The Particulars of Marketing Your Cannabis Business: Experts Share Their Secrets

The Particulars of Marketing Your Cannabis Business: Experts Share Their Secrets

In previous articles, we’ve looked into numerous aspects of getting into the marijuana industry, including how to convince investors to give you money, and how to brand your cannabis business and craft your story. For the time being, exposure pretty much boils down to press coverage, strong alternative marketing campaigns and robust community building through social media and physical presence. Public Relations Public relations most often involve writing press releases and connecting with the media. But what you’re paying for isn’t the writing service or pitching an interesting angle on your story to the media. “Make sure to find a public relations and marketing firm that has experience in navigating the terrain of a federally illegal commodity market, like cannabis is,” Cynthia Salarizadeh, managing partner at public relations firm KCSA Communications and CEO of PR tech suite AxisWire, recommends. So a good PR agent needs to understand who to call at different publications [both cannabis-focused and mainstream] to reach certain audiences, and what services can help you circumvent all of these limitations.” John Sidline, principal at PR agency The Cannabis Story Lab, says you should plan to spend between seven and 10 percent of your gross receipts on marketing and PR. Here are some things you should take into account when trying to get the right kind of coverage: Understand which media outlet you should pitch each story to. Identify which reporters cover topics somehow related to your brand and figure out the best angle to pitch them. In addition, it’s important to find the right reporter and pitch broad stories about industry trends, embedding your own story in this larger trend. “You can’t just have a social media-only company or a digital-only company; you need to have that physical presence to create visibility and content for your social networks,” Kaye says.

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The Particulars of Marketing Your Cannabis Business: Experts Share Their Secrets

Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. and Javier Hasse’s book Start Your Own Cannabis Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound

This article is part of Entrepreneur’s series on How to Start a Cannabis Business. We seek to promote financial inclusion through cannabis. In previous articles, we’ve looked into numerous aspects of getting into the marijuana industry, including how to convince investors to give you money, and how to brand your cannabis business and craft your story.

Cannabis is getting more mainstream by the minute. However, marketing your brand can still be difficult [due to the extensive limitations on advertising]. For the time being, exposure pretty much boils down to press coverage, strong alternative marketing campaigns and robust community building through social media and physical presence.

Public Relations

Public relations most often involve writing press releases and connecting with the media. Entrepreneurs who don’t know much about this can hire a public relations firm to take care of these tasks for them. However, you need to be prepared to spend typically between $1,500 and $10,000 per month, depending on the firm and the services you need.

But what you’re paying for isn’t the writing service or pitching an interesting angle on your story to the media. What you pay for is expertise and connections. Learning which media outlets and journalists cover which topics, and how to reach and pitch them effectively, takes a lot of time — time that would be better spent managing your business.

“Make sure to find a public relations and marketing firm that has experience in navigating the terrain of a federally illegal commodity market, like cannabis is,” Cynthia Salarizadeh, managing partner at public relations firm KCSA Communications and CEO of PR tech suite AxisWire, recommends. “This is like no other industry, because you basically cannot pay for exposure. So a good PR agent needs to understand who to call at different publications [both cannabis-focused and mainstream] to reach certain audiences, and what services can help you circumvent all of these limitations.”

John Sidline, principal at PR agency The Cannabis Story Lab, says you should plan to spend between seven and 10 percent of your gross receipts on marketing and PR.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Are Essential in the Cannabis Industry Business

How to reach the media.

If you plan to manage your initial public relations yourself, we recommend you start with the more than 150 relatively well-known cannabis-focused publications for media coverage. Sites like HERB, High Times, Leafly, Civilized, The Cannabist, or Green Market Report…

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