Reach and Connect With Your Cannabis Customers with Curated Content
In the cannabis industry, demand has never been a problem. Across the country, two-thirds of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, according to Pew Research Center, while nearly 55 million American adults currently use cannabis regularly, according to the Washington Post. During the pandemic, the cannabis industry saw an unprecedented rise, with a record $17.5 billion in sales as Americans bought more cannabis than ever. But as more and more states allow recreational cannabis, competition is growing, too. Combine increased competition with an ever-shifting regulatory landscape and discerning cannabis professionals looking for an edge to grow their business are turning towards more creative methods to connect with potential customers.
Yet even the search for creative connection methods has been difficult for cannabis as the new frontier of advertising – Facebook, Google, Twitter – have all placed heavy restrictions on cannabis. Their policies are so prohibitive, cannabis companies must look elsewhere. More and more often, the cannabis industry is turning to sponsored content to supply fresh and innovative ways to connect with potential customers. Sponsored content involves partnering with publishers to produce editorial articles that live on the publication of the brand’s choice and can be promoted through native ads, social media, and email marketing, among others. Sponsored content is the way to circumvent restrictive policies and get your company’s message to where it needs to go.
But not all sponsored content is created equal. The Hearst StoryStudio has been helping cannabis companies make these connections through targeted sponsored content stories, interactive hubs and posts, with dynamic results. Our Hearst StoryStudio Internal Case Study showed that, on average, clients spent over three minutes engaging with content we produce, a full two minutes longer than the industry average for digital content, which is 1:06 on desktop and :56 on mobile.
Overall, Hearst StoryStudio Cannabis content has surpassed 45 million impressions this year, with 221,000 engagements (and counting!). Our outbound CTR (click-through rate), the percentage of times users saw an ad and performed an outbound click, is 2.67% and our promotional CTR is 0.36% -- meaning our content not only engages readers, but compels them to learn more about your business, which is a direct indicator of future sales.
How is such sustained success possible? The Hearst StoryStudio understands that how you message matters. Our creative strategists and writers are experts at working in concert with your company to create dynamic, intriguing, and insightful content that reflects what makes your business unique. No matter what area of the cannabis industry your business resides – growing, processing, wholesale, distribution, retail, or delivery – we have themes and narratives effectively proven to increase your market standing.
Our success also stems from market research that suggests the typical cannabis user is particularly curious; they search out stories and articles pertaining to their interests. For example, an MRI-Simmons survey from 2020 showed that people who consumed cannabis were 22% more likely than non-cannabis users to seek out variety in their everyday lives, 32% more likely to want to be first to try new products and services, and 25% more likely to make impulse purchases. They’re also good at influencing: cannabis aficionados were 27% more likely to keep social media feeds updated and 25% more likely to share their opinions by posting ratings or reviews.
In light of these statistics, the Hearst StoryStudio’s model has been highly effective in targeting cannabis users. Our work features three distinct and effective format layouts that combine traditional content elements with interactive UX to generate the most engagement with your targeted readers: Content Hubs, High Impact Layouts and Traditional Layouts.
Content Hubs feature multiple looks on a general topic in which potential customers can engage with content. Think of a hub as a one-stop shop for all the info you may want a customer to know, like interactive maps locating your product, or a covey of interconnected blog posts that get the information out to those who need it in a compelling fashion. High Impact Layouts combines the interactivity UX of Content Hubs, but are centered around a more specified topic, like the difference between tinctures, flower, and oils. The Traditional Layout is the vanguard of editorial content, featuring a well-argued op-ed piece exploring a subject or facet of your business that’s sure to find an audience with the readers you’re looking to attract. Other tools include email blasts, specific targeting to reach the right customers, and analytics to show real-time campaign success.
Connecting with cannabis users is a highly effective way to grow your business organically. The Hearst StoryStudio has proven strategies to make such connections a reality. Using analytics, elegant design, creative marketing strategies unique to the Hearst StoryStudio, and smart, effective writing, we can offer what no one else can in today’s cannabis market: an edge on the competition.