Dispensary Content Calendar: Basics Concepts
A content calendar—often known as an “editorial calendar”—is an indispensable tool when it comes to content marketing. In addition to serving as a roadmap for those who actually do the nuts-and-bolts work of creating content, it more broadly streamlines your marketing efforts by creating a single, easily accessible and comprehensible document so that everyone involved in your marketing efforts can get on the same page.
How far ahead should your dispensary content calendar look? It’s common to organize them on a weekly, monthly, or six-month basis. In the case of the first two, each week- or month-long unit repeats itself, so that for instance if you always share a blog on Tuesday afternoons, the calendar would repeat indefinitely.
A six-month calendar is more useful for creating an arc. For instance, if you want to share educational content with your customers but don’t want to swamp them with information, a six-month calendar would help you share science-heavy posts about cannabinoids or terpenes once or twice a month, while interspersing them with lighter pieces such as product reviews, articles on cannabis culture, or behind-the-scenes slices of dispensary life.
Better yet, your dispensary content calendar can combine both types of schedule into one, meaning that it tells you which specific types of shares happen on a daily or weekly basis—such as Instagram or Snapchat posts—and which ones should be played out more deliberately, as in the example above.
What does a dispensary content calendar look like? At its simplest, it need be nothing more than dates and article or post titles on a simple text document. But content calendars are more typically created on spreadsheets such as Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets, or inserted into sharable calendars. Why? The ability to see a graphic representation of your calendar tends to make forecasting and planning your content more intuitive. And spreadsheets offer the flexibility to add notes and important subsidiary information. In fact, this is a great time to offer some examples of what fields and information your dispensary content calendar might include.
Dispensary Content Calendar: Specific Fields
- Title: This may seem obvious, but deciding on the title of a piece of content beforehand helps establish that crucial alignment of writer with audience. When the content you’re creating matches with its intended readers, you stand a far better chance of delivering the value and “stickiness” that all great content provides.
- Type of Content: What are you sharing on each given day? Whether it’s an email, a link to a cannabis podcast, a blog or some other type of content, having it marked on the calendar helps ensure that you’re sharing a varied and compelling blend with your audience (and not merely repeating yourself over and over).
Seeing the content mix laid out in front of you also helps remind you of the essential rules of good content creation. That regardless of which channel it’s shared on, the content is in the best possible format for that platform, and addresses that specific audience’s interests and desires.
- Due Date / Edit Date / Publish Date: Even if there’s only a single person creating, editing and sharing the content, it’s good practice to separate out the stages that each piece goes through before publication. Why? When we combine processes—writing, editing and publishing all in the same session—we’re more likely to make mistakes, miss obvious warning flags, and put out substandard content. And no matter how good a piece of content looks after you’ve just written it, letting it rest even a few hours means you’ll come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.
- Channel Destination: This goes part and parcel with “Type of Content” above, but when it comes to a dispensary content calendar, there’s no such thing as too much redundancy. When everyone knows where the specific piece of content is headed, there’s less chance to post it incorrectly (and ideally, more opportunities to ensure the content fits the channel. And keeping track of where this content was posted is useful later, when you’re analyzing which types of content performed best on which channels.
- Promotional Strategy: How will you make sure you’re promoting the pieces you put a lot of effort into, such as feature-length blog posts? This field reminds you to make use of all the channels at your disposal to spread the word. Like all the fields we’ve suggested here, you may choose to color code this one as a quick visual reminder as to where it’s headed (yellow = email; pink = Instagram, etc.).
- Future / Past Content Ideas: Keep these fields on hand, the first one for generating off-the-cuff ideas and the second one for making sure you’re squeezing maximum value out of your content by revamping reusing past pieces that still provide value. Remembering our note from “Channel Destination,” you can share old content over different channels to figure out where and when they performed better.
Dispensary Content Calendar: What Should I Share?
Now that you understand the basic elements of a content calendar, the natural question is: What should I be writing about and posting?
As we pointed out above, each channel—be it your own website, email marketing, social media or platforms—has a distinct audience, and it’s important to tailor the message to the way it’s going to be shared and read. But given that we talking about dispensary content, we have a number of general themes and topics that work well with dispensary audiences. Here are a few of them, in no particular order:
- Cannabis Culture: What are some trends, styles and products in the world of cannabis? We generally recommend shying away from specific musical genres so as to keep our content broad and appealing, but you could certainly experiment with running more targeted content on specific channels directed at specific audiences.
- We Love Our Neighbors!: Favorite eateries, attractions, historical facts or oddities about the dispensary location deliver real value to residents (and spectacular SEO to yourself).
- Cannabis Advocacy / Social Equity: What are people in the cannabis industry—or even in the larger world—doing to advance the causes of justice and equality?
- Cannabis Law and News: How is the legal landscape changing, and what does it mean for your customers? From national to hyper-local, these are pieces that can really resonate with your customer base.
- Cannabis Facts: These shares can encompass anything from deep dives into the science of cannabis to short and sharable “fun facts” about the plant and how it interacts with the human body.
- Budtender Profiles: Who are the people who make your dispensary tick? How do they like to spend their off-hours? (Cute pets are a must!).
- Behind the Scenes: What’s it like working at a dispensary? What’s fun, what’s surprising, and what are some of the perks of standing at the leading edge of the Green Wave?
- Best Shares from Our Community: Did a customer say, do, share or demonstrate something noteworthy and positive? In a sense, this is the simplest and easiest form of influencer marketing, and it’s a great way to remind your community that you value them and your interactions.
- Holidays: There’s no reason all your content needs to be cannabis-themed. Posting content that reminds us of holidays and special observances is always a good idea; if you’ve timed a sale or special event to coordinate with it, all the better!
- Cannabis Holidays: What does “420” really mean? Is “Green Wednesday” real? Or how about some cannabis-themed holiday recipes?
- Cannabis and Food: Speaking of recipes, there’s a reason cookbooks and food blogs are among the most popular types of content worldwide (even among those who never set foot in the kitchen).
Dispensary Content Calendar: Special Social Media Concerns
As you likely know from personal experience, social media marketing is a huge deal in the dispensary world. (If you don’t know it, get yourself up to speed here.) But nearly every social media platform places stringent restrictions on the type of content dispensaries can share.
That means no sales, no content that appeals to underage users, and generally no product or consumption shots.
Even if you’re already aware of these restrictions, here’s where keeping a dispensary content calender is a real plus: You’re much less likely to make off-the-cuff posts that could end up getting you flagged or even banned.
It’s just one of the many reasons we urge you to adopt a content calendar and lean on it early and often. Even if you’re a confident writer, having a roadmap to guide your content marketing efforts is one of the easiest, most effective, and cheapest way to maximize your efforts.
Once you have your content calendar, it’s time to get writing. Learn how to get started fast.
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