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7 Common Public Relations Mistakes to Avoid: A Closer Look at Why Your PR Strategy Fell Short

Wondering where and why your public relations strategy went awry? We’re diving into the 7 most common public relations mistakes you need to avoid.

Public relations (PR) is not a simple one-size-fits all solution, especially in the cannabis industry. Often, we see in-house marketers taking on the role of a PR professional, trying to tackle two full-time jobs—and likely failing to find success in either. 


A successful public relations strategy goes far beyond sending out press releases over the wire. It requires you to have an ear to the ground at all times, a healthy and growing network of reporters, journalists, and show hosts, and a steady dedication to being authentic in every pitch. 


Wondering where and why your PR strategy went awry? We’re diving into the 7 most common public relations mistakes you need to avoid. Continue reading to find out what they are and why you should steer clear of them.


1. Developing Misaligned Messaging

Imagine reading a story where the main character is a superhero, then they’re a dancer, then a pizza maker. You’d be confused, right? You’d likely wonder: Who is this person? What’s their purpose? Why are they sharing this story? 


When sharing your brand’s story, it’s imperative that you keep your messaging consistent. In fact, over 68% of business leaders say brand consistency has led to revenue growth of 10% or more. 


If your brand’s story changes more often than cannabis regulations change across the nation, you’re confusing your target audience. Keep your messaging consistent by sitting down and creating a mission statement to align your company on what the company does, who the company serves, and why. This will help ensure that when you do get media coverage, your brand has a cohesive perception across all channels—your website, social media, mainstream media, etc.


2. Sending Out Dozens of Press Releases 

One of the biggest public relations mistakes we see is the overproduction of press releases. Don’t get us wrong, press releases are an essential part of PR. But there’s a time and a place for them. Sending out handfuls of press releases each month over the newswire is draining, not just for you as you write the press releases, but for the reporters and journalists constantly receiving them. Bombarding the media with press release after press release fatigues journalists of your brand and hinders your chances of gaining unique coverage.


Save the press releases for major announcements, product launches, grand openings, and the like. In the meantime, focus your efforts on thought leadership opportunities to showcase your knowledge as an industry leader. 


3. Neglecting Stakeholder Thought Leadership

Since cannabis is still an emerging industry, thought leadership is key to keeping its growth exponential. Thought leadership is the act of sharing ideas and knowledge that proves you have expertise in a particular topic or field. Thus, it’s critical that cannabis business leaders and stakeholders contribute their thoughts to pressing topics in the industry via the media. This will, yes, showcase your expertise, but also add credibility to your name and your brand.


Here’s proof:


  • 65% of professionals report thought leadership significantly changed the perception of a company

  • 64% believe thought leadership is more trustworthy than marketing materials

  • 63% say thought leadership proves an organization can genuinely solve specific business challenges


4. Relying Too Heavily on Artificial Intelligence

We’re in the era of AI (artificial intelligence) and we would be remiss to not use it to its full advantage. However, just because we can… doesn’t mean we should. Writing a public relations pitch using AI is risky business


Why?


  1. AI is inaccurate up to 26% of the time. Boom—you’re already putting the quality and credibility of your pitch at stake. 

  2. Content written by AI often sounds clunky and hard to read, making it difficult for journalists to understand your pitch.

  3. The one consistent aspect of AI written content is—now that we’ve seen it more—it’s easy to detect with the human eye. Would you want to publish a story or engage with a pitch written by a robot? Didn’t think so.


To stand out in a reporters’ inboxes, you need to think outside the ChatGPT box.


5. Not Using Social Media to Your Advantage

There are two ways you can leverage social media in your public relations program. The first is to connect with reporters, journalists, podcast hosts, editors, etc., to begin developing professional relationships with industry writers. The second is to share your company’s PR wins on LinkedIn, X, Facebook, Instagram—wherever your target audience lives. And don’t forget to tag relevant stakeholders, organizations, and media outlets to gain the most reach!


➡️ Get your copy of The Ultimate Post-Coverage Checklist to discover other ways to extend the life and reach of your recent media placements.


6. Lacking Measurable Public Relations Objectives

We know that measuring your return on investment in public relations is subjective and not always easy to do. Yet, it’s always a good idea to identify a few objectives you hope PR will enable you to achieve. 


For example, gaining a greater brand awareness can be seen in your social media followership or your website traffic. Additionally, tracking your sales by monitoring where leads come into your database from is key. You just might start to realize that your latest feature in High Times brought in 3 new leads.


7. Conducting Poor Media Relations and Outreach

At the end of the day, an effective public relations program relies on your ability to connect with and maintain positive relationships with media outlets and journalists. Being rude, failing to meet deadlines, or showing up to interviews late, is frankly… a waste of the journalist’s time. 


Be mindful of your approach to PR and remember that you’re a human being reaching out to another human being—it’s okay, and honestly preferred, to be personable. 


Final Thoughts

Executing on a killer public relations strategy isn’t going to be easy on your own. But with the right partner by your side, you can drastically improve your brand’s reputation, awareness, and overall bottom line. 


At Green Lane Communication, we’re experts in taking cannabis brands mainstream via strategic public relations. Learn more about what we do and get in touch with us to unpack what we can do for your cannabis business. 

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