Do you ever find that you’re having difficulty with planning out your content, whether it’s a social media post, blog post, or newsletter? If so, it’s likely because you don’t have clear content pillars in place to guide you through developing topics that’s relevant and valuable to your audience.
What are content pillars? According to Sendible, they’re “a set of themes or topics that your brand can use to create posts. These themes, sometimes called ‘buckets,’ are specific to your brand, and should reflect the content that is most popular with your online audience.”
It’s important to note that these pillars must be consistent with your brand and incorporate its mission, values, and positioning across all mediums.
What are content pillars important to use in your marketing? There are a few reasons:
- They help you to be intentional and create meaningful content rather than creating something just to create it.
- They keep you organized and ensure there’s a strategy behind everything.
- They build a strong brand identity for you and help to establish thought leadership.
With any piece of content you’re creating, it’s crucial to ensure that it fits within your content pillars. If you don’t have definitive pillars yet, follow these suggestions of popular pillars and start thinking about which ones might work for your brand.
Types of Content Pillars
Educational Content + Tips
Any educational and tip-based content is content that teaches your audience how to do something or explains a topic that falls within your area of expertise but might not fall within theirs. It can be something as simple as sharing one tip that your audience will find useful or going a bit deeper and outlining a multiple-step process or tutorial for something.
This content pillar is our personal favorite for a few reasons:
- It demonstrates thought leadership.
- It’s easy to write about — you have so many pieces of information in your brain that you can quickly turn into content.
- It makes a more complex topic easier for people who aren’t experts to understand.
Pro tip: any time someone asks you a question or mentions a problem they’re facing, write it down and save it for future use when creating content.
Regardless of the frequency you have for publishing new blog posts, they should always be shared, or else they’re not going to get as much traffic as you’d like them to. If you’re writing a social media post or a newsletter to promote a new blog post, the best strategy is to give an enticing “sneak peek” into the content to hook your audience and encourage them to head to your website to read the full article.
Why is blog promotion a valuable content pillar?
- It drives traffic back to your website, which might influence visitors to poke around on your site and look through previous content you’ve published.
- It improves your SEO.
- It positions you as an expert in your field. Similar to the approach for educational content and tips, blog posts allow you to demonstrate your expertise.
Pro tip: always reshare evergreen blog posts, especially the ones that are performing really well, to continue to leverage the traffic they’re bringing.
Quotes are any phrase or statement that will bring some type of reaction or feeling out of the person who’s reading it. Whether a quote makes someone laugh, inspires them, relates to them, makes them think, or something else, quotes are a great way to build rapport and occasionally camaraderie with your audience.
Why are quotes beneficial?
- They’re often shareable. When someone comes across a quote they can relate to, they’re likely to share it, especially when it comes to reposting to their Instagram Stories.
- They can bring lighthearted or interesting content to your overall strategy that gives further insight into the mission and values behind your brand.
Pro tip: it’s crucial to stay on topic with quotes that you share. Just because you may find something funny doesn’t mean you should share it — they should relate to your brand in some way to ensure consistency.
Service + Product Promotion
If you don’t promote what you sell, how will people know what you offer? Highlighting your services and products is crucial for increasing the likelihood of sales. Although people tend to shy away from being too promotional, people are never going to buy from you if it isn’t obvious what you sell.
Why should you include promotional offerings in your content pillars?
- Selling is serving. Every product or service you provide is benefitting someone in at least one way, and it’s important to remember that your offer is providing a solution to a problem that someone is facing.
- It gives you the opportunity to showcase the value of your product or service. If someone is debating between buying from you or your competitor, including this promotional content in your strategy will help to prove why your offering is the better choice.
Pro tip: always highlight what people will get out of your product or service. They don’t care how it functions or what it does, they want to know what’s in it for them.
Company Updates + Features
When your company does something cool or has something new and exciting going on, talk about it! This may involve sharing the launch of a new product or service, an acquisition, a team member, a press feature, an award or other recognition, and anything else along those lines.
What does sharing company updates do?
- It humanizes the brand, especially when you introduce long-time employees or new hires. People love knowing who they’re doing their business with, and this content pillar supports that.
- It shows that you’re the real deal. If you were featured in a prominent publication or received an outstanding award, people know that you’re one of the best in the industry.
Pro tip: when sharing these company updates and features on social media, be sure to tag relevant individuals or organizations within the posts. This will encourage them to share the content and therefore ensure it gets distributed to more people.
Case Studies + Testimonials
According to HubSpot, 82% of consumers read online reviews, which shows that people like to see proof that something works before making a purchase. If you want your prospects to believe that your product or service can benefit them, show them that it can through a case study or testimonial! This content will show the successful impact that your company has made on an individual or an organization.
Why is sharing case studies important?
- It proves the value that you provide to your clients and customers.
- It establishes trust and credibility in your products and services.
Pro tip: have a prominent spot on your website to include testimonials and case studies. Especially if you’re a service-based business, people will often ask for examples of your work and results that you’ve brought, and it’s helpful to point them to those case studies.
Getting Started with Content Pillars
Once you have your content pillars set, now you can get started with developing content that falls under those pillars. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you’re not leaning too heavily on one content pillar and ignoring the others, although it’s okay if you tend to focus more on some. If you need help planning it out, you can create daily or weekly themes so that you know which content pillar you need to be focusing on at a time.
Be sure to track your analytics with these, too — if you notice that some pillars are far exceeding the others in terms of performance, that’s an indication that you may want to highlight those pillars more often.
Need help outlining your content pillars across your marketing strategy? Request a consultation with us to find out how we can support you.