By Melissa A Vitale
What has hence been called Vape-Gate by industry professionals alike, the recent news stories, hospital cases and CDC warnings drew attention to the same knowledge vape companies have been warning about for years: without regulation, there will be bad players on the market selling garbage that can harm consumers.
Vaping is a discrete way to enjoy cannabis and CBD and has made the plant accessible to those who cannot consume in other ways. Thanks to bad players in the market, consumers are afraid to consume vape products. The recent vaping crisis has not only put consumers off vaping, it's also created mistrust of brands who create vaping products.
Just because there are a few tarnished products floating around on the market, doesn’t mean consumers have to give up their CBD or Cannabis vape pen for good.
Universally, vaping is still a cleaner form of consumption than natural combustion, but without regulation, consumers have to pay extra attention to what they’re buying.
What you should be looking for when buying a vape pen:
Finally, ask questions when you're buying a vape pen. If the person who you're buying from cannot answer your questions, you should not be buying from them.
MAVPR Recommended Brands:
Working with so may brands, it's no surprise that I'm often asked for my recommendation. With my position as a publicist and knowledge of the industry, it's easy for me to discern if a brand is quality or marketing gimmicks
CBD Vapes: TribeTokes, Her Highness
Cannabis Vapes: Binske Live Resin Cartridges, Absolute Xtracts
While I do partner or represent some of the brands above, I only recommend brands whose brand mission, consumer transparency and attention to quality is one that I would trust for myself and my family. I only work with brands I am proud to represent.
Updated July 6, 2020
For CBD & Cannabis brands looking to explore cost effective public relations packages, learn more about MAVPR via: melissaavitale.com/services.html
By Melissa A Vitale
The cannabis and sex-wellness industries are ripe with a number of innovative emerging brands who, because of the hurdles faced by vice-category brands, do not have year-round budget for a PR retainer. Most cannabis and sex wellness brands who seek PR within the first year of formation often are backed by investors either private or VC. Therefore, in my quest to make press accessible to all brands in the vice category space, I am always happy to answer the question “What can I do to boost my PR without a publicist?”
I’ve seen a lot of brands have successful press coverage without a publicist… though, with a limit: publicists spend all day thinking of innovative stories and angles for press based on our knowledge of what the media industry is interested in during any given newscycle. With a publicist, brands maintain consistent coverage (typically included in 2-8 stories a month) where brands without publicists get that traction throughout the year.
Journalists want to feature new brands, especially if they know you’re willing to give them access that they may not get from cold-calling similar brands.
Here are MAVPR’s recommendations of ways to boost your press:
Create a media kit: While I still have clients paying thousands for a stylized media kit, most brands have success with something thrown together on Google Presentation. A media kit just saves a journalist time of having to ask the Who What When. Journalists get 1,000s of pitches a day; anything you can do to make their life easier will go a long way. Have this handy for any conversation with a journalist or editor. This does not need to be available on your website.
You’ll want a 3-6 page PDF that includes:
Create on Press Page on your website:
Your media kit doesn’t need to be on your website because you should have a press page for incoming requests to easily contact.
This should include:
Read & Follow: Stay on top of industry news and when you find an article where you think “Fuck, I could’ve, no should’ve been in this” pay attention to the writer and give them a follow on social. Journalists are always hunting new sources and social media puts your brand directly on their radar. Though, you’ll want to repeat the first steps before this so they know you’re press friendly!
Have a title (and website) ready: Once you've connected with a journalist and have an opportunity to contribute to a story, have a title ready for them that you send over with your responses. Your title should be the name you want known with your brand, your pronouns, a link to your website and a brief description of what your brand is. I also include a link to a drive with brand images in the title. This way, everything the journalist needs to drive traffic back to you is already given with your quotes. If you don't have a website yet, you're going to want one once you start getting press mentions. Site editors are less-likely to link to social media handles because it's so easy to change the name - which results in a dead link for them. Even if it's just a landing page with links to your social media accounts, it will help streamline all your traffic from press mentions.
Donate product to events: Your brand may not have a publicist, but you can partner with brands that do by providing product for events or showcases that you know press will be in attendance. Everyone likes free product, so even without a budget for sponsorship, events are often open to collaboration in exchange for samples at the event.
Get involved with networking groups: There are tons of industry networking groups like WomenGrow and Women In Sex Tech in New York City that press readily tap for industry comment and that have their own press lists for events.
As you can see, there are many of ways to boost your press appeal until you’re ready for a publicist.
For those looking to explore cost effective public relations packages, learn more about MAVPR’s services via: melissaavitale.com/services.html
By Melissa A Vitale
With the legal cannabis market booming, and the entire country focusing their eyes on the dynamic of power and pleasure, vice category brands now more than ever are getting national media attention and growing rapidly. With their expedient growth, many main stream PR firms are eager to take on their marketing budgets, something that years ago, many agencies wouldn't touch.
Publicists, once trained to secure top tier or any level of coverage can work with any brand. I could publicize real estate, luxury hotels, therapists, hospitals networks, politicians, you name it, I can do their public relations. That doesn't necessarily mean I am either passionate nor particularly knowledgable on the subjects to which I publicize.
Finding publicly sex-positive and legal-cannabis advocating publicists is hard. With social attitudes still shifting, it's not always easy for professionals to post pictures of them smoking joints on their page or even share an article from a respected magazine on the female orgasm. Many professional publicists at larger PR firms are not secure enough to share or even explore their passions for pleasure and cannabis.
My foray into sex wellness and legal cannabis was not intentional. I did not start this public relations company with the hope of being the vice category publicist. However, I have always been sex positive, even before I knew the meaning of the word, and since I was in high school I have been consuming the cannabis plant, so when emerging vice category brands approached me for public relations services, it was like a long held dream (working with something I was truly passionate about) fell into my lap. Unlike larger PR firms, I was able to take on risky clients without an older, closed-minded VP suggesting to hike up retainer costs to "mitigate the risk". I've been running this agency specifically for sex positive and legal cannabis brands and I can proudly confirm, there is no company risk. That is just an excuse to charge brands with already limited budget more for the same services.
Most public relations is built on just that: relationships. Strong relationships with media are quintessential in securing repeated top-tier media coverage. If your publicist is not personally vested or devoted to the industries to which your brand functions, then that will show when they're trying to make friends with key people who cover your industry.
Imagine going out to a bar with all your fellow-entrepreneur friends. Your friend who works a 8-4 job walks in and starts talking about the challenges of having a boss, and how they want to be an entrepreneur. Sure it's something you can relate to, but you're constantly hoping they would just shut up and let those who actually understand the struggles of a startup share their experiences. That is how a non-sex positive or non-cannabis consuming publicist sounds when speaking with press that should be covering your brand. They often come off as though they're trying too hard to cultivate something they themselves don't understand.
Those of us who are passionate, well we attract others who are passionate. 90% of today's journalists and editors who cover sex, gender, wellness and cannabis don't do so because they are forced to do so, but rather because they were so wildly passionate about it that their work reflected their devotion with compelling and captivating articles and features. Putting two passionate people in a room together, they could chat for hours. These are often the basis of the strong relationships I build with sex wellness and legal cannabis press.
Now vice category is both officially and unofficially blended. Of all the cannabis journalists I know, the majority of them have some interest in pleasure, kink, or alternative sexual identities even if they don't write about it. For all the sex writers I work with, 95% of them smoke cannabis. They may not be officially blended, but by focusing on both disciplines, I can offer something for every press who is interested in the every popular category of vice.
MAVPR has a number of budget friendly packages for those looking to dip their toe into public relations.
Curious about whether you or your brand are ready for public relations? Schedule a consultation!
To learn more about what we specialize in, please visit: https://www.melissaavitale.com/about.html
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups across plant and intimate wellness