Picking the Right PR Agency: What You Need to Know
You've invested your time, resources, and put every ounce of your soul into building what you believe to be one of the most transparent, consumer-focused, result driven cannabis brand and business. Congratulations! Not many people would make the sacrifices that you have to be where you are today. But... Now what?
We're living in a time where making a name for yourself by increasing awareness, establishing trust, and earning respect is essential to breaking through industry white noise. With so many brands and self-proclaimed "experts" in the marketplace, it's tough for consumers to know who to trust, and which products to buy from who. Honestly, can you blame them?
Education about hemp and CBD has become more readily available and easier to understand over the last year or two, but there is still a gap in consumer education. This is why brands take it upon themselves to become true industry experts and trailblazers by developing new products, running trials, and educating consumers based on real experience and expertise. That raises the question, "Ok, we've done all the above, but how do we get our story out there? How do we share our findings with the rest of the world to make an impact?"
Don't let another person tell you 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... There are millions of people that believe what they're doing is enough to intrigue the interest of media and press, but their inboxes remain dry and their phones stay silent. This is why even large companies still hire PR pros like us to pitch stories about them.
Here are five questions to ask yourself when picking a PR firm to connect you with earned media and press opportunities:
1) What does their work look like with other cannabis companies?
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it's always a good idea to vet a company based on their recent work. My team and I are big proponents of completing a task so well that if anyone ever asks you who did that, you're proud to say it was you. This should be a non-negotiable. 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?
Cannabis is a somewhat new industry, and so when people ask me about my background I'm fully transparent about my roots. I began my career in publishing, working with on-fiction business book authors. These authors would consist of consultants, speakers, and coaches (in the realm of leadership, sales, marketing, innovation, and personal growth) who wouldn't necessarily write books with the intention of selling millions of copies. They'd write books with the intention of using them as high-ticket business cards to earn more business.
I bring an element of this into my work in the cannabis space. I'm always thinking about bridging the gap between showcasing how a company is aligned with the fun, light-hearted cannabis culture, yet still maintaining a professional, elegant image of going about its business and servicing its customers. I encourage leaders to approach PR as an attempt of achieving a degree of authority in the industry, as this is something I saw work very well in developing new business in book publishing.
3) Are they trustworthy?
What are their intentions? Is the PR firm you're in talks with one that has a track record of servicing a client and then forgetting about them once their engagement is up? Or do they stay connected to ensure that if any new opportunities that surfaced from the tail end of their campaign still come back to their clients, even if they've already stopped working together for a few weeks.
4) How do I make sense of my investment?
Does the firm you're in talks with suggest ways for you to maximize the coverage they arrange for you? Do they ask you questions about 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? Questions like these will reveal whether the firm you're talking to uses cookie cutter templates, or whether they cater to each client based on their specific needs and unique operations.
5) Will they fit the culture our team has cultivated?
Personally, I have passion for what I do. When I'm in the "PR zone," I realize that I'm in a position of empowering growth in people and companies that have already reached milestones and achieved great things without me. Now they just need someone to help them get the word out. So, to earn someone’s trust and to have them say we want you to come on board and help us spread the word about what we’re doing, and to help us celebrate our success is an honor and a blessing in and of itself. How could you not be fired up and excited to get to know everyone on board? How could you not be excited to be a part of someone's dream-turned-reality?
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.
Email Mike@GreenLaneCommunication.com with any of your PR related questions and to get started on a campaign today.