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3 Valuable Metrics to Track The Success of a Cannabis PR Campaign

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

by Wilfred Maina Waimiri, Senior Public Relations Account Coordinator at NisonCo

Let’s talk numbers. If you are a cannabis company running a marketing campaign, metrics are critical; they determine whether a campaign — and, in some cases, a company — lives or dies. Measuring the success of most marketing campaigns should be pretty straightforward: if sales increase, the campaign is successful; if sales don’t increase, it is not successful. 

If sales numbers are the most important metric, shouldn’t we measure the success of a PR campaign by the bottom line?


Why ‘Sales’ Is Not a Fitting Metric to Measure PR Success

I’m about to say something very controversial, so bear with me. While sales are important, PR campaigns should not be pursued solely to generate sales. 

A successful PR campaign will generate publicity. It will familiarize people with your brand so that you sell, you are the first company they think of when they need a product or service you sell. It’s a top-of-funnel tactic that guides your potential customers to the next stage of your marketing funnel.


How Do You Measure the Success of a PR Campaign?

Here are the metrics I, and most publicists, use to measure the success of a PR campaign.


1.  The Quality of the Media Coverage

Media coverage quantity is a really simple metric that becomes more complex the longer you consider it. Publicists cannot guarantee that a reporter will cover your campaign, as it is earned media. If you want guaranteed media placement, you’re looking for paid media — advertising and sponsoring, not PR. 

So, how much coverage should a successful PR campaign generate? It’s completely dependent on how established a presence the company, nonprofit or individual represented is.

Let’s look at an example. In May 2021, NisonCo represented NFL Hall of Famer and former Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson during the launch of his cannabis brand Primitiv in Detroit. The campaign generated over 30 articles in both local and national outlets. By all standards, it was very successful. 

Would it be right to expect the launch of another cannabis brand to generate similar results?

Calvin Johnson had several inherent advantages — his name value, a Hall of Fame career and a media environment obsessed with celebrities. Without these factors, a successful brand launch might have looked very different. 

On average, a good campaign push with newsworthy information will likely garner between four and eight articles; if all the stars align, you may get more than 10.


2.  The Quality of News Coverage

What happens if your PR campaign doesn’t generate much coverage? Can one article be enough? It depends on the outlet. 

Some outlets, such as CNN, Forbes, The New York Times, etc., have such immense readership and name-brand recognition that one article there can have the impact of 10 articles in other publications. Accordingly, a PR campaign that secures media in these outlets is an automatic success.

Another way to think about quality is by asking how close an outlet is to your target audience. You are more likely to reach a cannabis culture audience through a magazine like High Times than through CNN simply because High Times has curated itself as the go-to outlet for the cannabis community for decades.


3.  Improved Share of Voice in the Media

Share of voice is a metric that compares the amount of coverage you’re getting to your competitors’ coverage. It’s a critical metric that tells you how comparatively well-positioned you are to your competitors and presents a unique opportunity to learn from their successes. 

You can measure the share of voice in two ways, either by volume or by reach. When considering the volume, compare which brand appears in more outlets. When comparing by reach, consider the total readership of each outlet in which you and your competitors were included. While your competitors could be mentioned in more outlets (have a higher share of voice by volume), your brand may be in front of more eyes (have a higher share of voice by reach).


What is the ROI on PR for Cannabis Companies?

“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” 

This famous Bill Gates quote encapsulates why PR is essential. In a world where our attention is increasingly commodified, advertising is ubiquitous, and consumers are savvier than ever, brands need a way to earn their customers’ trust. 

Marketing is about telling the world how great your brand and products are. Consumers have learned to see past that. 

Public relations enables trusted and vetted third-party media sources to tell the world how great your company is. Consumers continue to love that. 


Visit the NisonCo blog for more helpful tips on cannabis PR and media marketing, or contact NisonCo directly for more information about how we can help your next media push succeed.

Additionally, I write a pithy cannabis newsletter called Wilfred’s World Weekly Weed News — Sign up here and choose ‘News Updates’ to join the readership.



About Wilfred Waimiri: 

Wilfred joined Nisonco in April 2021, and is a senior account coordination publicist on Nisonco’s PR team. He was recently named a 2024 Business Insider Rising Star in PR.

Wilfred has extensive experience guiding educational and marketing initiatives for cannabis companies. Wilfred got his start in cannabis as the lead writer and editor for Every CBD Thing, a website dedicated to educating consumers on everything CBD and cannabis. Through his educational efforts, Wilfred has gotten to interact with and learn from some of the brightest minds in cannabis including Ethan Russo.

Wilfred is constantly working to change attitudes on cannabis in his home country, Kenya.


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