Are You Sabotaging Your PR Efforts? Don't Make These 5 Mistakes.
Classic communications errors cannabis companies often make and how to make them right.
You did it. You accomplished what you set out to do as a pioneer in the cannabis industry. Now, you're looking to share your story with the world.
But having an interesting story is only part of the process of earning media coverage and gaining publicity. You need to package it in a way that is appealing. Over the last few years, I've connected with both sides of the table: the people pitching their stories and the people who receive those pitches. Here are five common mistakes I often see in media outreach campaigns. Avoid these errors if you want to increase your chances of being seen, heard, and taken seriously by those you're trying to reach.
1. Don't add attachments to your emails
A lot of spam filters today will pick up on whether external contacts sending messages to an inbox have attachments, sending them straight to junk mail.
If you have a press release, media advisory, or some other informational document that you'd like to share with someone, share the file with them through a DropBox link in the email and clearly indicate what you're sharing with them via the link and why they might want to check it out.
2. Don't use misleading subject lines
The easiest way to leave a bad taste in someone's mouth is by wasting their time. Click-baiting is a frustrating waste of time (especially when editors, reporters, and journalists receive hundreds of messages per day). If you want to stand out, make subject lines short, sweet, and to the point. Before you hit send, ask yourself, "If I received an email with this subject line would I consider it to be spam or something worth learning more about?"
3. Don't pitch your story to someone who doesn't cover the topic
One of the easiest ways to frustrate someone receiving your pitch is by sending them a topic to cover out of their scope. Sending an investment reporter a pitch about a new ice cream parlor opening up in your hometown will either end up deleted or be flagged as junk quicker than you can take another sip of coffee. Always start by making sure you're pitching a story to someone interested in covering that particular topic. Look at previous articles they've written, topics they've covered, or stories they've run. Remember, it's not about what's in it for you. It's about what's in it for them. Why would they want to cover your story in the first place?
4. Don't send emails out before you proofread them
Have you ever received an email with loads of spelling and grammar errors? Chances are the email was rushed, or the person sending it didn't give it much thought, making you feel like they don't respect your time. Don't make a bad first impression. Out of respect, please double-check your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and show the other person that you respect them and their work.
5. Don't send disorganized emails
One of the most frustrating things is opening up an email that takes 10 minutes to read and another 15 minutes to comprehend and figure out what is trying to be communicated. Keep your pitches short and sweet. Your pitches are intended to whet the other person's appetite. I encourage using bullet points, bolding action items or important bits of information, and writing out a clear call to action if you're looking for them to email you, call you, or send more information back to you. I once had an editor respond to a pitch by saying, "I wish more people could send emails as organized as this. It just makes everything easier." This is one of the reasons I was able to maintain a great rapport with them. Remember, if you'd like someone to help you out, make it easy for them to do so.