M.O.
STREET CRED
SQUAD
lifestyle PR + digital media

Tips for cannabis marketers

April 10, 2019

If you’ve been paying attention at all for the last 7 years, you know that cannabis has become increasingly legal, if incremental, across the country. And though regulators, the criminal justice system, and the industry itself have a lot of work to do to ensure the long-term success and equity of the industry, sales already represents billions of dollars in sales.

But as every cannabis marketer knows, the marketing standards for cannabis—still a federally illegal substance—are very different than they are even for other regulated substances like alcohol. Cannabis brands’ social media pages are frequently shut down, losing thousands of followers and forcing brands to start from scratch.

Another issue: cannabis brands can’t advertise on the major social media platforms. And, specifically on Facebook, not spending advertising dollars means even organic content isn’t seen by fans.

PR efforts, too, can be more difficult. Though the legalization and normalization of cannabis use has made Colorado media more apt to include cannabis coverage, national publications are still sometimes hesitant. And forget about sending media samples to national media based out of state, which obviously requires sending cannabis outside of the state (a move that’s illegal).

So how do smart cannabis marketers minimize risk while effectively marketing their product? We’ve got a few quick tips.

SM

  • Build audiences across several social media platforms. That way, if one of your channels gets shut down, you still have a way of reaching your audience to tell them where to find you.
  • Invest in video. Video content tends to perform better than still images on social. Since you can’t use ad dollars to boost posts, creating engaging video content is the next best thing. Perhaps you identify a few key topics to focus video content on, including education on how your plant is grown and cultivated and dispelling myths about cannabis use.

PR

  • Scheduling deskside interviews with national media and leadership at your cannabis brand can be an effective, if traditional, method for getting on the radar of national media. No, the media won’t be able to, uh, sample the product, but they can still hear directly from leadership about what the company and the industry are doing. For those of us in Colorado, cannabis is normal, but it’s still a novelty to national media—so giving media more reasons to think and write about it means more opportunities for them to reach out to your brand as the expert source.
  • Consider influencer marketing. This, too, is subject to more scrutiny than other industries, but influencer marketing can be a successful way to tell your brand story with less risk. As with any influencer campaign, make sure to have a contract in place and clear expectations outlined.

What tips would you add?