The end of 2018 is just around the corner.
It’s almost time to look back on the past year, to make notes, to strategize, and to plan for the next.
This goes for cannabis content marketing as well. Cannabis brands have learned a lot over the past several months, and they’ve started to really take stock of what they’ve done well, what they can work on, and what they’ve got coming up.
Are you one of those brands?
This post will go over ten content marketing tips and strategies you’re going to want to implement in 2019.
The idea behind content marketing is a basic one. Create relevant, useful, and engaging content that attracts, engages, and ultimately compels folks to purchase the products you’re selling.
But, how do you make your content marketing actually work?
It all starts with value. People buy solutions, not products. Your content needs to provide real, tangible value. It needs to give them something that makes your cannabis brand stand out among all of the other brands and their social media and advertising efforts.
These ten cannabis content marketing strategies for 2019 will help you provide that value.
Implement these, and you could make this coming year your brand’s most successful year yet for content marketing.
10 Social Media Strategies for 2019
1. Social Listening
Social listening is one of the most important strategies for cannabis business owners, and the importance is only going to grow in 2019.
Social listening helps you find out what people are saying about your brand across the various social media platforms. It gives you insight into your brand positioning - how others view your brand - so you can see what you’re doing well and adjust their strategies to tackle areas that could use improvement.
Social listening tools take a lot of the guesswork out of digging around online to find information . . . and then the time it takes to filter through it all and make sense of it.
These tools have features like in-depth marketing analytics, keyword research, sentiment analysis, hashtag tracking, influencer data, engagement, and more.
The importance (and convenience!) of social listening strategies and tools cannot be overstated.
To be sure, social listening is one of the must-follow cannabis content marketing strategies for 2019.
2. Create Valuable Content
Today’s consumers are constantly being bombarded with content from basically every company in existence, asking for follows, likes, purchases, clicks, and just general attention.
Add this to the big brand advertising that branches over the online presence of all the other brands.
There are two ways for cannabis brands to break through in a crowded digital space: Be exceptional or be helpful.
And, obviously, exceptional is inherently difficult to do. That’s the point of it. So, rather than spending your time, effort, and resources on constantly trying to create the next viral Instagram sensation, focus on creating content that has real, tangible value for your target customers.
Which means creating content that falls within any of these three, frequently overlapping, content categories:
Helpful content. This is the how-to post, the “guide to x” post, a useful download (such as a guide to pairing coffee and cannabis), or an interactive tool. The objective with helpful content is to show your audience how to do something.
Educational content. The objective with educational content is to provide your audience with information that provides them with a new perspective and / or helps them make a decision (such as purchasing a product). This is the “101” and “everything you need to know” type of posts. It’s the product highlights and reviews. It’s the blog posts about different aspects of cannabis - such as what trichomes are, what CBD is and why it’s beneficial, or strain highlights.
Entertaining content. This is content that is created with the sole purpose of getting an emotional response out of the audience. Laughter, a tug at heartstrings, joy. . . whatever it may be, this content needs to have emotional value. This could be something like a video of someone smoking 25 joints at once, taking huge dabs, going on a tour, etc.
3. Create a Content Hub
Content marketing is supposed to directly connect customers and potential customers with your brand, without needing a middle-man. This is why you want to have your own content hub, rather than rely on a third-party site for publishing all of your content.
At this point, when it’s almost 2019, not having a blog for your business means you’re throwing away thousands of opportunities each day. Opportunities to generate website traffic, engage your target audience, boost customer retention and brand loyalty, sell more product, and position your cannabis brand the way you want it to be seen.
4. Accessible Content
As a cannabis business owner, you want your content marketing to reach as many people within your target audience as possible.
Finding your target audience, using the platforms they frequent, optimizing your content for search engines, and engaging in social media conversations with your audience has already been talked about at length.
But, there’s another way to maximize your brand’s reach - - and it’s not talked about as much.
Web accessibility is the practice of making sure the potential and current customers within your target audience who have disabilities will still be able to access and engage with your content.
This is an absolute MUST for successful content marketing. In order for your cannabis marketing strategies for 2019 to work effectively, your content must be accessible.
5. Ephemeral Content
Snapchat was the very first social network to introduce ephemeral content, and pioneered a whole niche of content with its platform.
Ephemeral content was a completely revolutionary concept when it was first introduced, and changed the digital marketing landscape forever.
Having content that is only available for 24 hours before self-destructing gives that content (and your brand) a strong sense of exclusivity, spontaneity, and immediacy that other social media platforms lacked.
Now, Instagram, Facebook, and even Google have their own ephemeral offerings. It’s virtually a guarantee that everyone else will be on the ephemeral content bandwagon by the end of 2019. So, if you haven’t published any of it yet, now is the perfect time to start.
Don’t worry about being sleek and polished when it comes to ephemeral content. The point is raw, authentic content that creates a connection between your brand and your audience. It’s the perfect chance to give behind-the-scenes glimpses, teasers of upcoming products, highlights of your current promo items, daily deals, and ongoing stories that unfold throughout the day.
The more your customers feel connected to your brand, and like they know you, the more they will keep coming back - - and recommend you to others.
Influencers are the bridge between consumers and brands, and have become a vital aspect of the digital marketing landscape.
Lately, things have started to change in regards to which influencers brands are looking for. The larger influencers with the massive amounts of social media followers are starting to lose their appeal - - and their effectiveness.
On other micro-influencers - those with fewer than ten thousands followers - are becoming increasingly more valued for their stronger audience engagement and their ability to connect with niche demographics.
If you are going to hire an influencer to promote your brand and encourage sales, you’re going to want someone who can reach your target audience.
Think about it:
Influencer A has 25k followers with varied interests that range from cars to beauty products. Images have a lot of likes and generic comments (like emojis), but the actual engagement is low. The followers are spread throughout the world and, while most are in the U.S., they aren’t really localized into any one particular region - - definitely not yours.
Influencer B has 5k followers who are all cannabis users. Images have engagement, such as questions about the product and interest in trying it for themselves. Followers are mostly within one or two states, one of which is yours.
Now, which of those influencers would you want to work with?
If you want to drive sales and better reach your target audience, you’re going to want to choose Influencer B - the micro-influencer.
7. Implement and Integrate SEO
Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand-in-hand.
Both are there to attract and engage your business’ target audience. Both are there to better understand what drives your audience and gets them to purchase.
Both require your brand to provide tangible value to your potential customers.
Your content marketing programs need to fully integrate SEO, which means your content hub should embrace the best cannabis SEO strategies.
Additionally, SEO can be a valuable tool in identifying top content topics for your target audience.
8. Live Video
Live video has really started to evolve over the past few years, and has become a massively popular source of news and entertainment for millions of consumers. Most of the major social platforms have added their own live stream features, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope.
And it’s huge among cannabis consumers.
The draw of live video is that it’s raw, unfiltered, and happening right then and there. It gives the audience a better sense of knowing the brand or individual - - plus there’s always the chance something unexpected and exciting will happen.
Recommended for you:
Content Marketing 101: Creating Content That Sells
9. Direct Messaging & Chatbots
Direct messaging is seriously underutilized by brands, even though virtually every social media platform out there allows users to send private DMs to one another.
Sending DMs is a great way to get the word out about upcoming vendor days, new product highlights, or give out special discount offers to your most engaged followers.
DMs are also a great way to resolve any customer service or product issues your customers may have. If you see someone leaving negative comments about a bad experience they had smoking your product or visiting your store, you can ask them to send you a private message. From there, you can see what you can do to help them out.
This can work on your own website as well, with chatbots.
Chatbots have been slow to catch on and live up to the hype that initially surrounded them. The early versions were definitely flawed, but it looks as though 2019 is expected to be the year they will return in full force, new and improved.
And you can expect them to be widely used.
Now is the time to get an early start on adopting chatbots for your website, and learn how to use them most effectively. Automating customer communication will save time and resources, and will become one of the most important parts of successful cannabis content marketing strategies for 2019.
10. Augmented Reality
If it wasn’t already widely available technology, it would be hard to believe augmented reality is being used by businesses today.
But, it is real.
And, not only is it real, but it’s already in the process of becoming another part of social media platforms.
Facebook is already testing AR advertisements, which means it’s a pretty safe bet that AR is going to be a commonplace, and massive, part of social media soon.
Try out AR for your own cannabis content marketing strategies for 2019 as soon as possible. Being ahead of the game when it launches within the cannabis industry is a surefire way to get your brand noticed - - and in a major way.
Content marketing is what fuels the relationship you have with your customers. It is what attracts your audience, engages them, and gets them to become consumers. But, the content marketing doesn’t stop there. It’s what gets those customers to keep coming back - - it drives brand loyalty and product sales.
So, give your audience the chance to engage with your brand. Offer email newsletter subscriptions. Share helpful downloads and printables. Include links to your online menu products in relevant content. Feature products and vendors with creative content, such as with video and ephemeral content.