Why you need a content marketing strategy in the cannabis industry?
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Content marketing isn’t just a smart strategy cannabis brands or dispensaries or ancillary products to employ, global household brands spend millions on content marketing. Brands like Nestle, Disney, Unilever etc. have robust content marketing tactics because it works. Disney’s content marketing strategy is so genius that you often cannot tell where their marketing ends and where their content begins.
As humans, we’ve been sharing stories for 44,000 years (according to the journal Nature). From cave paintings to TikTok videos, the velocity in which people are creating content is increasing year over year. Advances in digital technology are enabling people to create at a much faster rate than before. We’re not only creating more content, but we’re also consuming more content. We remember when a joke or trend would last months and its lifespan has shifted to a mear day, a week if we’re being generous. The wear out in content is almost sudden. Tiger King was the biggest show on TV for about 72 hours.
Which brings me to my next point: Attention. As marketers, we’re battling for consumers’ attention. You have approximately 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention before they move on to the next story. This creates a lot of noise and it is much harder to breakthrough. That’s why coupling your content marketing strategy with a reach driving media plan (ie. SEM, Paid Social, TV, etc) is an integrated strategy that many brands have.
Which brings me to the cannabis industry. In a highly regulated industry, content marketing and content marketing at scale is just about anything cannabis brand could do. Google or Facebook or Snapchat will not allow cannabis brands to advertise which limits cannabis brands to organic content. Marrying your content marketing plan with a media plan is not an option, and it’s certainly not an option for a paid content plan with a mainstream publisher. Therefore cannabis brands need to be scrappy and truly think of themselves as media companies. Create content for the now in communities that are highly engaged and have niche audiences – podcasts, TikTok videos, YouTube, Reddit, etc.
What is content marketing?
Let’s define what content marketing is and is not.
A good content marketing strategy is creating content that adds value to consumers. Cannabis brands need to think about creating content with a purpose. On average, people consume roughly 395 min per day consuming content. With that much consumption, attention and retention become the goal. Are you looking to entertain? Educate? Highlight? Sell? These are purposes in which we create content. A good content marketing strategy creates content that makes the user take action – watch more. Visit a site. Purchase something. Those are all actions which we would like our consumers to take.
One key aspect of a successful content marketing strategy is consistency. Consistent quality and volume of content. You don’t need a Michael Bay sized budget to make quality content – TikTok videos are shot on a phone and are ranked among the most engaging content users consume. When brands think about their content they need to think about the story. How am I going to tell a story that gets my customers to do this one action – in its simplest form, this is what you need to do when thinking about a strategy.
4 Examples of Purposes:
- To increase site traffic
- To educate your audience
- To entertain
- To drive social engagement
Here are some thought starters on building content for purpose:
- If you’re a grower and want to make people more aware of your products on your website…
- Start a recipe page and make recipes from your products – use videos and long-form written content to drive people back to your site
- If you’re a dispensary and want more people to visit your dispensary…
- Make videos of reviewing products “Strain of the week” “Sativa of the Month” etc – post those videos on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube
- (Bonus idea) start a podcast and host weekly podcasts with some cultivators, growers, etc.
- If you’re a CBD company and want to educate people on your product
- Partner with local or national influencers for authentic content
- If you’re an edibles company and want to increase your fan engagements
- Create Snapchat or TikTok or Snapchat videos with your products and show how they make you feel
In the end it’s about adding value to your consumers – that builds trust and retention which turns into awareness which then drives sales. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Why is this important?
SEO! Cannabis consumers are well-read. They are going to research your strain, dispensary, edible, etc and see what you’re about. This industry is new to everyone. So if someone uses your product and likes it, they’re going to want to learn more. So the more real estate you can own in Google or Bing, the easier it will be for consumers to find you. Ex. How SEO works
When you think about all of the roadblocks prohibiting cannabis brands from promoting themselves, content marketing becomes a cornerstone of your marketing strategy. A successful content strategy will also unlock the opportunities for future partnerships with major publishers in the cannabis space. More and More publishers are increasingly selective of who they partner with given the company’s social footprint. You see that in the CPG world where Walmart will not carry your company’s product because you have a terrible reputation or horrible social footprint. So more content and better content can boost your partnership opportunities.
Your Next Steps Should Be…
- Start creating and posting content ASAP
- Get in the habit of writing 1 blog post or 1 video per week about a topic you’re most interested/knowledgeable about
- Identify your business challenges
- Explore how marketing could solve those problems
- is it an awareness problem? Lead gen? Site traffic?
- Develop a content strategy that delivers on your goals
- Is it videos on youtube for awareness? IG posts by influencers? Whitepapers for lead gen?
- Develop a roadmap on your 3mo – 6mo
- Don’t do everything at once – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your content plan. Map your content to the days or sales cycles which drive the business forward.
When you think about all of the roadblocks prohibiting cannabis brands from promoting themselves, content marketing becomes a cornerstone of your marketing strategy. A successful content strategy will also unlock the opportunities for future partnerships with major publishers in the cannabis space. More and More publishers are increasingly selective of who they partner with given the company’s social footprint. You see that in the CPG world where Walmart will not carry your company’s product because you have a terrible reputation or horrible social footprint. So better and more content can boost your partnership opportunities.
The cannabis business is one that’s rapidly evolving. Cannabis content marketing helps you get your message out to a receptive audience, and can help you elevate your brand to a household name.
MMH is a full-service digital marketing agency built for the cannabis industry. We have expertise in SEO, Content Development, Social Media, and Paid Media. Over the last 15+ years, our founders have created award-winning work for some of the biggest global brands. We are cannabis advocates that approach every project with passion and drive to build compelling brand experiences that drive action.