The cannabis industry is exploding, which makes building and maintaining a strong online presence more important now than ever before. If you’re going to do that, though, you need a good content marketing strategy.
But why? Why is content marketing for cannabis brands so important? The answer is simple: the cannabis industry is booming, and developing a good content marketing strategy helps potential customers find and interact with your business.
According to one recent report, annual marijuana sales are projected to hit $130 billion worldwide in the next few years. And as this growth continues, brands just like yours are turning to the web to grow their businesses. Cannabis brands spent just over $370.2 million on internet display advertising in 2019, making it the second-largest advertising category in the industry. Here are a few more cannabis marketing stats to consider:
- Medical marijuana became the largest marijuana type segment in 2016. By the end of 2025, Grand View Research estimates it will be worth $100.03 billion.
- Research suggests that the global legal marijuana market will reach $146.4 billion by the end of 2025.
- In 2018, sales of legal cannabis in the U.S. topped $10 billion.
- 62% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.
Right now, customers are looking for services and products like yours, and they’re using search engines to research products and find brands they want to work with. Excellent content marketing gives your cannabis brand online visibility, but it provides other short and long-term benefits as well.
At Indicative, we offer a range of content marketing services for cannabis brands. In this post, we’ll explain the benefits of content marketing for cannabis companies. We’ll also provide actionable tips and strategies for using content marketing to find new customers and help your brand stand out.
Let’s dive in.
The Current State of Cannabis Marketing
The recreational cannabis industry is on the rise, and things are changing rapidly. While consumers worldwide have begun to see the benefits of cannabis for everything from pain management to lifestyle enhancement, the laws regarding the marketing of cannabis remain challenging to navigate.
While the federal status of cannabis remains tenuous, the legal cannabis market spans 44 states – recreationally legal in 11 and medically legal in 33. And there are four more states with ballot initiatives coming to a vote this November. Currently, the cannabis industry comprises more than 10,000 businesses, all of whom are vying for a spot in their customers’ minds.
And what’s the best way to stay top of mind? Great marketing.
For cannabis brands, though, marketing isn’t always business as usual. Cannabis marketing is highly monitored and regulated. Today, many platforms simply don’t allow cannabis marketing, and many more don’t work or aren’t practical for cannabis brands.
As it stands now, the top marketing channels for cannabis brands are: paid search, paid social, programmatic advertising, content marketing, and SEO, email marketing, SMS, and out-of-home advertising. Brands who want to make the most of their online advertising will benefit from weaving these elements together into a customized, tailored approach.
Using content to build trust
There are many different types of consumers in the cannabis industry. Some are experienced with the products and options and just looking for a brand that they prefer.
Other customers are entirely new to cannabis, and they have a lot of questions. Fortunately, the way you interact with both is essentially the same: you need to build trust and illustrate how your company meets customer needs and differentiates itself from the rest. And content marketing is the way to do it.
Right now, the average person sees 5,000 ads per day. Most of us are bombarded with sales messages all the time. While direct sales messages have their place, they can be exhausting to customers. That’s where content marketing comes in. Early on the customer journey, it helps build trust and credibility rather than leading to an immediate conversion. Content marketing is the most effective way to nurture your customers through every phase of the buyer’s journey.
Because of this, the content you create for your cannabis company must provide value and build trust. Valuable content is material that draws readers in, showcases expertise, answers questions, and more.
Cannabis content that’s search-engine-optimized and valuable to your target audience will help your company become visible to the search engines. Never done content marketing before? Here are some forms of content to consider:
- Website pages
- Blogs and articles
- Guest posts
The 5 Commandments of Cannabis Content Marketing
Interested in starting a content marketing strategy for your cannabis business? Here are five crucial tips:
1. Build Domain Authority
Domain authority is a search engine ranking signal that aggregates several factors to predict how well a site will rank in search. Higher scores are more likely to rank on the search engine results page than lower scores. In essence, your domain authority is what Google sees as your online reputation.
Producing high-quality content is the best way to increase your domain authority. This is a critical consideration for cannabis companies.
Tip: Build a strategy around a few pieces of evergreen and cornerstone content. These long-lasting, highly valuable pieces of content will establish you as an authority in your niche and show Google that you know what you’re talking about.
2. Always focus on quality over quantity
What does high-quality mean when it comes to content? High-quality content is informative and helpful to the reader. It’s not just “fluff” that you write for the sake of writing. In cannabis content marketing, it’s much wiser to invest in one high-quality article per month than to push out four worthless pieces each week. Make sure that any content you publish is both informative and…
- Digestible. Content should be easy to read. To facilitate this, use short paragraphs, bullet points, and white space when creating your cannabis website’s written content. Long paragraphs and dense text walls can create reader fatigue and prevent people from consuming and enjoying your content.
- Actionable. After consuming the content, readers should know what to do next. Give your audience instructions and steps for solving their problem. In some way, your content should aim to improve a person’s life. For example, if you know your customers are coping with chronic pain, give them a few practical, holistic methods for managing pain and some additional resources to consider. They’ll walk away feeling well-informed and ready to solve their problem.
- Accurate. Sources, advice, and pull quotes should be accurate and high-quality. Use authority sites – like scientific studies – whenever possible.
- Edited and professional. The content should be edited for clarity, accuracy, and grammar. Be sure to fix typos and punctuation errors. Remember, you want authoritative, credible content if you’re going to position your brand as a reliable authority.
3. Don’t overlook social
While there are many places cannabis companies can’t distribute content, there are a few very valuable places they can. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, for example, all allow some form of cannabis content on their platforms.
Social media content can be a valuable and effective part of your broader cannabis content strategy when used correctly. For more information on what you can and can’t do on social, check out our blog about how to legally market your cannabis business.
4. Get personal
Good content marketing is highly personalized, which is as true for cannabis brands as it is for anything else. With that in mind, put in the time needed to research and understand your audience and know what they want from your brand. You should understand their pain points, what drives them to purchase, and what they care about. When you know these things and their standard demographics, you can craft tailored content that truly speaks to your audience.
5. Measure and adjust
What gets measured gets managed. To make sure your cannabis content strategy is working, track key metrics like clicks, views, and conversion (more on this next). If you’re unsure what to track or where to start, hire a cannabis marketing agency to help you begin.
Being able to measure content marketing results will help you refine and tweak your strategy and ensure that you’re publishing content that helps your brand grow. Here are a few metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on:
- Website traffic — If you add new, relevant content to your website consistently, you will see a steady increase in website traffic. Google Analytics can help you track and analyze your website numbers. If you find that a particular blog post or practice area page is getting a lot of traffic, this indicates it’s resonating with readers. So, build out your content on that topic.
- Lead quality — Are your ideal clients contacting your company or looking at your products? Then your content marketing strategy is generating quality leads. One way to track quality leads is to ask people how they found you and mark it down on an intake questionnaire. This can also help you build out content based on the specific content leads are consuming.
- Sales — Google Analytics can also help you analyze conversion rates on your website. You can see if visitors are moving from a particular piece of content to a landing page or sales page.
Best Practices for Cannabis Content Marketing
Great content helps your website rank. It also builds credibility and online awareness. That said, you need to be strategic with your content. Here are a few straightforward best practices to keep in mind:
- Try to craft articles around queries people are already searching for, like, how can CBD help with pain? And is CBD safe?
- Create informative content that’s helpful to your reader. You’ll want to create content that is the best source of information on a specific topic. In-depth blogs and articles that answer a particular question and give actionable advice to build credibility and trust.
- Speak directly to your target audience.
- Think about the long-term goal of the content. Whether that’s to help build links, increase reach and awareness, or builds trust and credibility, having this goal in mind from the outset will help ensure your content does the job.
Content Marketing for Cannabis Brands: The Benefits of Outsourcing
Content marketing isn’t a “quick fix.” Instead, it’s a long-term strategy that can generate real results when you do it right. Still, there are a few unique challenges cannabis brands must contend with when it comes to content marketing.
Not only do most cannabis teams not have the in-house staff to build and maintain a content strategy, but there are all sorts of legal and compliance challenges to consider. As the legal environment surrounding cannabis continues to change, brands must ensure they stay on the cutting edge to avoid trouble and liability.
Fortunately, hiring a content marketing agency for cannabis companies solves these unique challenges. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Improvements in technology have made outsourcing your content marketing strategy an affordable option for even the newest cannabis startups. A high-quality, professional, and effective content marketing strategy will enable you to compete with larger companies and get your products out there.
Take Action Today
Are you ready to become a content marketing powerhouse? Indicative is your marketing and strategy team. We’re prepared to offer personalized consultancy services to help you take your content marketing to the next level — at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house team.
Set up a meeting with us. We promise you’ll come away with a couple of ideas you can put into action today.