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Cultivating Digital Growth: SEO and Content Marketing for Cannabis Brands

by | Jun 27, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Shawna Seldon McGregor, Founder and CEO of Maverick Public Relations, and Lavall Chichester, Founder and CEO of Growth Skills and Flavor Fix, shared valuable insights on content marketing and SEO strategies for cannabis businesses during part six of Cannabis Marketing Association’s 2024 “Ask a Marketer Anything” web series. CMA hosted this 8-part series to address the numerous questions from members and provide them with direct access to industry experts. CMA values peer knowledge sharing and believes these forums can foster a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges cannabis marketers face.

Shawna Seldon McGregor brings a decade of experience in cannabis public relations, while Lavall Chichester offers expertise in growth marketing, SEO, and content strategy for cannabis and CBD brands. Their combined knowledge provides a well-rounded perspective on navigating the evolving cannabis marketing landscape.

This comprehensive summary highlights key points discussed during the session, offering actionable advice for cannabis marketers adapting to potential industry rescheduling and regulatory changes. The blog post covers strategies for audience understanding, content creation, regulatory compliance, multi-channel marketing, SEO optimization, and preparing for future paid advertising opportunities.

This blog post was crafted in collaboration between Cannabis Marketing Association and the AI tool, Perplexity, using the live transcript from the session. All content was reviewed and fact-checked by a human.


Understanding Your Audience

One of the fundamental aspects of successful cannabis marketing is understanding your target audience. Lavall, Founder and CEO of Growth Skills and Flavor Fix, emphasizes the importance of using data-driven approaches to gain insights into audience behavior. By utilizing tools like Dstillery, marketers can analyze website traffic and uncover unexpected interests of their audience, such as cryptocurrency enthusiasts among cannabis consumers. This approach allows marketers to tailor their content to meet the specific needs and interests of their audience, ensuring higher engagement and conversion rates.

Understanding your audience is not just about knowing who they are but also about understanding their behaviors, preferences, and pain points. This knowledge enables marketers to create more personalized and relevant content, which can significantly enhance user engagement and loyalty. By leveraging data analytics tools, cannabis marketers can gain deeper insights into their audience’s online behavior, preferences, and interests, allowing them to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

To further enhance your marketing strategies and stay ahead in the industry, consider joining CMA as a member. As a CMA member, you’ll gain access to invaluable resources, networking opportunities, and expert insights that will help you navigate the complex world of cannabis marketing.


Crafting Compelling Content

Shawna Seldon McGregor, Founder and CEO of Maverick Public Relations, stresses the importance of creating high-quality, educational content that resonates with both existing customers and the “canna-curious”. She advises focusing on addressing common questions and concerns, such as:

  1. Why cannabis is not scary
  2. What it means for your state
  3. How to approach the shopping journey
  4. Understanding different products and their effects

By addressing these topics, marketers can demystify cannabis for new users and provide valuable information that helps guide their purchasing decisions.

Crafting compelling content is about more than just providing information; it’s about telling a story that resonates with your audience. High-quality content can help build trust and credibility with your audience, making them more likely to engage with your brand and become loyal customers. By focusing on educational content that addresses common questions and concerns, cannabis marketers can help demystify the industry and make it more accessible to new users.


Adapting to Regulatory Changes

As the cannabis industry anticipates potential rescheduling, marketers must be prepared to adapt their content strategies. Key considerations include:

  1. Staying informed about FTC and FDA regulations
  2. Consulting with attorneys to ensure compliance
  3. Empowering third-party advocates to share your story
  4. Providing authoritative and educational content

These steps are crucial for maintaining compliance and building trust with consumers, especially as the regulatory landscape continues to evolve.

Adapting to regulatory changes is a continuous process that requires vigilance and flexibility. As regulations change, cannabis marketers must be prepared to adjust their strategies to remain compliant and effective. This may involve consulting with legal experts, staying informed about new regulations, and being proactive in addressing potential compliance issues. By staying ahead of regulatory changes, cannabis marketers can ensure that their content remains relevant and compliant, helping to build trust and credibility with their audience.

To stay at the forefront of these regulatory changes, consider joining the Cannabis Marketing Association. As a CMA member, you’ll gain access to invaluable resources, including our exclusive state-by-state guide to cannabis regulations in all 50 U.S. states. This comprehensive document is an essential tool for navigating the complex regulatory landscape of cannabis marketing across the nation, ensuring your strategies remain compliant and effective in every state you operate in.


Leveraging Multiple Channels

To maximize reach and engagement, cannabis marketers should utilize a diverse array of channels. Shawna emphasizes that it’s never just about one platform, stating, “It’s never just Instagram.” Consider incorporating:

  1. Social media platforms, including emerging channels like TikTok
  2. Influencer partnerships and storytellers
  3. News outlets and media relationships
  4. Owned media platforms and community-building initiatives

By diversifying their marketing efforts, brands can reach a broader audience and create more touchpoints for engagement.

Leveraging multiple channels allows cannabis marketers to reach a wider audience and create more opportunities for engagement. By using a mix of social media platforms, influencer partnerships, news outlets, and owned media, marketers can create a more comprehensive and effective marketing strategy. This approach not only helps to increase brand visibility but also allows marketers to engage with their audience in different ways, creating a more dynamic and interactive experience.


Optimizing for Search Engines

While Shawna boldly claims “SEO is dead,” she acknowledges that it’s an evolving beast requiring constant adaptation. Lavall offers insights into current SEO strategies for cannabis brands:

  1. Creating health-focused landing pages to bypass restrictions
  2. Carefully following platform guidelines to avoid account shutdowns
  3. Implementing “Project Lead SEO” to create demand around product-related topics
  4. Optimizing content for various channels, including Google’s AI-powered search features

These strategies help ensure that cannabis brands remain visible and competitive in search engine results, even as algorithms and guidelines change.

Optimizing for search engines is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy. By staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and best practices, cannabis marketers can ensure that their content remains visible and competitive in search engine results. This involves not only optimizing content for relevant keywords but also creating high-quality, engaging content that provides value to users. By focusing on both technical and content-based SEO strategies, cannabis marketers can improve their search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic to their websites.


Preparing for Paid Advertising Opportunities

As regulatory changes potentially open up new avenues for paid advertising, cannabis marketers should be prepared to navigate this landscape. Lavall suggests:

  1. Staying updated on platform guidelines
  2. Using strategic workarounds, such as health-focused landing pages
  3. Being cautious to avoid account suspensions
  4. Anticipating more relaxed regulations similar to the alcohol industry

By staying informed and adaptable, marketers can take advantage of new advertising opportunities as they arise.

Preparing for paid advertising opportunities involves understanding the current regulatory landscape and being prepared to adapt to changes. As regulations evolve, new opportunities for paid advertising may become available, allowing cannabis marketers to reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to their websites. By staying informed about platform guidelines and using strategic workarounds, marketers can navigate the complexities of paid advertising and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.


Measuring Success and Iterating

To ensure the effectiveness of content marketing and SEO efforts, cannabis marketers should:

  1. Regularly analyze website traffic and engagement metrics
  2. Monitor search engine rankings for target keywords
  3. Track conversions and ROI from various channels
  4. Continuously refine strategies based on performance data

By embracing these strategies and remaining adaptable to industry changes, cannabis marketers can create impactful content marketing and SEO campaigns that drive awareness, engagement, and conversions in this dynamic and growing market.

Measuring success and iterating on strategies is essential for continuous improvement. By regularly analyzing performance data and making adjustments based on insights, cannabis marketers can ensure that their content marketing and SEO efforts remain effective and aligned with their goals. This involves not only tracking key metrics but also being proactive in identifying areas for improvement and making necessary changes. By continuously refining their strategies, cannabis marketers can stay ahead of the competition and drive long-term success.


Key Takeaways from the Content Marketing and SEO Strategies AMA

Shawna and Lavall answered numerous questions from CMA members, and several key themes emerged from their expertise. Their insights provided a comprehensive overview of the current state and future potential of content marketing and SEO strategies in the cannabis industry. From adapting to regulatory changes to leveraging emerging opportunities, their responses offered valuable guidance for cannabis marketers looking to enhance their digital strategies. 

Here are the key takeaways from the Content Marketing and SEO Strategy AMA:

  1. Understanding your audience is crucial for creating effective content and SEO strategies.
  2. High-quality, educational content is essential for engaging both existing customers and the “canna-curious.”
  3. Adapting to potential rescheduling and regulatory changes is vital for future success.
  4. Leveraging multiple channels, including social media and influencer partnerships, can maximize reach and engagement.
  5. SEO strategies must evolve constantly, with a focus on health-related content and compliance with platform guidelines.
  6. Preparing for potential paid advertising opportunities while navigating current restrictions is important.
  7. Regularly measuring success and iterating on strategies is crucial for continuous improvement.
  8. Content marketing should focus on addressing common questions and concerns about cannabis use and products.

By following these insights and best practices, cannabis marketers can navigate the complex landscape of content marketing and SEO, creating effective campaigns that drive results for their businesses in an evolving regulatory environment.

Want to access more AMAs and cannabis marketing content? Join the Cannabis Marketing Association community today! 

CMA Members: log into the Member Portal to watch the full recording and register for the entire virtual “Ask a Marketer Anything” Cannabis Marketing Summit mini-series here. All sessions will be recorded and available in the Member Portal.

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