The biggest benefit from working with a professional company is often times their ability to get you and your brands exposure in no markets. “The biggest takeaway from working with PR professionals is the opportunity to creatively educate other cross sectors outside of the tobacco sector of your product,” says Tayo Otiti, the Director of Hospitality and Lifestyle Division at TARA, Ink. in Miami, FL. “Presenting your product to, for example, fashion and spirits writers who would otherwise not consider featuring your product can get your products highlighted and shared with the public.”
Martinez de Castro adds that trend stories have a great value as they keep your company and its products relevant. A PR professional can often times help you tell your story and portray your products in a different way, helping them to fit into different parts of a publication or on different lifestyle blogs. “The idea is you first have to familiarize yourself with the outlet and see how you can find a unique story idea that would be a natural and interesting fit,” she says.
With the last quarter of the year packed with different holidays and events, Otiti also recommends you create a buzz around your company by finding seasonal and situational angles for your brands. “Depending on the time of year, your products can be pitched as a ‘must have’ for the season,” he says.
FINDING A PR COMPANY THAT FITS YOUR BRAND
There are different ways you can find a professional PR agency that will work best with your company, its corporate culture, and its brands. The PR Newswire (prnewswire.com) is a leading distributor of press releases that was created back in 1954 that now allows companies to send press releases to news organizations easily. Otiti recommends searching through PR Newswire to see what agencies work with what brands and to seek out leading PR companies within different fields.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of referrals. Ask around within your industry and in others that may relate to tobacco and vape products including spirits, lifestyle and leisure to see what PR agencies and individuals are working with other leading brands. “You should look for an agency that challenges what you are already doing so that you can be presented with different ideas and achieve different results,” says Martinez de Castro.
You should also find a PR agencies that’s up to date on current trends and markets and is skilled at navigating the changing digital space. Piñeres urges anyone working with a PR professional that PR isn’t magic. “Even the best PR firm is only as good as the information they receive from the client to properly strategize, and craft efforts,” he says. In order to get the most out of your PR efforts you should keep an open dialogue with the PR firm you’re working with. Just as you would with any department within your own company, schedule weekly meetings to keep your PR person up to date with the latest news within your company and its products.
– Story by Antoine Reid, an editor and digital content director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid