While educational content has been a useful marketing tool across many industries for a long time, the cannabis industry in particular is in need of quality videos, PSAs, and infographics that are able to inform and illuminate the general public on what is and isn't true about cannabis. With such a strong stigma still existing in the minds of many concerning the evils of cannabis, not to mention the fact it is still listed as a Schedule I drug, it's no wonder there is so much disinformation out there.
Educating your potential customers is nothing new. Take for example Whole Foods. As part of their strategy to sell more organic, fair trade, and ethically farmed products, they use an array of strategies to inform their customers of the issues involved, the various certifications and third party organizations that are out there and what they mean, and the reasons why they care as a company. This not only provides their customers with useful information and responds to a growing demand for healthy and all natural food options, it also associates their company with a certain set of values.
Brands that incorporate educational content into their overall marketing strategies have a lot to gain in terms of market recognition, brand loyalty, and customer retention, not to mention the excellent ROI offered. But in order to maximize the potential, it's important to adhere to the following tips and tricks:
Make Sure Your Educational Content Is Actually Informative
One common mistake that brands make when they decide to produce educational content is relying on information that isn't all that informative. The best case scenario is that you already have an established expertise on the topic that you're talking about. If you're creating a video series about how to grow your own cannabis, you need to go beyond the most obvious advice and share information that isn't readily available elsewhere. If you aren't an expert on the topic, you'll need to do more than grab a couple paragraphs of text from Wikipedia.
Likewise, it's essential that the information you are providing is actually correct. Giving out incorrect stats or data could actually backfire on your company and cause you to lose the trust of your customers. When done well, educational videos will help strengthen your relationship with your potential clients and bolster your brand's reputation. But misleading your customers, such as citing dubious or unsubstantiated claims about the medical efficacy of your CBD line (which is not only unethical, but actually illegal), will surely turn them against you.
As an example, early in our days as a company, we made an animation on the differences between Indica and Sativa. While we're proud of the animation, we soon learned that the information was just plain wrong. Yet the fact that so many people within the industry are still perpetrating the myth of the Indica and Sativa divide proves the tremendous need for quality educational content.
We recommend that you rely on the experts when creating educational content, to avoid these potential problems.
Decide On The Right Format
Once you determine you want to create educational cannabis content as part of your company's marketing strategy, there are plenty of options of how to go about it. Before you jump in, take the time to decide what format is best for you to accomplish your goals and convey the information you want. For instance, if you are a cannabis company that offers a wide variety of consumable products, some of which may be unfamiliar to much of the cannabis curious public, you might want to create a set of product demo videos that illustrate how and when to use your various product lines.
The following is a list of the kind of educational content you will typically see in the cannabis space:
One key decision you'll need to make about your approach is whether you are educating your consumers specifically about your company (and its products) or about more general topics concerning the cannabis, CBD, and hemp industries.
Lay Off The Hard Sell
Another common mistake people make when producing educational content is focusing too much on selling themselves as a company. It's one thing if you are doing product demos (though even then you should focus on actually informing your potential buyers rather than aggressively converting sales), but for the most part, informative cannabis content should be just that. People who are looking to have questions answered or learn about cannabis will be turned off if they sense you are more interested in selling them something.
Conversely, educational marketing works best when it succeeds at actually sharing knowledge. This is what's known as soft marketing, whereby you earn trust and brand recognition by providing something of value, no strings attached. The more people enjoy your content, the more it will attract views and visits to your website. When done correctly, educational content has some of the highest ROI for these reasons.
Partner With Respected Cannabis Educators
As mentioned above, there is a risk involved when creating educational content for your brand. You have to get it right. One way to circumvent this problem is by partnering with respected cannabis educators who know what they are talking about. You might sponsor an educational web series or hire a cannabis scientist to create branded content for your company. If you make CBD or THC edibles, you might partner with a renowned cannabis chef to produce a series of cooking videos. A company that makes nutrients and supplements for cannabis growers could work with a local grower to offer tips on how to get the most yield.
Another option is to sponsor cannabis events and seminars. There's a lot of value to be gained by associating your name with a non-profit or educational group that is organizing a conference or holding a convention that will be attended by your target customers. Best of all, you're saved from the need to actually produce the content, and can just write a check to a group that's doing all the heavy lifting for you.
Of course, there's still a need to carefully vet any educators, thought leaders, or organizations that you choose to work with or sponsor. If it turns out they are purposely spreading misinformation, have lied about their credentials, or are subject to a scandal of some sort, this could reflect poorly on your company, especially if it turns out you should have known better.
Make Your Company's Values Clear
Bear in mind that the ultimate goal of an educational campaign is to impart knowledge to your audience. But in the process, you should also make it clear what your company stands for. The issues you choose to highlight say a lot about who you are as a brand. So when deciding what areas to focus on, start off by thinking about what's important to you and your company and use that as the focal point.
For instance, if diversity and social equity are important to your company, then you should focus on educating how these issues impact the cannabis industry. If your company is all about being 100% natural and giving back to the earth, a focus on regenerative farming and energy efficient farming practices is in order. Other topics that definitely need greater awareness include cannabis as medicine, scientific research into the effects of cannabis, and the importance of protecting genetic diversity and preventing corporations from patenting various strains.
High Quality Educational Content Is More Valuable Than Low Quality
Finally, it's important to remember that every piece of content you post on your website or share via social media is a reflection of your brand. Poorly made educational content, even if the information is correct, will make your company look, at best, unprofessional and amateur. If you want to create educational content that's not only effective, but that will generate the kind of buzz you're hoping for, you need to invest in high production values.
Of course, it's possible to handle all of the production in house, but in most cases, you're better off partnering with a professional content marketing team that not only understands the cannabis industry, but has a proven ability to create high quality video and graphic content.
Partner With The Hood Collective For Your Cannabis Educational Videos
One of the best ways to create a strong customer user base is with educational content. But in order to assure you maximize the potential of your educational assets, you need to partner with a team that knows how to produce high quality videos, graphics, blogs, and animations. Every post and photo you share is a direct reflection of your brand. Make sure they see your company in the proper light with professional video production.
The Hood Collective specializes in creating engaging and informative cannabis educational content that your customers will find highly valuable. Moreover, our team of videographers, writers, photographers, and animators are highly passionate about the cannabis industry and are committed to creating value for our clients and the industry as a whole.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.