Community Service As A Cannabis Public Relations Tool

When a new business invests in and implements a well thought out and sustained PR effort, the upside or ROI can incredibly valuable.

But how do cannabusiness owners who are unable to engage in traditional public relations outreach such as sending samples of their product to various influencers, use PR to their advantage?

Community service and social media outreach.

Doing well by doing good is a powerful business concept.

It’s really that simple.

In Portland Oregon the press no longer cares about a new dispensary opening.  There are literally hundreds within the city limits with more and more opening every day.  The days of having the news out front for your grand opening party are over.

So how does a dispensary owner create something newsworthy that will make journalists excited?

Community service.

Due to legal ramifications you simply cannot send a press kit with a gram of flowers, an edible or a sample of your topical salve to your local journalist or blogger to review without verified proof that they have a valid medical card.

However, with some creative thinking, social media savvy and the desire to create goodwill within your community, you can certainly create a buzz about your product or service.

Remember, social media is your personal public relations tool.  You no longer need to solely rely on public relations professionals and journalists to get the word out.  However, if your social media accounts are only focusing on promotion, promotion, promotion you will create an environment where your audience is deaf to your message and journalists are bored by your pitch.

Here are a few ways different companies within the cannabis industry can create a buzz:

Dispensaries

The dispensary that offers educational events, free medicine for underserved patients, financial assistance for those needing a medical card or community outreach such as food drives, cancer support groups and wheelchair repair has a much better shot of landing an interview with a local news outlet.

Of course the key to any public relations and social media campaign is letting the community, key influencers and local journalists know about the good work you are doing.

 Garden Supply Store

Although a grow store is not restricted in the ways that dispensaries, growers and processors are it never hurts to have a community focused public relations campaign as a marketing strategy.

A garden supply store could dedicate a patch of outdoor or indoor garden to growing food for homeless or underserved portions of their community.

Again, make sure you are sharing this good work across your social media channels and always ask the press if they’d like to come see the work you are doing.  A party for the surrounding community where you give away free produce could be the exact pitch your local journalist is looking for.

Topical Salve Company

Instead of hoping that people will learn about your product from their favorite budtender, invite local cardholders to your neighborhood dispensary and give away free product (not just samples) to people dealing with chronic pain.  Then ask those people to go onto their social media accounts and give you a testimonial.

Of course, letting the press know that you’re offering pain relief to the community is never a bad idea.

Growers & Processors

Growers and processors have an even greater opportunity to create a buzz through community service because they are growing and processing actual medicine.  There are many sick and disenfranchised people throughout every community and the cost of medical cards and medical marijuana can be too expensive for some patients.

Growers and processors can create a newsworthy story by sponsoring a patient and helping him or her with the costs associated to obtain a card.  Likewise helping existing cardholders offset some medical costs by simply giving them the medicine they need is another way to do well by doing good.

There are many ways cannabusiness owners can generate press through a community relations campaign.  All it takes is a genuine desire to help people, a little creativity and the willingness to reach out to influencers and journalists through social media and the good old-fashioned telephone.