All companies need a way to promote their products online, and cannabis providers are no exception. But the rules for advertising CBD remain hazy at best—pun intended. Several factors can impact your ability to advertise on traditional outlets like Google and Facebook, and they’re constantly evolving to meet the needs of online consumers.
When we see a CBD company struggling to get spread their message online, our first question is always the same: What makes you the expert?
Here we’ll show you how to create thought-provoking site and social content. The goal, in addition to demonstrating your expertise and educating customers, is to play the algorithms the way they’re designed to be played.
Step 1: Take a hard look at your existing content.
Make no mistake. Your sales pitch is a vital component of your overall web presence. Customers need to know they will have a safe, easy experience once they’ve made the decision to purchase. But questions will inevitably arise, even from those familiar with your products. These users need more than an aggressive, sales-first approach to get the answers they’re looking for.
You already know your website needs to contain more than just product descriptions and an “Add to Cart” button. FAQs and Glossaries are a great start, but they should serve primarily as a jumping off point for a body of compassionate, experience-driven content that cuts through the noise. If your content doesn’t do this, it’s serving neither you nor your customers.
Step 2: Watch what the competition is doing. Do that.
You’re no doubt intimately familiar with your biggest competitors. But have you taken a look at their content? Are they publishing well-researched insights on a regular basis? Do they have a repository for FAQs, cannabis news, and customer testimonials that help their visitors make informed purchases? If they’re a company that’s achieving success, the answer is probably yes.
Website builders and hosts like Squarespace have been cracking down on CBD providers for years. They frequently “ding” sites with limited or inaccurate content—i.e. sales-y or superficial blogs, unverified health claims, and testimonials that feel inauthentic.
Successful CBD brands invest time and resources into educating consumers, even when it might not result in a sale. Why do they do this? It may stem from a genuine desire to help people. But they also realize that having an abundance of well-articulated expertise is the key to getting attention. Their content builds trust, both with customers and the algorithms that deliver eyes on the page.
Step 3: Create content that plays by the rules and makes sense for your brand.
Your company might be producing the market’s best CBD products. Maybe you even have a slew of enthusiastic customer testimonials to back it up. Unfortunately, those factors take a backseat to strict guidelines for marketing and selling CBD. As you begin to create thoughtful insights and visuals, this disclaimer should be your new best friend: Our products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Because while it’s true that CBD was legalized at the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, states maintain their own standards for controlling the narrative. While a growing number of healthcare providers continue to embrace CBD’s potential, most still won’t recommend CBD to their patients. Meanwhile, many legislators are influenced by the stigma that remains around cannabis.
You’re probably starting to understand why CBD advertising is such a thorny issue. But do not be deterred. Following these basic rules of thumb in your content creation will help you stay true to your brand while avoiding the wrong kind of attention online:
- Get familiar (and stay familiar) with changing regulations around CBD by following organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health.
- Remove all health claims from your site, period. For example, it’s fine to reference the large body of scientific research around CBD in medical applications. But it’s not okay to say, “This product will help you sleep better.”
- Find out what people are searching, and write about those topics. If you need a refresher on topics like how CBD interacts with other medications, you can explore existing information from grassroots educators like The CBD Project.
Step 4: Explore every possible channel for getting your message out there.
So, now your website contains thoughtful, SEO-driven content. Great! All that’s left to do is share your message far and wide. And although social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are still catching up, they’re the best and most logical place to start.
Begin by creating (and sticking to!) a biweekly, weekly, or monthly schedule for publishing your insights, industry news, and product promos. Be sure to include a good mix of content, keeping in mind that video and motion graphics get the lion’s share of engagement. As Facebook’s standards continue to evolve, you will have a robust, expertise-driven body of content to pull from when the time comes to put ad spend behind your posts.
In the meantime, Facebook and Instagram aren’t the only game in town. A number of respected platforms like Leafly and Weedmaps exist specifically for the cannabis industry. As a result, their standards for advertising are much less restrictive than larger, more traditional outlets. But remember to steer clear of unfounded health claims and overly aggressive sales tactics, no matter where you’re advertising your cannabis products.
Need better CBD content for your site and social? We can help! Drop us a line.