissemination of original and authentic information that draws on the author’s knowledge, perspective, and experience to impart some of that wisdom to other individuals. The three essential components of thought leadership are taking a position, adding to your knowledge, and creating value.

Some individuals believe that thought leadership should be presented in written material. This may require taking a public stance on the business’s contentious problem. Others argue that thought leadership is holding the position of a subject matter expert and using that status to influence a particular field or endeavor.

Thought leadership is a combination of the two. It’s disseminating information that is thought-provoking and based on research to propel change and provide educational value. However, it is not a destination in and of itself. The only way for thought leaders to create a meaningful business impact, which many economic indicators can show, is via the consistent and long-term execution of their ideas.

Who Are Thought Leaders?

Individuals considered knowledgeable opinion leaders and the go-to sources in their respective fields (in an industry, niche, or across an entire ecosystem) are known as thought leaders. They are the reliable sources that motivate others and inspire them with new ideas; convert those ideas into reality; and know how to reproduce the success and teach others how to do so.

Amanda Nguyen of Rise, Sara Blakely of Spanx, and Ron Finley, the co-founder of Green Grounds, who dresses up himself as the “Guerrilla Gardener” to encourage people in Los Angeles to cultivate gardens in deprived neighborhoods, are examples of thought leaders we admire. What makes them all unique? They are changing the world while encouraging others to join in.

Although thought leaders come in many shapes and sizes, they can come from any background or community. Yet, thought leadership is something that only some can achieve. Experts in their respective fields are often considered the most influential thought leaders. These specialists may be CEOs, writers, consultants, coaches, or enterprises (B2C and B2B).

Thought Leadership Best Practices for 2023 and Beyond

Whether you’re new to thought leadership or an experienced practitioner, this section has everything you need to know. So, continue reading to discover a step-by-step guide on designing, creating, and carrying out a thought leadership strategy like executive visibility with integrated communications, followed by best practices for 2023 and beyond.

Step 1: Outline Your Unique Goals
The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to accomplish by putting yourself in a thought leadership position. To do this, review your current marketing objectives and think about how thought leadership may assist you in achieving each one, assuming it can do so. Suppose increasing business awareness is one of your PR objectives. In that case, writing a post on accessibility challenges that customers in your sector face may help you grab individuals’ attention.

Step 2: Assess Present Thought Leadership
Now is the time to study and investigate the different thought leadership currently present in your industry through online forums, commercial periodicals, academic journals, company blogs, and more. This entails researching yourself as well as your competitors. By acquiring a deeper understanding of the latest concepts and trends in thought leadership (from both your side and your competitor’s side), you’ll better comprehend the primary problems plaguing your sector.

Step 3: Identify Your Thought Leaders
Building a roster of thought leaders is the most brilliant move if you’re planning on discussing a wide range of subjects through your brand. Consider the essential specialists employed by or affiliated with the company firm. According to the feedback received from professionals in the relevant field from one of the studies, thought leader role models often have the following five characteristics:

  • Alignment with your company/brand and its ultimate mission and values
  • A thirst for conveying strong opinions, innovative ideas, and concepts
  • Both knowledgeable and passionate about the relevant industry/sector
  • Experienced in sharing real-life experiences publically with the audience
  • A loyal following (not only on social media but among the team members)

Now that you know how to identify thought leaders, the next step is to determine where they fall on an organizational level. For example, what does your company specialize in doing the best? Where do you put most of your focus? Think about the more prominent brand narrative and ideals you uphold. This way, it will be much easier to shortlist the most authentic thought leaders.

Step 4: Generate Your Distinct Thought-Leadership Content

When it comes to the process of content creation, writing articles as part of your thought leadership strategy is a smart place to begin since it demonstrates your expertise in your field. Once you believe you have a sound system for creating articles, try different mediums such as videos, podcasts, webinars, and eBooks. Before designing the material, you must first decide what themes you want to address. To do so, start with the following crucial steps:

  • Research topics by observing the latest trends in your niche and learning from others.
  • Map out the content production process by assigning duties to particular employees.
  • Finally, stay fluid in terms of publishing calendars to adjust to emerging new trends.

 

Be aware that as you publish material demonstrating thought leadership, you’ll also collect additional data on the returns of this content. By disclosing this information to your team leaders, you can inform them of how successful the plan is and the forms that will best connect with your audience.

Step 5: Dispense and Market Your Content

You may write the most engaging, helpful, and thought-provoking content possible, but if no one can discover it online, it won’t accomplish much. Thus, the essential part of any thought leadership campaign is the development of strategies for distributing and promoting the material. Read on to discover some effective marketing strategies to promote your thought-leadership content.

  • Start by promoting the content on external and internal company channels.
  • Pitch your content to publications, journalists, and other industry influencers.
  • Collaborate with non-competing brands via joint thought leadership content.
  • Reach out for contributions from relevant influencers and opinion leaders.
  • Analyze content creators in your industry to get new, unique insights.
  • Consider adding sponsored content by increasing your marketing budget.
  • Creating a dialogue is an essential component of thought leadership. Therefore, ensure that you follow through and directly connect with the communities, leaders, and influencers. If you run a more prominent company, hire reputation management experts to take care of this. However, if your company is smaller, your thought leader may need to take on a more active role.

Step 6: Measure the Outcome

It is crucial to monitor the success of your thought leadership marketing, just as it is necessary to measure the performance of any other strategy, to determine whether you are achieving your objectives. You may use several content metrics to measure performance and sales results. The following are the primary outcomes that may be generated through thought leadership content:

  • Backlinks
  • Organic Traffic
  • Media Mentions
  • Email Subscribers
  • Total Leads/Sales
  • Social Engagement

Consider experimenting with different ways of measuring progress. For example, you can regularly host thought leadership webinars and provide rating-based questionnaires to all registrants after each session. In addition, you may monitor to determine whether your webinar has attracted the target audience. It may be hard to believe, but this indicator is far more important than the registered individuals.

Best Practices to Follow in 2023 and Beyond

The ultimate goal of a thought leader is to make sure that their specialized skills and knowledge are shared with others to contribute to the expansion and success of the business. The essence of thought leadership is assisting other individuals in gaining a deeper awareness of themselves, identifying their unique contributions to the world, and positioning themselves for sustained success. So, how do we pave the path for thought leadership that works wonders?

Recognize the Area of Expertise
First things first, a thought leader must have a solid understanding of the topic, ensuring that they communicate their expertise straightforwardly and consistently. This contributes to the credibility that is established in the sector. In addition, thought leaders must be responsible for remaining focused on their areas of expertise while simultaneously disseminating information.
Be an Industry Expert
As soon as the thought leaders have determined their area of expertise in the field, it is time for them to become an authority in that particular area. To begin, aspiring thought leaders must ensure that they are continually present on what is occurring in the industry, what is new, what is effective, and what is not. The idea is to educate oneself first before attempting to teach other individuals.
Identify the Approach
This is an essential practice to follow. First, make an effort to comprehend the intended audience, then determine what they expect, and last, investigate potential solutions to guarantee that the appropriate data is sent. If the leaders do not have a clear aim and objective in mind, they simply won’t be adding to the noise, as the audience wouldn’t be able to take any value from it.
Use the Latest Technology
It is essential to carefully plan out content from the beginning to be an influential thought leader, and this goal may accomplish by using the latest technology. It gives groups and leaders the ability to devise improved tactics, which in turn makes thought leadership more effective. Not only that, but leaders may also use a content management system to store vital data and then distribute it.

Never Stop Learning
We’re all human, and we’re always learning. Therefore, those in thought leadership positions must realize that they should constantly be eager to learn new ideas and be open to criticism. In point of fact, gaining information and understanding through the real-life experiences and perspectives of others is the most effective method to do either. However, always remember; you do you.

Final Thoughts

Creating space for an effective thought leadership approach may result in several positive outcomes. Although it might be difficult and time-consuming, the rewards that will accrue to all those who want to or now hold the position of thought leader make it worthwhile.
At the end of the day, we can only hope that individuals around the world will be able to have a deeper understanding of thought leadership. They must make more informed choices by adhering to these best practices for 2023 and beyond.

Therefore, CEOs need to understand who their ideal customers are, and then they can choose the channel that would bring them the most success. CEO Thought Leadership is important for most of the decision-making process.
Finally, this brings us to the end of this blog; now it’s time to hear from you. Any questions or comments? Or maybe there’s something we missed? Either way, feel free to connect with us regarding our Thought Leadership Program, especially for busy executives.

The role of the CEO is ever-changing and one of the most notable evolutions is the expectation that a CEO be a visible leader. Some of the world’s best-known brands just wouldn’t be the same without their visible CEOs or founders. Ambitious companies from startup through IPO can take some cues from these leadership examples. With everything that a CEO has on their plate, why would they focus on thought leadership? Thought leadership checks off the optimal business outcomes from PR from increased brand value to easier recruiting, from investor awareness to consumer adoration, the reasons ambitious CEOs stay visible are clear:

  • 60% of decision-makers will pay a premium because thought leadership shows deep thinking and other virtues important to them.

  • People who follow both a company and one or more of its executives are twice as likely to purchase from that company.

  • 71% of decision-makers agree: thought leadership is one of the best ways to get a sense of the type and caliber of an organization’s thinking.

  • 81% of consumers say CEOs should be personally visible.

 

Today, CEOs of public companies and private companies alike are finding creative ways to keep their company in the news and remain the face of the brand. Savvy leaders are looking for ways to weigh in on social or business issues that impact their customers or clients. Leaders are driving purpose and speaking about it openly, they’re weighing in on newsworthy items, and they do it without ever pitching or selling their products or services. The Wall Street Journal won’t be a brand’s shill, but it will cover remarkable ideas and perspectives – and CEOs tend to have those. Dollar for dollar, the time invested in thought leadership PR pays off handsomely.

Steve Jobs: Thought Leadership Pioneer

An early leader in thought leadership strategy was, of course, Steve Jobs. With his signature black turtleneck and visionary ideas, he kept both Apple customers and the media hanging on his every word.

We may never know why Jobs, who was famously persnickety, embraced a more public persona, but the outcomes were undeniable. Because Steve Jobs stood in front of the press, he was instantly more credible when he delivered high-flying ideas about how his newest Apple products would change the world. Jobs’ presentations always had a restrained flair of showmanship, but showmanship nonetheless.

Another advantage for Jobs? After Apple ousted him-HIS OWN COMPANY-being the face of the brand made him indelibly connected to Apple. Firing Jobs would have been much harder to do the second time, but because he embraced thought leadership, there was also less reason to do so – Apple products did very well. To this day, Jobs is inextricably tied to Apple’s brand.

Richard Branson: Innovating with Public Failures

Richard Branson’s key message is crystal clear: innovation. Branson walks the walk. several times, Branson took to the skies in a hot air balloon, risking his own life to set world records and at the same time, creating opportunities for people to talk about Virgin Airlines. This stunt paled in comparison to the ultimate flight into space he took with Virgin Galactic.

According to LinkedIn: [Branson is] popular with everyone from entrepreneurs to HR professionals and in industries ranging from tech to construction. The only continent where he doesn’t have a single follower is Antarctica. This kind of broad-based appeal is almost unheard of, but Branson has pulled it off because he has one other secret to success: authenticity. He is actively involved with his own press.

At one point in his native England, Richard Branson was famous for being famous. The press actually heckled him for his publicity stunts – but they never failed to cover them and Branson took it all in stride, knowing that his stunts appealed to consumers who would appreciate the distinct spin Branson put on the Virgin brand and its products. Branson also weighs in on topics popular with his audience, like income inequality and universal basic income, which he called for in 2018. Should UBI ever come to be, Branson will be able to say he was the first CEO to advocate for it, and if it never does, it’s not his fault. It’s a brilliant PR move.

Thought leadership is more important today than ever before, and yet there are PR landmines for CEOs everyone where. Don’t rush thought leadership, be strategic and purposeful. Positioning yourself as an expert is best done in stages as it takes time to find the right cadence and the right rhythm. Be prepared to spend some time developing your own personal brand in conjunction with your thought leadership PR agency. Taking the time to develop your own brand will create authenticity and trust – both essential elements of a successful thought leadership strategy.

 

For all Branson’s attempts to make history, there is one founder here who did it well before he did.

Sara Blakely: From Scrappy Sales to History Maker

From the start of Spanx, Sara Blakely took complete control of her reputation, and she knew what set her apart could be a differentiator for the brand,brand,brand,brand, too. One of my favorite Blakely stories is when she bought Olivia Newton John’s famous Grease pants at auction. Her target market, feeling slightly nostalgic for the days when they could have rocked those pants, celebrated the move – even as it was an extravagance, it was one that made her relatable to her target market. She got a ton of press on it, and she never even had to talk about Spanx – the press did it for her every time they said “Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx,” and the purchase was so on brand, it was difficult to ignore the brand.  But that move was only one of a thousand steps Blakely took to control the narrative. She positioned herself as a thought leader by leaning into her differences as a woman CEO. She told, retold, and retold the story of how she founded Spanx without apology for its humble beginnings.

Blakely’s willingness to be the face of Spanx paid off with the ultimate metric: she is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

 

Whether your goal is to make history or maximize achievement, thought leadership for CEOs have never been more important than it is now. You’ve already done the hard work of becoming an expert – why not leverage it?

 

Well-crafted content is so much more valuable than promotional content. What should cannabis brands focus on right now? When the 2019 Farm Act passed, the CBD industry widely celebrated it. But not long after, newcomers overran the CBD industry and even established brands found themselves surprised by the competitive environment. Despite the challenges, the biggest brands, the most well-known, continue to thrive. In fact, Charlotte’s Web recently became the first CBD brand to sponsor Major League Baseball.  There are a few reasons for this. The first is from the start, CW invested in branding and PR.  But there’s an even bigger reason – they immediately embraced the realities of DTC sales and their website had digital authority because they had been investing in it for years. That’s why it’s more important than ever for cannabis brands to commit to their online presence with these 3 tips to improve cannabis digital marketing with quality content that pays dividends for years to come.

When federal legalization happens – history will repeat itself. It will excite marketers in the industry that FINALLY Instagram can’t boot them. But social media sites come and go (apparently, IG is already “over”), and owning your own corner of the internet has never been more important. While it remains important to HAVE an Insta account, it isn’t a place where cannabis brands can maximize their digital marketing or their content. Once cannabis brands can sell online more directly or even advertise more freely, in a more DTC fashion, mature digital destinations will thrive.

Building an authoritative website takes time, and it takes strategy. You can not start too soon.  Make 2023 the year you invest in your cannabis digital marketing with these 3 digital marketing tips that supercharge digital PR.

Create Lifestyle, Not Medical Content

Historically, cannabis brands have built content to educate consumers. And that’s been a really important step in cannabis normalization. But between new formats that make cannabis more accessible to Google’s suppression of “fake news,” including non-authoritative sites providing anything akin to medical advice, you’re just wasting your time by creating anything that could be considered health advice, or expertise.

Unless you’re already a credible, published authority on these matters,  you’d be better off taking a page out of a publisher’s took kit and creating like “5 Games That Are Better When You’re High.”

The better you know your customer, the more dialed in you’ll be to creating content for them. Be disciplined. Be consistent. If you create 3 pieces of content a month, you are already miles ahead of 99% of cannabis brands. Not only does this help people find you today, but it will be a rich resource tomorrow. Creating content YOU own is still the most impactful marketing and PR tactic you can do.

Trigger The Seeking Hormone

A while back, I wrote about creating Instagram content that would trigger anticipation while also solving some of the Instagram violation problems by using anticipation triggers in cannabis digital marketing.

Use can use that to your advantage right now while circumventing Instagram challenges, and even advertising challenges while ALSO adding authority to your website. Use unexpected prompts, both audio and visual, to keep consumers on your site longer. And while we’re at it, if you aren’t already, you MUST incentivize people to join your email list. Again, owning your list is an actual asset, while Instagram followers are so fluid, and Instagram itself so unreliable, it’s questionable whether there is any long-term value there at all. And believe me, as one of the earliest adopters of social media for brands, it truly pains me to say that.

But there are lessons to be learned from Instagram. The scrolling feed, for example, is an outstanding example of a “seeking hormone” trigger. In the early days, it was genius. The way it scrolled felt like a slot machine, juuuust enough of the next post would appear on the phone screen. It was nearly impossible to stop scrolling. TikTok’s interface triggers that too. The latest digital website designs use a similar approach. Your cannabis digital marketing can mimic some of the most tried and true digital best practices used by today’s leading consumer brands.

QUALITY Inbound Links Still Matter

 

Your current and past coverage from respected, authoritative sites is your hedge against link inflation.

Google says it’s deprioritizing inbound links, but that’s only compared to how much they’re increasing the value of trusted content. Simply having inbound links isn’t enough. Gone are the days when thousands of low-value affiliate links could stack up to a credible website in Google’s eyes.

Today, Google wants to improve its search algorithm by presenting trusted answers. The recipe to trust is a closely guarded Google, but what we DO know is credible content = trust. And Publishers have Google’s trust. And when Google presents it, consumers trust it more too, so your site gets a super boost. Customers who trust you buy faster and stay longer, so incorporating quality inbound links is a triple home run for your cannabis brand.

Preparing for federal cannabis legalization is THE business strategy for 2023 and digital marketing and PR are the levers to pull your brand along. Since our earliest days, we’ve been the best cannabis PR agency for digitally savvy brands. We know successful cannabis digital marketing and PR advice of today is the backbone of tomorrow’s most successful cannabis brands. Today, it’s more important than ever to coordinate cannabis digital marketing with cannabis digital PR.

The unfair and highly politicized stigma that once surrounded the use of cannabis is quickly dissipating as more states embrace legalized cannabis and cannabis-related products. The earliest cannabis brands hired PR firms to reduce stigmatization. With a budding industry on the rise, more companies are jumping on the cannabis bandwagon. While this hyper-growth is great for consumers, it has created competition in the cannabis marketplace. How can cannabis companies set themselves apart to capture a chunk of the profit? No doubt, hyper-growth cannabis companies absolutely have distinct PR needs.

To keep up with industry growth, the time may be right to consider hiring a cannabis PR agency. PR isn’t just for high-profile celebrities. Public relations firms can help you market yourself, your unique products, and let the public know how you stand out from the crowd. However, before you hire a PR firm to represent your business, consider how a cannabis PR firm may benefit your company and how to choose the right firm for your needs.

What is a PR Agency?

Public relations agencies are multifaceted firms that specialize in promoting and growing other businesses through editorial coverage. Editorial coverage is sometimes known as “earned” or free” media because it isn’t a paid placement in an outlet. A PR agency generally doesn’t buy or place ads on social media or through billboards or podcasts. A PR agency knows how to leverage the media for the benefit of a company. Media can include local news, national news, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

The ultimate goal of a PR agency is to promote the best interests of its client by generating favorable media coverage. When potential customers view this coverage, it builds brand recognition and trust in the company. The positive public opinion can then help translate into sales for the business.

What Does a Cannabis PR Firm Do?

A top cannabis PR firm specializes in drumming up positive media coverage for growing cannabis businesses. They generally will use their resources to pitch story ideas to various media outlets. They will then follow up with these media outlets to convince them that the story will interest their viewers or readers. In the end, the media outlet gets a piece that entices its audience. The cannabis company then gets recognition. A good agency understands how to take a company message or campaign and translate that into a positive media piece.

On the flip side, a cannabis PR agency can also help a business mitigate the fallout from a less than ideal or unfortunate situation. A good firm is always strategically thinking about how to protect a client from potentially hurtful coverage. An agency can also help formulate a response that is both appropriate and has the potential to turn a situation around.

Overall, you want a cannabis PR agency to be well-versed in the following:

  • Writing and distributing press releases
  • Following up with appropriate media outlets after the release of a press statement
  • Crafting pitches
  • Product placement
  • Writing speeches
  • Crisis management
  • Copywriting
  • Blog writing
  • Market research
  • Event planning
  • Community engagement
  • Non-profit relationship management

Some of the most successful PR firms have former journalists and news people on their staff. These individuals generally have inside knowledge of the media industry and can leverage their former contacts and skills for the benefit of cannabis clients. These professionals know what stories media outlets generally select and can help convince them that coverage of your materials is beneficial to the outlets and the community.

Picking a Cannabis PR Firm

In many areas, cannabis is a relatively new business. When looking for a PR firm to manage the image and media coverage of a cannabis business, there is an important initial question. A company should ask if the agency has previous experience working with the cannabis industry. Why is this the most important question? There are limitations on the types of material and information that can be distributed about cannabis in some jurisdictions. A business will want to make sure that the PR firm they are working with understands the intricacies of working with the media and cannabis-related businesses. Knowledge of the industry helps ensure that your coverage is positive and accurate. It will also ensure that media outlets distribute coverage with the best chance of being picked up and not tossed in the press-release trash bin.

Beyond looking for an agency that understands the unique challenges of working with cannabis-related businesses, you will want to sit down and outline your marketing goals. What are you hoping to achieve? What is your budget? What are you expecting a firm to deliver? Establishing your objectives and goals early will help in selecting the best firm for your company. Once you determine these objectives, find a PR firm that aligns with your goals. Consider the following:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do they specialize in a specific industry?
  • How do they measure success?
  • What is their communication style?
  • How often will they be in contact?
  • Does their team have experience in PR and marketing?
  • How do they generate coverage?
  • Do they have experience handling crisis situations?

Hold meetings before you settle on a PR firm. In these meetings, you can ask plenty of predetermined questions pertaining to your concerns and goals. Consider these meetings an interview process. You want the best candidate for the job. Effective coverage doesn’t happen passively. It is a process that needs to be actively pursued and nurtured. The PR team you choose should be aggressive, responsive, and communicate with you throughout the PR process.

PR as an Investment

Making investments in your business is essential to growth. You know how to cultivate relationships with growers, suppliers, paraphernalia manufacturers, consumers, and sometimes even local artisans and craftsmen. Securing the help of a PR firm is another form of investment in your business. A solid relationship with a cannabis PR firm can help increase recognition, brand loyalty, and visibility in the community.

Eventually, these attributes can start translating into new customers, repeat business, and profit growth. The relationship between the cannabis industry and the media is always evolving. If you’re ready to experience growth and visibility for your business, hiring an experienced cannabis PR agency is the next step to developing your product’s brand.