Public relations professional, mom and avid runner Rosie Mattio understands good publicity is a marathon, not a sprint. In the cannabis space, Mattio and her Seattle-based firm realize that nearly a century’s worth of bad PR isn’t going to be erased overnight. But she’s working on it – and things are starting to change.
“My advice is to hire a PR professional or firm that really understand both the cannabis media landscape and the mainstream media landscape, to help build both a local and national presence for the company,” Mattio said, which may seem elementary to some.
But in a market that’s booming fast, getting crowded and competitive, companies that don’t already include PR strategy as part of their business model are not keeping pace.
“Entrepreneurs are starting to realize they need to focus on both local and trade press to establish themselves in their current markets, but also start looking at the larger mainstream media as well,” Mattio advised. “… To build national brands that appeal to mainstream cannabis consumers, or seek investments, or work on brand partnerships – having their product or service featured in mainstream, national media becomes a really important part of the program.”
Working in cannabis, lifestyle, food, tech and startup spaces, Mattio has racked up placements on lots of eyeball-attracting media outlets including the Today Show, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MG Magazine, High Times, Merry Jane, Cannabis Now, DOPE, Time, Bloomberg, Food + Wine, SHAPE, SELF, Women’s Health, InStyle, TIME Magazine, Forbes, and USA Today.
Even two years ago, media interest in cannabis stories was limited by outdated thinking. Now, editors and reporters are interested in cannabis, but especially stories with a catchy pitch.
“Reporters have less interest in writing a straight-up profile, plugging your product or service. They’re looking for data – data that helps illuminate a larger trend,” Mattio explained.
Mattio cited a successful campaign for industry data company Headset, “Their PR goals, like many, were to gain exposure. To some that might mean photos splashed across the cover of a magazine (which by the way I am working on, guys!), but the results of one campaign show – you can gain maximum credibility and exposure for your brand by giving reporters really interesting data.”
Photo by Annabel Clark