Tag Archive for: cannabis PR agency

The cannabis industry is growing rapidly, and with that growth comes an increasing demand for cannabis conferences and events, like the granddaddy, MJ Biz in Las Vegas. Obtaining media coverage at a crowded conference is almost never an accident. Maximize your event budget with these 3 strategies that will get you PR at MJ Biz.

Think Like a Journalist and Plan Ahead

When you think about your cannabis marketing budget and calendar, you probably think about your needs or your customer’s needs, but for effective press coverage, add journalists and their needs. We’ve helped our clients stand out from the competitive cannabis show floors like MJ Biz with ideas that make the lives of journalists easier. When you think about what the day is like for a journalist who visits the trade show floor, you’ll get some empathy for their jobs. They’re looking for trends readers will click through to read while also looking for a distinctive point of view that will be different from every other journalist’s article. Ultimately, the journalist has the same challenge as you: standing out from the very crowded field.

Look at the trends impacting the cannabis industry and ancillary topics for ideas that will get you ahead of the competition on the expo floor. Think about how these trends are impacting the larger economy or general public and think about how you can talk about that trend in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the conference. A well-oiled cannabis industry expo PR campaign will include social media, direct media outreach, and perhaps even a press release.

Double Down on Expo Activations

From sponsorships to events, to stunts and ambassadors, the reason everyone loves a cannabis conference is there are so many ways to elevate your presence and raise awareness when there’s a captive audience.

While cannabis samples aren’t allowed on trade show floors, many cannabis companies get around this by hosting private events – at MJ Biz in Las Vegas, there are literally 10-30 private cannabis events every night. Given the saturation of these events, many companies look to stand out in other ways.

Think about guerilla marketing campaigns that leave an impression by following the event attendees around the city. This could include everything from subtle cues to flash mobs. A treasure hunt that rewards attendees and drives them to your booth is a good idea. This kind of word of mouth can intrigue cannabis journalists and give them an incentive to learn more.

Invite Cannabis Journalists

Before the MJ Biz Conference in Las Vegas, think about what scheduled activities will happen in your booth. Having a schedule of appearances, activities, or activations at your booth gives everyone an incentive to be there at a certain time, and who doesn’t love a crowd?

Then, give journalists a sneak peek. Reach out to journalists who will be covering MJ Biz and give them the schedule of events, activations, and on-trend topics your company is talking about at MJ Biz so the media knows where to find you and what’s interesting. Consider providing assets like quotes, images, and/or b-roll videos to journalists in advance. Being a resource to journalists is always a great way to make in-roads with media.

MJ Biz is one of the biggest and best-attended cannabis conferences in the U.S., but it certainly isn’t the only one. We keep an updated list of cannabis conferences available for download.

If you’d like more on-brand and tailored ideas that will maximize your cannabis expo investment, contact us directly. But don’t wait – the best campaigns come from thoughtful planning.

The cannabis industry is growing at a rapid rate, and cannabis-related products are being introduced to the market daily. As a result, cannabis PR firms have become increasingly popular for cannabis businesses looking to establish themselves as thought leaders in the cannabis industry. Three considerations when hiring a cannabis PR firm:

 1) Strategic Expertise

For cannabis-focused PR agencies, there’s been unprecedented growth in recent years and it has led to an increase in consolidation and new entrants who may not provide clients with the level of strategic expertise that typically takes much longer to develop. As millennials continue driving change within organizations across all industries, we will see more PR agency consolidation and increased hiring among independently owned cannabis-centric agencies as they need help to build their industry-specific practices.

This means, the team working on your PR may be new to PR even if the agency isn’t. Before you sign on up with any PR firm, get to know the team you will work with on the day-to-day.

 

2) Media Relations Expertise

The cannabis industry is entering an era of mainstream media coverage like never, meaning cannabis PR firms that don’t show cannabis media relations expertise risk becoming irrelevant. Traditional PR agencies will need to develop cannabis-specific expertise with niche media outlets in order to remain relevant. Cannabis news outlets are a unique subset of the traditional cannabis industry trade press and the next generation cannabis-focused PR agency needs to help clients get into these specific cannabis publications.

While cannabis industry media coverage is important, you’ll also want a firm who can demonstrate cannabis PR in lifestyle, business, or niche communities to ensure your reach gets to the audiences who are most likely to respond to your brand.

“In addition, cannabis-oriented public relations agencies have popped up everywhere from Colorado to Canada,” says Roger Stonehouse, CEO of Stonehouse Group, a global financial services firm specializing in capital formation for cannabis companies. “Some cannabis-oriented PR agencies have been effective, others less so.”

3) Identifying Target Audience

In order to deliver high enough ROI, cannabis business owners need the ability to identify the target audience and create a message that will resonate. To develop a cannabis PR campaign that is an investment, not an expense, businesses must be able to understand their target audience and deliver a targeted message. Cannabis-focused public relations professionals can help cannabis businesses do just that by developing a cannabis public relations plan that delivers results for your company and the investor community as you establish legitimacy through thought leadership.”

Media outreach efforts should begin with promoting articles promoting brand visibility, positive cannabis industry news, and cannabis company milestones.

“If you’re starting a cannabis-related business and want to reach the cannabis consumer, make sure your cannabis PR firm has established media relationships with leading cannabis publications,” says Stonehouse. “This will increase the likelihood of your press release or client announcement making it into one of these sites and give you access to cannabis consumers.”

Effective cannabis-centric PR firms understand how to develop client messaging that resonates with target audiences and cannabis media outlets. Cannabis-focused PR professionals can also help cannabis businesses secure valuable cannabis media placements that provide high visibility within the niche publication and then leverage this coverage through social content (influencer marketing) and public relations outreach efforts on behalf of the cannabis brand to mainstream media outlets like the Associated Press, Reuters and/or Bloomberg News.

“However, it’s critical cannabis businesses don’t neglect the potential impact of ancillary cannabis industry coverage in publications like Forbes, Fortune, or Inc.,” says Stonehouse. “By elevating cannabis category visibility in leading business publications cannabis businesses can begin to change negative perceptions well outside the cannabis space.”

“Cannabis public relations firms need to focus on building relationships directly with consumers,” says Stonehouse. “After all, without people buying your products or services it doesn’t matter how good your cannabis PR firm is. By focusing on the cannabis media, cannabis influencers, and cannabis consumers, cannabis-centric PR firms can help cannabis brands cut through the noise and provide an interesting story that resonates with their target audience.”

Creating appropriate crisis communications strategies is necessary for any business, but this is especially true for a cannabis crisis. Whether it’s a recall, or a significant event hits the industry, cannabis companies must change how they handle potential problems that could challenge their success. This is especially true for CPG companies like cannabis brands who also have the additional risk of a cannabis recall.

 

The unexpected can happen at any moment. For example, the COVID-19 outbreak limited business operations and disrupted consumer spending habits. Airlines canceled flights, and hotels stopped accepting reservations. Everyone went into lockdown, and it affected companies in every job industry.

 

You need to have a solid plan in place before you face a cannabis crisis that can significantly affect the cannabis industry. Adequate preparation could prevent a decline in profitability while you’re dealing with a new normal. You must develop necessary communications to address scenarios you could encounter. Circumstances constantly change, and it’s crucial to be ready for anything.

 

You might need to establish multiple communications channels. You should create a hub and assign specific people to lead each group. Allow your chosen leaders to review and approve statements and consistently provide updates to executives.

 

Each staff member within the groups should have scripts they use to answer external and internal inquiries. They should also have a list of updated contacts, so they have access to people they need to communicate with.

In a Crisis: Prioritize Safety

 

Consumers want to know they’re safe whenever a crisis hits. During the coronavirus pandemic, companies put safety measures in place to protect their employees and customers from unnecessary exposure. When you run a cannabis business, you should ensure everyone’s safety at all times. Anyone walking into your store or buying your product needs to know they’re in an environment that won’t make them sick.

Your communications should address safety concerns. Anyone overseeing an internal employee should work with HR and legal teams to develop policies regarding sick leave, working shifts, office health, and telecommuting options during a crisis. You should also create a plan to approach conversations between managers and employees, so information flows seamlessly throughout the company.

Instruct groups handling communication with consumers to advise the protocols you follow regarding cleaning and health. Your customers should be aware of the maximum capacity in your stores and how your workers handle cannabis deliveries without putting others at risk.

Your website is essential for communicating with the public during a crisis. Update your page frequently to inform others of your company’s policies. Advise them of the steps you’re taking to address current issues and prevent further problems from arising.

Your customers should know you take their health and safety seriously during this challenging time. You’re not willing to place them in harm’s way when there’s a crisis. All the safety precautions you take are meant to protect you, your employees, and the public.

The team you designate to handle regulatory affairs will play a valuable role in your company. They can liaise with federal and state health officials to keep your business up to date on evolving safety protocols. The team should communicate regularly with officials and share accurate and detailed information with management and staff. They should also notify officials of what your company is doing to comply with the required regulations.

 

Impact of Cannabis as an Essential Business

Many states see the cannabis industry as essential. Instead of shutting down with other businesses when there’s a crisis, these companies can remain open. However, acquiring and maintaining the status of an essential business isn’t a guarantee for success. You must have a plan to respond to the local government’s regulatory agendas and address their concerns if you want to continue operating.

You can plan how you’ll communicate the essential nature of your product by discussing the medical needs of cannabis. Lobby for an essential status designation from the leaders in your area. Taking action now could prevent a crisis from negatively affecting your company in the future.

Employees in your PR and marketing groups can explain the medical and social benefits of cannabis to a large audience. They can show the public the importance of the cannabis industry and how it can help people navigate a crippling crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Your media team can also inform reporters of your company’s philanthropic efforts. Some businesses donated hand sanitizer to healthcare workers to keep them safe and prevent the further spread of the virus. Journalists and news outlets can get the word out about your industry’s dedication to the well-being of residents within the community.

 

Don’t Forget About Your Investors

You must maintain frequent and ongoing crisis communications with anyone with financial interests in your company, such as investors and suppliers. Instruct your team to communicate with your suppliers regarding retail challenges and inventory shortages they might face. Try to come up with solutions to the problem before they happen, so you protect your retailer’s and supplier’s bottom lines.

 

Any investors you formed a relationship with should be aware of the steps you’re taking to resume normal business operations. Your team must identify essential business functions, such as supply chain services and critical jobs, that are necessary to continued operations with limited disruptions.

Your spokespeople must warn investors of potential disruptions to operating procedures. Your investors should also know about your plans for an emergency and how you’re going to recover once the crisis is over.

Streamlining your crisis communications strategy means you can successfully navigate any crisis you face. Review statements you make before releasing them to determine whether they reflect your company culture and the impact you have on your customers. The cannabis industry can overcome complex obstacles and thrive with strategic and effective communication plans.

 

Contact Us

 

Avaans Media is a top cannabis PR agency you can depend on to effectively manage your company’s brand and implement the appropriate strategies to gain new customers and grow your business.

Since 2008, our PR team has provided comprehensive services to clients in various industries. The cannabis business is unique but expanding rapidly. You need to keep up with your competitors, so they don’t leave you behind. Our team can spearhead your campaigns to improve your credibility and reputation within the market.

 

Contact us right now if you’re interested in discussing your needs with a trusted and knowledgeable PR firm with years of experience.

The best cannabis PR agency can make a world of difference in marketing your business and boosting sales. But how do you know who is the best cannabis PR agency for you? 

While there are plenty of good cannabis PR agencies out there, it’s likely one is better for you than others. Let’s presume for a moment that all the PR firms for your cannabis business all have deep cannabis industry experience, so how do you tell them apart? These are features all top cannabis PR firms should have. 

Target Audience

The first question you should ask yourself is how well does your top cannabis PR firm understand my target audience? Do they have experience reaching your ideal client or customer? This is vitally important for you to understand because it will make all the difference when you ask your PR agency with helping you reach your business goals. This is critical if you have a new product or you’re a B2B cannabis company. For consumer cannabis brands, look for agencies that have broken new ground in cannabis, especially since standing out in the media sometimes means reaching deep into niche audiences, you’ll want a top cannabis PR firm that also has experience in other verticals, or at least has team members with a broad range of experiences. You’ll also want cannabis companies that have successfully placed cannabis products in mainstream outlets. Talk to your PR firm to see what their strategy for placement in your Tier 1 outlets will be, and see how each firm differentiates itself regarding your strategy. 

Social Media and PR Together

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is attempting to harness all social media channels at once, expecting them all to bring in revenue simultaneously. This could not be any further from the truth! Each channel caters to a different best client and the content should reflect that client type. Notice, sometimes the best channels for your company aren’t the channels making the headlines, and some channels are more useful for client and customer relations and some channels are most useful for media relations. Let your social media and PR agency work together to help you prioritize and ensure your messaging is consistent across the board. The best cannabis PR firms understand how to work your social media channels into a PR strategy that attracts your clients. You may also want to incorporate your PR firm to help identify social media influencers too. Ask your top cannabis PR agencies how they evaluate influencer relationships. It may well tell you how they will approach media relationships too. 

Targeted Content Approach

The best cannabis PR agency will not only know how to talk about your business; they’ll also understand what your best customers want to read about it – which means their content will speak directly to the target audiences. From informative blog posts that apply to your cannabis customer to the strategic use of press releases, you want your target audience absolutely clear when creating cannabis industry content. The top cannabis PR agencies also understand the multitude of cannabis industry regulations and can advise you on messaging that keeps you out of hot water. Ask your cannabis PR firm for 2-3 content headlines in order to get a sense of their positioning for your brand. 

Business-to-Business Approach

For best competitive intelligence services, best cannabis PR agencies typically have a firm grasp of who might be best for your business, and who you best interact with daily. This means they can help you find success no matter what industry you operate in – which is why best cannabis PR agencies are so beneficial to have at your disposal! If your cannabis industry business targets other businesses, then you’ll especially want a team who understands the history of cannabis, so your company represents itself well, even to those who have been in the cannabis industry for a long time. Ask your top cannabis PR firm what other companies in your same stage of growth have successfully done, and ask them to make a non-industry and an industry comparison. 

 

So if you’re ready to grow your business through effective communication, earned media and promotions, then it’s time to reach out to one of the top cannabis PR firms today!

Even the savviest woman cannabis entrepreneurs need fresh publicity ideas.

Women in cannabis. In the early days, there was a lot of media attention around the entrepreneurship opportunities in cannabis, and even more about how the cannabis industry was going to break through the “green ceiling.” This 2015 Inc. magazine article titled “Why Women Founders Are Ruling Legal Marijuana” didn’t age so well. In 2021, Business Insider reported 70% of top cannabis executives were white men. And in the fall of 2021, High Times reported that nationally, only 19% of plant-touching cannabis businesses were women-owned. While female cannabis entrepreneur pieces still pop up once in a while, these days it’s pretty rare to see profiles on women business leaders about something besides bad news for women cannabis entrepreneurs.

Even though women cannabis entrepreneurship is literally the exception to the rule, being a woman founder isn’t newsworthy enough to garner coverage on its own; women founders still have to find creative ways to break through the noise if they want media coverage. The key for women cannabis entrepreneurs to secure press is to lean into the ways we’re different.

 

Find Purpose in Female Leadership

Social impact and female entrepreneurship are both trends. The search term “purpose-driven leadership,” is up 300% on Google, and “Social Impact Leadership” searches are up 40%. I’ve always found Google trends a splendid piece of information to drop into a pitch because publishers love eyeballs AND they love it when you do some homework for them. From DEI to the Last Prisoner Project, cannabis leaders are taking a stand. In fact, the entire cannabis industry is a leader in social impact and purpose. Consider your purpose – why you started the company and how you can support that purpose in an authentic, but female-oriented way.

Los Angeles cannabis dispensary GorillaRX received feature coverage for incorporating “compassion” into their business mode. Spanx founder Sara Blakely recently made headlines by declaring she “ran the business from intuition, vulnerability, and empathy.”

Turning the good ole boy’s network on its head by bucking the trend is a great example of finding purpose in female leadership. Taking a distinct stand on how you run your business with purpose can create media opportunities over and over.

And the purpose isn’t just for PR, HBR found “companies with high levels of purpose outperform the market by 57%-7% a year.”

Go Gurl-illa with the Ladies

Developing a guerilla campaign – or any kind of campaign – around days that celebrate women is a great way to use the mundane with the novel. Marketing activations and publicity stunts get a lot of coverage in cannabis and beyond. Neither of those has to be inherently expensive, but because of cannabis advertising limitations, going guerilla can present a great PR opportunity.

MariMed’s 850 pound edible in honor of national brownie is a recent example of a guerilla stunt that garnered national news attention, including coverage by Inc. magazine. There are some fantastic women’s holidays and journalists love the ease of tying a piece into a holiday, especially one that provides some cultural justification – you’re unlikely to see a lot of coverage on International Men’s Day.

Use the calendar to your advantage with your cannabis guerilla marketing campaigns to earn publicity rather than buy media coverage.

Create Community Around Female Consumers

There are so many ways to create community. You can support education and networking like the ArcView Women’s Inclusion Network or other cannabis women’s organizations. But when you really think about it, talking directly to women AS women is a powerful way to stand out from the crowd. If I had a nickel for every man-owned brand who told me they wanted to target soccer moms, and then asked me where they could find them, I’d be funding women-owned businesses instead of owning one. As women, we have authenticity on our side; we know the secret handshake and we can speak to each other from a place of respect in a way that men-owned brands sometimes struggle with. 

Empowering points of view like CBD brand Aja who asks “Why are women expected to make excuses for their consumption?” is a great way to tap into the mindset of women customers and activate  loyalty. Whoopie and Maya came into the space with a bang talking about the unique needs of women cannabis users, including the menstrual cycle. It started an entire surge of media coverage on the topic. Cannabis lubrication brand Foria has a female sexual education, empowerment, and cannabis spokesperson and she’s a very strong advocate for many women. These are all interesting distinctions that provide many media opportunities.

Another great way to create and support female cannabis entrepreneurs is to collab with other women-owned businesses like Buy Weed from Women. These collaborations are unusual enough it’s a great way to puncture the media cycle.

Consider the ways you name your products, how you speak to your women customers, and your unique point of view as a woman when developing products.

Women cannabis entrepreneurs have a unique set of challenges, but securing earned media coverage can be maximized when we turn our differences into our strengths. If you’re a woman cannabis entrepreneur, I’d love to connect with you on Twitter or LinkedIn.

How important are journalist relationships to cannabis PR? That depends on your strategic objectives and how you’re incorporating cannabis pr into your cannabis marketing. Cannabis is still an emerging industry, and while it has changed dramatically since Avaans started working (as Primo PR) in cannabis in 2015, it’s still a pretty tight-knit group, that includes cannabis journalists. Your PR outcomes probably include the standard visibility KPIs but what other outcomes are you looking for? Media relations is really journalist branding and relationship building. Like all relationships, it’s important to view cannabis media relationships as a long-term process.

B2B Cannabis PR

There are very specific needs for cannabis businesses, from cannabis banking to crop management for CBD, the regulations make B2B cannabis products very specific. Journalists who cover cannabis regularly probably need little backstory on the industry and why the product purpose.  On the other hand, they aren’t as wowed by cannabis industry products because they understand what is and isn’t news to the industry. Having relationships with the cannabis industry journalists will give you the opportunity to have deeper conversations and understanding about their perspectives. Now, if your business objectives include things like an acquisition or VC funding or private equity investment, then not only do you want cannabis journalist PR, but you also want coverage in national outlets. In this case, your relationships with national outlets and their writers will be very important. National writers are overwhelmed with pitches and for B2B cannabis PR pitches, there needs to be an additional layer of relevance. It’s really not enough to be a “cannabis company” anymore (if it ever was). Further, many national outlets or journalists only cover publicly traded cannabis companies or national firms, so journalist relations matters here as well.

Cannabis CPG

In the cannabis CPG realm, journalist relationships are critical. This is one of the more competitive areas of journalism because, for product-driven coverage, you’re often competing with an enormous range of lifestyle products for the same space. A good cannabis PR firm will help you determine media-friendly differentiations and opportunities that support your larger business objectives. Depending on your business objectives, cannabis journalists may be a first or secondary priority for you. Some of this will also depend on your stage of growth and previous press coverage. If you’ve had a lot of press coverage, or you’re looking to differentiate yourself in a non-product forward realm, then you’ll definitely want to double down on media relationships.

Cannabis Tech

No matter whether your cannabis technology is B2B or B2C, your media relationships will be especially important. That’s because it will be important to put your technology in context for both your target audience in a way that isn’t promotional. This is a critical differentiation and the time you’ve spent developing cannabis journalist relationships will really help you tell your story in a newsworthy way. See, while you may think your tech is remarkable, to a journalist what’s most important is impact or a tie-in to a larger media trend when covering cannabis tech. Even VC investments in cannabis tech don’t make the same news that traditional tech does, because the numbers aren’t as large as we see in traditional tech. Publically traded cannabis companies need relationships with both general media and investor analysts (IR).

 

Journalists relationships in cannabis are very important. What journalist relationships you should massage is critical to your coverage – and supporting your business objectives– the bigger reason you’re engaging with PR.