As a cannabis writer and long-time participant in the area of professional communications, I’ve kept a keen eye on all of you who are doing incredible things for the cannabis industry. On a daily basis, my mind is blown by the innovation, envelope pushing and sheer dedication to the industry by these incredible leaders, but…. your communications aren’t doing you any favors.
CannaWrite and other cannabis communicators spanning the industry are concerned with the words that show up on your web and social media content – nothing else.
While there is a great deal of brilliance and value in what cannabis businesses are coming out with, there is a significant gap in the ways their contributions to the industry are being talked about.
Here are 5 deal-breaking content mistakes cannabis businesses are making, but can easily be rectified with a content strategy overhaul:
1. Relying Only on Graphics and Web Design
I’ll never debate that a cannabis business’ web design is the first impression a consumer or stakeholder will receive in terms of online presence. Having an attractive, advanced web page is king, with functionality a close second.
As a cannabis writer, my job involves researching all things cannabis, including specific businesses and the approaches they’re taking to cannabis. More times than not, while I can find a sexy website with some awesome graphics, I can’t find much information on a business, what it does, and how it stays relevant and nimble with the changing cannabis industry.
As a stakeholder and communicator of the cannabis industry, I need more information about what people do. I need to be able to click links within websites that lead to more and more information that shows me that a cannabis business is not only subject matter experts, but that they’re active contributors to a field that needs everyone’s contributions.
Search engines need them too. If your web is full of graphics and video only and lacks keywords that will get picked up in Google or other search engines, your web page doesn’t stand much of a chance of making it in front of other people’s eyes.
2. Failing to Recognize a Change in Consumer
There is a change in consumer in the marijuana market, and they won’t be brought in as customers by ol’ Cheech and Chong memes, psychedelic bud GIFs, or pictures of bikini-clad chicks who vape.
With legalization, comes a huge expansion into a market that caters to those who aren’t really into “stoner culture” but appreciates a more refined approach to their marijuana. Don’t automatically assume that your consumer will flock to your service with photos of buds, bongs, and babes. While it works for some, more mature audiences appreciate more professionalism, sleekness, and building an information base.
Understand what drives different generations. Why are more young people smoking more marijuana than drinking alcohol? Why have Baby Boomers been quick on the uptake of marijuana? Find out what motivates your customer and work to show them you understand that.
3. Slipping on Professionalism
Very early in my cannabis content work, I managed a social media account for a well-known cannabis executive, who made my work of building a professional brand difficult with unprofessional social media interjections.
Informative and highly professional content that we had built together was superseded by personal opinion posts on politics, sharing careless and irrelevant news, and posting pictures of his “riches” from cannabis rather than focusing on his mission within the cannabis industry.
As a leader in the cannabis business, there is no problem being transparent to your audience about your use of cannabis or what it does for your life – that’s why we’re all here after all. An effective brand requires an intentional approach on the flavor, messaging, style, and most of all balance between professional and personal endeavors.
4. Unrefined Writing Skills
To be an effective business leader, you must be able to communicate your thoughts in a concise manner that meets the professional level of your cannabis business.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some of the brightest and brilliant minds in cannabis, the people who are making real change, yet I immediately see why they’ve hired me for my writing skills.
Writing well is difficult work. It takes time to think about your message and structure it in such a way that it’s readable, palpable and understandable to your audience. Grammar is as important as spelling and communications about cannabis, especially with big things at stake, including people’s health, legislation, and education.
Another downfall of cannabis organizations is writing at unpalpable language levels. I came across a cannabis advocacy site that seemed to have a good mission… at least what I could understand of it because the sentences were so crowded with big words, I spent more time reaching for my dictionary than actually understanding the sentence. Using big words and jargon you don’t find in the real world is NOT the way to engage people.
Good writing, aimed at your audience, will get your business ahead.
5. Lazy Content Development
You can’t grow a successful cannabis business without keeping regular, consistent and relevant with your content.
While you are developing your cannabis business, your web and social media content planning should go hand in hand, recognizing that keeping an informative presence in the cannabis industry will have you come out on top - literally.
Any advanced business person will know about the power of keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) and enacting effective strategies to ensure that your web content ranks as high as possible in search results.
We are in an era where the conversation is developing faster on social media and online than it is offline, and the cannabis business needs to show that they’re on top of what’s up in the biz.
I advise my cannabis businesses to blog with purpose more than once a week, with an aim not to just add flowery language onto a page, but to actually inform, educate, and advance the cannabis industry. Social media requires engagement on a regular basis throughout the day, and content should be thought out and consistently executed.
Where’s your voice?
There is Help!
Cannabis writers like CannaWrite take the tough work of developing content off the plates of cannabis businesses.
You let CannaWrite know what you’re all about, CannaWrite will look to understand your audience, develop your content plan, and you’re off to the Google ranks. Soon your cannabis business goes to merely just “there” to pushing the envelope in the cannabis industry.
Connect with CannaWrite today to discuss how your cannabis business can kick up their content more than a few notches!