cannabis content marketing is a key tool in b2b marketing for the marijuana industry

Is Cannabis Content Marketing the Future?

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As the legal Cannabis industry goes modern and mainstream, the business and content marketing needs of the companies involved are exploding as well. What does this mean for B2B content marketers and PPC campaigns?

Legal cannabis is now a $6 billion industry in the U.S., and analysts expect it to be worth $50 billion by 2026. Ancillary cannabis-related accessories, gifts, and even software platforms are now considered bigtime moneymakers at modern, mainstream retail.

It’s also everywhere on some of the most influential business, fashion, lifestyle, and wellness media outlets — and, of course, on Instagram. The New Yorker, Inc. Magazine, Refinery 29, and Elle Magazine have all gone deep into cannabis content and are reaping the benefits in terms of views, clicks, and engagement.

There’s a whiff of those early days of the World Wide Web, when there were business opportunities always just about to happen. But what can companies do to develop and promote B2B content that drives leads?

In a recent piece of cannabis business content marketing we created for a trade show client, John Morgan of SVP of Client Engagement at Simplifya, a compliance app, summed it up nicely:

“With cannabis businesses, you are really in the compliance business.”

This statement accurately describes the challenges that most content marketers face today when running even the most basic paid amplification and PPC campaigns for this kind of B2B content.

Facebook and Google PPC for Cannabis Content Marketing (or Lack Thereof)

For businesses of any size, creating audience-focused and pay-to-deliver content across Facebook, Instagram, and Google to generate customer leads is pretty straightforward.

At this point, even though cannabis is legal in almost 50% of the country, Facebook and Google don’t allow any paid content promotion even for the most evergreen, cannabis-related business content.

Facebook and Instagram have also been particularly aggressive (and cryptic) when it comes to suspending cannabis-related social accounts without notice. The risk is just too great for businesses in this space.

This will probably be an issue until prohibition disappears completely or the business really does become too large to ignore.

Going Back to Basics: Offline Meets Online, Once Again

How do B2B content marketers get around this PPC “blackout”?

We spoke with executives at some of the top business conferences in the space and learned that they’re having the most success going back to basics: combining personal networks, “old school” digital tactics, and promotional partnerships to supercharge lead flow.

A top executive at the Vegas Cannabis Summit gave us his content marketing and lead-gen checklist:

    • Create audience-focused, journalistic content designed to convert readers to conference attendees (or sales leads).
    • Establish partnerships to leverage mutually beneficial audiences.
    • Insert Unbounce lead-gen landing pages into blog posts and email newsletters .
    • Promote the speakers at your event rather than the products directly; they, in turn, promote your event.

  • Leverage Media partners (Print ads, website ads, newsletter sponsorships)
  • Influencers
  • Email marketing — building your own email lists
  • Traditional PR
  • Writing and placing thought leadership articles
  • 1-1- networking at Business conferences for in-person networking

The Culture+ trade show and conference at ASD Market Week also leverages their media and influencer partnerships to attract retailers and vendors to participate in their event.

So far, these tactics have been an effective way around paid PPC marketing, but more importantly, they represent a well-rounded, integrated marketing approach all types of companies should be re-looking into.

PPC is coming — we may have to wait until legalization spreads and the business matures — but it’s definitely on the way.

The Future Of Cannabis Content Marketing Is Now

Remember the olden days of the internet when all those smart people said, “No one’s ever going to buy clothing online”? Well

if you’re in the cannabis or a cannabis-related business, get ready to build your content and lead-generation apparatus just like all the other “mainstream” businesses and global corporations do.

Cannabis entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are preparing for the business floodgates to open any day now — we should all be prepared.

by Jed Wexler, CEO and Content Chief of 818 Agency

Read more B2B Cannabis client content here.

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