Tag Archive for: cannabis event marketing

Public relations isn’t new, but cannabis PR hasn’t been around very long, relative to PR. You’ve probably heard that PR is an excellent investment in your company, particularly because of limited advertising options. But maybe you’re still wondering what you should expect from cannabis PR.

Here are 9 reasons every cannabis company should invest in cannabis PR. 

  1. Great content inspires trust, creates credibility, and increases brand value. 
    There is no greater content than an unpaid third party. Cannabis consumers today are hip to the fact that influencers, affiliates, and advertising are all getting paid to say what you want them to say. But journalists remain independent and adhere to a code of ethics and that’s exactly what makes their content so trusted and valuable.
  2. Allows a company to own its own story.
    Cannabis companies who fail to invest in cannabis PR are basically allowing everyone else, from media to competitors to customers, to create your brand story. Why not author your own brand’s story? That’s what PR allows you to do.

    “PR is not something a CEO can do herself.  PR is a highly specialized vertical with a distinctive set of talents, relationships and experience, plus, it takes an exceptional amount of time away from running the company. An agency allows CEOs to get back to their highest and best use of time.Tara Coomans, CEO, Avaans Media 

  3. Cannabis PR outlasts advertising and social media.
    Unlike advertising which turns off the minute you finish paying, PR sticks around indefinitely. We’ve placed pieces which continued to drive traffic and conversation 3-4 years later. What advertising or social media has that kind of longevity?
  4. Amplify and maximize your cannabis message.
    A strong cannabis PR program typically involves media relations. Media relations means your PR team is working with journalists who are interested in the verticals your brand best fits into. For example, if you’re a cannabis beauty brand, you’ll have stories you want to tell to each vertical.
  5. Building community capital. 
    As we’ve discussed previously, crisis and downturns happen. Having relationships in the media is particularly important when you need support. An ongoing media relations campaign provides trust both with journalists and the public which you can put in the bank and earn interest on for a rainy day. Plus, if you have a crisis, which is all too common in the cannabis industry, then you having a PR firm on retainer could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in brand value, wasted time, and crisis PR fees. A PR agency you’re already working with knows you best, and knows how to handle your crisis in a brand consistent way.

    “When we discuss the value of PR, we often forget about the sales, M&A and partnerships that come more easily because PR drives trust and shortens the sales cycle,” Tara Coomans, CEO Avaans Media 

  6. Compliments sales efforts. 
    Ask any salesperson, distributor, or business development executive what happens when they can reference a piece in major industry or national publications. Suddenly, people start paying attention. Adding your coverage on your website, sales materials, and other external communications amplify your cannabis PR.
  7. Creates an opportunity to consider your cannabis company’s impact.
    Ongoing PR makes a company and it’s stakeholders consistently aware of its impact on people. This is important because it’s those same people who have perceptions that shape the company’s values and builds (or damages) its reputation.
  8. PR IS content. Content is a big buzzword today, but PR has always been about content, the only thing that’s changed is that there are more avenues to share content. That’s why so many cannabis PR firms also offer social media and/or event marketing services. PR’s perspective provides a well-rounded point of view that makes content more accessible, shareable, and timely.
  9. Enhances digital efforts like SEO. 
    Online earned media is usually chock full of relevant keywords and known publications have strong SEO signals. Consistent media placement helps with organic search results and the best part is, the efforts pay increasing dividends over time.If you’re ready to invest in PR to get all these benefits and more, why not find out more about whether you’re a good fit for Primo PR’s services? 

Cannabis CEOs have challenging jobs. You’re in the fast-moving cannabis business, so you’re also in the business of understanding trends and our industry. For that reason, we put together a shortlist of our favorite cannabis Twitter accounts, tailored for the time-constrained cannabis CEO and C-suite.

Twitter is an extremely useful listening tool, so we’ve curated the list intentionally for listening and we did throw in a few personal favorites as well because even cannabis CEOs need a breather now and then.  But overall, the list we’ve put together is highly curated and designed to give you what you need at the moment without overwhelming executives with chatter and nonsense. Hey, we love the nonsense too, but the point of a Twitter list is to create a curated experience and that’s what we’ve done.

We love Twitter because it’s such a great place to glean insights. We’ve already written about how we utilize Twitter for media relations. While we certainly use Twitter to engage our entire community, we do much more listening on Twitter than we do posting – and that’s intentional. With that perspective in mind, when we developed this Twitter List for cannabis CEOs, we thought about the Twitter uses who stay on topic, talk business, and keep chaos to a minimum. At it’s best, Twitter is a feed of quick snippets of insight, and we think these Twitter feeds embody that perspective.

Make things easy on yourself by subscribing to our Twitter list. In no particular order, here are our inclusions for 2020. 

 

Cannabis Journalists & News Twitter Accounts


Jeremy Berke @jberke

One of the first national business writers to cover the cannabis space from Business Insider, Jeremy’s feed is straightforward and no bull. From his Twitter profile, you can also subscribe to his weekly email newsletter which is a must-read of the week’s news.

Alan Brochstein, CFO @invest420
If industry analysis is what you crave, Alan Brochstein and his site, New Cannabis Ventures are on it. As the industry has changed, so has NCV. Today the NCV focuses mostly on cannabis’ publically traded businesses. But since so many of the industry cues and trends start there, it’s a great feed to watch. Alan’s distinct mix of business trends and insights are unbeatable. From his Twitter, you can also subscribe to his weekly newsletter, which is filled with investor insight and cannabis industry predictions. 

David George-Cosh @itsdgc
David primarily covers Canada’s legal cannabis market, which means he covers some of the world’s largest publically traded cannabis companies. Hailing from the Wall Street Journal, David gets to the heart of the matter with pertinent business issues from unionization to M&A.

AxisWire @axiswire
AxisWire is a newswire dedicated to the cannabis industry. It’s an easy to digest spot to catch up on the industry, by zeroing in on the latest press releases, from product announcements to industry events, it’s a good at-a-glance feed. 

WeedWeek @Weedweeknews
Hosted by Alex Halperin, a long-time cannabis journalist and Donny Alexander of public radio and ESPN, these two have a knack for being early adopters to industry trends, with a keen eye on what it means to consumers. Cannabis CEO and C-Suite executives will enjoy the thoughtful, no-drama approach of Halperin and Alexander while benefitting from their insightful guests. 

Cannabis Business & Thought Leader Twitter Accounts

By sparking your imagination, but these accounts are must-follows for cannabis industry CEOs for their broad perspectives on the overall health of the industry.

 

Andrew DeAngelo @Andrew_DeAngelo
Andrew might not be as well known as his brother, Steve, but these days he’s coming out from behind his operational role at the pioneering Oakland-based dispensary, Harborside, and sharing his opinions with his distinct rebellious flourish. Andrew’s thought-provoking perspective is cannabis industry-focused, with an emphasis on California and its regulatory environment. 

Emily Paxhia @empax1
As a woman in the VC world, Emily is already a notable follow, but as a cannabis VC, watching Emily’s tweets is interesting insight into the headspace of a cannabis VC. As co-founder of Poseidon Asset Management, Emily has been an active investor since 2014. Poseidon has invested in Pax, Juul and Canopy Growth. On Twitter, she’s a positive advocate for the industry, while maintaining a 360-degree view on the cannabis industry’s trends and future, including international expansion and legalization. 

Vangst @vangsttalent 
It’s always interesting to see who is hiring for what. Great CEOs can read between the lines when they see their competitors hiring – or not. Take a gander at the jobs posted and you’ll see a list of who’s growing and who isn’t. 

Cannabis Advocacy & Industry Twitter Accounts

We’ve come a long way, but we’re not finished. Both THC and CBD leaders should keep a close on the announcements from these accounts.

 

Norml @norml
From research to legislative initiatives, NORML is the OG of cannabis advocacy and consumer accessibility.  NORML’s Twitter feed is highly curated and includes information from state chapters too. A quick glance will get you immediately up to speed on today’s THC-related news. 

US Hemp Roundtable @HempRoundtable
The US Hemp Roundtable was formed to take a proactive role in hemp normalization and legislation. Many in the hemp industry credit the 2018 Farm Act to the US Hemp Roundtable. If you’re in the business of CBD or hemp, you’ve got to keep your eye on these tweets. 

National Cannabis Industry Association @NCIAorg 
As a cannabis industry representative at the federal legislative level, NCIA has a national presence and state chapters. The feed is filled with legislative updates affecting cannabis business owners as well as events, podcasts and blog posts written by the industry’s leading thought leaders.

Minority Cannabis @MinCannBusAssoc
If you’re looking for an inclusive perspective, and eh-em, you should be, then look no further than Minority Cannabis who share their perspectives and the latest diversity and inclusion news specific to the cannabis industry. As this movement continues within cannabis, this Twitter feed provides considerations and insights CEOs find helpful when developing diversity and inclusion policies and procedures. 

 

As of today, there are 108 cannabis business tradeshows and expos around the world listed on our conference resource. It’s near impossible to go to them all and more importantly when you choose one, how do you turn an event into a consumer or cannabis industry PR opportunity?

 

We’re coming up on the annual big daddy of cannabis conferences: MJ Biz. It’s easily the largest single show in North America. If you’re planning on exhibiting, you might be thinking about how you’ll stand out and get PR at MJ Biz. Lean on your cannabis pr agency to turn your next conference into a cannabis event marketing opportunity. Since you’re spending significant time, energy, and money to be at a tradeshow or conference, it’s really important that you maximize the investment. The very last thing you want to do is walk away from a cannabis tradeshow wondering if it will make any impact on your bottom line. There are multitudes of reasons to go to cannabis events and conferences, mainly because the networking with thought leaders, colleagues, and clients, (more on that later), but be clear on how why your strategies. Little known tip: I used to be an owner for an industry trade show, so I’ve seen how even small companies can become great with some elbow grease and creativity. I’ve seen brand leaders come out of nowhere and suddenly be the toast of the town by simply being smart about how they leverage a tradeshow.

Let Cannabis PR and Cannabis Event Marketing Work Together:

It’s critical to collaborate with cannabis PR agency on cannabis event marketing. Whether you’re doing CBD marketing or THC marketing, each of these cannabis events has a cannabis marketing and PR role to play. Regardless of what size your booth is, think about how you can and will activate on and off the floor. The obvious answer is sponsorships, which you can approach from a brand goal perspective. If your goal is simply awareness and you can afford the branding dollars, a major sponsorship can offer many CBD marketing and THC marketing benefits including SEO, cannabis business perception, and usually, some “insider and VIP” benefits. But even if you can’t afford one of the top-tier sponsorships, there are still a multitude of PR-worthy cannabis event marketing options available to you.

One often overlooked cannabis business PR opportunity: consider sponsoring a notable speaker (besides yourself) for a session that will drive mentions and press for far less. Maybe sponsoring a section of the floor makes more sense or work with the conference organizers on an off-the-floor event value-add (who is paying for the champagne at the cocktail reception?). For cannabis event marketing to stand out, it’s not enough to sponsor, be thinking about the value of “word of mouth,” and activations that will be memorable and get people talking. This is where your PR agency can help you develop cannabis event marketing strategies that fit well with your brand development and PR budget.

Employ Big Fish/Small Pond Cannabis PR & Cannabis Marketing Strategies

What if you need to hit one of the larger shows, but you feel overwhelmed by the multitude of choices that aren’t tier 1 tradeshow or conferences? This is a great time to dig deep and choose another tradeshow or expo which you’d like to own. Owning the conference at a regional conference may well provide more cannabis branding and marketing benefits than being in booth 2067 at the largest conference in the country. Don’t let your FOMO dictate your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR budgets – be strategic about what you’re planning on doing at each conference. Be clear on the objectives and stay laser-focused on supporting those strategies.  Bring together your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR firms (if they’re different) to view each conference through an ROI, press, and word of mouth opportunity and stack rank your options.

Host Your Own Cannabis PR-Worthy Event

The cannabis industry loves to network. We’re tied to one another navigating this wild-wild west and we know: personal connections, trusted collaborators, friends, and partners make all the difference.

You don’t need a celebrity to earn media at your event (it doesn’t hurt though), but you do need to consider creative options. Gone are the days when simply providing THC and CBD samples are enough to pull together a crowd.
What can you do that’s on-brand to activate the space?
Is there a space that’s noteworthy in your area?
Can you partner with a nonprofit?
How can you create synergies between your brand and the press?
What access can you provide the press?
What insider opportunities can you give them and your most engaged customers and clients?

Shhhh…My Most Important Cannabis Marketing & PR Tip:

My insider tip on how to turn your own cannabis event into a cannabis PR worthy opportunity? Look around at what everyone else is doing – and do something else. Be the first, the original, the most fun. Be something notable, and it will earn you press for days. Cannabis industry PR agencies are usually particularly great at developing ideas that will capture the imagination of the “been-there-done-that press.” If your existing cannabis PR firm is anything like us – they have a few ideas they’ve been dying to deploy. Here’s a bonus tip: if you don’t have a big budget, don’t make your event do the heavy lifting during major seasonal or industry blow-outs. A great cannabis event marketing strategy is to hold an event during a “downtime” in the industry, which will invigorate and inspire your stakeholders, press, and customers.

How should companies prepare for cannabis PR in 2020 with an ever-changing media landscape? While the cannabis industry shows no sign of slowing down, the media landscape has seen some dramatic changes in the last year, and that affects even the cannabis industry.

According to Business Insider, 3,200 people in media have lost their jobs so far in 2019. Buzzfeed, Entreprenuer, CNN, and Vice are among the notable media brands who cover cannabis who have also laid off talented journalists. These layoffs are a gut punch to our journalist colleagues, but they also impact the ability for these outlets to cover longer features, which makes it a gut punch to our clients as well. Cannabis PR continues to be an important part of becoming an industry leader, but this pressure on media in general is surely felt within cannabis.

Layoffs aren’t the only challenge PR-seekers will face in the next year. PR in 2020 will be affected by the election. We’re already seeing writer and editor reassignments to cover the race. Brands will be faced with either jumping on the news cycle or defining the news cycle; the answer to that question will be unique to each brand. Breaking news will likely happen weekly in the later half of 2020, that means anything not immediately time sensitive from a truly newsworthy perspective will need a longer lead time and take longer to publish.

Longer Timelines

Journalists and editors are a resourceful bunch and undoubtably, we’ll see some great talent eye the cannabis industry as an opportunity. Numerous outlets are adding cannabis editors and writers, but those writers will be fighting for space and attention because of the news cycle, effecting PR in 2020. Also, for national outlets, the cannabis desk won’t be terribly deep, so if that writer is out sick or there is breaking industry news, there won’t likely be much depth to the cannabis desk to cover additional stories.

Where just 5 years ago, cannabis publications were themselves considered niche, we now have cannabis publications who target very specific and engaged audiences like Broccoli does for women and Double Blind is for psychedelics. Both these gorgeous publications are print forward but do not issue on a monthly basis. Expect to see more super niche publications make their way to our PR in 2020.

Breaking national news will also impact feature pieces and your breaking news. Before you announce something, take a deep look at what’s happening in the industry so you can plan accordingly. Of course, sometimes news needs to break, investor announcements for example. In this case, there are strategies to employ to ensure you’re announcement gets the attention it deserves. It may require a shift in strategy, but Primo PR can guide you through that process.

This means PR planning and collaboration takes a longer lead time, especially feature pieces. Make sure your PR takes into account these timelines and shift your strategies to accomodate these longer timelines and niche publications.

Publications are changing – so is PR.

Freelancers!

Keeping up with the ever changing media landscape means writers and editors are changing careers or writing for multiple publications. Freelancer journalists can be an outstanding resources and great partners in cannabis PR, but keep in mind, they are looking for stories that will get them paid, thier job isn’t to be your marketing coordinator.

Don’t expect a freelancer to spend hours gathering data you should have on hand, make it easy for them to include media (photos, graphics, video) in their stories. If you’re unsure of what kind of content suits you, or what you’ll need, that’s the perfect opportunity to use the perspective of public relations, since we understand what the media is looking for when creating stories.

We’re consistently working with our clients to ensure they have the most media-friendly content available BEFORE we pitch a story. Have some empathy for freelancers who are often working to publish 5-10 pieces a week. We’re consistently working with freelancers, but we also work exceptionally hard to make their jobs easier, knowing they they are hustling for every word they write.

When you do get press, follow our effective media relations strategy to boost effectiveness for everyone. And don’t forget to tag the journalist, they’ll appreciate it.

Have some empathy for our freelance media colleagues covering cannabis.

Integrate With Your PR

You can maximize PR by having your agencies collaborate on activations and integrations. Make your paid, earned, shared and owned media work together. Events, advertisements and even your website can often turn into PR opportunities, but only if PR has a seat at your planning table. Keep PR part of your strategic planning and maximize your spends. We’re cannabis PR experts- we often see opportunities that can make your investments work double time.

On a daily basis, we may collaborate with a client’s branding agency, their media buying agency, and social influencers. Over and over, we find that collaborating with agencies creates a better branding experience for our clients and better press opportunities for them as well.

This goes for SEO as well. Public relations can have a huge impact on SEO, from custom content to news releases. We’re always keeping an eye on trending searches so we can help publications and our clients maximize eyeballs.

Editorial and Advertising Together

It used to be that it was verboten for editorial and advertising to collaborate. But publications today are finding new and creative ways to help boost their bottom line. Given the media landscape, it’s not surprising. Sponsored content, when well written and editorialized, can be an extremely effective tool for cannabis PR. The key to sponsored content is to think like a journalist and deliver a story rather an a marketing brochure.

Some brands are even taking a page out of MedMen’s strategy and like Ember, creating lifestyle publications for themselves. There are multiple ways to implement this strategy; some publications will, for a fee, run part of or the entire publication on your behalf. Content doesn’t have to be generated in-house, journalists and PR writers can help keep the content on par and on edge, while delivering value to both the brand and the reader. Owned publications are also an outstanding way to add extra value to your business partners while creating an effective newsroom for your brand.

Navigating These Changes

Team Primo PR is ready for these changes and anything else that comes our way. One of our key values is remaining nimble, because dynamic landscapes demand it – that’s our job. We’re already planning on doubling down with strategy and distinctive stories that will set our clients apart in the news, even with all these changes. We’re working directly with journalists on pieces that are slated for publish at the end of the year – RIGHT NOW. As you look forward to your 2020 plans, keep the dynamic nature of industry and the national news in your planning process. It’s not too early to start strategizing for 2020’s cannabis PR changes because one thing is for certain: change.

Resources Mentioned In This Post:

Business Insider: Media Lay Offs
Broccoli Magazine
Double Blind Magazine