The general public’s interest in cannabis has never been higher, and the topic is getting a lot of press coverage. Cannabis brands that used to be known only to a handful of people in the field are now renowned names that attract large audiences when they show up in the media.
But how can entrepreneurs and business managers get press coverage for cannabis companies? Read on to find out.
Build authority with educational cannabis content
Mainstream media outlets are definitely more accepting of cannabis brands than they were a few years ago, but they won’t publish a feature about a brand they know nothing about. And, in today’s crowded cannabis landscape, it can be difficult for brands to get noticed.
Building authority with educational cannabis content is one of the most successful ways of attracting the attention of reporters. Just like you, reporters find their information online. Most of the journalists who write about a certain topic spend a lot of time educating themselves.
Positioning your brand as an educational asset that journalists can rely on when researching a topic increases your authority. But, in order to do so, your brand’s content has to be rich in original data and backed by reliable sources.
Use original data and statistics to make your content more interesting for mainstream media. The more interesting the information, the higher your chances of getting mainstream coverage. You get bonus points for using proprietary data, but you can also create content by interpreting existing data in a different way.
Keep in mind that not all media outlets are actively searching for breaking news. Some of them are on the lookout for human interest stories, while others might be more interested in future trends or in new ways of doing business.
Help your local community
In many industries, one of the easiest ways to get amazing PR is to do things for your community. And this also works for cannabis businesses. Cannabis brands that helped their local communities during the coronavirus pandemic made the front page of national and international newspapers.
Here’s the thing, journalists can’t always stay on top of everything that’s happening in the cannabis industry, but brands that do great things for their communities attract the right kind of attention. And stories involving communities always sell better than stories about companies and individuals, so they get better coverage.
One of the best ways for cannabis businesses to get press coverage is to focus on people. Help your local community, increase awareness and let your brand’s positive actions tell your story.
Ace your social media game
Social media completely changed the way consumers interact with the companies they buy from. And in today’s busy social media landscape, companies have to ace their social media game to break through the noise. Having Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and leveraging them to update clients and interact with them is a must for cannabis companies.
Cannabis businesses face multiple hurdles when posting on social media. They cannot advertise their products directly, cannot claim medical benefits and are sometimes not allowed to feature their contact information on their pages.
But some brands managed to overcome these hurdles and grow impressive social media followings. Mainstream media journalists are more likely to contact these businesses when they’re looking for quotes or opinions on different matters regarding cannabis.
One of the ways you can ace your social media game as a cannabis business is to post educational content. Cannabis is still a new industry, and people are still researching it to learn more about its benefits, its dangers and how to use it.
There’s always a cannabis-related topic that’s trending on social media platforms. These topics show up on the news, and people look them up to find out more. And cannabis journalists are always looking for new information.
About 53 percent of social media users said they’ll follow a brand based on the content it posts. Posting educational content about trending topics is a good strategy if you want to attract an audience and the attention of journalists.
However, educational content is not the only option for cannabis businesses. Some brands attracted the mainstream media’s attention with their creative social media campaigns. Cannabis businesses used things like 4/20 Bingo, food or mocktail recipes, live streams, happy hours and amusing questionnaires to increase customer engagement and attract reporters.
But it’s also important to be consistent when posting. If you constantly post case studies about cannabis finance, you’re more likely to be quoted in mainstream media when a journalist is looking for reliable sources on the topic. Posting about the role of cannabis in holistic medicine will attract the attention of reporters who research that topic, and so on.
Using influencers to promote your brand can also increase your chances of showing up in mainstream media. Some cannabis influencers are so popular that they’re regularly featured in tabloids. Signing up famous influencers or having them use or wear your merch can get you the press coverage you want.
Pitch your story
Sometimes, the easiest way to get press coverage is to pitch your story to a media outlet. Cold pitching can be tricky for cannabis brands because some of the things they do cannot be featured in the mainstream media, but it can work.
The first thing you should do when preparing your pitch is research. Look for a suitable media outlet to pitch. What kind of stories do they usually feature? As you can imagine, pitching a financial outlet your story about the environmental aspects of cannabis might not get their interest.
Then, you should learn more about the journalist or editor you’re pitching to. What do they usually write about? How do they approach a certain topic? Could you edit your pitch to match their characteristic stance or tone? Pitching relevant information to the correct editor or reporter increases your chances of getting the coverage you’re looking for.
A good pitch always starts with an eye-catching headline. Most editors and reporters are busy people, and some receive dozens of emails per day. Using an interesting headline for your email increases its chances of being opened.
Your pitch should also be short and concise. Busy editors probably don’t have the time to go through your entire story to find the relevant information, so laying it out for them makes your pitch better. The editor or reporter would reach back to you if they’re interested and need more details.
Cannabis PR is a necessity, not a luxury
The cannabis industry is crowded and highly regulated, so it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd and get the press coverage your brand deserves. That’s why successful cannabis brands know that having a strong public relations department is a necessity, not a luxury.
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if your PR department is made out of five individuals or a single one. As long as there’s always somebody who constantly puts in the time and effort to build your brand’s image, you will make it easier for journalists to find you.
Related: Top 11 Cannabis PR Agencies of 2020
Leveraging a PR campaign can help your brand reach the mainstream media, and thus, a wider audience. Directing some of your marketing efforts toward improving your brand image will strengthen your position as an authority in the field and increase your audience reach. Press coverage is definitely something every cannabis business should be interested in.