Marketing Your Cannabis Business: Is Podcasting a Viable Strategy?
For many businesses, podcasts are an effective way to enhance cannabis marketing and brand identity – if you’re willing to put in all the work that’s required. More than simply recording some audio, podcasting is a challenging, long-game strategy that gives listeners a window into the people and personalities behind your brand.
A podcast series can act like a boost to grow your credibility as an industry authority. However, it can’t stand alone. You’ll also need a highly functional website, short-term lead gen strategies, and a team of experts willing to collaborate for the long-term return.
Before diving into the alluring trend toward podcasting as a marketing method for your cannabis business, let’s get real about all that’s involved in pulling off a successful podcast that welcomes listeners to you and puts a flattering spotlight on your brand.
All the “P”s in a Podcast
Plan early and often. Know your audience and select topics accordingly. Create a list of possible guests for your series and reach out to them well in advance. If possible, conduct pre-interviews to go over the material you’d like to cover. Decide on the number of podcasts to produce and create a schedule for airing them.
Personalities. A good guest can be the X-Factor your show needs. You could also end up with a wild card who wanders off-topic never to return. Worse, your guest might be a total no-show. That’s one reason airing live may not be the wisest decision. Before launching, ensure you have at least 2 months’ worth of recorded podcasts to give you a buffer in case of these human wild cards.
Production. By pre-recording your shows, you can tweak sound quality and make judicious edits to give your listeners the best experience. You’ll need to choose a platform for your cannabis marketing podcasts, too. More commercial choices like SoundCloud and Spotify are typically better developed and are optimal for getting in front of audiences.
Provide value. In the world of marketing, your reputation as a brand hinges on the value you provide your audience. For instance, if your podcast topic happens to be Fair Tax Policy, it’s important that you or your guest are truly knowledgeable and have up-to-date information to share on the subject.
Prepare. Don’t wing it in a guest interview. Have a format. Do your homework and prepare notes and questions ahead of time. If you’re going to talk to a chemist about cannabinoids and terpenes, learn something about them. Don’t expect a good outcome if you’re not educated enough to ask pertinent or thought-provoking questions.
Be an Effective Host
It’s not enough to just have a great voice for radio. You also need to have the charisma and social intelligence to be a proper host.
Do your best to put your guests at ease. Don’t talk over or interrupt them. Sometimes people digress. Learn to embrace non-sequiturs but practice getting people back on track by saying something like, “I know our listeners would really like to hear more from you about ‘X’.”
A podcast is meant to be organic and informal. You shouldn’t sound as though you’re reciting the preamble to the Constitution. The more natural and at ease you and your guests come across, the more enjoyable your podcast will be to follow.
Your listeners are going to decide if they like and trust you based on your voice, your cadence, and the way you treat your guests. Don’t talk too fast, but don’t dawdle, either – it’s a delicate balance.
If you’re a consumer-facing brand, your tone will necessarily be a little different from a business-facing brand. You may be inclined to include more pop culture cannabis references and that is 100% fine. Regardless of where in the industry your business resides, you’re encouraged to let your “regular” personality shine through.
Above all, although your podcast may be a marketing technique, don’t sound like a salesperson only interested in plugging your product.
Fun is allowed – nay… required!
Beyond the Recording Studio
Another piece newbie podcasters overlook before starting down this journey is that a podcast requires far more than just a stellar recording. There are technical, SEO, promotion, and distribution chores to take care of once the on-air fun is over.
Show notes add value to your podcast. They provide a central location for listeners to access reference materials, persuade them to tune in regularly, and attract new listeners. By providing timestamps in show notes, your listeners can jump to the parts that interest them.
Your show notes also provide an excellent vehicle for SEO. Since Google’s indexing bots can’t indulge in the pleasure of listening to your podcast, they need text to see how your episode should rank.
Maintaining your platform is a chore, as well. You’re not wedded to the platform you choose in the beginning; be sure to make a well-informed switch if it will benefit your brand. Spotify, Stitcher, and SoundCloud are good potential choices for those starting out as they’re more commercial, better developed, and easier to use.
If you’re a consumer-oriented business, you may gravitate toward cannabis-specific niche platforms. Cannabis business brands typically have a different audience. You can also upload your podcast to YouTube and add images or video.
Building a Following + Monetizing
Your podcast series needs to shine from Episode One. Your first episode needs to be successful and value-packed to potentiate follow-up listeners. Always adhere to the principle of quality over quantity when putting out a show.
You may find that you reach an unanticipated audience – and that’s a great surprise! Embrace it and lean into it. Follow what your listeners are asking and commenting. Incorporate their requests, questions, or feedback into future episode planning.
If you have partnerships or affiliations with other businesses – e.g. the company that handles your cultivation lighting – invite someone from that company to be on your show. Embrace the power of using your podcast as a way to cross-promote businesses and colleagues you support.
Additionally, guests can have a dramatic impact on growing your following. You might have 50 followers early on, but if your guest is the head of a sizable company, they could have 10,000 or more followers who may be eager to learn about your podcast. Leverage those connections.
Once you have enough listeners, it’s possible to attract sponsors. Don’t be afraid to approach them. If you’re confident in your knowledge in a particular area, reach out to shows you like and offer to be a guest.
Whether you run a commercial on your podcast or you take advantage of being a guest on someone else’s podcast, the partnership opportunities are endless.
One day, your podcast could be to cannabis what the Tappet Brothers are to cars. If you find yourself needing help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule a consultation to help level up your cannabis business marketing.