From Spotify Wrapped to Duolingo’s TikTok, brands are leaning into storytelling more than ever. In cannabis – just as in any other business – stories grab attention. Donald Miller’s Bestselling novel Building a Story Brand says, “Everybody wants to be taken somewhere. If we don’t tell people where we’re taking them, they’ll engage another brand.”
Whether it’s brand stories rooted in purpose (like Rooted In) or selling products by describing a specific customer story (such as Hapsy CBD), stories build trust and relationships.
While storytelling has become a pillar of marketing strategies, it takes one major component to accomplish: content. The good news is that it typically costs not much more than time to create good content.
In other words, there is no more cost-effective way to increase brand awareness and loyalty than content marketing for your cannabis business.
What is cannabis content strategy and why is it important?
We’ve all heard the phrase “Content is king,” and it’s true. However, a good cannabis content strategy doesn’t just tell a story through content in one place; it masters the art of storytelling across different channels.
In other words, how your customers feel about your brand on social media should be exactly the same as how they feel when they interact with you on your website and blog. This is where content strategy comes in.
Content strategy is defined as the planning, creation, distribution, and overall management of content. This can include social media content, email content, blog content, and more. While content strategy is a key element of marketing for all businesses, it’s a little different for cannabis.
The most obvious is that cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. This means that cannabis businesses have to be extremely diligent in their communications, specifically around their products and services. Therefore, in addition to being engaging and relevant, cannabis content needs to be compliant with local laws and regulations.
Another challenge is the stigma surrounding cannabis. While de-stigmatization is slowly happening, especially in states where the legal industry has been well-established, there is still a significant amount of misinformation about cannabis and those who use it.
In other words, cannabis content needs to acknowledge these feelings and actively work to overcome these perceptions by providing accurate, trustworthy information. This is why you often see cannabis and CBD brands integrate product education as a core content pillar.
Product complexity is another reason cannabis businesses need to approach their content strategy differently. Cannabis products come in many forms, including flower, edibles, topicals, and concentrates, and each product has its own unique properties and benefits.
In addition to providing more in-depth information for each of these types, most cannabis businesses also need to have much more advanced content management systems in place to manage all these different content opportunities.
For instance, if you’re a dispensary selling all of those products, you’ll want to create blog content about each one, and that can quickly get overwhelming.
As you can see, content strategy for cannabis businesses requires careful consideration of legal restrictions, societal attitudes, product complexity, and more. In order to effectively communicate with your target audience and build a strong brand presence, your content strategy needs to be well thought out.
4 Types of Cannabis Content You Need for Your Business
Content marketing comes in many mediums such as blogs, newsletters, e-books, social media posts, and so on.
Need some inspiration? Here are the four different types of content you absolutely need for your cannabis content strategy along with some examples of cannabis and CBD brands that are killing it:
Website Content: Rooted In
Websites are often the first handshake to a brand. No matter where customers first discover you, they’ll check your website before ever deciding to purchase with you. This makes website content a critical component of your overall cannabis content strategy.
Your core values as a company should be easily communicated in all your content, but especially on your website. In fact, in most cases, companies spell out their brand values and share their story right on their website. This is a great opportunity to capture users at a much deeper level.
Rather than your “vibe” or “aesthetics,” you get to catch the attention of your target audience by speaking directly to shared values, which intrinsically builds a stronger connection and customer-brand relationship.
Rooted In is a great example of a dispensary with strong, mission-driven website content. This Boston-based recreational dispensary specifically advocates for building generational wealth in Boston’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
Our Cannabis Creative team worked with Rooted In to establish a clear picture of their core values so that it was integral to their overall content strategy and marketing plan.
For this specific project, we did it by building out a custom website with copy that spoke to ideal customers: other BIPOC cannabis consumers and allies. From symbolic imagery to content and copy, this message pulls in customers to support more than a business selling cannabis, but a brand with a mission – and that is the power of content strategy.
Blog Content: Canna Companion
Every cannabis business needs blog content as part of its official content strategy. Regularly updating your website with new content tells Google that you are an active page and gives it an opportunity to evaluate how valuable your content is.
When it comes to publishing blogs, originality and value are essential. It is essential to have a comprehensive strategy for your blog content creation. Your blog content can help you generate more traffic to your site and increase sales.
A great example of a brand that does this well is our client, Canna Companion. As part of our partnership, we have built out an extensive SEO-informed content strategy for the CBD pet supplement brand.
From incorporating the right phrases or keywords, on-site optimization, and interesting title tags, we have SEO integrated into the foundation of the content ideation process. Once a topic or idea is selected, we have a team of content strategists and copywriters flesh out engaging, relevant blogs that are packed with valuable information.
Not only is this information created specifically for Canna Companion’s target audience, but it is also completely original and well-researched. In other words, if someone has a question about cannabis supplements for pets, they’ll quickly come to find out that Canna Companion has great original content on the subject matter.
This allows the brand to build a reputation among customers and potential customers while also creating interest in its products and services, such as capsules or free consultations. As people begin to trust Canna Companion, this content serves as an educational resource as well as a tool to build a relationship with the brand over time.
Social Media Content: Hapsy
Social media content is one of the most common channels in a cannabis content strategy. Despite stringent (and seemingly arbitrary) rules and regulations on each social media platform, it is the best avenue to build a personal relationship with customers.
Social media is a great way to serve timely content in a quick, digestible manner while also humanizing your brand. In this sense, social media is a key piece of the content marketing puzzle.
A great example of cannabis social media is Hapsy CBD. As a previous client of ours, we worked with Hapsy to implement a strategic content plan on social media, with a focus on Instagram and Pinterest.
As a brand focused on creating everyday wellness for parents (mainly mothers), Hapsy had a very unique story to tell and a very specific audience to tell it to.
In this case, you want to create fun, engaging content, such as CBD mocktail recipes or general wellness tips in tandem with educational content, such as the contents of a CBD tincture or how to use Hapsy CBD.
In other words, you’re balancing a fine line between direct brand content and related topics of interest. When you de-center sales from your social media strategy, you’ll find that success on platforms like Instagram becomes a lot more attainable.
In fact, with our strategy, we saw Hapsy’s following more than triple in the time we worked together. Learn more about the project specifics in our portfolio.
Email Content: Drops of Life
Email campaigns are a great way to keep your current customers engaged through content. Marketing to your subscribers when they’ve given you expressed interest is a powerful way to increase sales and build brand loyalty.
As a cannabis business, this is invaluable because as long as you’re using a cannabis-friendly email platform, you can sell to your heart’s content. Email is an opportunity to connect deeply with your audience through content.
Not only can you leverage your existing content, such as blogs and social media, but you can also create a sense of community by creating exclusive content for email subscribers.
A great example of cannabis email marketing is Drops of Life CBD. We worked with the Drops of Life team to create a cross-channel presence, which included email.
From welcome sequences to abandoned cart emails and post-purchase follow-ups, we integrated personalized touch points that make customers feel emotionally close to the brand. We also utilized design, copy, and content to build out beautiful, on-brand emails that provide exclusive value to subscribers.
Our content strategy was driven by the goal to increase sales and customer relationships, which in turn resulted in a significant increase in direct revenue from email.