With restrictions on paid media for cannabis companies, earned media (or the publicity you don’t pay for) has become an increasingly important way for brands to get the word out.
This unusual circumstance has caused many companies to hire public relations specialists, who understand how to place stories in various publications. And even if you can’t afford a publicist, it helps to understand which pitches work and which fall on deaf ears.
Here are a few tips for companies trying to maximize their PR efforts in the elusive press world.
Know who you’re pitching
Journalists and editors are bombarded daily with unsolicited calls and emails containing story pitches that don’t match their beat. But PR is not a numbers game. Sending out a story to as many people as possible does not improve your chances of getting it placed. Quite the opposite. Sending stories that don’t make sense for a specific publication or writer is a waste of everyone’s time, and may even lead to your future emails being ignored.
Instead of email-blasting every publication you can think of, you’ll have better results curating your pitches based on your target publication’s interests and style.
For this reason, you should take the time to get to know the writer and publication you’re pitching. You can be an asset by proposing stories that are relevant to their needs.
Practice quality over quantity by targeting pitches to people who may actually benefit from them, and help keep those inboxes clutter-free(ish).
Be a valuable asset
With the staffs at newsrooms being slashed, journalists appreciate some help from time to time. They value contacts that make their job easier by providing story leads and access. Instead of piling on with story pitches, you should ask what stories they’re working on and, when appropriate, offer to help by providing a quote or inside information. Don’t have a client on hand who matches up? Scan your expansive network and see if there is someone who might be of value to the story, regardless if they are a client or not. In PR, your network is your net worth, so make it work for you.
This is beneficial for a few reasons: First, it helps build a relationship with journalists and editors beyond merely pitching. By helping facilitate a story or a lead, you mark yourself as an asset that they’ll want to reach out to in the future.
Creating a relationship of value, even when it doesn’t directly or immediately benefit you or your clients, removes the transactional element from pitching, and makes the experience much more personable.
Tell a good story
Every publicist knows (or should know) the importance of a good press release. In order for it to be effective, it is imperative that they truly know and understand their clients in order to portray them in the best way. Some questions a good publicist asks before writing: What’s their point of difference? What problems do they solve? What are the most interesting personal nuggets you can share about a client? Having those key pieces of information about a client ready to drop at any time is critical for putting out a good press release at a moment’s notice, and for talking about that brand to someone when a good opportunity is present.
Be sure to send your press releases to the right people. Connecting a journalist with a brand that resonates with them helps create a fluid story, ideally with meaning to it.