Over the past 150 years or so, there’s been a pendulum swing when it comes to people’s opinions about cannabis and how it is regulated.
Ads for hashish candy appeared in magazines in the 1860s, promoting the drug as a “harmless stimulant.”
Jump forward to 1970, and cannabis found itself on the list of Schedule 1 drugs, meaning the government believed it to have a high potential for abuse and no valid medical use. Cannabis’s status as a Schedule 1 drug made it pretty much impossible for researchers and medical professionals to use it in trials or to explore potential benefits of the drug.
Then, in 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Dozens of states followed suit over the next few decades, and in 2014, Colorado was the first state to legalize the drug for recreational use. By 2018, a few other states had followed course.
While states’ opinions of cannabis have evolved over the years, the federal government still considers the drug a Schedule 1 substance, making it difficult (if not impossible) for cannabis brands to market their products using traditional methods.
That’s where cannabis content marketing comes in. With content marketing, a cannabis brand or business can provide people with accurate information about cannabis and its many uses.
What Can Cannabis Content Marketing Do?
Content marketing is an approach to marketing that involves creating content (e.g., blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.) that’s informative and relevant. Ideally, the content helps to bring an audience to a brand, and helps the brand keep the audience’s attention (and, ideally, gain their business).
Content marketing can be particularly beneficial to brands in the cannabis industry because there is a lot of curiosity about marijuana, and a lot of misinformation out there about it.
A few ways that cannabis brands can use content marketing include:
- To explain the different compounds found in cannabis and what they do (CBD vs. THC, for example).
- To explain medical conditions medical marijuana can help treat.
- To explain current regulations/laws concerning cannabis.
- To explain the different parts of the cannabis plant and how they are used.
- To explain different strains of cannabis and what makes each one different.
Benefits of Cannabis Content Marketing
One of the most significant benefits of cannabis content marketing is that it lets brands that either produce or sell cannabis or cannabis products navigate around rules and regulations that can limit other more traditional forms of advertising.
For example, US federal law prohibits cannabis brands from advertising in newspapers or magazines. And even if a brand were to skirt around that law and get an ad placed in traditional print media, the US Postal Service could put its foot down and refuse to deliver the paper or magazine.
Digital sources of advertising also have tough rules and regulations when it comes to advertising cannabis. Google doesn’t allow ads that promote recreational drugs, including marijuana, for example. Facebook’s ad policies also forbid any ads that promote recreational drugs, which includes both recreational and medical marijuana.
Fortunately, there is no prohibition on a cannabis brand creating a website and creating informative content on that website. Brands can use search engine optimization tactics to help their content rank high on search engine results pages, so that people looking to learn more about cannabis can find it.
Also, although social media platforms such as Facebook do have content standards that restrict what cannabis brands can post about marijuana, brands aren’t automatically banned from using social media to promote their content.
Examples of Cannabis Content Marketing
- Leafly. Leafly is a cannabis strain and dispensary database that also happens to create news articles about what’s going on in the cannabis world. As the Content Marketing Institute pointed out, Leafly was able to register itself as a news site to ensure that its relevant and informative cannabis-news posts found the largest audience possible.
- Kiva Confections. Kiva Confections produces cannabis edibles, notably chocolate bars infused with THC and/or CBD. The brand has a strong social media presence, where it promotes its videos and other content that explain the medicinal benefits of CBD. On its Instagram profile, the brand makes sure it complies with the platform’s current rules by stating “no products for sale.”
How Brands Can Get Started With Cannabis Content Marketing
Whether your cannabis brand is established or in the earliest stages of starting up, content marketing can help you reach and educate an audience. Here’s what you can do to get started:
- Set your goal. Think about what you hope to get out of content marketing. Are you looking to raise awareness of your brand, attract new customers, or improve the overall impression people have about marijuana/cannabis?
- Define your audience. Who are you trying to reach? How old are they, why would they be interested in cannabis (medical vs. recreational) use, and very importantly, where do they live? What do they want to know about cannabis, and are they interested in CBD-only products, or products that contain THC?
- Create content. Knowing your audience and their goals allows you to determine the type of content that will work best to win them over.
- Decide how you’ll distribute the content. Distributing and promoting content can be the more challenging aspect of cannabis content marketing, thanks to all the rules and prohibitions.
- Track results. Pay attention to how the content performs. Are people looking at it? What do they do after viewing your content? Are some distribution channels producing better results than others?
What to Look for in a Company to Help Your Brand With Cannabis Content Marketing
Perhaps you know all there is to know about cannabis, and you want to educate and inform the public about it, while ideally picking up a few customers in the process. But while your knowledge of cannabis might be extensive, your experience with content marketing might be limited.
If that’s the case, it’s often better to hire a content marketing company that can guide you through the process of developing a content marketing strategy, setting a goal, and navigating restrictions and regulations from social media platforms and search engines. Some content marketing companies also help with content creation and distribution.
Try to find a company that has years of experience and evidence of good results. Although the company doesn’t have to have experience with cannabis content marketing, it can be useful to your brand if it has some familiarity with the particular challenges faced by marijuana/cannabis companies when it comes to content marketing.
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 get in on the ground floor of what is quickly turning into an industry worth billions of dollars.