Every entrepreneur wants to see their face and brand in big-name, mainstream media publications like Forbes, Reuters and Yahoo! Finance—and Grasslands has made that happen. But when it comes to cannabis, and especially B2B cannabis messaging, the more prudent and effective strategy is often to pitch trade publications that keep the cannabis news cycle churning.
So which types of publications should you target through your cannabis public relations outreach? It requires a lot of research and expertise to strategize where to send your PR pitches. Let’s try and get to the bottom of it.
Is There a Place for Cannabis PR in Mainstream Media?
The short answer is: Absolutely. Most people don’t get their cannabis news and education from trade publications. Rather, they glean the latest from the type of outlets they regularly visit to learn about other topics and current events, too. Therein lies the rub—mainstream media may have a mighty reach, but they also have to cover a wide gamut of topics from finance to politics to sports.
The good news for legal weed brands is that the media is hungrier than ever for cannabis stories. The bad news is that they simply often don’t have the bandwidth or background for it. It was only a decade ago that The Denver Post appointed Ricardo Baca as the first-ever cannabis editor for a mainstream newspaper. Today, journalists who cover cannabis not only have a huge, diverse industry to cover as it evolves at a rapid pace, they have decades of misinformation and stigma to sift through, too.
Can Cannabis Trade Publications Boost Brand Awareness?
Another short answer for you, and the same one: Absolutely. The cannabis media ecosystem is large, well-read and professionalizing every day. Our shared goal as your public relations partner is to share great stories about your brand, while establishing you as a thought leader in both the cannabis industry and your areas of expertise as far as it extends outside of the sector.
Part of the reason earned media is such valuable currency is because it has a level of legitimacy owned and paid media just can’t match. To earn a place in cannabis trade publications is a different challenge that crafting winning mainstream pitches. Winning the attention of a highly educated audience that’s extremely up to date on all things cannabis is no small feat.
Earned Media and Backlinks
Not only is it good business for people inside of your own industry to recognize your brand and hear your voice, but it’s also great SEO. Earned media is a great way to get mention in publications that Google’s crawlers have officially determined are legitimate news organizations. If you can get backlinks from respected authorities in your field thanks to an article or thought leadership column, it can provide a measurable boost to your brand’s domain authority.
So much the better if the readers who follow that backlink to your website are strong leads. A mainstream media audience is as likely to include cannabis-curious news junkies drawn in by a well-crafted headline as industry executives ready to sign a contract—if not more so. That might be just what a B2C MSO is hoping for. Trade publications, however, are more likely to be read by the kind of stakeholders a B2B operation is counting on.
Cannabis Trade Publications Take the Conversation Deeper
It’s undeniable that mainstream media has a level of reach that trade pubs could only dream of. To some businesses and leaders, a two-minute clip on CNN or a short feature in Forbes feels like it's worth a dozen positive articles in MJBiz Daily, Benzinga and MG Magazine. Whether it actually is worth more depends entirely, however, on the brand's PR strategy and the goals it serves.
After all, what may qualify as earth-shattering news inside the industry might not raise an eyebrow in mainstream media. An exciting cannabis networking event or industry conference might not be relevant to a large enough share of a mainstream media outlet's audience. Or a huge development in, say, extraction technology might just be too niche to compete with the brutal, fraught and stress-inducing 24-hour news cycle.
On the other hand, techniques like newsjacking can be used to inject cannabis brands into national media conversations. In the process, mainstream editors and reporters get a crash-course education into how germane cannabis has become to a wide variety of topics. These days, PR for a single cannabis brand can be PR for the whole cannabis industry.
How Does A PR Firm Decide Where To Send A Pitch?
As you can see, the question of where to pitch cannabis stories is a highly strategic one that depends on a lot of variables. At Grasslands, we have our clients’ needs and desires front of mind—so we’re always strategizing. Tried and true techniques such as social listening, for example, provide invaluable insights into consumer sentiment around certain topics and brands. At Grasslands, staying on top of what’s happening in the news and on social media helps us figure out where you’ll best fit in the current news cycle.
But as a journalism-minded agency, we also understand how journalists think and what they’re looking for. The key to any pitch always comes down to newsworthiness. Generally speaking and across journalistic disciplines, there are several characteristics that make a story newsworthy. Novelty, timeliness, proximity, prominence and conflict (to name a few).
So it’s on us, as journalism-minded PR professionals, to strategize and determine where we think your story or voice will best land. Are you a cannatech company with a game-changing point-of-sale system that will offer value across industries? That might just be the type of novelty a mainstream techy publication like Wired or TechCrunch could bite on. It could also be just as valuable a piece in Cannabis and Tech
Cannabis PR Strategy and Trade Publications
Are you an infused-products brand that just dropped a new line of fast-acting beverages in Oklahoma? That likely deserves a pitch to Tulsa World or the Oklahoman (proximity). But let’s be real: Local newsrooms are stretched thin (where they haven’t vanished entirely). Your brand’s pitch might better be folded into a trend story that will allow you to be a strong voice in a bigger-picture article that we pitch to a trade magazine like MG Mag or Green Entrepreneur.
Bottom line is: The type of reporter whose inbox we hit depends greatly on what we have to offer them. And we’re committed to working with you on telling compelling stories with as wide of an appeal as possible.
A note on local media: While The New York Times or Forbes might be where you want to be seen, it’s perhaps even more important to be recognized as a reliable and responsible member of your local community (both business and service). We’re always keeping local business journals and dailies in mind when it comes to telling your story—part of being a Journalism Minded Agency™ is forging a deep roster of media relationships.
The Best Cannabis and Psychedelics Trade Publications for PR Pitches
So which trade publications are the best fit for cannabis brands with a story to tell? “Best fit” will always come down to the particulars of a given brand’s PR strategy. Generally speaking, though, these are some of the more influential cannabis-focused trade publications we keep a close eye on:
Cannabis Trade Publications
Psychedelics Trade Publications
Be a stronger brand with brilliant quotes and unbeatable media savvy today—let’s chat!