Have you ever sat down to write something to your audience and stared at your screen, wondering why your mind suddenly went blank? Of course, everyone wants to feel confident when creating content for your ideal customer or community member, so what do you do when content doesn’t come naturally?
That’s where content pillars come in.
Content pillars are pre-defined topics in your area of expertise determined by your ideal clients’ greatest needs or level of interest.
They are categories that help you create consistent content without feeling overwhelmed.
For example, a wellness coach might use nutrition basics, the perfect smoothie, ten-minute exercises, and mantra of the week. Knowing these categories helps the coach cycle through the most-requested topics for each piece of content she creates.
So how can you make content pillars work for you?
Start by choosing your topics. There is no right or wrong answer, but I will tell you less is more. I recommend 3-6 tops.
To narrow down your topics, make a list of top questions you get or problems you hear about most. Then, under each question, list ten favorite possible solutions. The key is to find the topics you love most that resonate with your audience.
Make a list of top questions you get or problems you hear about most. Then, under each question, list ten favorite possible solutions.
In our health coach example, the content category, aka pillar of "The Perfect Smoothie" might look something like this:
- Don’t fruit the smoothie
- Why you’ll never make a smoothie without avocado again
- Spinach vs. Kale
- How to keep your smoothie smooth (not lumpy)
- What to look for in a protein powder
- Hack your smoothie with these add-ins
- Why is my green smoothie brown?
- The skinny on fattening smoothies
- Top 5 smoothie recipes
- Smoothie as a meal or snack?
Use these ideas to develop content, whether blog posts, videos, social media, articles or emails.
With one content pillar, our health coach has ten ideas she can repeatedly use in different ways. Use them consecutively or alternate between your various content pillars. Then, when you’ve used them all, start over and use them again.
Content pillars like this help build the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor with your clients and community by focusing on what you are talking about and helping them know what to expect from you. When you are reliable and consistent, people know what you’re about, leading to more followers and more clients over time.
Try it for yourself. If you already have content pillars, do a quick review to ensure they are still on target for your audience. If you haven’t used them before, choose four to start.
As you publish content using this method, be sure to listen to the feedback from your audience. Take notes about the response you get for each topic and adjust as you learn more about what your ideal client wants to see.
Note: You must commit to your content pillars for 3-6 months minimum to know whether they are resonating with your audience or not. Give it at least 90 days of consistent content before making significant changes.
You’ll never stare at a blank screen again when you can narrow your focus around content pillars.
Added Bonus: Social Posts
Content pillars are also powerful tools for maintaining focus and sharing your personality on social media. Most of us view following someone on social media as a way to get the quality content we want plus a little more personal insight or engagement. We look for their typical content pillars and also enjoy the behind-the-scenes of their office, their process, family, and under-produced or live videos. This type of content helps us connect with them in a greater way, fortifying the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor.
Depending on your industry, consider incorporating 1-2 personal pillars into your rhythm of social posts—like family or pets, hobbies, or humor. You may keep these strictly in Instagram stories or include them in your regular feed.
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