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
Opening a business doesn’t come with a definitive how-to guide, and community centers don’t teach courses on “Being the best entrepreneur you can be.” Much of what business owners learn comes from experience, expertise, or reading. Longtime and prospective clients ask me all the time for advice on increasing their visibility on social media, improving their professional presence, and other publicity-related topics. They want to know “What is best for this campaign?” or “How can I present myself better in front of investors?” You could schedule a pricey session with a media consultant to answer these and other questions, or consider buying the five books that I think every business owner needs to read to ensure success.
“Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time”
By Bill McGowan; Buy it on Amazon.
If you can say something memorable in five words, don’t waste your audience’s time expressing that same thought in 15 or 20 words, thereby risking losing people’s attention. Similarly, sometimes you need to distill a complex thought. If you can’t do that already, I recommend learning this essential skill. In today’s connected world, it’s not enough to have a great business. You need to be able to communicate that effectively every day, and “Pitch Perfect” will help you do it.
“Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media”
By Brittany Hennessy ; Buy it on Amazon.
Before I even finished reading this book, I had already recommended it to more than 10 people, because Brittany knows social media, and she shares her knowledge here. This book is the answer when clients ask me what they can do to attract more attention on social media. This book is targeted to influencers, so some sections may not apply to everyone. But in this day and age, succeeding in business requires having a functional social media presence. You don’t always have to hire an expensive agency; sometimes all you need is a copy of “Influencer.” Brittany’s observations, tips, and expertise will help any business owner.
“The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, 5th Edition: The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World's Most Authoritative News Organization”
By Allan M. Siegal & William Connolly; Buy it on Amazon.
Unless you are a professionally trained editor, I suggest keeping a copy of this on the bookshelf by your desk. After purchasing this indispensable manual, first skim it and note your personal problem areas. Go ahead: Mark it up for later, and keep it handy whenever you’re writing an important brief or email. It’s more consistent and reliable than an online search, and it’s what the professionals use.
“How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships”
By Leil Lowndes; Buy it on Amazon.
Sometimes, I read books to help clients more than myself, so when I picked up this book originally, I thought only its later chapters would be useful because the beginning sections looked more like the classic media training I give my clients. Surprise! I was taking notes from Page 1. Every business owner is constantly on a stage: either performing for customers, employees, the media, or auditioning for investors. Even the biggest wallflower will benefit from the book, cultivating the confidence necessary to take on any social or professional event.
“PeopleSmart: Developing Your Interpersonal Intelligence”
By Melvin Silberman & Freda Hansburg; Buy it on Amazon.
No matter how much every business owner tries to avoid them, situations involving socialization and networking arise, times when not only must you put your best foot forward, you need to be able to accurately read every person with whom you are interacting. Entailing science and research, this book also includes a workbook format to reinforce everything you just read, preventing the knowledge from going in one ear and out the other. PeopleSmart is essential for business owners looking to step up their networking game.
These books will present you with essential tools to face many the challenges that come your way as a business owner or entrepreneur. Enjoy your reading my fellow hustlers. If you've read any of these books, let us know in the comments if you agree with our suggestions!
If you are a small-business owner looking to explore public relations services, please get in touch with us
New PR service tailored for enterprising professionals
Melissa A Vitale Public Relations, a boutique firm for disruptive startups and small businesses, is pleased to announce its latest service: the Executive PR Package. Designed for entrepreneurs and enterprising professionals who want to boost their media exposure through commentary and feature articles, the Executive PR Package brings all the prestige and recognition of working with a public relations agency, but without the expensive agency price tag.
“Since starting the agency, I’ve been approached by executives and professionals who were ready to present their individual brand to the media,” says MAVPR founder Melissa A. Vitale, “but they weren’t looking for the full-service costs and time commitment of working with an agency.”
The new service boasts staples of MAVPR’s signature media campaigns, including industry thought leadership, executive visibility opportunities, storytelling and top-tier media relations services customized for individuals looking to accelerate their media presence and expert voice.
Ideal candidates for the Executive PR package include:
After a detailed proposal process that aligns goals, messaging, and audience, MAVPR works in quarterly engagements to establish and expand brand voice in lifestyle, business, and cultural thought pieces, executive profiles, and industry roundups.
Executive PR packages begin at $2K per month; prices vary based on industry, goals, and overall press appeal.
Started in early 2017 as a solution to inefficient media relations, Melissa A Vitale PR has grown from a single sniper publicist to a team of empowered boss-babes known for their on-message, viral, and feature placements. Spearheading the team, Melissa A. Vitale offers a brand of no-nonsense PR that focuses on the art of relationship building, storytelling, and strategic media planning. Melissa's strategy has resulted in consecutive cover stories and cross-industry recognition, along with feature print, online, and broadcast coverage and placements, in some of the most recognizable media outlets.
To learn more about rates and to book an intro call or consultation, please visit: https://www.melissaavitale.com/services.html
Melissa A Vitale Public Relations
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups in artificial intelligence, sexual wellness and legal cannabis.