Cannabis Marketing Tips: Should You Make a Dispensary Podcast?

Even before COVID-19 locked us all in our apartments for a year, long-form content such as podcasts were experiencing a huge and historic resurgence. But the pandemic only highlighted an existing hunger for deep dives, long-running conversations, and the simple pleasure of hearing someone who really knows their field explain how things work.

If all this sparks your creative fire, maybe it’s time to consider making a dispensary podcast. 

Sound crazy? It shouldn’t. On a technical level, producing a decent-sounding podcast isn’t challenging. And cannabis podcasts represent a vital segment of the audio content world, one that’s only set to grow as cannabis itself gains legitimacy and ground. Let’s lay out a few factors to take into consideration, including the basic elements of a successful podcast, along with a few pros and cons.

And if you need a little inspiration, scroll down to “Podcasts by Cannabis Influencers” on this recent article for a curated list of some of the best!

Should You Make a Dispensary Podcast? Elements of the Podcast

Sure, warm weather is coming, vaccinations are on the rise, and we’re cautiously poking our heads out of our holes. Won’t life go back to “normal” soon? Why spend the time making a podcast?

As we pointed out earlier, the pandemic only highlighted an existing need. Storytelling and conversation are, most likely, the oldest human art forms, and they scratch an itch that’s otherwise difficult to locate. If you can create a podcast that a) entertains, b) informs, and c) inspires real-life reactions and conversations, there’s enormous potential, especially in the cannabis realm.

And let’s be clear: By potential, we don’t mean “sales” (although make no mistake—podcast ads are by and large remarkably effective). Rather, we invite you to look at podcasts just like any other form of content marketing. They’re a way for you to grow your audience and your recognition. Ultimately, control of these precious resources will not only yield you sales, but the credibility and authority that define a truly exceptional brand.

So, what are the elements of a great podcast? Let’s break them down one by one.

Technical Competence

If you have to strain to hear a podcast conversation,—no matter how compelling the topic—you’re going to find another podcast pretty quickly. Investing in a pair of decent microphones—one for the host, one for guests—is a must, along with headphones and a simple audio program to capture and edit the raw audio. Because the physical environment is as (or more) important than the microphone you use, we also recommend buying a simple windscreen or two

A Purpose

Given that we’re discussing dispensary podcasts, you might imagine that all you have to do is talk about cannabis for 45 minutes and your work is done. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Think about your customers’ perspectives: Not all of them visit your dispensary for the same reason. There are medical patients, adult-use advocates, older cannabis-curious newbies, and gen Z’ers interested in pushing the boundaries with products like live resins and waxes. There are folks interested in the crossover between cannabis and pop culture, and there are those who want to understand how cannabis is shaking up the struggle for racial justice here in the United States.

In other words, you need to know why you’re making a podcast in the first place. What is the point? Choose a topic—or at most, a handful of related ones—and make it your mission statement. Whether it’s to entertain, to educate or to impart actionable information, make sure each and every episode fulfills that all-important mission statement.

A Strong Voice

No, we’re not talking about the actual sound of the host’s voice. As one hugely influential and popular radio show has demonstrated, that’s not necessarily an issue. Rather, we mean a point of view.

Here’s a tip: If you’re trying to conceptualize your own dispensary podcast, think back to books, interviews, magazine articles or any other media you’ve consumed that’s truly impacted you. What about it spoke to you? 100 times out of 100, the creator had a clear point of view and communicated it effectively. Instead of trying to appeal to every listener, focus instead on your passion, and what you want people to know. Not everyone will tune in, but that’s a good thing. Instead, your point of view will resonate with the people who will eventually become your core audience.

The same goes for your guests. In general, listeners want to be exposed to voices who willing to challenge the status quo, to push the boundaries and to expose people to new ways of seeing the world. This doesn’t necessarily mean seeking out guests who are sensationalist, crude, or provocative for its own sake (although there’s nothing inherently wrong with these qualities, as one long-running radio show amply demonstrated). Again, it all comes back to your mission statement: What is your podcast for? Once you have that essential question answered, the format, the guests, and the feel of the show will fall into place over time.

Should You Make a Dispensary Podcast? Pros and Cons

What are the upsides and downsides of creating your own podcast? Let’s break it into pros and cons:

Pro: Podcasts make great promotional pieces. They can be shared on social media, in emails, or any other channels you use.
Con: Podcasts require an investment. As we mentioned above, you’ll need basic recording tools, which aren’t free. But more to the point, you’ll need to invest your time and energy into concepting, recording, and then editing the material. How much time? One basic rule of thumb is that a well-produced podcast requires two to five times as long to edit than it does to record. While there are plenty of talented young producers and editors out there for hire, the time and expense are a very real factor.

Pro: Podcasts build authority and stature in a crowded field. If you can find a niche that lacks exposure and create an entertaining and engaging show around it, you can quickly build up a presence.
Con: Podcasts need to be consistent. There’s consistency in tone and focus, as we discussed earlier. But podcasts—like other forms of content marketing—work best when they’re on a schedule. One episode a month, for instance, is a good initial target. If you’re strapped for inspiration or energy just trying to make the business work, a podcast is not going to make your job easier.

Pro: Podcasts are great for SEO. iTunes and Google Podcasts effectively function as search engines, and including just a few relevant keywords in the name of your podcast (and individual episodes) can help boost your visibility in these important arenas.
Con: Podcasts won’t market themselves. As we pointed out above, podcasts are like any other piece of content. They need to be publicized, marketed and supported. If you think your work is done once you make an episode, you might want to reconsider.

Pro: Podcasts can be reused and recycled. In addition to being such great and sharable pieces of content on their own, you can have conversations transcribed and reused as articles, social posts, or any other form of content you require.
Con: Podcasts don’t guarantee sales. While as we pointed out, podcast ads can be effective, not every podcast listener will jump in their car to visit your dispensary afterward (nor are we recommending strong sales pitches folded into the content). In this sense, of course, podcasts are no different from any other form of content marketing, which is better aimed at building a relationship with an audience than with closing a deal. Still, it something to consider.

Pro: Podcasts are force multipliers. When you reach out to potential guests and interviewees, you’re broadcasting your dispensary’s presence and authority. Those guests and interviewees will inevitably share the relevant episodes with their audiences too, which in the case of a well-chosen guest can exponentially broaden your reach.
Con: If you’re not passionate about podcasts, making one won’t change that. Here’s the truth: As we’ve pointed out several times by now, podcasts require inspiration, energy, and focus to succeed. If you have an inspiration to create a podcast and can harness your passion to connect and interact with listeners, podcasts are a great way to build your brand, connect with figures in the cannabis world, and stake out your territory as a leader in the field. If not, don’t despair. There are plenty of other ways to get the word out.