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
Melissa A Vitale Public Relations
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups in artificial intelligence, sexual wellness and legal cannabis.