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Why Your Cannabis Content Strategy Doesn’t Have to Go Up in Smoke

Part 1 of the NAI's Cutting-Edge Series: As the cloud of marijuana stigma lifts in the United States, budding cannabis brands will have to compete with varying moral and regulatory opinions. The solution? Content marketing using Native Advertising.

Bidtellect_MissySteinerBy Missy Steiner
VP of Marketing at Bidtellect.
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The Recent Cannabis Resurgence

Starting with early adopter Colorado, 37 states have passed legislation allowing adult consumption for medical and, in some cases, recreational purposes (New York Post). Missouri recently released rules for medical marijuana facilities (KY3). There has been a 76% increase in Cannabis Industry Jobs in the US, according to AZ Marijuana. The Global Legal Cannabis Market is projected to hit $166 billion by 2025 (Euromonitor). In fact, the New York Post just reported the marijuana industry could surpass the NFL in revenue by 2020.

It is the fastest-growing market in the world, according to MarketWatch. “Within 10 years, cannabis will be a regular part of daily routines,” said Zora Milenkovic, head of drinks and tobacco at Euromonitor International. “From a functional ingredient to an intoxicating buzz, cannabis will reshape fast-moving consumer goods, with food, beverages, beauty, health and tobacco having the most potential for disruption.” (Euromonitor).

While revenue dollars for the new cannabis industry are adding up, reform for those still paying the price for past cannabis-related crimes is also gaining steam. The New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (NORML) aiming to re-define usage and decrease prosecution is currently in committee. And the “Last Prisoner Project,” aimed at justice reform for cannabis-related crimes recently launched with a star-studded event in Hollywood (Vanity Fair).

We are witnessing history: the growth of a new industry in conjunction with rebuilding a reputation from the bottom up.

As laws rapidly change and vary by location, interested consumers are left confused about where to buy and what. The answer to clarification: advertising.

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How Content Can (And Is) Re-Branding Marijuana

A massive re-branding movement is underway and content marketing is behind it. Quality content, rather than banner ads or posters, is what re-educates consumers on the benefits of marijuana (and ultimately drives sales). New research and articles are being released every day on the latest healing benefits of CBD from inflammation to stress release to skin ailments, offering new research, educational resources, tips, lists, recipes, and more.

What brings users to these? A content marketing strategy.

Content has been the force behind establishing cannabis as a new alternative in the health and wellness space – from recreational to medicinal to soothing skin and beauty products – by pushing content to educate consumers, rather than just the product itself.

A native advertising approach offers consumers the chance to learn more and make an educated decision about purchasing on their own. It’s why sites like MyCBD.org and Leafly.com have blown up: a hub of information to educate oneself on a new and rapidly growing industry.

How content is targeted to consumers matter. Consider: a mom is unlikely to start engaging with (and might even be turned off by) social sponsored posts about weed on Instagram. She’s far more likely to read a sponsored article on the web about how Medicinal Marijuana helped another mom with epilepsy. This is where context comes into play: placed on a site offering healing advice, alternative medicines, or stress relief, a sponsored article on the healing benefits of cannabis does not seem so out of place.  A Native Ad that leads a user to high-quality content aligns with the goal of re-education and reputation-building. Leave the dated perceptions of cannabis back with bad ads – in the past. Content is your secret weapon.

Meanwhile, social media advertising is limited and often restrictive – the lack of law consistency is a headache not worth the trouble (ETF). For those venturing outside the walled gardens on programmatic ad platforms, simple display and banner ads face roadblocks similar to social if they are not Native Ads.

MJ Lovers: establish your company as a thought leader at the forefront of cutting edge health and wellness development. Create high-quality content that lifts your reputation above marijuana’s seedy past. Turn to a content-distribution platform to distribute your content in a targeted, trackable, and measurable way. The right content and right distribution with be the key to re-energizing the state of medicinal marijuana advertising.

Want more insights?

Join us at Native Advertising DAYS 2019 for industry insights from 500+ practitioners. Don’t wait, get your ticket today to save BIG!

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