inside of building showing pillars

When creating social media over the long term, deciding which content is appropriate to create for your brand is a necessary step. Each organization must clarify your goals, the audience you’re trying to reach, the purpose of your content marketing, and what content is pertinent. Deciding on themes of content are often called content pillars.

What Are Content Pillars?

post it notes on corkboard | content pillarsContent pillars are 3-5 topics that your brand will consistently cover, discuss, and create content for your digital marketing assets. They could also be called  themes, categories, or buckets. Being intentional when choosing topics will keep your content strategy focused so that you don’t stray off path and have your followers confused as to what your brand is all about. These anchors will also bring you back from going too far down the road of chasing trends, being distracted by hot topics, or subjects that aren’t related to your brand. You don’t want to be a law firm posting pickle recipes because that’s what everyone on TikTok is talking about this week.

Examples of Content Pillars by Brand

Dog Trainer: health of your dog, training tips, nutrition & diet, fun doggo content
Grocery Store: recipes, alternative diet information, cooking demos, saving money in the store, highlight departments & people
HVAC Company: prepping your home for seasons, maintaining your equipment, clients & customer service, staff & people of the company
Nonprofit Mental Health Services: tactics for maintaining mental health when stressed, activities & events, education regarding holistic and whole body health
University: feature people (staff, students, professors), athletics, mascot shenanigans, activities & quality of life on campus, program & department highlights

How to Decide What’s Right for Your Brand

Consider the overarching goals for your organization, service offerings & revenue streams, needs & preferences of your audience, and your values. Here are some important questions to ask as you make this decision:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your digital marketing? Learn about setting objectives
  • What content does your audience value?
  • Is the voice of your organization educational, inspirational, or entertaining? Maybe it’s a little of each?
  • What actions do you want your audience to take as a result of your content creation? Learn more about calls-to-action

hands resting on large poster board with notes

Keyword Research

You know what’s important to your brand, your revenue or business objectives, and details about your audience but we still have to pay attention to the general conversation on the web. Researching keywords is important because you may be using a word or phrase that is out of fashion, a better word fits your needs, or you may spot patterns that are important to your messaging goals.

Keyword Research Tools

Google Trends. This easy-to-use tool allows you to search for topics by category, country, or certain time periods. You’ll be able to see related topics, the amount of queries done on the keyword or phrase that you’re searching, and you can do comparisons. Google is the largest search engine in the world (and they own #2 – YouTube) so you’ll want to check in here. Check out Google Trends.

Google Keyword Planner. This more advanced tool allows you to see average monthly searches, year-over-year changes, and how competitive (how hard it is to rank), and costs to advertise based on the keyword. This tool sits inside Google Ads but you don’t have to pay for advertising to use this free tool. You just have to setup your free Google Ads account to get started. Check out Google’s Keyword Planner.

Social Media Platform Search. This is a very easy-to-use approach. You know the demographics of who you are trying to reach so check out Pew Internet Research’s Social Media Fact Sheet to see which social media platform your intended audience prefers. Visit those important social media channels and use their search function to look up the keywords and topics you’ve identified to learn more about their popularity, wording, and related topics within the confines of that environment (it varies from channel to channel.)

Check Out Your Analytics

open laptop showing graphsReview the performance data for your site and social media channels. Make note of the content that performs well, gets click-throughs, lots of engagement, or goes viral. Notice patterns because you will discover content that resonates with your audience that you didn’t anticipate (that’s how I learned that “how to” content is the most popular kind I create).

Ask Your Audience

Use polling functions on social media, ask simple questions online and in-person, make note of conversations that you have and again, spot patterns. Your frequently asked questions are another rich resource.

Use Your Content Pillars as Anchors

Identifying your content pillars and keeping them top of mind as you plan out your content will keep you focused, on subject, and you will be able to deliver value to your audience for years to come.

Let me know if you need help identifying and building your pillars or reviewing your data to learn more about your audience behavior.

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