Content Pillars: Scaffolding for Effective Content


If you’re building your brand from the ground up, you’ll need to consider the framework that will inform all of your content, ensuring its effectiveness and minimising wasted efforts.

Content pillars are the core themes or topics around which a brand’s content strategy is centred, outlining areas of expertise, interest, or value that a brand wants to communicate to its target audience consistently over time.

What do content pillars do?

Content pillars help brands to create a cohesive and consistent brand message across all marketing. For example, a fitness brand may have content pillars such as exercise, nutrition, and mental health, while a beauty brand may use skincare, makeup, and hair care.

By covering only a few key themes, brands can ensure that their content is aligned with their overall business goals and values, and that their audience is consistently engaged. They also help to streamline the content creation process going forward by providing a framework for new ideas.

What makes for a solid content pillar?

Understanding these key elements can create a strong and effective content strategy that aligns with your business goals, and resonates with your desired target audience.

  1. Core themes or topics: fundamental areas of expertise, interest, or value that a brand wants to communicate over time.
  2. Subtopics or related subjects: specific topics that fall under each core theme or topic. Use these to generate ideas for properly aligned content creation.
  3. Target audience: the people the brand wants to reach and engage with.
  4. Brand voice and tone: the style, personality, and tone of voice the brand uses to communicate its message.
  5. Goals and objectives: The desired outcomes or results the brand hopes to achieve through its content marketing efforts.
  6. Content formats: The types of content formats (eg. blogs, social media, whitepapers, etc.) that the brand will create under each content pillar.

Content pillars are an effective way to create a consistent, focused, and efficient content marketing strategy. In turn, creating content that engages your audience, builds brand awareness, and drives more traffic to your website through SEO becomes a breeze.

Creating productive content pillars

Content pillars that encourage conversion are vital to successful marketing, but require a strategic approach that takes into account your target audience, their needs, and their behaviour.

  1. Identify your audience: understand their needs, pain points, and motivations so that you can create content that resonates.
  2. Define your content pillars: these should be broad topics or themes that are relevant to your audience and aligned with your business goals. To encourage conversion, each content pillar should be focused on providing value and solving a specific problem for your audience. Some quick examples of effective content pillars are ‘brand awareness’, ‘education’ and ‘products’.
  3. Conduct keyword research: to optimise your content for search engines and attract qualified traffic, you need to conduct keyword research for each content pillar.
  4. Create high-quality content: crafting well-researched, engaging content that is easily digested leads to higher engagement.
  5. Include calls to action: encourage your audience to take the next step, whether that’s signing up for a newsletter, downloading a resource, or making a purchase. Call-to-actions that help drive engagement might be encouraging commenting on a social media post or taking part in a poll via Instagram stories.
  6. Monitor and analyse: analytics tools track your traffic, engagement, and conversion rates, so you can use the insights you gain to refine your content strategy. This should be completed regularly as social media trends change and channels evolve.

Developing durable, foundational content pillars is a proven method to provide value to your audience, attract qualified traffic, and encourage conversion – moving you closer to your business goals.

When pillars meet cornerstones

Content pillars and cornerstone content are both important components of a successful content marketing strategy, but they serve different purposes.

Content pillars are not typically a single piece of content, but rather a group of related content that is created over time and form the foundation of a brand’s content strategy.

Cornerstone content, on the other hand, is a specific type of content that is designed to be the most important and valuable content on a brand’s website. Cornerstone content is typically relevant and valuable for an extended period, and it provides a comprehensive overview of a particular topic or theme. Examples of cornerstone content include ultimate guides, whitepapers, and in-depth case studies.

The key difference between content pillars and cornerstone content is that content pillars represent a broad category of content over time, while cornerstone content is a specific type of content that provides comprehensive coverage of a specific topic or theme. Cornerstone content will always fit into a content pillar. For example, white papers and case studies would fit under the ‘educational’ content pillar, as they provide relevant information for your audiences.

Installing the scaffolding for your brand’s content

No matter what phase of your branding you’re in, you need solid content pillars to align your content so that your brand’s communication is consistent and effective.

If you are building or re-building your brand and need guidance on how to best install your content pillars, contact the team at SOAK Creative.

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