How to Choose Content Ideas for your Cannabis Business
Focus on your customers’ problems, rather than your solution
According to Arcview Market Research, the cannabis industry created its first $5 billion company in 2017. This report notes that the industry saw 37% growth last year alone, reaching $9.5 billion worldwide in consumer spending. All but $1 billion of this was in the United States.
Forecasts indicate consumer spending on cannabis products will triple by 2022, creating a $32 billion global market – and a $23.4 billion market in the United States. The opportunity doesn’t come without its challenges. Local regulations run the gamut, from Michigan’s preference to spell it as “marihuana,” to Oregon’s stipulation that signage can only use Times New Roman or Arial fonts. So, one thing’s for sure: you absolutely must know your market and its restrictions before you can create content.
How you say it
AdAge advises cannabis marketers looking to elevate their brands to think “sophisticated” rather than stoner, and to elevate the language. It’s more than word choices, though. The article also reminds us that the industry represents a movement – not a product – which compels you to look at the “larger culture around your product.”
Heed this last suggestion because it plays a pivotal role in helping you determine content ideas. The consumer market for cannabis products is young, and prospects are in the information-gathering stage of the buyer’s journey. The content most relevant to them is educational and helps to give perspective. If you want to insert your brand into the culture being created around cannabis, the objective of your content should be to position yourself as a thought leader. What subjects are important in helping them to make educated buying decisions, and how can you insert your brand in this conversation?
I know you
Put the “why” of your content ideas before the “how” or the “what.”
Why? Because people don’t care about your business, they care about their problems. Prospects likely don’t know much about cannabis because little research has been done on it. Cannabis began to be prohibited in the early 1900s, and the first country-wide regulation came with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Cannabis is still classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance.
Research is striving to fill the void. Meanwhile, cannabis is a substance regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Federal Food, Dug, and Cosmetic Act requires you to clearly communicate that whatever you say about your products has “not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”
Prospects are hungry for information about cannabis and products derived from it. They’re looking for ways to insert the idea of cannabis and its benefits into their worldview. Thought leadership and aligning yourself with the culture that grows up around this product requires you to define your relationship with cannabis – demonstrating your “why.”
What’s the importance of connecting with customers because of your “why” instead of your features and benefits? Apple understands the importance, and marketing expert Simon Sinek explains it well in his popular TED Talk. If you’re in a TLDNR mode, head to this five-minute edited version. Prospects who become your customers want to know why you have a relationship with cannabis. It’s a content idea that should pose a big challenge for you to exhaust.
Prospects want to be educated and gain perspective before they’re interested in hearing about the features and benefits of your cannabis product. But you’re required by law to disclose that the FDA hasn’t evaluated your claims. Are your hands tied? What kind of content makes sense?
What can you share that offers insight, that’s not a duplication of what’s already been said, which doesn’t run afoul of regulations, and which inserts your brand into the culture being created around cannabis?
The audience for cannabis products is young – not in age but in terms of interest. This audience is still determining its demographics. Google trends shows that the most popular searches seek information about legality and health benefits.
Look at what’s being searched for, and where those searches are taking place. Consider the purpose, the “why” of your brand. Distill your content ideas based on what prospects want to know – meaning the problems they wish to solve – and your unique approach to solving it. Push a signal through the noise.
It’s not about your brand, it’s about:
- Understanding why cannabis products may solve specific health issues.
- Offering assurance that prospects are not alone in asking if cannabis products are beneficial – or even legal.
- Fitting the concept of cannabis into the everyday world, meaning it even may offer benefits to our pets.
- Satisfying the desire to understand how and why cannabis products can potentially resolve health problems.
- Offering opportunities to engage with you and reasons to trust your brand.
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