Recruiting and developing in-house talent for your business can be a challenge, especially in an industry as nascent as the cannabis industry. The same holds true for outside vendors, firms, and agencies you consider partnering with. Some companies choose to recruit talent and partner with power players from within the industry, while others would rather team up with professionals who have backgrounds in industries like tech, healthcare, advertising, real estate, and other non-cannabis related industries. So, when it comes to bringing in an outside partner to help with public relations, what’s the best route for a cannabis company to take? Here are three keys to picking the right public relations (PR) partner for your cannabis company.
Cannabis experience is a huge plus.
Some say, “public relations is public relations. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, right?” Not necessarily. Yes, there are certain aspects of PR that are transferrable from other industries into cannabis, just like with all talents and skills. However, with ever-changing laws and regulations regarding the plant, it’s critical to partner with a cannabis public relations pro who can think outside the box, and create effective work-arounds to restrictions that hinder a brand's ability to get its name out there.
Secondly, it’s critical to understand cannabis culture and where the industry is in its progression. Cannabis culture is moving away from words like “marijuana”, “pot”, or “grass.” Instead, phrases like cannabis and hemp are more popular and accepted among industry professionals and consumers. Knowing these intricacies and incorporating them intentionally into your communications strategy can be the difference between leaving a bad taste in one’s mouth, or hearing a call back about a mention from your dream publication.
Be clear on your objective.
What exactly is your objective in partnering with a PR firm? Are you looking to raise brand awareness, build trust, establish credibility? Or are you looking to attract investors and develop an arsenal of media assets to help your sales team sell more effectively? It’ll be worth your while to reverse-engineer exactly what you want and need to happen so everyone is aiming their efforts in the same direction.
Ask the right questions
The single-handed best way to find out if a potential PR partner will be the right fit for you, your brand, and business is by asking the right questions. Here are eight questions you can ask to dig deeper, and find out if a potential PR firm is the right fit for you and your cannabis company:
What does your work look like with other cannabis companies?
Do you have any PR experience working in other industries? If so, what does that look like, and do you think this would give us a competitive advantage in cannabis?
Are they trustworthy? This question is for you to ask yourself. Search their name online and reach out to companies they’ve represented in the past to learn about what it's like working with that firm from a previous/current client.
Can you give me an example of a project you had the most fun working on?
What types of cannabis companies do you typically work with?
What is your pricing structure? Some firms charge as little as $1,000.00 per month retainers while others may ask for $10,000.00+ a month. Do your due diligence to understand exactly what you’re paying for, and if you can make sense of the investment.
Will this potential partner mesh with my company culture? An important questions to ask yourself after getting to know them.
Does the firm understand my needs and wants, and do they seem easy to communicate with? This is critical! There’s little-to-no room for miscommunication and misunderstandings between both sides of the table when managing a brand's reputation.
Take the time to truly get to know who you’ll potentially be working with to help shine the spotlight on your brand and business. If you're anything like us at Green Lane Communication, it comes down to getting the job done with the right people for the right reasons while having a great time doing it. Click here to see why Green Lane Communication made 10Buds' list of recommended cannabis public relations agencies.
Schedule a call with us today to see if Green Lane Communication is the right fit for your cannabis PR needs.