Achieving cannabis PR success is possible -Now is a great time to take stock to define what success looks like.
With the hectic tradeshow season behind us for the year, you’re probably sitting down to do some planning for next year (finally!) If you’re like many cannabis brands, you’re taking a look at your current cannabis PR firm or evaluating a few for your upcoming initiatives.
Public relations is increasingly important for cannabis companies and there’s nothing like a new year to give your brand and company a fresh image.
Cannabis PR firms are here to be your partners in success. As you start pulling levers for cannabis world domination next year, lean on your cannabis PR firm so that together you’re on the same page about how you mutually define success. Here are 3 tips for working with a cannabis pr firm or formulating your in-house pr plan.
1.Determine Your Measurable Cannabis PR Goals
PR success comes when there’s absolute clarity about goals. Your cannabis PR goals should match your business goals; make sure your cannabis PR firm knows how you’re REALLY defining success. Don’t hide your perspective from your PR firm and expect that the results you want will magically appear. Make sure your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR goals align and support your activations, product launches, and partnerships.
PR and marketing goals and KPIs should be:
The two most important considerations when defining your goals is ensuring that they are measurable and ambitious enough to be significant, but attainable with your budgets and efforts.
Measuring your PR and marketing efforts should include a baseline so you can track improvement. If you don’t have a baseline, you may need to evaluate how you will measure success and it may require something like an industry average or an industry survey. At Primo PR, we include a number of KPIs during our monthly reviews, these KPIs are tracked the same way every month, so over time, we can really pinpoint what works and what doesn’t for each brand. We’re completely transparent with our clients about how we came to those KPIs and why they’re important for us to track internally for cannabis PR success.
Attainability is an important KPI. If you’re shooting for the stars, make sure all your assets are in place to support that goal. Assets also include time and brainpower.
There should be KPIs for marketing and KPIs for PR that have cross-over. For example, new website visitors, inbound links to your website, both of those metrics will be impacted by both PR and marketing initiatives. There may be industry lists you monitor that requires cannabis marketing and cannabis PR collaboration. Sometimes we hear people say that they don’t want to give PR and Marketing joint KPIs because they feel it reduces responsibility, but when your KPIs are aligned with your overall business goals that encourages your PR firm and marketing agency to work together to accomplish the company’s mission-ultimately it’s not about pitting one set of KPIs against one another, it’s about achieving success and measuring respective impact.
2. Define Your Target Audiences
As a cannabis PR firm who works with highly ambitious brands, we often hear goals like “We want to be featured in XYZ publication.”
When a single piece of press helps secure millions of dollars in funding, throwing all your efforts at securing that press is worth almost any PR and activations fees. That’s a great goal, so consider who your ultimate audience really is for any given publication so you can set yourself up for cannabis PR success. Many times, cannabis PR success is defined by share of voice within a specific audience.
Your audiences may be in the B2B cannabis space, they may be cannabis consumers, they may be cannabis investors or partners. Be clear on who your trying to reach with each KPI and objectives-share your objectives with your PR firm, so they’re clear on where you REALLY want to be.
Sometimes earning national press even when you’re only in a few cannabis markets is strategic as the audience is potential investors or industry partners who like knowing that the brands they’re partnering with have enough clout to secure national coverage. Alternatively, you may want to show that your brand is well received by multiple consumer types, in which case you may wish to have press in particular interest verticals.
3. Plan and Budget Your Activities
Even in cannabis, PR is an incredibly broad level to pull. Within your budget, you should be allocating events, sponsorships, social media, media relations, and asset/owned media development.
Chances are, in order to reach your cannabis pr and cannabis marketing goals, you’ll need to execute on some initiatives.
And, you’ll need a corresponding budget for these activities. A good cannabis marketing and cannabis pr firm can help you allocate your budget to match your objectives.
At the very least they can tell you how to best allocate an over-all budget or at least inform you of best practices and first steps. A great example of this is events – events can be held for all sorts of objectives, from customer appreciation to media awareness. While both of those objectives MIGHT turn into earned media, it’s important you consider what it will take to earn press coverage on an event, before you spend the money on an event. Sponsorships are another area where the activation is an important marketing objective, but PR may be able to help you define some ways to use your sponsorship in a way that improves your industry image or earns you media coverage.