CBD is just getting started. The market has exploded in recent years and is slated to hit $22 billion by 2022. Unfortunately, it has grown more quickly than education can follow.
As a result, CBD marketing professionals face a unique challenge: how can you market a medicinally beneficial product while fighting misinformation and misconceptions that are already entrenched within your audience’s mindset? How can you market your CBD brand in a way that both educates your potential customers and convinces them that your product is the right choice for them?
That’s where content marketing becomes an undeniable opportunity. Already a powerhouse regardless of industry, it’s uniquely suited for an industry like CBD.
In this article, we’ll explain the unique match of content marketing and CBD before exploring the nuances and best practices of this match. It’s a valuable guide for any CBD business looking to make an impact and build a better marketing strategy.
The Unique Power of Content Marketing for CBD Brands
The concept of content marketing is simple: it’s the creation of content that’s valuable for your audience rather than promotional. By addressing audience pain points and answering pressing questions, content marketing seeks to pull potential customers into your brand rather than pushing simple marketing messages out to them.
- 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement.
- 72% say it has increased the number of leads.
- Content creation is a top priority for 53% of marketers.
We could keep going, but the point is simple: focussing on value over promotion means more engagement, more interest, and ultimately more customers.
And that’s just general stats. Narrow the focus on CBD, and the value of content marketing becomes even more obvious.
As mentioned above, the degree of misinformation about this industry is a serious challenge for most businesses in the space. A recent survey showed that while most Americans now know CBD, about two-thirds of them are concerned about its widespread use. Meanwhile, the same survey found that 23% of U.S. adults think it can become a gateway drug to recreational marijuana.
Perhaps for that reason, Google and Facebook tend to treat CBD the same way they treat recreational cannabis. The world’s two largest digital ad platforms treat it as an “unsafe supplement” and don’t allow for any ads promoting the product.
This is where content marketing for CBD use especially shines. It can serve specifically to clear up misconceptions, while also offering an alternative to paid ads. It’s a way to get the word out about your business in a way that both educates and convinces your audience to become your customers. This is how.
8 CBD Marketing Ideas that Leverage Content
At its core, content marketing means building valuable content, most likely on your website or social media presence, and then making sure your audience sees it.
Of course, the framework behind that simple concept is much more complex. These 8 best practices can help you build a comprehensive CBD content marketing strategy.
1) Build an Audience Overview
Every type of marketing starts with an understanding of your audience, but it matters even more in content marketing. To truly be able to provide valuable content, you have to understand not just their demographics, but also their interests, passions, and–perhaps most importantly–their pain points.
Great content about CBD products answers pressing questions that your audience has. Do you know, or can you predict, what those questions are?
One proven method that can help you build this in-depth audience overview: buyer personas. Think of them as hypothetical profiles of what your ideal customers look like.
Personas are based on your audience research and insights but have a name, image, and background that helps you paint a more complete picture. For instance, your core target persona might be Rachel, a 32-year-old nurse who is looking for supplements that can help her naturally relieve stress.
Because they’re so specific, single buyer personas are typically not enough. Depending on the variety within your typical customer base, build between two and four personas to cover your entire target audience.
2) Align All Content With Your Audiences
Building buyer personas, of course, is only the beginning. To leverage these personas, every piece of content you build should be based on the insights, pain points, and passions uncovered in each profile.
It bears repeating: the core of content marketing is creating value. Through personas, you have uncovered just what that ‘value’ is to your audience, taking the guesswork out of the equation. Now, it’s time to build it.
We’ll discuss the types of content that can be part of this strategy in more detail below. For now, it’s important to realize that the same personas should be the basis for all of your content, including (but not limited to):
- Every page and article you post on your website.
- Every update you make on your social media presence.
- Every email you send to customers and prospects in your database.
- Every long-form eBook or whitepaper you might distribute as PDFs.
Stated differently, focus on every word you write for your digital presence, no matter the platform. If all of that content aligns with the audiences you’ve defined and profiled, you’re on the right path.
3) Create Relevant, High-Value Website Content
Content marketing begins and ends on your website. This is and should be your core outlet for creating the value that your audience will seek out. More specifically, it pays to focus on three types of website content to build your value.
- Long-form blog posts. In these posts, you can directly address the questions your audience might have about CBD. They’re perfect to clear up misconceptions, cite new studies of effectiveness, or just describe application possibilities for your products. These blog posts should be comprehensive; the average length of a blog post on the first page of Google is just under 1,900 words.
- FAQ pages. Blog posts are designed to answer single questions comprehensively. The alternative, FAQ pages, allow you to address many questions in short, relevant answers on a single page. Built the right way, these FAQ pages are an SEO treasure trove while also providing crucial answers to your audience’s questions.
- Pillar pages. This type of page aggregates an entire category worth of content into a single overview. It’s a great opportunity to link out to multiple blog posts and other pieces of content published elsewhere, acting as the cornerstone for a wide variety of related topics. Like the other two page types above, pillar pages also increase your SEO.
It’s not about choosing between these options. A mix of all three tends to be ideal to answer the various types of questions your audience may have at any given time. Once creative, this content becomes the foundation for breakout content on social media, email, and other channels.
4) Leverage Video as a Delivery Mechanism
Never underestimate the power of video. More than 50% of marketers around the world name it as the type of content with the highest ROI. It’s a great way to summarize your content, make it digestible, and distribute it through a variety of social and other digital channels.
If you’ve already built high-value web content as described above, finding topics for video is pretty easy. You can share the same insights from your blog posts, FAQ pages, and category pages. You can even link to these pages as a way to get more in-depth info on the same topic.
You no longer need to be an expert video editor to create compelling videos for your content strategy. Several tools are available to content marketers who want to create anything from screen recordings to animated explainers. You just have to know where to look.
Video is especially relevant for social media, where its engagement rates outpace every other type of content. Use it for ‘flashy’ topics and easy to explain areas that clear up CBD myths and explain treatment possibilities.
5) Use Gated Content to Build Lead Generation Funnels
A core piece of content marketing is generating leads – the process of getting potential customers so interested, they’re willing to give you their contact info to consume your content. Once they enter into your database, you can reach out to your leads in more personal ways and increase their chances of becoming customers.
To build these lead generation funnels, you need a few core components:
- So-called gated content, which is valuable enough for your audience to give you their email address. This content may take the form of an eBook about CBD or a guide on treatments and types of products. Think of it as an even more in-depth version of the page content described in the third point above.
- A landing page on which your gated content will live. This landing page should sell your audience on the content, outlining its highlights without giving away too much. This is also a great place for social proof, reviews from experts and peers that play a key role in winning your audience’s trust.
- A sign-up form that facilitates the contact information exchange without making it too difficult or complex. Keep it as simple as possible, potentially just asking for a first name, last name, and email address.
Once built, your landing pages deserve some promotion. Push them out on social media, optimize them for search engines (more on that later), and call them out on related blog posts or FAQ pages. If the content is valuable enough, and your audience knows about it, this piece will become a core part of your sales funnel.
6) Create Email Series Designed to Nurture Your Leads
Of course, getting new leads into your database is only the beginning. Across industries, only about 25% of your leads are ready to buy your product. The rest of them need some extra help and convincing.
That’s where lead nurturing enters the equation. It’s your opportunity to stay top of mind for your leads, continuing to provide them with value while subtly reminding them about your brand and value proposition.
Most lead nurturing occurs through email, where you can build automated series to any new leads that span over a few weeks. Crucially, these emails should not be sales pitches. Instead, they’re your opportunity to up the ante on providing value. These email series might include:
- Call-outs to your blog posts and other page content for in-depth info.
- Links to your videos for more visual components.
- Original, email-only topics, such as a series on how to overcome anxiety (including CBD as a potential solution, of course).
Updates on industry trends and changes for consumers on the edge.
7) Sponsor Your Content to Enhance Your Visibility
We’ve described above the challenges that the CBD industry faces when it comes to digital ads, but that doesn’t mean you’re without options. You can use ads on social media in a variety of ways to maximize the impact of the content you publish:
- Maximize the reach of general content that doesn’t fall into the supplement restrictions, focusing on topics such as ’10 ways to overcome anxiety’.
- Build retargeting ads that focus on recent web visitors and lead to your landing pages for gated content.
- Create lead ads on Facebook or Instagram that can help you build your email lists right on the platform, without having to visit your website.
- Use your email lists, built through content marketing, to target advanced content and news about your company (such as new product launches) to prospects who already know about you.
Remember that when you use ad platforms, those platforms own your audiences. The targeting possibilities, especially if you’ve built buyer personas, are extensive. That means performing some research before setting up your ads to make sure you’re reaching the right audience with the right type of content.
8) Optimize Your Content for Search Engines
Finally, no guide on content marketing could be complete without an emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO). You’ve already heard us mention it a few times above. It’s the process of making sure that your content is easily found by users who type relevant content into Google or Bing.
SEO includes a technical component, which has to do with your website built and is beyond the scope of this guide. But it’s important to realize just how much content plays into the equation, as well.
Optimizing your posts for Google includes a few core steps:
- Analyze Google Trends data to determine the types of queries and language nuances trending on Google.
- Perform in-depth keyword research to understand exactly what questions your audience is asking, and how they’re phrasing them.
- Build your content around these keywords, but make sure you’re still providing the value your audience is looking for. Google takes quality metrics like time on page and user engagement into account for its rankings.
- Review old content to see how you can update it with new, relevant data and facts that make it more relevant for your audience.
Every bit of content you publish on your website, from landing pages to FAQ sections, can follow these basic SEO guidelines. That means your audience can find you, and begin to treat you as an authority as you publish your content on an ongoing basis.
Are You Ready to Transform Your CBD Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing for CBD companies is not easy, but it’s far from impossible. You just have to make sure that you get it right. Rather than simply trying to push out promotional messages, content marketing is tailor-made for a fast-growing industry still struggling with public perceptions.
But, as this guide shows, building a comprehensive content marketing strategy is not easy. It requires careful thought, time, and a good bit of expertise. Fortunately, you’re not alone.
At Big Sea, our proven expertise in content marketing matches perfectly with our experience in helping CBD businesses like yours grow. Contact us to learn more about a potential partnership, and how we can help you transform your marketing strategy.