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