Are you stuck for things to say on social media? Do you struggle with sharing content online and elsewhere that connects your products and services to your ideal clients? If the answer to these questions is yes, it is likely that you haven’t laid out what your business content pillars are.
What are Content Pillars?
Content pillars act as a foundation for every successful content marketing plan. Like any physical foundation, pillars are necessary to support the overall objectives of your digital marketing strategy. They are great for brand positioning and helpfully, meaning that you are never stuck for the right thing to say at the right time. Identifying content pillars helps you connect with your audience in an authentic and meaningful way.
Having the right content pillars in place, also makes sure that your efforts are spread evenly across all objectives & milestones that your business may have, from awareness and lead generation to conversion. Without content pillars, your content is likely to lack direction, leading to lower reach, engagement, and brand recognition.
Your content pillars or buckets normally consist of the most relevant topics for your industry and target audience. Content pillars can also be composed of different types of content, such as blog posts or visual content like videos or infographics, that your audience would find of interest. Generally speaking, most brands select three to five content pillars to consistently create content for and amplify across social media.
What are brand pillars?
Sitting behind strong content pillars are key brand pillars that guide your brand’s presence across all media, including content. These key goals (or mission statements) encompass a brand’s identity, purpose, values, tone of voice, positioning and look and feel.
Content pillars must be born from these brand pillars. For example, if your brand is all about affordable lounges, a content pillar dedicated to luxury lounges with astronomic price tags may risk alienating your audience.
How to get clear on your Brand Pillars
How does your brand/business show up in the world? Getting clear on how you position yourself means understanding what your brand pillars are. They help you both differentiate yourself in the marketplace and build a connection to your audience/customers. Once you have these items clear in your mind, it means that your content pillars can then flow in alignment with these foundational concepts.
To help you map out your Brand Pillars start with these prompts
- What’s your Vision and Mission?
- What are the values of your business?
- If your brand was a personality what would it be?
- How do people perceive your brand/business?
- How do people feel when they think about your business? What is the experience they receive?
Start with your ideal client first
Whilst it might seem obvious what your particular content pillars might be, you need to focus on more than simply repeating information about what you sell. People don’t respond well to constant selling, particularly when it comes to content for social media. You need to build a well rounded strategy that balances information for your ideal clients at all stages of their customer journey as well as focussing on relationship and authority building.
Here are 4 tips to help you think about your ideal client.
Needs and problems
- What practical problems are solved by your product/service?
- What emotional worry or stress will your product/service directly ease or solve for them?
Hopes and dreams
- What do your users want to happen because they used your product/service?
- What excites them about the idea of the product/service? What hope does it give them?
- What are the important values in their lives that will be furthered because they used your product/service?
- What promise does the brand offer? What does it promise to deliver over time?
Objections and concerns
- What are the main concerns users might have throughout the process (before starting, during and after)?
- What could confuse or not be fully clear to users?
- Who are the main competitors of the brand?
- Does the brand have competitive advantages with genuine value for users?
- Your users could have received a similar product or service elsewhere — why should they come to you?
Once you have this information clear, you can move onto defining your actual content pillars.
Define Your Content Pillars
What are your key talking points? We recommend pulling this information together in a spreadsheet. Our Killer Content Pillars toolkit helps you map out content that will help you connect with your ideal clients and ensure that you communicate everything you need in an even-handed way.
- What you sell, your products and services – this may be split up into sections depending on audiences
- Why your customers care about them at various stages of the buying cycle
- How you use them
- Industry Trends
- Seasons and Cycles for your products or services
Break these into Topics
Once you have determined your pillars, then you just need to break them down into further topic areas, like a content bank. Essentially these topics are ideas for things you can talk about/share or relate to within that main content pillar.
So for example, I might have a content pillar called Social Media.
Within that I will have a huge range of topics like,
- How to use LinkedIn,
- Instagram Reels vs TikTok,
- Social Media Scheduling Tools,
- How to use Canva to style your social media posts,
- How to create a video in CANVA, you get the picture.
You will find that once you have listed your key content pillars, coming up with topic ideas will be quite straightforward. Grab a glass of wine – that can help too! Get your team in on the act, they can help with these topic ideas (but maybe not have a glass of wine at work!)
See this simple example below.
|Pillar 1||Pillar 2||Pillar 3||Pillar 4||Pillar 5|
|Topic 1||Topic 1||Topic 1||Topic 1||Topic 1|
|Topic 2||Topic 2||Topic 2||Topic 2||Topic 2|
|Topic 3||Topic 3||Topic 3||Topic 3||Topic 3|
|Topic 4||Topic 4||Topic 4||Topic 4||Topic 4|
Then think about how you might present the information
Once you have your topic idea, then you can think about how you might present/share it.
Will it be a blog, a video, an email, a graphic of some kind, a podcast or a webinar/workshop.
The beauty of this approach is that content can be repurposed over and over again. For example, a video recording can be transcribed into a blog that is sent as a newsletter, that is used on social media. You have the one topic, repeated over and over in different ways over a certain cycle.
So no more complaining about what to say and feeling like you have to stay on the content creation hamster wheel to keep your social media channels humming.
This method means you always have something to say and the burden of content creation is lifted as you work to a plan and repurpose content often!
Make sure you grab our Killer Content Pillars toolkit here – it will be invaluable to your business. Getting clear on what you should be talking about online, is just one piece of a larger puzzle.
If you are after more help, join our free Digital marketing group – The Digital Compass for more assistance like this, or dive into our online training program the Digital Ascent and upskill your digital marketing to gain the Clarity and Confidence you need to grow that Client base!
Let’s move you from Basecamp to the Summit! Book a chat here now.