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Mainstream media has never been so interested in cannabis businesses as it is today. The general public’s increased interest in cannabis, combined with the fact that legal marijuana businesses were considered ‘essential’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made cannabis business more attractive to the press, which is very beneficial for marijuana-related brands looking to get press or media coverage.
However, with new marijuana-related businesses opening every day, some cannabis brands find it difficult to get media coverage. Let’s take a look at five tips to help make your cannabis business interesting to the press and receive media coverage.
Use the right influencer for your cannabis brand
A survey showed that 40 percent of social media users had purchased something after seeing it used by an influencer on Twitter, Youtube, or Instagram. And about half of those people shared the influencer`s content after seeing it, increasing the content’s exposure and engagement. Another report showed that almost half of the respondents (49 percent) trust influencers almost as much as they trust their friends (56 percent).
Related: Top 25 Cannabis Influencers 2019
But using the right influencer can also build your reputation and attract the attention of mainstream media. Some influencers have massive followings and are regularly featured in tabloids or other kinds of media, so collaborating with them can increase your exposure, especially if they use your merch.
And here’s the thing, some influencers are known to feature cannabis products on social media, so journalists who focus on the cannabis industry might already be avid followers of theirs. Collaborating with an influencer could help spread your name in mainstream media.
Sponsor (cannabis) events
In the days before the coronavirus pandemic, cannabis events were quite frequent. You could probably attend a different one every month or so. Nobody knows how long it will take for people to start going to industry-specific events again, but that time will surely come.
Sponsoring an event can help you strengthen your authority and create an image of success. And sponsoring an event, even if it’s an industry-specific one, can boost your brand’s visibility. Every event, no matter how small or large, is featured in mainstream media. You could leverage this media coverage to your advantage by booking radio spots or by featuring ads in local newspapers.
Sure, you might not be allowed to talk about cannabis on the radio, but you’ll probably be allowed to promote an event that’s about to take place in the community. Sponsoring an event is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise in the field. And that can make your business interesting to a reporter or two.
Check out HARO to connect your cannabis business with the press
HARO is a platform that provides journalists with sources for their upcoming stories. But you can use the platform to secure valuable media coverage. Here’s how it works.
HARO’s registration process is easy and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. After registering, you receive three emails with source requests every day. Check out the emails and look for requests that are relevant to your business.
Once you’ve found a source request you can handle, email the journalist and pitch your story. If the journalist is interested, he or she will reach out for more details.
One of the great things about HARO is that it’s frequented by over 55,000 journalists who work for all types of publications, from world-renowned ones like Reuters or The New York Times to local or industry-specific ones. Registering as a source and helping out journalists when they cover cannabis topics can make your business interesting to the press.
Due to its simplicity, even popular PR platforms like getonforbes.com have mentioned HARO as one of the best and easiest ways to get earned media coverage.
Leverage your social media presence
You can leverage your social media presence to attract the attention of different media publications. Social media has changed the way you can interact with the press. Most media outlets post their articles on Twitter, which means you can create a Twitter account for your business and follow the various media outlets that cover cannabis.
Get involved in the discussion, but be careful not to come across as spammy. Use data and statistics to support your arguments, and post only when the discussion is relevant to your business.
And you can also interact with your favourite journalists in the same way. Following a journalist and learning what they like and don’t like to write about could help you tailor a pitch to his or her style. You can then pitch your story and will hear back if it is of interest.
Getting creative with your social media profiles can make them interesting to journalists. Some cannabis brands were featured in mainstream media because they did something unique — some of them ran 4/20 bingo sessions, others posted cannabis food or cocktail recipes and so on.
Brainstorm a new way to engage your audience and you might make your profiles interesting to the press.
Tell better stories to get more press coverage
One of the easiest ways to make your cannabis business interesting to the press is to tell better stories. Just like your customers, journalists need a way to connect to your business. And stories help with that.
No one cares that you opened a new headshop, unless you’re the first one to open a cannabis business on Mars or something equally exciting. New businesses pop up every week, and the opening alone is not going to make your business interesting to the mainstream media.
But you might be able to make your business more attractive if you tell a better story. You could turn your opening into a local event with special guests. Maybe you could run a lottery for the first 50 people who enter your premises. Or you could think outside the box and donate all your opening day earnings to a nursing home.
Just think of the headline — ‘New headshop donates opening day earnings to the elderly’. Now, that’s a story even your retired great aunt would enjoy reading, so a journalist is bound to be interested in it. Pitch your new and improved story to local journalists and they should reach out for more details.
And you don’t need a grand event (or a massive investment), such as opening a store, to improve your brand’s story. You can improve it all year round, even without spending a lot of money. Maybe you could run a discount for fathers before Father’s Day 2020 (June 21st in the U.S. and UK), or run special offers for targeted groups, such as offering discounts on CBD oil for pet owners or veterans.
Doing things for your community improves your brand’s story and makes your cannabis business more attractive to the press.