PR is still a critical component of any cannabis brand’s consumer product strategy. And you might find that PR is expensive, so you might ask yourself, “how can I get PR for my cannabis business?” There are two reasons to ask this question. The first is you want to hire a PR professional in-house, the second might be you’re trying to save money on your PR agency budget. Either way, you’ll want to dig more deeply in order to find your place in PR and maximize your financial or time investment.
Define Your Story
If you’ve ever heard someone say, “that’s not news,” it’s because there isn’t enough meat on the bone for your story. Case in point, being a minority-owned cannabis business, by itself, is not a story. But if you’re the first minority-owned cannabis business to set up a scholarship fund for minority students, that could be a story – especially if it ties in with the start or end of school. And whatever your story is, give it the lift it needs with data and noticeable numbers. You’ll find that cannabis journalists respond positively to stories that have enough background and information to write a piece about. Especially when it touches on trending topics. Be the brand or company that comes to a journalist with the solution to a cultural problem and you’ll find you can get more PR for your cannabis business, regardless of whether it comes from in-house or an agency.
From nostalgia to a cultural wink, pulling off a fun stunt, something that makes people look twice and laugh, almost always gets some PR attention. The attention may be from the press, or it might be as social media coverage, but getting your product in front of new people, or giving your current customers a reason to share your email with their friends, is priceless. And even if you don’t get massive reach on your stunt, you’ll have attached fun and happiness to your brand for those who saw it. This is how advertising campaigns get media coverage as well. You’ll find that Clio award-winning work very often has a wink and a smile behind it. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to have a little fun, so lean in and make your campaigns do double duty to get PR for your cannabis business.
Activate with Partners
On the surface, sponsorships are rarely PR worthy. But what sponsorships might do is give you access to an opportunity to tell your story to the right people. When our client Elixinol sponsored the press booth at events in key media cities and then activated that sponsorship with a locally popular, Super Bowl-winning, football star to talk about his experience with the product after considerable head injuries during his professional career. By itself, having a spokesperson may or may not be notable, but the sponsorship provided access to the press to make sure they knew about the athlete, the athlete’s story was compelling, and there was a local tie-in that was easy for journalists to grab onto.
Incorporate Digital Savvy
If you’re leading a plant-touching cannabis brand, you might be tempted to curtail your cannabis website’s digital presence. That’s a mistake. Today’s editors wear many hats, but it boils down to this: content that attracts eyeballs so they can earn money. The old-fashioned way for newsrooms to make money was straight-up advertising. But digital PR changed all that and today there are so many ways for an editor to juice the revenue for their outlet. Case in point, for the cannabis industry, sponsored posts are a common augmentation to a campaign. They’re relatively easy to create, and they can secure a solid inbound link for your website. Plus, eventually, cannabis brands will be able to do what other consumer product brands have been doing: use affiliate networking as a honeypot for product coverage. Use Google to get more frequent PR for your cannabis company.
Whether you’re hiring a cannabis PR agency or doing PR in-house, earning media coverage for your cannabis brand will take some work, but that work will be well worth it for years to come.