developing a content marketing plan for your cannabis company

developing a content marketing plan for your cannabis company

Content marketing is made up of two parts: content and marketing. Once you have developed original content and optimized it for search, it’s time to start thinking beyond inbound traffic to promotion and outreach for that content. Not everyone uses the internet the same way, and so while many people may be finding your content using target keyword phrases, others may miss the content entirely if you’re not thinking beyond organic search results.

start with the media you own

Owned media includes all the web properties your brand owns like your website, blog, social media channels, email newsletters, etc. When you begin to promote new content, start with the audiences you’ve already captured in these web properties. They have either engaged with your content previously, and/or elected to follow your company in some way because they are a fan. Treat this audience well (ex: sneak peaks, exclusive offers, etc.) because they can be your biggest advocates, but they can also point out issues before you begin marketing to the larger public.

build on what’s working

When you have a budget for media to begin marketing your content, start with your most successful content. Build on what’s working. One of the hardest parts of ad campaigns is coming up with a compelling hook or offer to get your audience to click. If you’re promoting content that you already know is wanted by your target audience (Google Analytics or other performance metrics say it is), your paid campaign has a better chance at being a successful one.

Successful content is not only content that gets people to your website, but it’s content that also keeps your target audience on your website. Make sure that the content pieces you are selecting have low bounce and exit rates. Select content that has a better chance of driving visitors further into your website and converting.

don’t spray & pray

Advertising anywhere, with any message, for any audience, is not going to yield the results you’re looking for from a paid campaign. Make sure you are prioritizing advertising channels that make the most sense for reaching your target audience. For example, if you’re a cannabis lifestyle brand for younger adults, you should have an Instagram account and consider Instagram ads as 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35.

We are big advocates of testing to see what works for you, and we aren’t going to stop saying that now, but doing your research and picking the proper channels to advertise on is incredibly important, otherwise you’ll absolutely be wasting your money and potentially damaging your brand.

With the recent steps toward legalization at the federal level, you may be seeing a lot of the more traditional advertising options begin to open to recreational cannabis companies.

community outreach

Social media influencers are a pretty big deal right now, and it would be a mistake to completely overlook the industry influencers in your space. You may not be able to get someone with a million followers to pose with your product, but there are a lot of niche industry influencers with their own engaged audiences and are far more affordable.

And don’t forget the power of links! Even if a blogger doesn’t have a large audience, search engines look at links as cues that content is more valuable, the more people linking to your content, the more likely the search engines are to value that content higher and display it higher in search results. Reach out to anyone who is sharing their voice in your space and see what you can do to help each other drive more people to your websites.

locations

Seattle

The Bay Area

contact

(206) 420-6121
info@thematters.group

hours

Mon - Fri : 8am–6pm PST

Sat - Sun: Closed

get more out of your cannabis content

get more out of your cannabis content

​The great thing about content is that it can always be revisited, refined, and re-purposed for multiple business and content objectives. In this blog post, we’ll take you through three steps for making sure you’re getting the most out of your cannabis content.

modifying content for additional mediums

Not all content is perfect as-is for every medium. For example, let’s say you want to let your social media followers know you have a new blog post on the site. It wouldn’t make sense to post the entire blog post from directly onto your Instagram, as the goal of a blog post is to get traffic to your site, and if the traffic stays on Instagram, you’re not achieving the blog post’s primary objective. Not to mention most people aren’t coming to Instagram to do a lot of reading, the platform is much more visually focused. And so, in this instance it would make more sense to post a compelling photo or graphic with a link to the blog post in your bio, and include a short excerpt of one the most important/interesting bits of the blog post, something that will hook the audience and get them to click to continue reading.

Making small modifications to your content to fit different mediums is pretty easy, and it vastly increases the chance that people in that medium will engage with your content. Don’t overlook the smaller details!

re-purposing content into additional formats

Re-purposing content is one of the easiest ways to be continually developing new and improved content that you know your audience wants. Let’s say you wrote a blog post three years ago that attracts more entrances to your website than your home page. Obviously, your target audience is craving that content, and you’re ranking well for relevant search queries. So, what’s next? How about developing a free, downloadable white paper that expands on the topic? With a downloadable offering, not only can you offer your audience more valuable insight on the topic, but you can also begin to collect contact information for traffic that was previously just coming to read a blog post, and often leaving before you collected any information about them.

Let’s also not forget that more and more audiences are becoming accustomed to having options for how to consume content in the format they prefer. For example, if you have a library of how-to videos, do you also have written step by step instructions to accompany each video for those who prefer to read a manual vs. watch a video? And vice versa, do you have video content that can accompany existing manuals, for the segment of your audience who prefers watching a video vs. reading?

optimizing all content types for maximum exposure

If you’re at all familiar with SEO, then you probably have at least a basic understanding of optimizing meta data for website content. The basics include Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, and URL structure, but if you’re content is more than just copy on a page, there are several other areas you need to be optimizing for as well. For example, if the page contains images, you’ll want to make sure each of those images contains an optimized image alt text. If the page includes a video, you’ll want to make sure you’ve optimized that video wherever it is originally hosted (like YouTube), so that search engines can easily decipher what the video is about and show it in relevant search queries. For optimizing videos, the more text cues you can give to search engines, the better. Search engines don’t have eyes so they cannot tell what a video or an image contains without cues from you. Make sure you are filling out every possible cue you can (description, title, transcripts, etc.).

These are just a few ways in which you can utilize existing content to make sure you are getting the maximum impact for your content efforts.

locations

Seattle

The Bay Area

contact

(206) 420-6121
info@thematters.group

hours

Mon - Fri : 8am–6pm PST

Sat - Sun: Closed

developing a cannabis content calendar

developing a cannabis content calendar

One of the most important aspects of a Content Playbook is the Content Calendar. The Content Calendar is really the meat of the content strategy which is developed from the Content Audit. A Content Calendar typically includes format, topics, target keyword phrases, due dates, etc. We’ve found that more effective programs have calendars that also include specifying the buyer’s journey stage for the content and its specific content goals. In this blog post, we list the most important aspects each content calendar should include.

identifying the buyer’s journey stage

There are many different takes on the Buyer’s Journey, for this blog post we’ll be using the 3-stage buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Understanding where each piece of content you’re developing fits in the Buyer’s Journey will help you identify areas in which you may be neglecting. For example, if most of your content strategy is primarily to create blog content, but not create more in-depth manuals or case studies, you may be missing out on a large portion of your audience in the Consideration stage, who are close to making a decision. Those people are looking for more information so that they can feel comfortable they’re making an informed decision. As an example, product comparisons are great content for people in this stage.

setting specific content goals

The goals you set for your content aren’t the same as the goals you have for your business, but content goals should support your overall business objectives. For example, if your overall business goal is to sell more products on your website, you’ll have a content goal for attracting your target audience to your site and a content goal to get them to dive deeper into the site and ultimately to a product page. Looking at key performance indicators like page entrances, bounce rate and time on page can help you determine how well your content is at attracting your target audience and keeping them on your website. This is also why it’s important to specify up front which KPI’s will be used to determine whether your content goals were achieved.

establishing a workflow

Maintaining regular content development is extremely difficult without a process in place. The Content Calendar is a great place to document that process by including information about the workflow for each piece. For example, if it’s a blog post, you’ll want to make sure you include who the writer is, who will be editing the piece, and who will be optimizing and uploading it to the website. Not having a clear idea of who is responsible for each step can quickly lead to a breakdown in the process.

determining frequency

We often get asked how much content we should develop and there is no limit, the more original, quality content, the better! Frequency of posting often comes down to weighing your budget vs. your need. We recommend creating as much original, quality content as possible, but we also know that creating original, quality content is time consuming. This is where having achievable goals really comes in handy. Give yourself an achievable goal of one blog post per month. Once you’re regularly achieving that goal, try doubling it. It will require some testing to determine what works best for your team and provides the best return on investment.

choosing topics

Selecting topics to include in your Content Calendar is hard. That’s why we recommend at the top of your content calendar, you write out who your target audience is, and their primary pain points. Quality content is content your target audience finds useful. Once you understand what their pain points are you can use keyword research to figure out what keyword phrases they use to search for relevant topics.

Don’t forget to test different tones and topics to see what resonates most with your audience. These calendars aren’t set in stone, so you can always revisit them if your original strategy isn’t yielding the results you had initially envisioned.

locations

Seattle

The Bay Area

contact

(206) 420-6121
info@thematters.group

hours

Mon - Fri : 8am–6pm PST

Sat - Sun: Closed

cannabis content – is your competition doing it better?

cannabis content – is your competition doing it better?

We often tell people there’s no one right way to do content, but there are several ways to get it wrong. A lot of it is trial and error. It’s testing topics, tones, and mediums to see what resonates with your target audience and gets them to engage. If you’re currently creating content for your business, have you looked back at what has historically worked? Are you keeping an eye on what the competition is doing? And are you actively working to create content for your target audience that no one else has? Answering these three questions will give you a strong foundation for any content strategy.

find out what is and isn’t working with a content audit

Whenever we begin to develop a content marketing strategy for a new client, we first start with a thorough content audit. We start by taking an inventory of all the content that has been created to date, we gather the goals for that content from the client, and we then use a tool like Google Analytics to determine how successful that content is. With that data in hand, we can begin to plot the content in a content matrix, that shows us what of the existing content is working, and what needs to be prioritized for improvement.

Taking inventory of all existing content can be tedious, but the more thorough the audit, the more insightful the content recommendations are. Remember, a content marketing strategy isn’t just about developing new content, it’s also about perfecting what already exists, and you can only do this if you have the full picture of how all your content is currently performing.

keep an eye on the competition with competitive benchmarking

Are your competitors doing content better than you? And how can you figure that out? When conducting competitive performance benchmarking it’s important to focus on key performance indicators that matter. In other words, just because your competition is doing something, doesn’t automatically mean that it’s a worthwhile investment for them, or that it would be a worthwhile investment for you. So instead of focusing on FOMO, focus on the important areas in which your competition is currently beating you: market share, brand recognition, search engine rankings, etc., and then develop a content marketing plan to address those issues specifically.

Let’s say you’re a CBD oil company and most of your business is online sales. People who aren’t familiar with your brand may search for something like “best CBD oil”, and if your competition is taking up the first 3 pages of search results, far fewer people are going to find your site online. Competitive benchmarking in this case should at minimum, include search engine rankings for the top 5-10 target keyword phrases you want to rank for (both for your brand and your competitor) and a high-level content audit of the competitor’s efforts.

Whatever your business goals are, there are analytics tools that will help you determine how you’re currently performing, and how you measure up to the competition. But it starts with focusing on the data that truly matters.

identify opportunities to stand out with a content gap analysis

Once you’ve shored up your existing content and made sure it is serving its purpose correctly, a content gap analysis will help you determine what content is missing from your site. A content gap analysis starts with a high-level content audit of your top competitors. Comparing the findings of your own content audit to your competitor’s can help you identify areas where you may be missing content, as well as the gaps in your competitor’s content efforts.

Knowing what your competition is doing, as well as industry influencers, will help you get a better idea of the areas in which you should prioritize building out more content. Keyword research and social listening are also two great tools for determining what types of content your target audience is looking for.

get started

Understanding what your competition is doing content-wise, as well as how you measure up, will be vital to any focused content marketing strategy. Just remember, you’re not trying to be the competition, you’re trying to beat them.

locations

Seattle

The Bay Area

contact

(206) 420-6121
info@thematters.group

hours

Mon - Fri : 8am–6pm PST

Sat - Sun: Closed

developing a content playbook for your cannabis business

developing a content playbook for your cannabis business

A content playbook is somewhat like an extended campaign brief, it sets the direction and strategy for the content campaign and it’s designed to serve as a resource for the content team members to reference back to as the campaign is executed. Simply put, the content playbook asks these three questions: What have we achieved already? What do we want to achieve? How will we achieve our goals?

conducting a content performance audit – what have we achieved already?

Conducting a thorough content audit is extremely important in any content development strategy. A content audit takes a closer look at existing content to see what’s working and what needs to be improved. To determine how successful certain content is, you’ll need to make sure you have at the minimum an analytics tool like Google Analytics in place. Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that gives you a vast amount of insight as to how people get to your site, and what they do once they are there.

To get a fuller sense of what has been achieved requires not only looking at your own content but conducting competitive benchmarking and a gap analysis against your top competitors. Looking at your top competitors can help you identify gaps in your own content, areas needing improvement, as well as opportunities to stand out. We will dive further into this topic in a separate post, but for now, know that it’s important to get the full picture of all your content efforts in order to develop a plan to improve.

setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) – what do we want to achieve?

Developing content for the sake of developing content is not a good strategy, goal, or objective. At best it’s a waste of time and resources, at worst it could negatively impact people’s perceptions of your brand. Quality will always beat quantity when it comes to content, and that’s why your strategy needs to consider your overall business goals and objectives, when defining the goals and objectives for your content campaign.

Your website is your digital storefront, defining what you want to achieve through it, first, will help you prioritize your content needs. If your goal is to sell your products online, do you have an online store that functions properly? If your goal is to gather leads from your website, are you effectively gathering all the information you need to make meaningful follow ups? If your goal is to raise awareness of your brand for prospects doing category research, are you showing up in search results for relevant searches?

Whatever your content goals are, selecting relevant key performance indicators, will also help keep your campaign on track, and flag any potential issues. For example, if your goal is to double engaged traffic to the website in 6 months, a couple of relevant Google Analytics’ KPIs would be Time on Page (average time engaging with the content), and Bounce Rate (percentage leaving the site after that page).

structured campaign management – how will we achieve our goals?

Once the overall strategy is determined via content audits and goals setting, the specific tactics to execute that strategy should also be captured in the content playbook. This includes defined target personas, an editorial calendar, and workflow processes.

Target personas can be developed through consumer research, it’s important that these personas are fact-based. In the content playbook we dive deeper into the target personas, identifying their motivations and needs, so that we can make sure we are developing content for them first and foremost.

The editorial calendar is really the meat of the plan. It will lay out the frequency of posts, their topics, target keywords, due dates, and statuses. The editorial calendar is perhaps the only page in the playbook that will be regularly updated, as the campaign progresses.

Finally, making sure the workflow processes for developing new content are clearly defined can be incredibly helpful going forward, so that no matter who the individual writer or web developer is, there is a clear process the entire team can follow.

don’t lose momentum – how can we keep it going?

We’ve seen incredible returns on even our most modest content campaigns. However, most content campaigns don’t see major improvements until six or more months in, so it’s important to not give up and remember that consistent effort on a clarified strategy can yield major results!

 

locations

Seattle

The Bay Area

contact

(206) 420-6121
info@thematters.group

hours

Mon - Fri : 8am–6pm PST

Sat - Sun: Closed