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Content Marketing Pillars: How to Build Them—and Why

Only 33% of brands have a documented content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute. But as a forward-thinking marketer, you know you need to deliver quality content to engage, attract, and build relationships with your consumers.

A winning content strategy starts with identifying content pillars: the topics, themes, or subjects your content will cover. Without them, delivering consistent, high-performing content can feel overwhelming, unrewarding—and deliver very little return for all that effort.

Here’s how your efforts can deliver a solid ROI:

Infographic of funnel detailing the 5 steps

 

Step 1: Identify your brand’s POV—and SEO opportunities.

What does your brand want to be known for? And how does that relate to what your targets are searching for? Work with your SEO strategists to identify the keywords in your market landscape that your targets are searching for.

Now, marry these with your brand POV. Look to your mission, vision, and value statements. Are you a specialty healthcare group focused on preventative care? A financial institution looking to bolster the underbanked? Or a college dedicated to educating adult learners?

Designing your content around your brand POV and the most relevant keywords will improve your search engine visibility—and the opportunity to connect with your key audiences.

 

Step 2: Know what your audience wants to know.

But don’t just rely on keyword research. Use the relationships you already have.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my current customers/patients/students talking to me about?
  • What kind of questions do they ask about my products/services?
  • Are there specific times of the year or special occasions when they need my help?
  • What types of problems do they face, and how does my brand help?

 

Step 3: Construct your content pillars.

Compare the information from Steps 1 and 2 and carve out the themes that overlap—these are your preliminary pillars. Remember that strong content pillars establish your brand as an authority on issues that your targets care about—so focus on finding common ground.

Start with five to six content pillars. While pillars can evolve and grow, starting with a solid, focused foundation will keep things manageable:

  • Determine if your pillar is too specific: Is there a broader category multiple topics could live within?
  • Consider the competitive landscape in your industry: Are there certain pillars you must have to succeed or be relevant?
  • Factor in your long-term goals: Is this a topic you’re ready to own now, or is it a future goal?

 

Step 4: Frame out your subtopics.

Now, identify subtopics your content will cover.

  • Start with three to five subtopics per pillar and grow from there.
  • Think logically and begin by covering beginner and intermediate topics.
  • Save the expert subject matter for future content creation—ensuring your content stream is constantly flowing with ideas.

 

Step 5: Develop content organically and thoughtfully.

Your content creation is now ready to progress cohesively—to be both engaging to your audience, while building your brand. Before publishing any piece of content, ask yourself:

  • How does this topic/theme relate to my brand?
  • How does this engage or inform my constituents?
  • What is my brand saying about this, and why does that matter to my audience?
  • What can my brand offer customers/patients/students on this topic?
  • What are my competitors saying on this topic?

Need help building a content marketing strategy that connects your brand with your targets to deliver the information they want—and the outcomes you seek? Contact us.

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