Why Earned Media is an Effective Way to Market Your Cannabis Business

Four Reasons PR & Earned Media are Must-Haves for Growing a Cannabis Business

By John McCartney

I often like to say that PR is in the same ‘marketing’ sandbox along with advertising, social media, SEO, direct response, email marketing, to name a few other ‘cousins’ of PR.

Here are some of the benefits on how PR and earned media can contribute to the overall marketing of your cannabis business:

  1. Find new users and customers. Ad Age reported that earned media has a higher conversion rate, often 5%, over paid media, which came in at below 1%. The reality is that you’re more likely to buy something based on someone’s recommendation vs seeing an advertisement.
  2. Interest potential investors. There’s a saying that a restaurant is judged on its food and service. Any company is often judged on the clients that it has and sometimes on the amount of money they raise. According to a Nielsen study, 83% of people completely trust recommendations they get from friends and family. However, media really just wants to know “can you backup your story” with case studies and proof points? If not, don’t bother, media will not care about your product.
  3. Land partnerships and establish relationships: That’s the essence of PR at its core. We advocate for our clients and insist that they establish and cultivate their own relationships with media which we initiate on their behalf. The reality is that you’re going to work with them moving forward and it’s vital that you make yourself available whenever there’s a request for information, an interview, meeting, or comment on a broader industry trend/news.
  4. Establish thought leadership. Do you sometimes notice that when you’re watching a TV news program, very often, the same person is invited back to the program over and over again? There’s a reason for that, they have established their expertise on a particular subject matter, thereby, establishing their own thought leadership. Another saying in PR is that ‘perception is reality.’ When you see an individuals often commenting on a particular story, or having their guest articles published in a number of places, the perception is that this person knows what they are talking about, which then elevates the individual and by extension the business.

No matter where you fall on this debate on whether you think PR is the right fit for your cannabis business (it is, always), the amount of work you put into PR is the same you will get out of it. PR does not work in a void. It requires collaboration and engagement from the client as much as it does from the firm. That said, there are some key areas that must be addressed to make the PR machine run smoothly and successfully.

In conclusion, we live in a very data-driven 24/7 news-cycle so it’s more vital than ever to break through the noise, but also bear in mind that good PR is a work in progress and needs to be effective, agile, and savvy to truly make it work. But it also requires the client to also be committed to its success by being an active participant in the PR process.

photo credit Adobe Stock

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