I often get asked ‘what are content pillars?’ Very simply, content pillars are a system to help you organise the types of content you share, they are essential to help you build a successful content strategy. They’re the foundation for all your communication with your audience.
Do you struggle knowing what to write to your subscribers? Perhaps you need to find some structure for the emails you’re sending?
Brands need to create an enormous amount of content across multiple platforms. The constant struggle to know what content your audience wants can be overwhelming.
What if I told you there was an easier way to create and organise your content?
What are content pillars?
Content pillars, or content buckets, are the core topics of your business that resonate most with your audience. Marketing content pillars are more than just social media posts and email marketing, they’re the whole strategy behind your marketing.
They are the themes that create the foundation for your content strategy. Think of them as the main ideas you want to talk about related to your niche. They need to be aligned to your offers, values and overall mission.
Companies usually focus on 3-5 marketing content pillars that provide relevant and interesting information that your target audience wants.
Focus on who you’re creating the content for. And why you’re creating it. The content pillars will help provide structure for the information you create and share with your audience.
Why use content pillars?
Content pillars simplify the content creation process. They are so useful, not just for email marketing, but to help create a long-term marketing strategy to share relevant high-quality content relevant to your audience.
Content pillars help organise your ideas to ensure your content is targeted and consistent. Sharing content that your target audience is looking for will help them engage, whether it be through social media, email marketing or directly on your website.
How to create content pillars
To create marketing content pillars for your brand you need to understand your target audience and customers personas so you know how you can provide value. You can read more about defining your target audience here.
It is possible that different segments of your target market are likely to have different pain points and needs. Take Gen Z and Boomers for example, they might both benefit from your products and services, but their pain points are likely different. How they consume their content and the language they use is different. If you serve different groups you can have a content pillar for the overall topic, then your individual pieces of content can be tweaked to speak to each different group.
Content pillar examples
Content pillars are unique to your brand. Below is a list of areas that will help you define the content pillars for your brand.
This focuses on the people you can help, and their pain points, showing an understanding of the issues they’re facing.
This showcases your offers and how these can be the solutions to your audience’s pain points.
This highlights why your brand is different, what you do differently from your competitors and why your approach is unique.
This includes your personal story, your brand story, your mission statement and your values.
These main marketing content pillars can be split down further to focus on content for different segments of your target audience – people that are at different stages of their buying journey.
Email marketing content pillars and how to use them
Understanding how to use the content pillars and share your content with your audience is the next step.
Download my free Email Marketing Content Pillars Trello board. This template is set up and ready for you to easily edit with your own content pillars. You can set up a free Trello account very easily and access boards from a webpage or use the app on your phone or tablet as well.
Whenever you think of an idea you can note that idea onto a card on your Trello board so you’re starting with ideas when you sit down to plan and write your emails.
The Email Marketing Content Pillar Trello board allows you to visualise your emails across the weeks and months. Helping you take control – so you don’t get that panic when you’ve got to send yet another dreaded email with no idea what to write!
Spreading out your content pillar topics across the weeks helps your audience receive a variety of topics. For example, I don’t recommend bombarding your audience with sales emails or always talking about your brand story. Mix the emails up and share different content.
And remember – the more emails you write the more metrics you will have to analyse. You can read more about what email marketing metrics you should be tracking here.
It is important to stay on top of the trends in your niche, to ensure the content you are sharing is relevant. Using GIFs, emojis and polls in your emails is a great way to engage your audience. Emails with lots of big images and multiple call to actions used to be the thing to do but now more plain text emails are becoming popular these days. Reviewing your metrics to see what your audience responds to is essential to understanding what they want to receive from you.
That being said, you don’t need to jump on every new trend. It is equally important to create evergreen content. This is the most valuable content as it’s aligned with your business values and will serve you better. A well-researched blog that is SEO and keyword focused will boost your web traffic. You will be able to use evergreen content ideas in your email marketing for months and years to come.
Where to find content ideas
My clients often express their frustration with the amount of content they have to produce, it can be very overwhelming, certainly for smaller businesses.
Here are a few helpful places to look for content ideas:
Google search – type in a question and see what auto-populates.
Frequently asked questions – on a blog or social posts for your business or competitors in your niche. Use the questions to create content to help answer their queries.
Check your insights – for your emails, website and social media to look for the best-performing content.
Answerthepublic.com – a great tool to see what people are searching for so you can provide content for questions already being asked.
If you need help working out your brand specific content pillars, this is part of the Done For You Service I offer. I work with my clients to strategise their content pillars so they have more clarity around their offers.
To summarise – email marketing content pillars are core topics of your business that resonate most with your audience.
Once you need to understand your target audience, content pillars make organising and planning your content easier.
Content pillar examples
Evergreen content is the best content to create. But also stay on top of the trends to stay relevant.
Where to find content ideas:
- Google search
- Frequently asked questions
- Check your insights
Plan 12 months of content
Do you struggle with what to write to your subscribers each week?
You dread writing emails and keep putting it off.
Consistency is key with email marketing – the more you write to your audience the more data you will have to work out what they actually want to receive from you.
Download this free Trello board template to help you organise your content ideas and make the whole email marketing process easier.
Take control of your email marketing and feel confident that you won’t run out of email subjects ideas again!