To be successful in content marketing, you need to be clear on your purpose and the messages you’re trying to convey, otherwise you won’t get the cut-through in today’s cluttered content landscape. This is where content pillars come in.
What are content pillars?
You might have heard the term in conversations about content marketing, but what exactly are content pillars? In essence, they’re organising principals or themes for all content in all channels, and form the foundation of your overall content strategy. These pillars reflect your Core Value Proposition; what your business stands for and brings to the market.
It is through content pillars that you can plan and create informed and relevant content for your target audience, and build consistent content in a scalable way. Over time, these pillars can help you to establish a strong positioning in the industry, and build trust and authority with prospective and existing customers.
So, what’s the big deal with content pillars?
Why exactly are these guiding themes for content so important? It goes without saying that a cohesive approach to content is the bedrock of a successful content program – you can’t expect your audience to believe and trust in your product or business if you throw inconsistent messaging at them!
But there are a few other important reasons to define your content pillars during your content marketing process, too:
1. Help move your customer through the buyer journey
Content pillars should be defined once you know your audience and their needs, and therefore should reflect your customer journey – especially the pain points during that journey. These defined pillars will help to target content to the right audience at the points that they need it.
2. Make the ideation process easier
Content ideation can be tricky, especially for creating content with purpose; many businesses don’t know where to start. If you have content pillars then you’re already halfway there, as you have defined the topics and themes that your target audience need to know about, making the ideation process for your content much easier.
3. Simplify your content planning process
Creating a content plan or calendar can be a daunting task when you embark on your content strategy. But with content pillars, you already have the themes set in stone, so you can plan knowing you’re creating the right content for your audience; it’s content efficiency at scale!
4. Create content with authority
By building content around core themes, you not only demonstrate to your audience that you know your stuff and therefore are a trusted authority on the subject, but you build up authority with search engines too. Google ranks content on what it deems is most relevant for a search query, so if you have regular content on consistent themes, chances are you’ll start to rank higher on search results.
5. Create content with consistency
Creating content under organising themes means it’s much easier to regularly create consistent messaging. Plus, as you scale, you’re likely to have more authors involved in creating content, so content pillars can help ensure everyone sings from the same song sheet.
Although it might seem more work upfront, creating and identifying your content pillars at the start of your content strategy process will save time and effort in the long-run, and will help to ensure that your content is aligned in every channel; this is the premise for successful content. With the foundations and principles of content pillars explained, in Part Two of our blog series on content pillars we look at how to put them into action. Stay tuned!