As a small business owner, there’s a lot to do.
Between content ideation, creation and execution, you’re likely to be a very busy bee – especially if you’re a one-person team.
So, when time is short and your social media content ideas are running low, how can you create consistency and give structure to your existing strategy?
Two words: content pillars.
In this quick guide, we’ll explore how to create content pillars and organize your social media strategy. With our advice, you’ll feel confident enough to start creating your own content pillars in no time.
What are content pillars?
In the context of social media marketing, content pillars are a set of themes or topics that your brand can use to create posts.
These themes, sometimes called ‘buckets’, are specific to your brand, and should reflect the content that is most popular with your online audience.
The content pillars that you choose should encompass and be consistent with your brand’s purpose, values, tone of voice, positioning and general aesthetic look and feel on social media.
How to come up with content pillars for your brand
As we’ve already mentioned, the content pillars that your brand or business decide on will vary depending on the industry you or your clients are in.
However, there are some concrete ways to start thinking about your approach:
1. Take a look at your brand’s marketing personas
Knowing exactly who you’re speaking to is essential for success in social media marketing. That’s why it’s so important to have a set of well-established marketing personas at your brand’s disposal – they act as your north star for generating conversions!
To create effective content pillars for your brand’s social media strategy, you have to ask yourself some key questions:
- Which platforms are my target audience using?
- What topics are my target audience interested in?
- What values does my target audience hold?
- Which topics are educational and valuable to my target audience?
- How can my brand’s social media content help my target audience’s pain points?
The answers to these questions will help you to identify the kinds of content that your target audience want to see and you’ll be able to create content pillars from here.
2. Carry out competitor research
In order to truly understand your brand’s market, you have to be aware of what your direct competitors are doing.
Make a list of the top five competitors in your space, and head to their social media channels to check out what you’re competing against. Make note of any competitor posts that have performed particularly well, and spot what sort of topics they’re posting about. Identify any gaps in their posting schedule and formulate your content pillars around them.
As important as carrying out competitor research is, it’s important not to lose sight of your overall goals when doing so. Remember not to get too bogged down in comparison – you’re only visiting their channels for ideas, rather than to plagiarize or copy. Social media content that’s creative and original will always speak for itself!
3. Audit your brand’s social media channels to see what content works and what doesn’t
Carrying out a social media audit is ideal for spotting trends and taking the pulse of your followers’ content habits.
It’s important to regularly look inwards at your own channels to identify the types of content that your followers are engaging with, and what’s not working.
Once you’ve done your audit, you can start to phase out any continually unsuccessful types of content and posts, and adjust your brand’s content pillars accordingly.
4. Follow Industry Trends and News
Paying attention to what’s happening in your industry can help you plan your content calendar for the weeks ahead.
For example, if you’re a travel blogger, you could draw inspiration from others in the travel industry. This is especially relevant at the moment, with many content creators having to pivot their strategy during COVID-19.
Likewise, a beauty brand could notice a surge in clean cosmetics, and create content around the growing trend — whether it’s blog posts, Instagram Reels, or interactive polls on their Instagram Stories.
5. Listen to Your Audience
Another way to gain inspiration for new content is by listening to your audience and making note of FAQs. What do they frequently ask you about or want to know?
The relationship between you and your audience should always be reciprocal. You’re not just creating whatever you want — you’re listening to them and creating content they’ll find valuable.
And when in doubt, create posts that specifically ask your community what type of content they’re looking for.
Listening is a great way to stay connected to your audience, learn what they actually want, and use their feedback to create content they’ll enjoy.
The addition of content pillars to your brand’s social media strategy could really level up your content efforts.
Be strategic in your approach, by carrying out competitor research, auditing your brand’s social media channels and, most importantly, using your brand’s marketing personas to guide every piece of content you create for social media.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with!