08/02/2023 • Beth Fell
We’ve all been there, it’s time to start writing content for your SEO, social channels, blog, website or even that latest press release you’ve been putting off. But the question is where do you start? You have ideas whizzing around your head, but no real strategic path when it comes to putting pen to paper. That’s where content pillars play a key part in your overarching marketing strategy.
Content pillars, and content topics or sometimes referred to as content cornerstones are in essence broad topics that your content will be based on. It’s important that these pillars/topics truly reflect your brand whilst also providing value to your target audience.
Key elements to think about when considering value is:
Usually content pillars are derived from 3 to 5 topics that will aid further exploration into subtopics. Some easy off-the-shelf pillars could be:
We’ll take education as an example; now you have this content pillar, you’ll need to create 3 - 5 subtopics that are relatable to it. We’ll use a gym apparel brand as an example, the way you’d use the education content pillar would be to:
Highlight your sustainability pledge
Share how you’re being kinder to the planet and the environment as a whole
How to avoid fast ‘gym/sports’ fashion
Share exercise and form techniques
Minimising the risk of injury across different methods of exercise i.e. squats, yoga poses, stretches etc.
Partnering or creating an ambassadorship with a PT, nutritionist or coach, to truly educate users through professional advice.
Once you start with the subtopics, you may find yourself creating more than 5, which is great as you’ll have some in the content bank, but definitely keep them in there until it’s time for a refresh.
Though it’s easy to pick content pillars from a generic shelf, that’s exactly what they’ll be - generic. Content clusters need to be relevant to and reflect your brand, to do this you’ll need to really think about your audience and their personas, Gen-Z will consume your content differently to a Millennial audience; without these details how do you market to them?
Other ways to create content topics include looking at your analytics across the board. What social posts are performing really well? Did that last blog shoot through the roof? Is there a certain page user are visiting on the site? Once you see a trend on the analytics front, review the visuals, keywords and if possible the hashtags used. You’re likely able to derive your content clusters from your findings.
Another technique on how to create content pillars is to ask your audience what they want from you.
A little tip from us to you, use your email database! Ask your subscribers what they want from you, and in return give them a 10% discount code upon completion or if you have something limited edition, enter them into a prize draw. It needs to be something worthwhile to encourage them to share their thoughts and interact. Other techniques include using a question box on social platforms, opening up a comment section on your blog or uploading a post on social media encouraging people to engage this way.
You may not get it right the first time and that’s okay. It’s totally acceptable to switch up your subtopics to see how they work instead; it may be that the overarching content pillar is truly not right for your target audience or there’s a shift in the current market (like the cost of the living crisis we’re currently experiencing!).
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