Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 40: Winning PR Strategies For Cannabis Brands

Episode Description

Lisa Buffo, Founder, and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association sat down with Shawna Seldon McGregor, Founder & CEO at Maverick Public Relations, to discuss Winning PR Strategies For Cannabis Brands.

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Lisa Buffo  00:12

Hi everyone, welcome to party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to cannabis marketing, public relations and authentic storytelling. I’m your host Lisa buffo, founder and CEO of cannabis Marketing Association. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram @libuff and Twitter @libuff21. Send me a message I’d love to hear from you. party like a marketer, guests are CMA members. Enjoy free access to our twice a month workshops and online educational series. Get cannabis marketing resources on our online member portal and ask questions and connect with your peers in the CMA slack. You’ll also get exclusive cannabis marketing content directly to your inbox. Join today at the Cannabis marketing Today’s conversation features Shawna Seldon McGregor, the founder and CEO of maverick public relations, Shawna established Maverick PR in 2018. After two decades of building communications agencies in New York City and Denver, Shawna has deep experience representing a multitude of sectors, including biotech, agribusiness, sustainable technologies, renewable energy associations, the cannabis industry and media companies. Shawna is a member of the crisis ready Institute, a Newsweek expert forum NIRI, NCIA cannabis doing good in the cannabis Marketing Association. She’s also a member of PRSA, where she serves on the Colorado chapters dei committee and has earned a certificate in reputation management. She also received a certificate in crisis communications and was named a top PR pro by Green Market Report. MG magazine civilized and cannabis industry journal shawna thank you so much for joining us today.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  01:59

Lisa, thank you. It’s an honor to be on the show and to be asked. Thanks for having me.

Lisa Buffo  02:04

Yes. So you have been deep in cannabis PR in the industry. And I’ve known you through the Colorado community for quite some time. Now. Can you tell the audience a little bit about your career, how you got started in PR your background, and as well as how you got started in cannabis and what that path has been for you?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  02:25

Yeah, so I have just long story way shorter. I have always wanted to be a publicist. Since day one, I started my career in 1998, in New York City, at a at an agency and a really big, you know, top five agency and I was doing PR for health care. And I knew I wanted to I felt kind of like a cog in a wheel and wanted to be more the wheel in the car. And so I moved to a boutique agency in New York City. And I was there for almost 20 years. And in that timeframe. I happened to meet a guy who wanted to move back to where he was from, which happened to be Denver, Colorado, and we happen to land in Denver, Colorado in June of 2012. I am sadly, and admittedly a political junkie. So we immediately went to register to vote. And when we saw the ballot measure amendment, for I was pretty sure I had died and gone to heaven. Because when I lived in New York City, we were you know, we had our guy and you know, all of that. And I’ve been consuming cannabis since before I should admit, I’ve been a big fan. But I’m a nerd. I worked. I kind of my background was doing PR for media companies, which is a very interesting place to be. So the timings and the you know, the merits of the world and getting our editors on to those morning shows or authors on to, you know, the nightly news and stuff like that. So had a lot of experience on not only what editors were looking for, but also what the producers wanted as well. And so was, you know, here just thought it was cool that I had no idea how far the West had progressed in. In cannabis, legal regulate regulation and legalization. And by 2014 I had my partner in crime I guess that’s probably not the best way to phrase it. But what but just someone who I am I had been working with Stan Wagner. I had been working with him in the sustain In a bull construction AEC space kind of leaned over to me and say, you know, what do you think about cannabis and, and he needed help with some events he was putting on, and I jumped right in. And this was 20, March of 2014. And in Denver, Colorado, and so many business owners had put their blood sweat and tears into their businesses, but they were afraid to be like the tall poppy and the minute, you know, we kind of asked them, you know, said, Let’s educate these public’s through these channels of the media in a way, you know, if you’re, if you are a company that is compliant, transparent, you have nothing to hide, the state has approved it, let’s start educating the the media and they were in, you know, it was, they were very, the press really wanted to be educated on what was going on. So that was a lot of fun. And it kind of spiraled or skyrocketed. From there. And in 2018, I always knew I wanted to do my own thing kind of my own way. And so I launched Maverick public relations and 2018. And here we are.

Lisa Buffo  06:29

Nice, so that means you were 2014 was when you had first started, as far as doing PR in cannabis in Colorado. So that was the first year of adult use. And really the, I remember that I was there as well, there was lots of eyes on Colorado, and Washington and Oregon at the time, locally, nationally, internationally, because every one I did wanted to see, you know how this was going to work and how it was going to play out. So you must have had a really good view on that just even within the small Denver community.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  07:03

Yes, definitely. In terms of, well, the whole thing is, is it was one of those unique moments of time with, you know, that every publicist dreams about Well, I mean, that’s our job, right. Like, we need to be part of the news. And like, if we could take a step back, you know, public relations and communication, communications and earned media falls under the marketing umbrella, and they’re very discreet and different pillars under marketing. And what I do is very discreet, it’s very specific, it is not paid media, I don’t do paid media plans, and I don’t do a lot of the, you know, marketing tech stuff that that you you know that the rest of the marketers do, is it in a very interesting and defined place of, of communications and earned media, which is looking for the news, and helping clients who may not fully grasp that every journalist is, you know, not out to get the job, but do the 60 Minute, you know how to Java diversity, and also bring the journalists and the client together. So I want to be able to help my, my clients understand that journalists aren’t anyone to anything to be afraid of. And they often have this fear that they’re going to be in an expose a are exposed. So helping them understand the press and helping the press get access to them is what my job is.

Lisa Buffo  08:49

That makes sense. And I really like what you said about being afraid of being the tall poppy because I think that is something that is true for a lot of businesses, definitely then and I still think today where they think oh, if I’m too, out there to public, I’m putting a target on my back in some ways. And there’s a lot of different angles, you can look at that. But earn media is a really powerful way. We saw a cannabis Marketing Association, we talked about compliance and regulations all the time. And one of the very cool things about earned media is that’s all free speech, right? You can you can speak with journalists. And that gives brands a level of credibility with the public. And it does serve a very important role because it informs that discourse. So that being said, we talk a lot about the toolkit using the tools that you’ve got, whether you’re a small business or a large business, there are different tools you can use to help your marketing and communications presence can can you speak a little bit to the PR earn media arm of that toolkit and And the value in it like, I know, that sounds so obvious, but like the publicist, in the value in it, and just bridging that gap for our audience.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  10:13

Absolutely. Because it seems obvious to me and you and I do this all the time, I’m like, what you can’t read my mind. But it really is something that a small to mid sized company may not fully comprehend. And like, the biggest challenge that I have had, from the beginning of my career until now, and until the end of my career, is it with business owners, helping them understand, again, the discrete difference between marketing and the what falls under it paid media and earned media. And so with earned media, you with paid media, you control everything soup to nuts, right? Like you control what it looks like, what the color of the ad is, what the message says even so much today to help with the disruption of the press and of journalism, even, you know, the sponsored content pieces, and you have complete control of, but if you want true earned media thought leadership, you can you have to come in with service, it’s all about providing service, or education around something that’s happening. So whether it is you know, top tips for small businesses and PR, you know, often, you know, top tips for small businesses to, you know, leverage public relations, or it is, you know, the city council had a resolution yesterday to, you know, be against something or another about cannabis, you know, you have to be able to get into that new cycle, it is not a controlled message, it is a service message. Yeah. So, yeah, so, like, you know, so for those folks out there, that are the, you know, the directors of marketing, or, you know, the directors of communication at their company, when a press person calls, like, you know, you’ll you’ll have your stakeholders list in whatever, you know, way that you have it you have, you know, your internal stakeholders, you have your staff, and you have, you know, maybe you have an investor stakeholder piece, but you also need to have this channel, this, this journalist, stakeholders list, and when press reaches out to you, you know, treat them as you would any person and, and ask them what they need, what kind of deadline? How can you help, and, you know, answer their questions transparently and honestly, and keep, keep a record of that, because educating these folks and taking them on a tour of your facility, or, you know, giving them a tour of your dispensary will help them understand the industry, it’s not scary, it’s, you know, very similar to a liquor store or something like that. And then when they have questions, they can come back to you as an industry voice. And you can tell that side because right now, we are, it’s October. Well, and we are less than a month away from midterms. And, you know, if if you only just let so my head is always on, you know, the opposition, what is the opposition saying, and if you just let the opposition tell your story, then you lose. So I’m always whenever a client is like, why do we want to get into this? And I have to push back. I always say if you do not tell your story, you’re letting someone else tell your story. So how do we tell your story for you?

Lisa Buffo  14:04

I love that because we I always say that good marketing is good storytelling. And it’s not necessarily about the flashiest ad are the best brand book and colors. It’s the way you tell your story, which is often a multi channel strategy, whether it’s your own website, your social media, earned media, paid ads, all of that adds up to your story. But earned media is the place where I think a lot of trust can be built. Because you inherently, the journalist is telling the story based on what you told them. So if you’re able to communicate with them and educate in a way and they’re able to write about it, it’s going to inform that story as far as what you’re saying, but also what’s the bigger picture and what’s the narrative around the industry or you know, the upcoming election or whatever is coming up. So it is important to have Have those voices at the table, particularly of your clients and cannabis businesses, and those experts who have been doing this and can speak to it from a really unique point of view. So I love that angle of telling it, that viewing it as your story to tell. And, and just framing it that way. It’s not necessarily like a place that’s scary. It’s, you do get to control what you say to them. The rest of the story, you know, is on them. But it is important to be able to get your voice out there, and it can prove, I want to add a note about how it does factor into a like a multi channel marketing strategy. We talk about SEO a lot on the podcast and search. And when you’ve got links to valuable, credible resources published online, so you get in Forbes or the Denver Business Journal, Google values that as they see it as valuable, and it can boost your search engine rankings just for your website. So there is this like thread with PR and earned media where you get to tell your story. It’s that tool in the toolkit, but it also can kind of factor into bringing eyeballs in visibility, and that top of funnel credibility and awareness to your website and your brand in a way that a paid ad doesn’t translate as much because they people see that and they know that’s coming from you.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  16:24

Heck, yeah, I am. And I’m the whole SEO conversation. I am not an expert. But I have a lot of questions. Because I see all of these, you know, this is definitely a topic for another, I’m just going to plant a little seed here. But you know, I see all of these companies selling sponsored content, and they’re writing garbage, and it’s in links that they won’t see. But they’re selling these backlink authority stuff. And I kind of think it’s garbage. Because, you know, I, you know, my clients will draft a thoughtful non AI, you know, coming from a human column that can go into any of before said, outlets and truly be meaningful and actually see eyeballs. And so there’s like, a little bit of a, you know, there’s a little bit of a question mark there, but I have seen it work with SEO, when you tell your story, truthfully, and transparently and with integrity. But I want to just also state that even before the story, like let’s, you know, let’s let, let’s be honest here, you need a good product that works. Yes, you know, it all starts, like you’d like you said, you caught my ear with this, and I just have to put a point on it, you can have the most beautiful packaging, and the most beautiful Brand Book like gorgeous, polished, whatever. And if I’m consuming your product and it doesn’t work, then I’m never gonna buy it again. And believe me consume a lot of cannabis. And I’ve tried a lot of products. And there are beautiful ones that I gravitate to and try once and never again. So start with a good product, good authenticity, good values, your heart and your soul and your soul. And you’ll win the hearts and souls and of others to so by telling and sharing your story.

Lisa Buffo  18:28

That is correct. And thank you for emphasizing that because it’s not, um, you can’t leverage PR, or really any of these marketing tools as like, what’s the phrase, putting lipstick on a pig, like, it doesn’t work like that it does have to be very clear and valuable. And then you use these things to take you to the next level, but they’re definitely got to have that base foundation of a good business good product that consumers want. And then these things can take take you up?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  18:57

Well, let me be clear, before we move on from that point, absolutely. And I will not work with a questionable company, like a company that has a questionable product, or something like that, you know, part of what we talked about is providing tips maybe to the next generation or to some some of the, you know, folks that are kind of coming up in this industry. And, you know, I always think back to my professor or PR professor when I one day one, you know class and, and he said you always have to be ready to walk away. And this, you know, Communications and Public Relations. Again, I can’t stress it enough. It’s authenticity, transparency and honesty. And if the client cannot provide those things, then I cannot be a part of it. It’s as simple as that.

Lisa Buffo  19:52

Yeah, that makes sense because it’s your reputation on the line as well.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  19:57

Yeah, also just to put a point on PR, this is not something I cannot buy, I cannot pay you for this time, like I cannot, you know, pay a reporter from what whatever organization for their time, they respect me because they know that I’m going to do the best I can to get them the very best best voices that are going to be honest and truthful, and tell them everything that they can. So that is my job, that is my North Star. And that is what I do, I don’t try to be everything for everyone. I try to be a storyteller and try to be an educator.

Lisa Buffo  20:39

That makes sense. So I want to talk about those top tips for businesses. So for those who may be early considering hiring a publicist, or maybe starting to do it on their own, what are some of your first tips and steps that you say you would give to business owners?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  21:00

Yeah, so some of these tips may be things that they have already done, but let’s just start at the top right, you know, determine your target audience is, you know, and in your target channels, so, you know, understanding who you want to reach. And then if you are, again, sort of doing this, in house, you’re going to want to start to have a press list, and you’re going to want to look and see who is telling the stories of your competitive set, and make sure that they know about you introduce yourself, invite them to a tour, you know, that sort of thing. You know, and be you know, and be responsive to them. Because, you know, if they reach out to you and want comment on his story, understand, you know, one of the first questions I tried to drill into myself and everyone else is ask them what their deadline is and meet their deadline. So, you know, just keeping a record of the journalists that are reporting on your sector on your space on your competitive sets, and making sure that they and having regular touch points with them and communications that is meaningful, like so. But if you have an issue that or a statement or a response to something that is happening, either, you know, politically or business wise, or whatever the case might be, share that with the with the reporters that you have been, you know, tracking and start that relationship and just be responsive to them. Those would be if if you know, if you want those would be my start building blocks on a bigger program.

Lisa Buffo  22:49

Yeah, and I think a lot of folks, so when when I first started CMA, we did all of our own PR, and even my own like before I started this and was working in marketing for other companies. Same same thing. So for a lot of folks with small teams. One tip I want to add in there is like you can reach out first to and let let them know who you are like follow those journalists on Twitter, start a Twitter list. It’s a cannabis journalists. And then and listen. And if they are writing something that’s really awesome, or is right in your wheelhouse, you can reach out and say, hey, you know, Shona journalist for the boulder, daily camera, thank you so much for writing about cannabis in my community, I really appreciate it. If you need, you know, Insite next time you write about it, don’t hesitate to reach out, here’s my contact information. So I think entrepreneurs and marketers can, it’s a two way thing and they can be proactive about it as well. And then that way, they’re putting themselves out there so that when these opportunities come up, or a ballot measure, you know, is put up, they say, reporters will also have you on their lists. So there’s there so it works both ways in this in that sense, where you’re building a relationship just like you would any other professional relationship, and it involves respecting their time respecting, you know, the job that they’re doing and trying to meet them at least halfway if not more, as far as being able to deliver that service and value so that down the line, you are their go to resource or they can call you and know like, Okay, if I call Lisa, she’s gonna she’ll know what to say about cannabis marketing. And it’s a it’s a long term strategy that starts with these small building blocks.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  24:36

So I do want yeah, I definitely put a point on follow them on like Twitter is the only reason I’m still on Twitter is because journalists are and you can see what they’re thinking what they’re reporting how what they are asking about. So you know, Twitter, I follow as many journalists as I can on Twitter, linking in with them and that sort of thing. And then also, you know, if you care about journalism, subscribe to these outlets, Gosh, darn it, like some of them are not really, you know, like, make a commitment. I’m subscribed to every, like, every outlet, I pitch, I subscribe and I get it digitally or a ton of print stuff, subscribe to journalism, please, you know folks like, you know, subscribe to the outlets you care about whether it’s you know, I’m in Denver, so whether it’s the Denver Business Journal or you know Denver Post or its, or its Bloomberg or its Business Insider, like, you know, Subscribe and follow them on social.

Lisa Buffo  25:47

That’s a good point. That’s a very good point. So on my Yeah, I subscribe I love the New York Times like being able to see that and stay up to date with not just what’s going on in your sector, your industry, but also what’s the what is it in context to the broader narrative of what’s happening in our world and current events or whatever that, you know, like, whatever their wheelhouse is specifically can be really helpful to you as a business owner, as well to be able to take in that information and follow trends and what’s going on from reputable reporters who are doing their job and not just delivering you paid content that you see in some other publications. So that is definitely a really good point. What is one thing that when you start working with clients that you feel like you either wish they knew, or you spend time educating them on when it comes to PR and earned media, like if you had a piece of advice for business owners, or entrepreneurs who are getting started in this space, like, what would that be?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  26:50

We kind of touched on it, but it cannot be repeated enough. PR is not advertising your mat. So your paid media message is completely different from your PR and your earned media message. And that is the number one education and the thing that I have to explain the most. Also lead time, I mean, I always want to start a relationship with with the rubber hitting the road, and I want to be getting lots of awesome hits for my clients. But the bigger ones than the bigger outlets that might have, you know, might be building off of a trend story or something, it could take time. So I can start on on month one, day one, and I can you know, start pitching and I can start to build some of the you know, some of the education and the coverage around a client. But if for really those big pieces, you know, it could take six months or a year to get into a New York Times or Wall Street Journal or something like that you have to have, it is not a timeline that there’s any control over and that can be scary and confusing to a client who’s paying a lot of money every month for a routine or like, what exactly are you doing. So I try to be as transparent as possible to how we’re doing it and what the process is and how much time we’re spending, whether it’s like developing a strategy or, you know, who we’re pitching and how we’re pitching it, and what we’re hearing back on it. And also the other you know, and the secondary piece of that is that, you know, not everything is a PR pitch. Back in the beginning in 2014. Everything was a PR pitch because this was a new industry. You know, new skews just might not be that interesting? You know, so they’re great for a marketing message, but they might not be the best use of publicists time someone working on the earned media a trend with new products like looking at dissolvable souls or looking at you know, edibles or gummies or or vapes or whatever might be interesting, but it’s harder and harder because that’s not new news anymore. So what is the new news? Like? What are the innovations? What is pushing the industry? What is actual real news?

Lisa Buffo  29:25

That makes sense. So can you just touch on that a little bit like so when you were working with the client and forming a strategy like what are those steps to your marketing strategy to earn your PR strategy like how do you put that together and what are some of the questions that you need to consider?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  29:42

Okay, so I want to think of a good example to share you know, so if, if you have a new dispensary launching, and you know you can do the by the Chamber rubbing cutting whatever, but you could, but really a PR plan is like, Okay, who is this community? What do they need? What is the message around this and like listening and understanding what the community needs and then with a grand opening, maybe it’s a local artists doing a mural on the dispensaries wall or maybe it’s a register to vote, you know, you know, pop up, that’s at the dispensary that you can invite the press to say like, you’ve got this new dispensary in this community, adding value adding worth, and you’ve got some community driven pieces to it that are actually newsworthy. And it’s not just oh, another dispensary opening. Because here in Denver, there’s more dispensaries than there are Starbucks. And I think McDonald’s put together but you’ll have to fact check me on that one. But so you have to actually make it a community driven message.

Lisa Buffo  31:01

I love that. So it’s it’s how you are integrating with the community? And what does that value add because you are selling to a buyer persona, whichever way you want to look at that. But by tying your values and your mission and what your company is about, into more than just your products, but what are what are you providing to the community? And how were you in bringing them into that conversation? So I love that thought process. It’s not always about, you know, we hear a lot about, oh, we got this new, cool growing technique or this proprietary, you know, way to make distillate and it’s like, but but that is part of it. But it’s also, what are you bringing to that community. So I love that thought and emphasis about it, that we’re just end to end relationship and how PR and earned media can be that lever in the middle.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  31:56

And don’t get me wrong, those innovation pieces are very interesting and could potentially be standing on their own as newsworthy, but are they really innovative, like, you know, there’s a lot of buzzers like, this is new and different, and no one’s done it and then you’ve you scratch the surface, maybe it’s not, but when you truly have this new and innovative process, there’s a place for that. And there’s a channel for that. And there’s reporters that are going to be interested in that in a certain way. But it’s going to be very different from like, you know, boots on the ground, wanting to get people through the door of a you know, to purchase product. So, you know, who what is the client? What are their goals? So yeah, you were saying like, what are the steps? What is the client? Are they retail, are they brand? Are they you know, whatever the case may be, and I mostly work with leaf touching companies, so and then who are we trying to? Who are we trying to educate? So in what are those channels to reach those, and so thinking about it in that way, too. And some of that might be there’s a unique delivery option method of a certain, you know, product, but really speaking to community, I think is going to give you a lot better, more good well, and understanding.

Lisa Buffo  33:23

And you said, correct me if I’m wrong, but you said you had spent 20 years at a boutique agency was that healthcare as well?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  33:30

No. So I did 20 years at the Rosen group in New York City. Was that where I really focused on media, so it’s alright, you know, I was mostly representing media organizations. And through that work, you know, I started meeting different interesting people. And I started representing, so I went from like, core representing media outlets, such as, you know, Smithsonian Magazine, or a AARP, the magazine or that sort of thing to moving into associations that were very DC based. So the American Wind Energy Association, which had conferences of 20,000 plus attendees and stuff like in handling the press for that. And so it, you know, and then moving from New York City to Denver to open an office for the reason group and build out that build out that office here.

Lisa Buffo  34:28

So do you see can you speak to any of if there are any differences in the earned media landscape or the way you approach what you do from healthcare and media slash associations to cannabis? Like, is there anything unique about cannabis that you’re like, wow, I, I wish I knew this when I worked in in media like this is different or is it really or not? Like it’s like, what’s the How does it differ and where is it the Saying,

Shawna Seldon McGregor  35:01

I think that most communication tactics are fairly transferable. Particularly the knowledge I got when I was at Porter Novelli in their health care department in 1998, that helped that experience and knowledge was so helpful in what I do today, because we were, you know, representing pharmaceutical companies. And we were telling patients stories to the press, about the success that they had had of, you know, incontinence drugs, like, these medications are like that. But you know, and now I get to talk about the trust. But you know, so being able to understand how to tell a story of a medicine and a wellness product, and what we need to think about and, and like the protections and the honor that we need to put around the patients and in the product as well, that was that was very transferable, I, the difference is that, as we sit here again, today, I’m going to date market October 12 2020, to cannabis remains federally illegal. And there are news outlets that will not cover cannabis, I’m not going to name names, they know who they are their big publications, and they won’t cover cannabis, in their edit in their editorial spaces, because of the fear. And that goes to print and then certainly to broadcast. I am furious. I am sure you’ve seen it. If you could go on my LinkedIn page and read my Newsweek column, I am furious that gambling apps are able to sponsor a college stadium, when cannabis cannot even get an A broadcast ad on, you know, on network TV, to me, it just blows my mind. And I guess the gambling apps have better lobbyists. I’m not sure what to say there. But it’s, you know, shocking to me. So I think the biggest that I, I moved into paid media, but you know, the whole earned piece of it is that, you know, a lot of have bigger outlets, they’ve either kind of, they’re like, Oh, we covered the lunch. And now the shininess is kind of off. And what really is the next step, and it will end the FCC has a big role to play in this as well. And so, you know, I think that that is the biggest challenge. The other big piece of this is more and more and more and more, like, don’t get me wrong, I use wired New York Times wire cutter to figure out what kind of like, you know, everything I’m gonna get from my deem humid my humidifier to like, whatever. But those are all affiliate programs. And these days, you can’t, it is very difficult, if not virtually impossible to get a product into around up if you are not on an affiliate platform. So and affiliate platforms will not take teach the plant touching products. So that is, you know, they might take the, you know, the peaks or peaks or, you know, the different sorry, like, the different, you know, ancillary products of the of the space. But you know, I think that that puts us in a big disadvantage as well.

Lisa Buffo  39:01

Yeah, it does, It definitely does, I think. I mean, you’re right, there’s only so much we see it in every corner of this industry, from media and marketing to physical operations. As long as cannabis remains federally unlawful, there’s going to be restrictions that change the way in which all aspects of of business are done. That is unfortunately something we have to deal with for now. But to a degree, it’s led to some creativity and innovation as far as how we reach people and get our message across. But I think that also does speak to the power of earned media even more because that is available to you for the publications that are covering it and will take it and are there and willing to listen. So before we wrap up, I got a few minutes left I want to ask one or two last questions. One being what would be your piece of advice to young professionals who are looking to get into become a cannabis publicist or get into cannabis PR?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  40:06

So, PR, true PR is not a nine to five job. And you know, no, if if you want a nine to five job, you might want to look somewhere else. But, um, you know, I think that meet everyone you can understand that the understand this is not a black and white world that we live in, there are good fits and bad fits, you know, of places to work and I think meeting with anyone and everyone you can and getting your foot in the door and trying and working with a lot of different folks is very valuable. And you know, say yes, but also start to think about and and, you know, understand and start to think about your boundaries. I can’t believe I’ve made it through an entire podcast without mentioning Brene Brown. But you know, you know, I think that if you’re a if you’re a young communicator, her new book Atlas of the heart, I think is a great way to understand emotions and communications. And that is, you know, a community a connection based book, but it’s so relevant to what we do that, you know, I think I think just absorbing, listening to podcasts like this, and meeting as many people as you can, and trying a lot of different experiences.

Lisa Buffo  41:43

I love that. Thank you for that piece of advice that that’s a, that’s a great book, I’m gonna echo that as well, anything Brene Brown, I like pre order. So that was amazing. He’s incredible. Okay, Shawna, what would be last question then just one last piece of advice or tips you would give to cannabis marketers, brands, retailers, about PR and earned media. If there was one takeaway, what would that be? Or what piece of advice would you give?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  42:17

Tell be authentic, transparent, and honest. Always if you lead with that you can’t lose.

Lisa Buffo  42:26

Love it! So I want to thank you so much. Do you have any contact information website or social media you want to share with the audience? We’ll link it in the podcast description as well. But how can our readers or readers or listeners find you?

Shawna Seldon McGregor  42:41

Yeah, our website is the Maverick And we’re pretty active on LinkedIn, and Instagram, and we have a Facebook page. And you can reach me on LinkedIn. And all my information is on the website to my phone number and email is everywhere. So if you have questions, give me a call. I’m always happy to chat.

Lisa Buffo  43:07

Thank you, Shawna, I really appreciate you taking the time to join us today on the podcast.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  43:12

You said thank you so much, and I can’t wait to see you again.

Lisa Buffo  43:15

Of course! Thank you.

Shawna Seldon McGregor  43:17


Lisa Buffo  43:18

Thank you for joining us for another episode of Party like a marketer. Follow us on Instagram at party like a marketer and on our website, the cannabis marketing Check out our website for more details and membership information. We’ll see you next time.

Meet Your Host

LISA BUFFO, Founder and CEO of Cannabis Marketing Association

Lisa Buffo is an award-winning entrepreneur and marketer with a passion for launching companies with experience in both the cannabis and technology industries. Lisa is the Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, a membership based organization focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. She was named one of 2019’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Cannabis by Marijuana Venture Magazine in 2019 and named “The Marketing Guru” by Women & Weed magazine and is a featured speaker and media source in publications like Forbes, The Guardian, and VICE. You can find her on Instagram @libuff and Twitter @libuff21.

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