QUICK! "Content" - how does this word make you feel?
You wouldn’t be alone if it invoked feelings of pressure, uncertainty, or stress. It’s a constant topic of discussion. There are frameworks, formulas, books, videos all promising easy content creation.
Don’t fall for it. Content creation isn’t easy or everyone would be doing it. And, everyone is most definitely NOT doing it.
So, if content creation isn’t your thing - no shame. But, this newsletter edition may not be your thing either and I don’t want you to waste your time. Fair warning - I’m going to talk about substantive content creation.
As a content creator, your goal is to engage the consumer with valuable information.
In what feels a bit like the wild west in marketing these days, content marketing has emerged as more than just a strategy—it's the lifeblood of connecting with audiences, building relationships, and driving success. But with countless voices vying for attention and an ever-shifting landscape of trends, how does one stand out?
How do you create content that's not just noise but music to your audience's ears?
How do you transform your brand's narrative from scattered thoughts into a symphony?
Enter the world of content pillars
Big brands have always used content pillars. It’s time for solopreneurs to get in on the game!
Allow me to Introduce Content Pillars: The Building Blocks of Your Brand
Imagine your brand is a sturdy and well-built, majestic building. Once inside, visitors experience your brand from many different angles and perspectives.
Just like a physical building needs pillars, your brand needs content pillars as the sturdy beams that hold it all together. These thematic cornerstones aren't mere topics or categories; they are the essence, the core values, and the guiding principles that give form, structure, and purpose to your content. They allow your brand's voice to sing consistently and harmoniously across various platforms. But what exactly are content pillars? How do they function? And why are they indispensable in today's competitive landscape?
What are they and why do I need them?
In essence, content pillars are far more than just thematic focus areas. They are the strategic choices that help you connect, engage, and resonate with your audience, reinforcing your brand's identity, and building a cohesive and powerful narrative that stands out in a crowded marketplace.
Used correctly and consistently, content pillars are what will help your business stand the test of time.
By identifying and sticking with your chosen content pillars, you're ensuring that every blog post, video, podcast, or social media update connects with your audience on a deeper, more meaningful level. They guide the consistency of your message, building recognition, trust, and loyalty.
Think about the influencers you follow. You will notice that they don’t stray from a few major messages. If you are noticing a theme in my messaging, you are spot on - 1 message said 1000 different ways instead of 1000 different messages said in no particular way.
Here’s a picture of my content pillars. What does yours look like? Need help creating yours? Send me a DM 🙂
Content pillars act as a North Star, leading the way and ensuring that your content doesn't stray from what's essential to your brand. They're not intended to be rigid or restrictive; rather, they provide the reference point to keep your content focused.
Is your content strategy aligned with what matters most to your brand? Content pillars are the answer, serving as the architectural structure that shapes and supports your entire content ecosystem.
How to Identify Content Pillars for Your Business
A few things you need to know in order to identify your content pillars:
Align your pillars with your audience’s needs and your brand’s mission. This ensures that you are addressing their .genuine interests and concerns so that you're not just selling; you're solving, connecting, and building relationships.
Understanding your competition reveals potential gaps in the marketplace and can help you identify content pillars that not only differentiate you but also position you as a trailblazer.
Armed with all of this information, you can finalize the content pillars that will support your business over time.
Using Your Content Pillars to Create Content that Converts
1. Map your Content Journey: It should mirror your customer journey. Think of your content pillars as guideposts on a journey. Where do you want to lead your audience? What experiences and insights do you want to share with them along the way? Mapping this journey ensures that each content piece, whether a blog, video, or social post, aligns with your overarching goals.
2. Create a Content Calendar: Your content pillars will inform your content calendar. Planning ahead allows you to balance your pillars, ensuring that each theme gets the attention it deserves.
3. Build Your Cohesive Voice: Content pillars guide not only the subjects but also the tone and style of your content. Are you informative? Inspirational? Edgy? Your content pillars should resonate with your brand's voice, ensuring that each piece not only informs but also engages and inspires.
Measure Your Impact
If you follow me, you had to know this was coming. 😉
Tracking, analyzing, and adjusting your content pillars are crucial elements of maintaining an agile and effective content strategy. But what does this process entail, and how can you apply it to ensure the success of your content pillars?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Set Clear Objectives: First and foremost, define what success looks like for each content pillar. Are you aiming for increased engagement, lead generation, brand awareness, or customer loyalty? Your objectives will guide your tracking and analysis, so make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
2. Utilize Analytics Tools: Lots of options here from LinkedIn Analytics to Google Analytics. Pick a tool and pay attention to what it tells you. Are people interacting with your content? Which content resonates most? Which channels are most effective? Analytics tools can help you answer these questions and more, aligning your efforts with tangible results.
3. Assess Your Conversion Rates: Your content pillars should not only engage but also drive action. Are readers clicking through to your product pages? Are they signing up for newsletters or downloading resources? Tracking conversion rates helps you see the real impact of your content on your business goals.
4. Iterate and Adapt: Remember, your content pillars are not set in stone. The market shifts, customer preferences change, and new opportunities emerge. Regularly reviewing your content pillars and being willing to iterate ensures that your content strategy remains fresh, relevant, and aligned with both your brand and your audience's evolving needs.
Transforming Your Brand with Content Pillars
Content pillars are more than a fleeting trend or a mere marketing buzzword; they're an indispensable strategic tool that can redefine your brand's presence, narrative, and success. The magic lies not just in understanding them but in leveraging them with precision, empathy, and innovation.
Taking the time to develop your content pillars that align with your brand, your audience, and your overall mission will ultimately save you time, increase efficiency and increase the quality of your work. Your content will not only be more relevant to your audience, but it will also save you time in content creation. Best of all, it will help your business cultivate raving fans.
One aspect of content pillars involves using social proof consistently and effectively. Are you currently using social proof as part of your LinkedIn strategy?
Social proof is often either ignored or used without any real impact. People tend to shy away from this part of their business for fear of “looking bad” or “bragging”. The truth is, today’s consumers won’t make a purchase without it.