Struggling with cbd business marketing and getting your brand noticed? Watch and listen to this interview with Beth Adan where we share how to get press for your company.
Orleatha Smith, Beth Adan
Orleatha Smith 00:05
Hello, everyone, it’s Orleatha again with the CVD business summit. And today I have some amazing information that Beth is going to share with us about getting PR and pitching your business and all kinds of great stuff because I know a lot of us struggle. Even if you’ve been in this industry for a while or you’re brand new and you have a great product, it’s best to get as many eyes on it as possible. And Beth is going to share with us today just how we can do that. So thank you so much for being with us Beth, can you just tell us a little about yourself?
Beth Adan 00:34
Of course. Yeah. Thank you Orleatha. I’m really glad to be here today. So my name is Beth at dawn and I currently work at a public relations firm called Nison CO, and we specialize in the cannabis, CBD, hemp on social responsibility industries, really anything that’s going to, you know, make the world a better place. So I personally have been in public relations and marketing since about 2011 And I live in Washington state, which was one of the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana along with Colorado in 2012. Just really, really exciting to be a part of that. And then when that happened, I actually started my own media outlet which is called Toke Tank, and it’s toketank.org. And it’s a lifestyle publication, where we start conversations about, you know, how marijuana and cannabis and CBD can be part of your life if you’re a professional. I’m really talking about how legalization happens and where it’s happening and just a variety of lifestyle topics. And so on my kind of day job, I work to get PR coverage for our clients, that mainstream and cannabis outlets, places like the Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, Leafy, Forbes. So we have a lot of good relationships with a lot of different media contacts that we work with every day. And then I also on the other side receiving media pitches or my journalistic endeavors, so I kind of am on both sides of the fence there. So I’m really seeing what’s going on. what the trends are with CBD and how cannabis companies and CBD companies can differentiate themselves in the media?
Orleatha Smith 02:05
Well, that’s really cool. I like that you have both perspectives. And I think that that is why you are going to lend a lot to the summit. And I’m excited. So since you get to have both sides, what exactly do journalists look for when they look to feature a company?
Beth Adan 02:21
Yeah, I’m, I’ve noticed that the people I work with and then also just me when I’m receiving pitches, it’s really important to me on to find pitches that have widespread appeal. So instead of just you know, sending over, you know, sort of sales pitch or just an Introduction to your company, it can be really helpful if you can also touch on a trend that’s happening, a need in the marketplace, some education for consumers. That’s something that they really want to see. You know, PR is more about gaining thought leadership and starting conversations with your consumers and reporters than it is about driving sales. So you want to really show how you can contribute to that larger conversation and also for educational advice as the expert that you are in your own company, yeah,
Orleatha Smith 03:05
Yeah because a lot of people think, Oh, I just pitch. I’m just going to tell her about my business and then Yay, we’re going to be on the news. No, that’s sounds like it’s not quite how it works. You did say that. People need to differentiate themselves and How are you different? And how are you being a thought leader? How can people differentiate themselves? I know that, for me, in my industry and in merchant processing, we’re different because we know we are very boutique, and we like to handhold, and we’re woman run, and we’re woman owned, and so we know, okay, we’re a little of a niche over here, but how can someone else figure out how to differentiate themselves?
Beth Adan 03:44
That’s awesome. Yeah, all those things that you mentioned, that really does differentiate CBD companies as well. You know, are you women run? What is your backstory, think about why you started this company and why CBD is important to you and kind of tell your story. Maybe you’ve used CBD to help with pain management, maybe your pet uses CBD or you have a parent. That kind of thing is really personal. And it also helps other people when reading articles see that CBD can help them as well. And, so I just would say, you know, think about what it is about your company that stands out, or what it is about your target consumers that stand out? What makes them different, and how can it kind of stand out from other pitches that you think the journalists might be receiving? Are there other stories about CBD that you’re already seeing in the news?
Orleatha Smith 04:34
So, I know I didn’t give you this question. But how, do you think it’s important? Like, do you think that people should pay someone to write their pitch or should they write their own because I’ve seen some people, people approach us, and they’re like, Oh, we can get you on, you know, get you covered, or get you on this show or get you in this magazine or publication? Do you think that people should hire like a professional writer?
Beth Adan 04:58
Um, that’s a good question. I think that if you feel confident in your writing style, I think you should absolutely, there’s a benefit to hiring someone who manages public relations for you. It’s not just writing the pitch, but also for the relationships that they have. So for example, at Nison Co, we work every day with thousands of journalists who are on different beats, you know, we know their stories, we might have had coffee with them, we might even be friends with them. And so we would be able to communicate with them in a way that they understand because we know them about these clients that we’re currently working with. And then also, we help you to shape your narrative more in a helpful story type way and as opposed to marketing copy, which is pretty different and really salesy. So we want to avoid you know, being spammy or seeming like we’re trying to sell to journalists, which a company can help you do.
Orleatha Smith 05:54
Okay, so that makes total sense because sometimes you’re like, I’ll just hire somebody, and they are a Marketing copywriter. So I’m glad you pointed that out. And because that is just as completely different tone, right? So if someone was to craft their own pitch maybe tell their story, what are maybe the three or five three to five things that they should definitely always have?
Beth Adan 06:17
Yeah, good question. Um, first and foremost, I think that you should decide what you want the journalists to do. What kind of action Do you want them to take? Do you want them to just read your press release? Are you trying to get an interview? Do you want them to read your product, make sure you know what that call to action is. So that when they reply to you, you know how to handle it, and so on, in that you want to make sure your call to action is clear, and at the end of your pitch. So at the end, you can say, you know if you’d like to speak with me further in an interview, here’s how you can contact me, which also leads into contact information and other information in general. So journalists are really busy, and they get thousands of pitches every day. So we want to make them you know, as short and sweet and to the point as we can And they don’t want to have to dig for information. So we you know, write you know, a two sentence kind of elevator like pitch for your company. Make sure that’s in all of your pitches so that they know exactly what you do. link to your website and let them know how they can get a hold of you. Because if they have to look for the information, they will probably lose interest.
Orleatha Smith 07:20
Yeah, nobody wants to have to dig and dig and dig and dig just to get in touch with you. So tell me more about your pitch company. I know that you do PR by day but tell me more about your journalistic company, the one that where people are pitching you.
Beth Adan 07:39
Yeah, definitely. So we’re called Toke Tank. It’s kind of play on the think tank and our tagline is toke think and then talk. And so we really encourage you know, conversation after partaking and enjoying. You know, we don’t encourage anyone to be using marijuana or CBD if that’s not a fit for them, but we definitely want them to at least talk about what they think about It, it really started as kind of trying to prove that you could use cannabis and still be a professional and it’s really morphed into a resource for people who want to learn more about new products, companies, you know what’s going on in Canada, I recently went up to the lift conference in Vancouver, and just got to see you know, how that industry is unfolding and what they can and can’t do, the challenges they’re facing. And as someone from Washington State, we’ve had legalized cannabis for seven years now. So it’s fascinating to see from my perspective, you know, a new framework being laid out because I wasn’t necessarily part of it in 2012. But on that we get a lot of pitches from public relations, people and companies who want us to either review their products or feature their company. And, so I see a lot of you know, generic pitches about CBD and sometimes I wonder, you know, what makes your company different because this looks the same as all the other CBD pitches that I’m getting. So I think that you know, really showing their history talking about their founders, showcasing their customers and how they’re changing their lives. Maybe they have a specific new interesting ingredient. That’s pretty cool. Those are all things that really stood out to me.
Orleatha Smith 09:12
Awesome. And it sounds like to that your Toke Tank is also taking away some stigma around cannabis because of course with the big what was the 70 years of it being prohibited in prohibition? It’s like finally we’re coming around and there but then my parents you know the reefer madness movement that is still in people’s heads. And so it sounds like you’re you’re really working to get that taken away or remove to because we all have to we’re all in this industry to make sure that we do remove the stigma and that it is not a bad thing, you know, judgment around it. So it sounds like you’re you’re doing that as well.
Beth Adan 09:57
Yeah, that was kind of our main goal when starting it. Really to prove that, you know, we weren’t deadbeats, you know where were people with careers, we know where people that volunteer and care about our community and the environment. You know, it really doesn’t have anything to do with our character. It’s just something that makes us happy. So yeah destigmatizing has been huge and also like harm reduction, you know, talking about how to keep it out of the hands of teenagers or proper labeling. I think it’s really important that if we’re going to treat ourselves like a legitimate industry that we follow other legitimate industries and put safety measures in place, and so I think that’s been a major goal for me is destigmatizing proving that there’s not a fault for people that use cannabis and also recently education on CBD since it’s relatively new and really exploding recently.
Orleatha Smith 10:47
Yeah, it’s really blowing up and that’s another reason why I wanted to put this summit together is because there are a lot of people who want to enter the field, but they need to have their ducks in order. It’s not the Same as, Oh, I think I want to go, you know, start a restaurant, it’s not just not the same, there are people who forge the path for restaurants already. But this is like the wild west honestly it is. So it’s so brand new, and everybody is such an up and comer and everybody is learning and growing. So I’m really glad that you put that site together to help people to be able to talk about it to get information to, you know, learn and grow together. So I think that’s really great. And I’m really glad that you did that. And that you’re still doing that. I mean, you got to go to Canada. That’s really cool to check out there. They’re set up here in California, it’s brand new. And so we are having a lot of growing pains here as well. So like I said, I wanted to make sure that people knew exactly, or not exactly at least a starting point. And like I’ve said in some other talks, things change in this industry every single day and it’s like, What might not be true today could be completely true tomorrow, you know, you just never know. Right? So yeah. I’m glad that you have Toke Tank for edit for the educational side, but also to encourage the positive, you know that you’re not a stoner?
Beth Adan 12:20
Thank you. That’s kind of, you know, at its base. That’s really what it is. But you know, it’s grown into so much more. But yeah, I agree with you that, you know, as the industry moves forward, and we don’t have roadmaps to follow, it’s also important not to leave behind the people that really are in its history, people who are marginalized, you know, the communities that are impacted by the war on drugs, people that have been in prison for decades over small amounts of possession. And, so I think that bringing those stories to light is equally important as establishing, you know, legal businesses in the space. And, so I just wanted to mention that, you know, Nison Co, the public relations firm we launched a pro bono program recently for any companies that are working to increase social justice, awareness, you know, prison reform the environment, if you or your company is working toward any of those goals, please apply, and you can contact us and reach out on our website to do that.
Orleatha Smith 13:15
That is awesome. I love it. That is like amazing. I’m so of course, huge on social justice. And I love talking to people who are in that same mindset. And, so I definitely want to make sure that those links will be in this video so that people who are working in those areas have the opportunity to apply for that because that is huge. I think that well in California, they’re trying to have social equity. But the program is flawed, but what program isn’t at least it’s a step in the right direction. So I am really, really applaud that your company is doing that.
Beth Adan 13:54
Great. I’ll make those links here. So you have them.
Orleatha Smith 13:58
Definitely do that. And just one last time, how do people find you? I do want to make sure that they have your contact information if they want to find out more about TokeTank, more about Nison Co more about everything, all this information that you’re sharing, how could they get more?
Beth Adan 14:16
Definitely Yeah, so go to website is ninsonco.com and I’m listed there on our team page, you can get a hold of me that way. Also, our pro bono application is there. And then you can reach me toketank.org. And our email is just firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll reach me that way.
Orleatha Smith 14:39
Perfect. Well, I want to say thank you very much. It was short but it was very good, great information, and I was like, Wow, I didn’t even think of that. So thank you so much for bringing some light to how to get you know some eyes on your product and also how to craft a great pitch because even in any industry, people struggle just they hire a marketing person and it’s salesy, you know, and it’s that’s not what you’re looking for. And that’s really great to know that just tell your story, how to differentiate yourself and how to make sure that the right person gets your story. I love that. So thank you so much for your time today. And I look forward to talking to you even more in the future.
Beth Adan 15:23
Yeah, sounds great. Thank you so much for having me Orleatha. I will keep in touch and anyone listening if you have questions about how to market your CBD business or you want help writing a pitch, feel free to reach out to me I’m always available and happy to bounce ideas around and talk about what you’re doing.
Orleatha Smith 15:37
I love it. Thank you so much.