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"How Can I Promote My Dispensary?" 3 Reasons Why Media Relations is Crucial For Cannabis Retail

Dive deep into media relations, what it is, and the 3 ways in which media relations is vital for cannabis retail success.

Approximately 79% of Americans live in a county with at least one cannabis dispensary. Yet, in 2023, only 25% of U.S. cannabis operators reported that their business is profitable. There’s no doubt, owning a cannabis dispensary is exciting, fun, scary, exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. 


One of the biggest issues we’ve recognized in the cannabis retail space is just how difficult it is to market your dispensary to drive revenue. This is in part due to strict advertising regulations on cannabis products and services in the U.S., and in part because cannabis business leaders rarely have a background in marketing. 


But what if the solution wasn’t advertising or marketing?


If you’re wondering how you can promote your dispensary to grow your business, the answer is media relations. In this article, we’re diving deep into media relations, what it is, and the 3 ways in which media relations is vital for cannabis retail success.


What is Media Relations?

Media relations is the act of forming professional relationships with reporters and journalists to educate the media on your brand, products, services, and achievements. The goal here is to have those in the media tell your story to their audiences through publications including (but not limited to) magazines, online outlets, TV, radio, and podcasts.


You might be wondering, well, what does media relations really do for my cannabis retail business? Strategic media engagement results in earned media placements that:


  • Amplify brand awareness

  • Establish brand credibility

  • Build trust between your brand and your community


Earned media is the most credible and surefire way of promoting your brand. It's the Forbes article you discovered on LinkedIn this morning featuring a new cannabis beverage. It's the podcast episode you listened to where an industry expert shared their best tips for packaging cannabis products. It's everywhere.


Now, let’s get into the 3 reasons why media relations is a vital aspect of promoting your cannabis dispensary.


1. Brand Awareness: Easily Target and Reach Local Audiences

Your dispensary should be the talk of the town. At least, that’s what you hope for, right? Strategic media relations can turn this hope into a reality. 


You can’t only rely on passing traffic to have eyes on your dispensary. By connecting with local media outlets such as a newspaper or local magazine to tell your brand’s story will increase brand awareness to the proper geographical audience. 


A few featured story ideas you can pitch include:


  • Sharing the why behind opening your dispensary

  • What products you sell and how they benefit your customers

  • Upcoming community events you may be hosting

  • Collaborations with other local businesses


2. Community Engagement: Host Events to Connect Locals

Want more foot traffic? Do something interesting to get them in the door. Offer community events such as free sample night where you give out free samples of a certain product, or an open-mic night where customers can sit and hang out listening to live music and shop. 


One other great idea is to offer an educational community event during which you can educate canna-curious shoppers on the ingredients, use cases, and benefits of each product. 


Where does media relations come into play in this scenario? Connecting with local media to promote your event is critical to generating a solid turnout. Not only will you be marketing your event, you’ll also be setting your brand up as a community-serving business—one that prioritizes the well-being of community members. 


3. Brand Credibility and Trust: Secure Both with Media Relations

Whether your dispensary is the sole dispensary in your area or one of many, it’s essential that you establish credibility in your community. Fostering trust between your target customers is a surefire way to beat out your competitors and to achieve customer loyalty. 


By being featured in media publications (local, regional, or national) you gain third-party credibility. In fact, a recent study found 92% of consumers trust earned media more than any other form of advertising. Thus, potential customers who come across your media coverage will be more likely to purchase from your brand as they deem it safe, trustworthy, and worthwhile. Not to mention, this added credibility will keep your current customers coming back for more. 


Final Thoughts

Media relations is a vital aspect of scaling your cannabis retail business. Whether you have one dispensary or many, engaging in strategic media relations for each location can make the difference between profitability and closing your doors for good. 


Want to know if your business is a good candidate for public and media relations support? View the infographic detailing the 5 traits cannabis companies that crush public relations have.


At Green Lane Communication, we’ve worked with dozens of cannabis dispensaries through grand openings and ongoing public and media relations. If you’re looking to drive brand awareness and revenue, we’re the team to help you. Get in touch with us to get started.

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