Here at Ingrid, we work with the press…a lot. As one of the leading cannabis marketing and PR firms in San Francisco, we get a lot of questions from our clients on how to best work with the media. Below are the top things to know before engaging with the press.
- Do research — know your reporter. Did you know that the average reporter gets anywhere from 300 to 500 emails a day? They often have to cover a wide variety of beats, or markets. Before you pick up the phone or send that email, do some research. Read their past articles, look on LinkedIn or Google and find their bio.
- Be relevant. If you are reaching out to reporters, your pitch should answer two things: why now, and would this publication’s readers care? It’s important to know your audience in order to increase your chances of getting coverage.
- Don’t waste their time. If a reporter comes back to you and requests information or offers a meeting time, respond promptly. Like we said, they get a ton of emails and right now, you are top of mind. So answer their questions quickly and succinctly and, if you tell them you are going to send them information, do it immediately.
- Nothing is off the record. And we mean nothing! 99.8% of the journalists in the cannabis industry are truly lovely. However, it’s their job to get a story. If you start talking about a new product before it’s ready to be announced, or sharing those investor numbers, this information can become part of the story, regardless of your intention.
- No news is bad news. By now you should be getting the idea that the media are busy! When you are pitching the media, you need to live by the rule of three. First, send them an email and wait 2-3 days to give them time to read it. Second, if you don’t receive a response, you can call them and leave a very detailed but short voice message. Finally, after waiting a few more days or more (perhaps one to two weeks) you can send one more follow-up email. If they don’t respond, assume the answer is no.
While the interests and style of journalists vary widely, these guidelines will increase your chances of getting coverage and, more importantly, help you build strong media relationships.
Erin Lumley is a partner at Ingrid Marketing, with more than 20 years of PR experience. Her team recently won an Hermes Platinum Award. You can reach Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org