What is the Power Behind Cannabis PR and Event Marketing?



With the right PR and cannabis event marketing strategy, you can build your network, gain exposure and make invaluable connections

Table of Contents

What Is Cannabis Public Relations and Event Marketing All About?

Cannabis Public Relations and Event Marketing are two powerful tools that can be used together to grow your media presence and connections within the cannabis industry to create an invaluable network of colleagues, collaborators and partners. 

A holistic PR strategy can generate immediate business-boosting results when the multifaceted approach includes virtual and in-person events.

How Can a Good Cannabis PR Strategy Help Your Business?

You know that old saying any press is good press? Well, that’s not entirely true, especially for emerging brands and businesses. So the main reason strategic PR is so useful to any business is the power it has to control the narrative about your brand. And this process alone is especially crucial given the current state of the cannabis industry. 

Strict cannabis advertising rules from national advertisers, Google and Facebook keep businesses from being able to market and sell products in a direct way. Meanwhile, the marketplace is saturated with competitors that may have more presence, budget and connections than other contenders within the space.

To counter these advertising limitations and fierce competitors, it’s crucial to use PR tactics to get your business into the media cycle and spotlight its main differentiators through the lens of journalists and media influencers to gain earned-media relevance. In fact, good PR is so important to growing businesses, the current value of the PR market is estimated to surpass $93 billion by 2022. That’s a lot of story pitches! 

How Does Event Marketing Fit Into PR Strategy?

Like PR, there’s an old saying that applies to the power of event marketing: It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Because when it comes down to growing your business, you’ll need the right connections. A business without a network is one without support. So imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have anyone to call on for advice, guidance or even supplies when a little help could mean more leads and sales. 

Through events, you have a prime opportunity to make your brand seen, heard and remembered while also developing a business network of industry peers and partners. It all starts with hosting a must-attend event that brings together business leaders, industry insiders, media and more. 

Before the pandemic, the private event planning market had generated nearly $5 billion dollars in value according to Statista. Now, the very nature of in-person events has changed, but they’re not extinct—far from it.  

At the same time, virtual events have really taken off. From webinars and online speaking engagements to even casual happy hour hangs, the virtual space is a great way to continue making connections and spotlighting your brand, even when hosting an in-person event isn’t possible. 

How Can You Host the Ultimate Cannabis Event?

Coordinating interviews and media outreach are part of the cannabis PR game, sure, but so are must-attend events. Curated, exclusive event marketing can turn a company from nothing into something based on the fact that an event brings together influential people. You can sell your brand in real time to fellow humans.

With Event Marketing, you get to demo the wares, show your expertise and cement interest with a memorable good time. From this, you can generate useful connections and potential business leads, just from one night of having fun and chatting cannabis. 

Here are a few tips to throw the ultimate in-person cannabis event:

  • Devote part of your marketing budget toward an annual event
  • Book your venue at least one year out from the event 
  • Create a social media and content campaign around your party
  • Make your event invite-only to curate the guest list, theme and vibe
  • Compile a dedicated guest list and send personal invitations and RSVPs to each guest
  • Get extra funding for your event by finding sponsors
  • Give sponsors the opportunity to promote their own brand while supporting yours
  • Create fun, branded activations that sponsors and attendees can engage in (e.g. photo booths and interactive exhibits)
  • Create specific and informative speaking engagements to add value
  • Bring on the food and entertainment by budgeting for catering and a DJ or band 
  • Spotlight and celebrate your guests with an opening or closing toast
  • Partner with Lyft, Uber or invest in ride-share coupons to ensure safe travel
  • If you’re planning a destination event, partner with a nearby hotel to offer guests discounted lodging 
Have You Found the Right PR and Event Professionals?

At Grasslands, we have a unique perspective on cannabis PR because we are a Journalism-Minded Agency™ that grew out of our Founder and CEO Ricardo Baca’s years at The Cannabist as America’s first-ever Marijuana Editor for a major mainstream news organization (The Denver Post)

Our team of PR and Content Marketing specialists have built targeted media networks that can help you establish a solid strategy to illuminate your brand on the national level. 

We also love creating high-level networking events like The Grasslands Party. Our events bring together top minds in cannabis and we’ve been all over: Boston, New Orleans, Oakland, Toronto, Denver, Austin and Las Vegas so far. By hosting this exclusive bash and helping entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the country expand their networks and elevate countless brands, we know what it takes to run a successful event.

Let’s chat about how to incorporate PR and cannabis event marketing into your business plan and amp up your brand. 



5 Fundamentals of Cannabis Content Strategy

Quality content marketing is essential in today’s digital landscape. That’s especially true for businesses in a highly-regulated industry that’s rapidly evolving. Cannabis professionals can build a strong content strategy to not only reach their target audiences, but help educate curious consumers, challenge decades of anti-drug rhetoric, and shape a new era of cannabis culture.

When done well, a cannabis-fluent content strategy can provide a lot of bang for the proverbial buck. But understanding the value of cannabis content marketing and knowing where to get started are two different things. That’s why we have five tips for building a winning strategy and navigating the unique challenges facing cannabis companies eager to broadcast their brand messaging.

1. EAT the competition 

An effective cannabis content strategy starts with capitalizing on useful, compelling content that conveys expertise, authority and trustworthiness—otherwise known as EAT. Whether you’re writing a blog or posting to social media, make sure what you’re sharing is informative and answers the kinds of questions your target audience might have with authentic, factual information. Not only will that resonate with readers, but it will also help boost your search engine optimization (SEO) value. EAT is especially valuable for cannabis companies looking to educate the public and reduce stigma, too.

2. Stay on top of SEO

Speaking of SEO, it’s incredibly important to use the right search term keywords on your web copy, blogs and other owned digital content. From the snappy headline to the meta description, and the H2 headers to the last paragraph, Google is able to crawl and index every element of your website to identify its value to readers and categorize the information you’re providing. 

SERPS and Snippets

SEO best practices are crucial to making sure your content shows up high in search engine results pages (SERPS)—the results a search engine like Google or Firefox serves up when someone keys in a query. It’s so much the better if you can structure your content in a way that Google pulls some of the copy into a feature called “snippets.” Snippets are a brief preview of the content on your page that Google showcases in a box at the top of the SERPs. They are typically positioned as an answer to the kind of question a searcher might be asking. This can be especially relevant for people who are interacting with Google from a mobile device or using voice search rather than typing.

Another benefit of optimizing your content for search engines is the ability to help search audiences in a particular geographic location or region find your business. Ranking high for a general term like “cannabis” is a much bigger challenge than ranking for a more specific term like “Portland cannabis dispensary.” Those dialed-in, multi-word keywords—called long-tail keywords—are increasingly important for helping searchers find brick-and-mortar businesses in a particular metro area, or to find cannabis business services tailored to a particular state’s regulatory structure.

3. Know your cannabis advertising rules

Like every other aspect of the cannabis industry, marketing and advertising are highly regulated. Because cannabis is currently still illegal at the federal level, many national advertisers and advertising platforms aren’t willing to promote THC products. The same can be said of most state-level ad networks, even where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal. That’s one thing for B2B marketing efforts, but it’s quite another for B2C.

Many plant-touching businesses and ancillary businesses in the cannabis space are limited in how they can use marketing channels. From TV ads to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, there are a lot of limits on where cannabis businesses can share product information and what information they can show. 

Knowing the most up-to-date advertising rules for social media platforms is also key to getting the word out about your company without getting shadowbanned—that’s when a platform like Instagram doesn’t outright delete an account but does use its algorithm to bottleneck the visibility of your posts.

4. Include alternative marketing channels in your cannabis content strategy 

Cannabrands have to work a little harder at marketing to compensate for advertising platforms that are out of reach due to regulations. But if you get creative, you can reach new audiences through alternative routes. Podcasts, for example, are becoming a popular vehicle for cannabis brands to advertise because the same restrictions that apply to radio networks overseen by the FFCC simply don’t apply to podcasts. Event marketing is due for a big boom starting in 2022 on the heels of the COVID vaccine, too.

Sure, television, radio, Facebook and Google Ads are a little tricky for cannabis brands. But there are a lot of channels where cannabis content marketing and advertising is absolutely welcome, and while they might not have the sheer global scale of the biggest platforms, they do have certain advantages. For example, third-party directories geared towards cannabis brands are already tailored directly towards your industry.

Other canna-friendly marketing venues can be found on your brand’s owned media platforms as well as third-party sites. Google My Business directory listings give companies space to list their products in addition to logistical details like addresses and hours of operation. Review sites like Yelp, Leafly and Weedmaps also provide opportunities to engage with existing customers through short-form digital content. And email marketing efforts like newsletters are guaranteed to hit the inboxes of your target audience.

5. Position yourself for good PR

Public relations for cannabis brands is a whole rich subject in and of itself, but it often goes hand-in-hand with a broader cannabis marketing plan. A strong PR strategy can not only leverage your marketing efforts and help them go further, it can also get your message into spaces that owned content can’t always reach. 

Earned, paid and native media, for example, are different types of placements for your brand to appear in a variety of publications, from cannabis-industry-specific outlets like Ganjaprenuer to national outlets like Fortune Magazine, Rolling Stone or The Washington Post. A press release about your company’s latest product launch might reach potential customers who haven’t found your blog yet or signed up for your newsletter. 

Thought leadership, too, can take your marketing strategy further. This type of content development is fantastic for establishing EAT, from op-eds in well-read publications to television appearances or speaking events. Positioning members of your company’s leadership team as industry experts not only contributes to the enhanced legitimacy of cannabis by boosting public perception of the industry, it also presents a chance to reinforce the messaging at the heart of your marketing strategy while leading new audiences back to your owned content channels.

What is Cannabis SEO and Why is it So Important?



In a world without traditional advertising or media channels, SEO is the best way to stand out

Table of Contents

What Is Good SEO Marketing?
How Does SEO Work?
How Can SEO Help Your Cannabis Business? 
Using SEO and Content to Overcome Harsh Advertising Rules
Why Is Content Marketing So Important to Quality SEO? 
What Is the Difference Between Technical SEO and On-Page SEO?
What Are Cannabis Keywords and How Can You Research Them?
How Does SEO Value Help Cannabis Branding? 
How Does Understanding Cannabis Play into Great SEO?
Are You Ready to Harness Cannabis SEO?

What is Good SEO Marketing? 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may sound complicated, but mastering it really comes down to these essential elements: 

Thinking like a search engine user
• Surpassing search engine standards
• Creating a website strategically
• Meeting technical and on-page optimizations
• Publishing authoritative, informative content
• Utilizing keywords, links and a meta description 
• Boosting domain authority

How Does SEO Work?

SEO got its start in the Wild West—of the early internet, that is. Back in the days of dial-up and pop-up ads, the ’net was an unruly place filled with countless bad websites that were only out to get clicks, and in the process ended up spreading viruses, disinformation, spam and other junk. Meanwhile, a lot of great websites ended up lost to time, simply because people couldn’t find them.

Then, the bright idea of creating a way to index and search the entire internet for relevant, trustworthy and essential information came along, finally giving everyday folks a way to answer their inquiries quickly and efficiently with the best possible content.

When you utilize a search engine such as Google, Bing, Baidu or Yahoo, among others, it takes the word or phrase you entered (e.g. “cannabis marketing”) and crawls an index of billions of sites, pages and pieces of content to help this quest for information along. But in the interest of satisfying its customers, the search engine only wants to deliver the best, most relevant, trustworthy and authoritative content possible. This is where SEO comes into play. 

How Can SEO Help Your Cannabis Business? 

Discovery is the main reason for using SEO in the first place. As a fledgling cannabis company or brand, your ability to stand out among competitors is invaluable. Because for cannabis companies, standing out isn’t just about products, services or even social media presence, it’s about owning space on the internet. 

Using SEO best practices gives your site the edge it needs to beat out competitors and win big in search rankings, where securing a place on the first page of results is critical. Research by SEO development authority Moz has noted that well over two-thirds of users never look beyond the first page of results.

Through SEO, you can build the worth of your site, answer more search inquiries and further push your ability to rank highly for related search terms, increasing brand presence and awareness. Of course, in a world without traditional advertising channels, climbing to the top of search results is very important.

Using SEO and Content to Overcome Harsh Advertising Rules

Because cannabis is illegal at the federal level, it means advertising cannabis products and related services remains very precarious. That’s why most traditional advertisers, web rulers like Google and social giants like Facebook have a real aversion to advertising cannabis. 

Even state-based advertisers want to avoid the heavy hand of the government by ruling out the possibility of mainstream advertising, even where cannabis is now legal. In Colorado, which was one of the first states to allow recreational cannabis sales, regulations were put in place to limit cannabis ads from being presented to audiences under the age of 21, which basically shut out opportunities such as daytime radio, TV and online news sites. 

In trying to navigate these challenging regulations, companies have been relegated to using billboards, printed fliers and backpage ads in alt-weeklies that simply aren’t effective enough. But good SEO marketing can help.

Why is Content Marketing So Important to Quality SEO? 

Earning the trust of search engines and gaining SEO cred doesn’t just happen. It all starts with content. Using blogs, how-to guides and thought leadership columns is one of the first steps an emerging cannabis brand can take to carve out a presence on the internet, while engaging all possible target audiences. 

Creating content geared toward specific searchers, prospective clients and fellow marketers is key to elevating your brand, while keeping the gatekeepers of Google and other search engines happy. 

Speaking of that, this type of content falls into what Google has defined as having the quality of EAT: “expertise,” “authoritativeness” and “trustworthiness.” This type of content isn’t spam or a collection of links, it’s the kind of useful material that can inform and give answers. 

What is the Difference Between Technical SEO and On-Page SEO?

In optimizing your website, there are two types of SEO best practices to consider: Technical SEO and On-Page SEO. Here’s an analogy to remember when it comes to the differences between these two types of SEO: You wouldn’t buy a car without all the wiring that makes it work, right? And you wouldn’t buy a car without a speedometer, climate controls or other dashboard data that informs the driving experience, correct? 

Now if this car were your website, Technical SEO would be the wiring that makes it worth buying to search engines. On-Page SEO are all those necessary data points that help identify whether or not your content is worth offering up to search users. The better your site’s User Experience (UX), content relevance, crawlability, shareability and otherwise, the more authority it will have.

This means it can answer more search inquiries and is more likely to rise in rank. 

As Moz notes, good Technical SEO includes having: 

Indexed content
• An XML sitemap
• Correct URLs
• Internal backlinks
• Outbound links
• Proper images
• Google Analytics capability
• Structured data
• Correct title tags
• Correct meta tags
• Favicon
• Easily rendered coding
• Intuitive design and organization
• Schema markup

Good On-Page SEO includes having:

Relevance to a specific topic
• Featured snippet intro
• Answers to burning questions
• UX for desktop and mobile devices
• Table of contents (if applicable)
• Proper title tags
• Easily shareable URL
• Image alt text
• Keyword optimization
• Proper word and character count
• Meta description
• Author or publisher attributions

Now that you know the difference between technical and on-page requirements, it’s important to point out that content marketing, good technical SEO and on-page power couldn’t exist without the right keywords, so let’s break that down.

What Are Cannabis Keywords and How Can You Research Them?

On the surface, keywords are the inquiries that a person enters into search engines to find results. Digging deeper, keywords act as the building blocks of great content, as well as the most valuable currency your site has to be relevant and rank higher and higher. That’s because keywords are signals to search engines’ webcrawlers, aka crawl bots, that your website has the right content to meet the needs of specific searchers. 

Keywords can also help your site own authority and relevance within a specific space of the search-driven internet. In the case of cannabis, the legal market is relatively new, and there is a smaller amount of keyword information on the internet at this time—think of a trendy new form of cannabis concentrate, for example. This means certain sites can begin to own specific cannabis-related keywords to help boost their rank. 

Researching the best keywords to insert into your site content and copy starts with using everything from free tools like Google Trends—which looks at Google’s top trending keywords—to paid, powerful platforms like Semrush, which can collect in-depth results of keywords that are the most easy to rank for.

By building out a content marketing program that is built around the best keywords and keeps evolving with the cannabis industry, your site has the power to make your brand known across the web.

How Does SEO Value Help Cannabis Branding? 

To be found, generate an audience, then sell services or products, cannabis companies will need more than a great, optimized website. Exceptional branding is also crucial (so much so that it can make or break a company). 

Stellar cannabis branding comes down to being distinct, creating an identity and having strong messages that will engage and resonate with target consumers, keeping your brand on their mind. But generating lasting brand awareness—and advocates for your brand that stay loyal purchase after purchase—doesn’t happen without visibility. 

By devising and implementing an SEO strategy that is unique to your brand, you can translate your brand differentiators and messaging to the right keywords, hyper-relevant content and SEO best practices to rank for specific audiences. From here, branding for specific audiences gets far easier. 

How Does Understanding Cannabis Play into Great SEO?

Your journey toward getting great results from SEO starts with having a marketing partner that is not only fluent in cannabis, but also optimization. With the right team of content marketing specialists and public-relations strategists at hand, you can begin to impart the essence of your brand into an actionable content strategy that’s built for results. 

When it comes to cannabis, fluency isn’t just about knowing strains or products, but understanding the complex nuances of marketing niche companies and brands with only SEO ingenuity. 

Are You Ready to Harness Cannabis SEO?

Do you want to harness the power of SEO to grow your website’s rank and authority? Are you ready to create content that engages audiences and grows your brand awareness? It all starts by using a marketing and PR agency with extensive experience applying in-depth industry knowledge to content-driven SEO marketing. Let’s get started.



Why is Marketing Cannabis So Important?

Three marketers sit working

Strict advertising makes marketing the best way to stand out as a cannabis business

Table of Contents
What is the Real Power of Cannabis Marketing?

Effective cannabis marketing comes down to using messaging, branding, content, search engine optimization (SEO), analytical data and a variety of other strategic tools to build up businesses within a fast-paced industry—one that is booming with savvy competitors and huge profits.

Why is Marketing Cannabis So Important?

In any business, trying to sell a product or service without the right approach is close to impossible. Have you ever tried to convince your friends to help you move without an added incentive, like pizza or cash money? What about trying to offload an old couch at a yard sale without a little sales jargon, like barely used or this gem just needs a little dusting?

In the overly competitive world of cannabis, emerging companies must use all the right methods to reach the right audiences and stand out. This is why marketing cannabis is so crucial to achieving real success in the ever-growing green marketplace.

Navigating the Current Cannabis Industry

By 2026, it’s estimated that the recreational marijuana industry within the United States will be worth more than $40 billion dollars, while medical sales are projected to zoom right past $11 billion, as projected by Brightfield Group (via Statista). This makes sense considering that state legalization momentum hasn’t slowed, and 9 out of 10 Americans are in favor of legalizing cannabis nationwide. But while these numbers indicate that the end of prohibition may be right around the corner, cannabis companies are still facing challenges when it comes to reaching consumers.

Understanding Cannabis Advertising Rules

Despite being of the people, by the people and for the people, the federal government has thus far ignored popular opinion to keep cannabis on its list of illegal controlled substances.

As a Schedule I narcotic, marijuana is considered to have no accepted medical use (despite a growing body of scientific evidence to the contrary) and sits right alongside heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Because of this, advertisers across the nation refuse to promote cannabis out of fear of governmental backlash. This includes search-engine leaders like Google, social media giants like Facebook and many mainstream media outlets.

State regulators are taking a similar hard line, including in Colorado, which developed regulations with the goals of ensuring cannabis adverts won’t be seen by anyone under the age of 21 (putting major limitations on ad exposure for anyone watching a TV channel, listening to the radio or scrolling online at any given time).

Good Marketing Starts With the Right Cannabis Branding

With no traditional advertising options and countless competitors vying for recognition, fledgling cannabis companies must work harder to break out. Instead of using expensive but rather ineffective grassroots tactics, like print ads or a billboard, marketing cannabis is the real key. And everything starts with exceptional branding.

The most effective cannabis brand marketing comes down to having strong messages that will resonate with target consumers, then keeping them engaged and coming back for more. This process of generating brand awareness and advocacy is made easier through marketing strategy.

In researching the market and analyzing competitors, it becomes easier to understand what makes your brand different, plus the types of messaging that best define these differentiators. From this, branding for a specific audience becomes a lot easier to accomplish.

From Branding Comes Cannabis Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the best ways a brand can start owning space on the internet by grabbing the attention of search-engine users with engaging blogs and how-to articles.

This type of content not only focuses on providing specific and useful information, but hits on trending search terms and therefore meets the objective of search engines. In the case of Google, it wants to send its users to content that displays good EAT (“expertise,” “authority” and “trustworthiness”).

This EAT content must answer questions using real (yes, real) facts and legitimate sources, which plays right into good SEO.

What Is Good SEO Marketing and How Can It Help?

To break out as a cannabis brand, you don’t just need awesome products or services, you need to be discovered. Because almost all discovery happens on the internet these days, especially via search engines like Google, a company that isn’t being found online can’t compete.

Search engines index the internet to help this act of discovery along. When search users enter search terms (e.g. best Colorado cannabis dispensary), engines like Google comb through billions of sites, pages and content to find the most relevant results.

Applying SEO best practices ensures your site can meet the sky-high, constantly changing standards of search engines. This includes both the backend Technical SEO aspects of your site, like creating a sitemap and backlinks, as well as On-Page SEO like content that contains the right search keywords and relevant information.

What Does Content Marketing Involve?

At a glance, cannabis content marketing uses a number of components to reach both broad and niche audiences, including:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Content Marketing
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Branding
  • Events and Expos
  • Public Relations
  • UX/UI Design
What Makes Cannabis Social Media and Influencers So Useful?

Social media content is also crucial for successfully marketing a cannabis business. Because of strict advertising restrictions, using direct social channels and engaging posts is the best way to reach specific audiences.

And while cannabis businesses are not legally able to use social media platforms to solicit products, brands are able to use these channels to grow a massive following and interest in what they’re selling—and direct the audience to their comprehensive website, creating a positive cycle of engagement.

For brands that are trying to garner interest among everyone from cannacurious, first-time consumers to seasoned aficionados, social media is a key component. Of course, in trying to avoid gatekeepers from flagging and killing off cannabis-related posts and pages, influencers are another powerful ally.

Cannabis influencers use social media to build up their own brand and use it to become an affiliate ambassador of other social media users, new products and up-and-coming companies. With the ability to influence a swath of like-minded consumers, these social stars are able to promote cannabis alongside an army of faithful followers.

Why? Because word-of-mouth recommendations from a trusted source—whether it’s a friend or a cool influencer with the lifestyle consumers desire—are one of the best forms of marketing. This same approach applies to reaching people via traditional media or even in person.

Using Public Relations and Event Marketing to Grow Your Brand

Solid public relations and event marketing are two more standout ways to counter limited advertising. With publicists working hard to pitch intriguing stories to a network of publications, cannabis journalists and mainstream news reporters can find a new story idea or source, and burgeoning brands can get in front of readers in the markets they’re targeting. Everybody wins.

Another win is hosting or sponsoring a must-attend event that brings together industry insiders, top media representatives, business leaders and influencers to rub elbows with your brand. The right event helps build great brand awareness and associations among all the right people.

Consider that events can serve multiple purposes. They can kickstart new company goals and initiatives, for one. And in promoting an event, there are opportunities to grow a network: Creating impressions via social posts, a dedicated email list and other tracking methods are crucial steps to expanding brand presence.

Here’s Why Every Marketing Agency Should be Fluent in Cannabis

With a PR and marketing agency that is fluent in cannabis on your side, you will find a partner that understands your needs. Whether it’s connecting you with the right media, facilitating networks, preparing for an unforeseen crisis or coming up with a tailored marketing strategy to meet your goals, it’s all about speaking your language—the language of cannabis and highly regulated industries.

Grasslands Founder and CEO Ricardo Baca comes from a long history of cannabis fluency. In a journalism career spanning two decades, he became the first-ever marijuana editor for a major mainstream media outlet, The Denver Post. There, he launched and ran the award-winning online vertical The Cannabist, a pioneering publication that covered the news of the industry and culture of legalization in Colorado and across the country.

Ricardo knows that expertise is fleeting in this ever-evolving industry, and partnering up with an agency that isn’t well-versed in changing policies, product trends and B2B services doesn’t result in success. Fluency in cannabis is the only way to know what a brand needs to build on its growth trajectory.

How Can You Start Marketing Cannabis?

If you’re still wondering how cannabis marketing can impact your brand, just think about the products you shop for and the brands you care about. How do you find them? What makes them your ideal brand? It’s a sure thing that good marketing played a role in your decision-making.

Marketing cannabis starts with strategy and employs tools like media outreach, events, optimized content and influencer-driven social to sway people to your business, products and brands, the right way. It all starts by using an agency with extensive industry experience and smart, goal-forward marketing services. Are you ready to harness cannabis marketing and PR to your advantage? Let’s chat.

What Content Marketing Means for Cannabis Companies

cannabis content marketing

The cannabis market is projected to become a $41.5 billion industry in the United States alone by 2025. Even without legalization at the federal level, it’s already leaving craft beer and other similar product categories in the dust—and legal cannabis is even catching up to the economic scale of more traditional forms of agriculture. 

That’s great news for the industry overall, but it also means there’s more competition in cannabis than ever. If brands want to get ahead, they need to have strong, consistent messaging that’s exactly where potential customers will be looking for guidance on what to buy and why.

Enter content marketing—a powerful category of owned- and paid-media tools that brands can use to distinguish themselves even in a rapidly growing industry. 

Cannabis content marketing services include a combination of strategy and storytelling tactics that reach target audiences through various mediums—informative blogs, shareable video and audio content, inbox connections and more. 

When potent content is coupled with SEO best practices and promotion on social media and paid ad networks, a business of any size gains a competitive edge with an enhanced digital presence that boosts brand awareness and creates meaningful relationships with more customers.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing can take many different forms, including:

  • Blogs
  • Webcopy
  • How-to guides
  • Feature profiles
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts
  • White papers
  • Listicles
  • Interviews
  • Infographics
  • Review sites
  • Directories
  • Newsletters

Content marketing is all about sharing your brand’s expertise with your existing audience and reaching potential customers. It might look like setting up a blog on your website, producing vlogs to upload to sites like YouTube or Vimeo, recording podcast episodes, designing infographics, and sharing all of the above in posts on different social media platforms. 

So why should cannabis companies take note? Content marketing can do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to educating customers about cannabis consumption and the wide array of products and services available today. That’s important in a field where, according to data from FlowHub, just 12% of Americans are active cannabis users, although 68% support legalization at the federal level. That means there are millions of Americans who are interested in trying cannabis, but haven’t yet connected to a particular brand, product or form of consumption.

Content marketing is a powerful tool to reach those potential customers—and to help change public perception of cannabis from one distorted by the propaganda of the War On Drugs to one informed by the latest scientific and market research. As more and more cannabis companies use content to inform and inspire, it contributes to a culture shift that increases legitimacy for the whole industry.

Good content marketing isn’t about promoting yourself the way you might with a traditional advertisement, however. Instead, it’s part of a robust digital marketing strategy that positions your brand as a trusted resource. You don’t just provide cannabis products or B2B tools for cannabis businesses—you also have the information that potential customers or clients need to make a decision or solve a problem. 

Think of content marketing as an additional service you provide to your customers, one which helps them understand why they should trust your brand above your competitors. This is your opportunity to demonstrate not only the level of expertise that went into the products and services you offer, but also how well you understand your customer’s pain points and goals.

How to Build Your Cannabis Content Marketing Strategy

So where can cannabis brands get started with content marketing? There are boundless possibilities, but here are three top tips for building a content marketing strategy that grows your business and bolsters long-term success.

Develop a Strong Brand Voice

Consistency is as important to content marketing as it is to building a relationship with your target market. Identifying your brand voice and the tone with which you would like to communicate to customers across all channels is a key part of establishing the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to which customers respond. 

In other words, how do you want to sound online? B2B-focused brands might want to have a more formal and reserved tone than B2C brands, which might benefit from a tone that’s more conversational and playful but still authentic and knowledgeable. For example, customers interested in health and self-care have come to expect a certain reassuring, positive, upbeat voice frequently found in the wellness industry.

Carrying that voice and tone from your blog to social media channels to podcasts and news releases helps customers know what to expect wherever they might find you, and helps strengthen your brand. That’s just another way that content marketing can help reinforce the image you want to project. That’s the voice of a powerful cannabis brand.

Keep Strategy on Track With an Editorial Calendar

Ultimately, content marketing is as buildable as a construction blueprint. Each individual piece of content serves multiple purposes. Just one blog post is enough to parlay into your first newsletter. Positive customer feedback on a review site can become fodder for a social media post. A well-written news release could become a future podcast episode. A how-to guide could eventually become the script for a vlog series on sites like YouTube or Vimeo. 

The key to successful content marketing is the strategy for how each piece is layered and interconnected to maximize attention. For that, you need an editorial calendar like those used by journalists in newsrooms and magazine offices. Plan ahead at least a quarter at a time and line out when it’s advantageous to release various pieces of content—for a product launch, that could include a blog post targeting a new SEO keyword, a newsletter teasing to the exciting development, a market research-based white paper published in time for a major industry networking event or investor meeting. 

Once you have those timely pieces of content mapped out, you can start to see where more content marketing efforts can fill into a regular cadence that keeps customers and clients coming back to your digital platforms again and again for fresh updates and expertise.

Set Reasonable Goals and KPIs

You might have a general sense of what you’d like to get out of your content marketing strategy, like a higher profile for your brand. But until you pinpoint specific objectives for how your content marketing strategy will help achieve primary goals, you might be wasting a lot of time and energy. Instead, set realistic key performance indicators (KPIs) to chart your progress for long-term projects, catch what’s not working early and make sure your efforts stay aligned when priorities change.

For example, if you want to improve your SEO rankings, you might set a KPI to track and improve your brand’s Average Position of Unbranded Terms—that is, how well you perform on search engines for keywords that aren’t the name of your business but are relevant to what you do. Or if your goal is to generate new sales leads, you might set KPIs that show how website visitors are moving from the top to the middle of your marketing funnel by tracking the number of organic visitors who come to your site as compared to the number of new signups for your newsletter or gated content. 

Taking a data-driven approach to content marketing can help you see what’s working—or not— so you can make the most efficient use of your time and resources. It can also help determine which types of content marketing to focus on at any given time, and capitalize on unforeseen opportunities as your business grows and you get to know your audience better. 

Want more ideas for how you can develop a cannabis-fluent content marketing strategy? Get an insider’s perspective on the Grasslands blog, including a deep dive on Different Types of Media (Owned, Earned and Paid) and 10 Predictions for Cannabis Industry Evolution in 2022

Amplifying DEI in Communications: Introducing the Grasslands Diversity-in-Marketing Internship

grasslands-diversity-equity-inclusion-marketing-internship

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to the Grasslands Diversity-in-Marketing Internship, a deeply personal endeavor for myself and my colleagues. Our goal with this program is to change the face of marketing and deepen the diversity within our own agency, and the marcom industry as a whole.

This unique opportunity is open to any students or recent grads who self-identify as members of an historically underrepresented group in marketing, public relations and communications—spanning LGBTQ+ communities and People of Color, including but not limited to Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian applicants—who are interested in pursuing a marcom career. These marketing and PR internships will pay $15 / hour and include a $750 / month housing stipend.

Learn more about the Grasslands Diversity-in-Marketing Internship at Grasslands’ Careers page. 

This is a full-circle moment for me. In 1995, I was approaching high school graduation with the uncertainty of not knowing where I was going next—when I got word I had secured a DEI-focused internship at the Rocky Mountain News. The internship would provide me paid full-time work as a journalist, hands-on training in a large newsroom and relationships that would help me after college graduation—a big deal for a lower-middle class Indigineous kid being raised by a single mother. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but that internship would change my life forever.

The Rocky’s leadership recognized their responsibility to introduce people of color to careers in journalism, and after 20-plus years at newspapers, I’m still thankful for their purposeful dedication to representation. And now it’s my turn to make a difference—to give underrepresented communities the kind of transformative experience that could open new doors for them and elevate their professional potential in an industry that desperately needs their voices, their ideas, their perspectives.

My colleagues and I—who have a solid track record of hiring previous interns to full-time positions—cannot wait to get started. Thank you in advance for forwarding this blog to anyone who should know about this marketing internship.