Successful content marketing requires a strong sense of purpose. Why are you producing content? What aims do you hope to achieve?
Who are you creating content for? Only once you’ve answered these questions does the real work begin. First gain a clear understanding of your target audience – otherwise known as ‘buyer persona(s)’. Then you can begin to develop the content pillars that will steer your content marketing strategy.
What Are Content Marketing Pillars?
A content pillar is a key theme that will dictate many of the articles, videos, e-books, infographics and blog posts that follow. Usually a content pillar is cemented with one or more particularly strong and in-depth pieces of content. These are typically labelled ‘bedrock content.’ They can be spun into many smaller articles and linked back to the bedrock content. This creates a spider’s web of related and relevant content.
Content Pillars vs. Brand Pillars
Sitting behind strong content pillars are the key brand pillars which guide your brand’s presence across all media, including content. These key elements encompass a brand’s mission, purpose, values, tone of voice, positioning and look and feel. Brand management is, in essence, the strategy surrounding and the execution of a brand’s pillars.
Content Marketing Teams will Develop Content Pillars for Content Strategy.
How Broad Should Content Pillars Be?
Content pillars shouldn’t be too specific. They should act like the trunk of a tree with the potential for many branches of conversation, question and analysis. It is up to you how many content pillars you choose to use in your content marketing strategy. However each pillar should be in line with your brand and offering. They should also address the needs and values of your target consumer.
Top Tip: If you need content inspiration, take a look at our article on ‘content types’. When used in conjunction with content pillars you’ll have relevant content that your audience will want to read.
What Is Bedrock Content?
Bedrock content introduces as many relevant concepts as possible – within the umbrella of your key concept theme – to your target audience. It could take the form of an article, extended blog post or special report. Use your specialism as a business to include interesting and insightful information that your audience will enjoy.
Focus on a natural tone of voice, like you’re having a conversation, while also incorporating keywords that relate to your theme. Overall, quality bedrock content will offer plenty of opportunities for further conversation. If it reads like the end of the story, it’s unlikely to be a piece of bedrock content.
Content Pillars For Social Media
Planning is essential for all social media activity, focussing on a specific target audience and key message. The foundation of all social media strategies should be your content pillars. They will determine the type of content you share and across which channels. The following example, dedicated to lipstick, demonstrates how this should play out in practice.
Content Pillars Example
Below is a simplified, fictional example of how content marketers will use content pillars to target consumers in a natural, but engaging way:
A cosmetics business specialising in make-up.
An in-depth buyer persona has revealed that the average customer is female, aged between 35-50, living in suburban areas.
The Customer Journey:
Analysis of the way consumers navigate the brand’s website reveals that they spend lots of time browsing lipstick colours. They often clicking on multiple shades, followed by high basket abandonment.
This suggests colours are not easily discernible. Perhaps more is needed to show shades in a more accessible way.
Example: Cosmetics Company Bedrock/Spin-Off Content – Online Video Tutorial
The Content Pillar:
Lipstick shades for different skin tones, seasons and looks, focusing on groupings of pink, red, nude, plum and brown lipsticks.
The Bedrock Content:
Choosing the right lipstick shade for your skin-tone, perhaps including model images, videos and how-to tutorials.
The Spin-Off Content:
How-to videos, make-up artist top tips, different shades within a particular grouping, lip-liner advice, catwalk trends, seasonal trends, celebrity looks, day-to-night styling… and many more!
If you need support to develop your brand or content pillars, then please get in touch.