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7 Criteria of an Effective Cannabis Public Relations Firm

If you were in need of a plumber for your second floor bathroom, would you hire a crawl space expert by day, jack-of-all-trades by night to handle the job? Of course not! So why would you hire someone who has little to no experience in cannabis public relations (PR) as your publicist?

Too often, we see marketing agencies or master-of-all-types tell cannabis companies in need of PR that all they need to do to amplify their brand awareness is to "just do something that attracts attention." That's the equivalent to saying the best way to win basketball games is to get the ball through the hoop. 

Choosing the right public relations firm is essential for cannabis businesses looking to:

  • Establish credibility in their space

  • Boost their brand awareness

  • Navigate advertising restrictions on cannabis

  • Foster lasting relationships with various stakeholders

Continue reading to explore the criteria you need to consider when selecting a cannabis PR firm and the key questions to ask when assessing them all. 

Critical Questions to Ask Public Relations Firms

  1. What does their work look like with other cannabis companies? It's always a good idea to vet a PR firm based on their recent work. Always team up with people and companies who are proud of the work they do.

  2. What do they bring to the table that other PR firms don't? Is it their hyper-focused specialization in the cannabis industry? Their years of experience? Their customer service? 

  3. Are they trustworthy? We’ve heard horror stories about PR firms promising the world and delivering next to nothing. While we understand that press is never guaranteed, transparency and trust are vital to the success of any business partnership. 

  4. How do I make sense of my investment? Make sure the firm you're in talks with suggests ways for you to maximize the coverage they arrange for you. Their priorities should lie with where you're headed with your business, where you'd like to see more growth, and how you want the campaign to play out for you in a perfect world. 

  5. Will they fit the culture our team has cultivated? Anytime you pick an agency to partner with, you should make sure the energy is right. If there's passion, purpose, and excitement on both sides of the table, you can expect nothing but greatness to come out of it.

The 7 Criteria the Cannabis Public Relations Firm You Hire Must Have

1. Industry Expertise

The PR partner you choose must have a solid understanding of the industry your business is in. This is especially true if you’re in the cannabis industry as state- and nation-wide regulations are constantly changing and, in turn, requires strategic shifts in a PR strategy.

2. A Strategic Approach

A good PR program is only as good as the strategy driving it. It’s important for your publicist to work with you on developing goals for your PR efforts. From here, your publicist should tailor strategies to specifically target niche audiences and media outlets. Before hiring a PR professional, be sure to ask them about their approach to PR. Are they checking all the boxes?

3. A Proven Track Record and Solid Reputation

It’s vital to research a PR firm’s past client experiences and success stories to better understand the value this firm can bring to your business. That said, seek out case studies, client testimonials, and even ask for references before signing on that dotted line.

4. The Right Services for Your Needs

What types of public relations services are you in the market for? Do you need media relations? Crisis management? Award submissions? Before you hire a PR firm, make sure they offer the services you need.

5. Cultural Fit and Values Alignment

Working with a publicist means just that. You’re working with a PR partner to secure media coverage together. That’s why it’s important that your company’s values match up with those of the PR firm’s as well.

6. Budget Considerations

Yes, you need to allocate enough space in your budget to invest in a worthwhile PR partner. But keep in mind, there are PR firms out there that will charge outrageous rates for little work. When you’re hiring a PR firm, it’s crucial that you have a deep understanding of the pricing structure and fee arrangements. 

7. Technology and Tools

Don’t hesitate to ask a PR professional what public relations tools they use for monitoring media, reporting, and staying on top of industry trends. You want to make sure that not only are the public relations team you’re working with using valuable tools, but they’re using these tools in a fruitful manner.

Final Thoughts

Don’t fall for flashy marketing or cheesy pick up lines when looking for a cannabis public relations firm. Instead, do your due diligence and research to avoid any mishaps down the road. 

Interested in learning more about the cannabis-focused PR firm that meets all the criteria above? Get in touch with the Green Lane team


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