Why Content Marketing Matters
No matter how large or small your cannabis business is, authenticity is an essential element of your content marketing that will help you stay ahead of the competition in today’s busy cannabis market.
Authenticity may just seem like a trendy buzzword, but there’s more to it than that. Remaining authentic throughout your content marketing efforts is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your digital marketing strategy.
But, first, let’s take a closer look at what authenticity is:
At the most basic level, authentic content marketing means creating and distributing honest content that provides a transparent view of your brand. No pretending, no flexing, and no falsehoods. Just honest, “this is what you get” content marketing.
Authenticity is that glass wall at the coffee shop. How happy are your customers going to be when they see behind the curtain? Are you excited to share your brand with your customers?
With content marketing, you need to pay close attention to the view you’re giving your customers, while still staying ahead of emerging cannabis industry trends.
This also means adapting your content marketing efforts and strategy to fit your audience.
For instance, back when smart phones and other mobile devices started to really become popular, content marketers needed to find new ways to adapt to these new trends. They needed to make sure their content was easily accessible on both desktop and mobile devices.
Today, video content is more accessible than ever before, which means written content marketing experts have had to learn how to create visual and written marketing collateral and assets for their brands.
This is something that has spread throughout all aspects of content marketing, making the need for authenticity greater than it’s ever been. In fact, would-be customers frequently judge a brand based on how authentic their content seems.
The Rise of Authentic Content
Content marketing has a pretty extensive history, even though we tend to think of it has a relatively new concept.
The moment content marketing rose in popularity and spread like wildfire was the moment the modern era of content marketing gained two new important factors.
And it’s these factors that will provide a deeper understanding of the future of content marketing, as well as how authenticity drastically improves the effectiveness of your content.
These authentic content marketing factors are:
To begin with, the Washington state legalization of cannabis made it possible for cannabis brands to create and distribute content on the Internet, for free, to millions of people worldwide. Most importantly, however, they were able to reach people all throughout their local area - - for FREE.
Next, customers started feeling tired of all the traditional advertising they’d had shoved in their faces over the years. These efforts were basically focused on pitching a product directly to the customer, in an attempt to persuade them to buy it.
In reality, it was just getting obnoxious.
Content marketing rode up like the white knight the industry was looking for, providing a cost-effective and lucrative alternative to traditional marketing methods. Customers got to take a breather, were introduced to new content, and felt they received real value.
Rather than pushing and trying to convince potential customers to buy something, this authentic content provided information without any obvious ulterior motive.
That positioned those brands as an authentic resource that can be trusted to provide the best information and product recommendations.
With authentic content marketing clearly so effective, it’s hard to fathom content marketing ever being considered inauthentic these days. And yet, here we are.
There are three primary threats to the perceived authenticity of content marketing:
Native advertisements basically trick website visitors into thinking the sponsored (i.e. paid) content is genuine, brand-supported content on that brand’s website.
After making a few disappointing, time-wasting clicks, that potential customer loses trust in that brand and in the brand sponsoring the content.
That website visitor leaves, and the brands have lost a potential customer.
Cannabis Market Saturation
Saturation of any market poses a big problem for all aspects of business. Content marketing is one strategy that has become increasingly popular - - ridiculously so, in fact. Pretty much every major brand out there has its own content marketing strategy.
This saturation of cannabis content is already starting to have the same effect as when traditional advertising was a popular thing.
Tons of brands out there are creating content just for the sake of publishing something. They’re flooding the digital marketing channels, leaving you to rely on authentic content marketing to rise above the noise and competition.
Finally, there’s the fact consumers are becoming ever more aware that content marketing is a thing.
For that reason, they’re not as prone to just clicking on whatever article seems neat. The majority of distrust and skepticism for any given piece of content comes from this era of “fake news.”
Which, in actuality, has come to mean anything the user of that particular phrase doesn’t like or agree with. As such, cannabis business brands need to take special care to ensure their content marketing efforts are authentic.
Creating Authentic Content Marketing Experiences
It all comes down to one thing: The cannabis brand experience starts the moment a potential customer does an online search for something that would solve a problem or give them information they need.
By the time that potential customer walks throughout the door of your dispensary, they’ve already gone through about 80% of your cannabis business sales funnel.
When they stick around, engage with your content, and share it, you know you’re providing great value with your content.
And, in order to deliver that great content, you need to write for your customers more than search engines. Your customers are who pay your rent. They’re the ones that got you there. You need to figure out what it is that keeps them coming back, and why they stay loyal to your brand. You need to know how they’re using your products, and then get them to share their experience as they go through the sales funnel - - the buying process.
Here are some ways to create authentic content marketing with your own cannabis business brand:
Improving Your Authentic Content Marketing
01. Use personal brands
Personal brands are highly effective content marketing tools, one that involves landing guest author profiles on third-party sites, as well as for supporting your primary cannabis brand’s content.
The reason this works so well is that people trust the opinion of other people far more than they trust brands. If your content is written from an individual’s personal perspective, it’s going to ring true and be more relatable for your audience. It will also come across as being authentic content.
02. Go where your audience is
Thousands of cannabis lovers have active profiles on Instagram, and they go to big events like Hemp Fest. Others discuss books on Twitter, and hang out around coffee shops. Some of them work in a stifling office and smoke out to relax after a long day at work, so they mostly just browse Facebook. Nearly every type of cannabis product has die-hard enthusiasts who enjoy sharing stories and information.
Go where your audience is, and gain a deeper understanding of what makes your most loyal customers come back again and again. Find out what makes other cannabis enthusiasts tick, so you can find ways to draw them in.
03. Get out into the field
Well, it’s not really a field, but you get the idea.
Get out from behind your desk, and go visit with a customer on their territory. See for yourself how much of an impact your business is making with its products and customer service.
Go visit another dispensary. Get a feel for what it’s like to be on the other side of the counter. Take a tour of a cannabis grow. Call up your local cannabis club and ask if you can check out a meeting.
Get to know your customer on a more personal level, and your content will become more authentic.
04. Get (a little) personal
Include personal anecdotes (when appropriate), such as your experiences with the product or topic. By making your content more relatable, it instantly seems more authentic. You can also use some lighter, casual language and insert some jokes, both of which would also increase how authentic your content seems.
05. Create original content ONLY
This should be a rule that’s just generally understood, and it should pretty much go without saying. But, create only the most original content you possibly can, with original titles, original information, original sources and research, and an original voice. If your content seems too much like someone else’s, people are going to lose trust in your brand. You’ll likely lose customers and get a poor online reputation.
06. Avoid overly promoting
It’s understandably tempting to mention your brand name everywhere you possibly can, in every single bit of content you have.
However, being overly promotional is only going to make the perceived authenticity of your content marketing decline. If your website readers feel you’ve got some blatant ulterior motive in creating and publishing your content, they’re going to be skeptical of your content and your brand. They may even discount your brand altogether.
07. Lay off the showy stuff
If your content looks “gimmicky,” or like it has some other blatant ulterior motive, then your website visitors are probably not going to bother reading it.
For instance, if your title looks like it’s just a long stream of keywords, rather than a natural and relevant snippet of what the content will be, then your readers aren’t going to bother.
As a result, you’re going to want to avoid being showy or gimmicky, since that’s typically associated with those low-quality clickbait articles. These types of titles rely on sensationalism, but that’s something people are starting to understand more and more. For that reason, your website visitors may be more skeptical of your content and perceive it as being deeply inauthentic.
Utilizing these authentic content marketing tactics won’t drastically change your traffic or sales overnight, but they do instantly give your brand a boost. By improving your authentic content marketing efforts, you will soon start to benefit from using these tactics.
When you distribute your next content marketing campaign, run an audit. Improve your authentic content marketing factors as much as you can, and as soon as you can.
After all, it’s never too late to become more authentic!
Benefits of Authentic Content Marketing
When it comes to hard evidence to support all the great benefits of authentic content marketing, you’ve got plenty to choose from.
Here are some of the most important stats that showcase the benefits of authentic content marketing:
- Per marketing dollar, content marketing generates 3x as many leads as paid search advertisements. (Source: Kapost)
- 80% of consumers prefer to make purchasing decisions based off information in series of articles, as opposed to an advertisement. (Source: Stratabeat)
- Authentic content marketing costs far less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads (Source: DemandMetric)
- Businesses with blogs that publish 16+ posts per month earn an average of 3.5x as much website traffic as blogs that only publish 0-4 posts per month (Source: Booklexia)
- 47% of customers tend to interact with anywhere from 3 to 5 pieces of content on a business’ website before they even speak to a sales rep. (Source: Booklexia)
- Businesses that use authentic content marketing tactics have proven to have six times higher (2.3%) conversion rates than businesses that don’t (0.5%). (Source: Aberdeen)
With authentic content marketing offering all of these great benefits, why wouldn’t you want to start adopting authentic content marketing for your cannabis business right away?
Now It’s Your Turn
Authentic content marketing is a cost-effective, yet incredibly powerful, digital marketing tool. Effective, authentic content marketing campaigns boost your cannabis business website’s SEO, improves social engagement, generates interest, and boosts brand positioning.
In essence, authentic content marketing not only saves your cannabis business lots of money, but it also complements all the other types of marketing you may in place.
Can’t go wrong with authentic content marketing!