Content strategy is a tricky business; you know you need to create, but you might not know what to create. However, without a strategy, you run the risk of losing your brand through scattered social media feeds and confusing blog posts. To boost the effectiveness of your content strategy, you need to hone in on your core content pillars.
Core content pillars revolve around the key themes and topics that your brand specializes in and shares with others. Once you can get strategic about your content approach, you’ll know exactly what to say to your ideal clients to earn their interest. Plus, you can more or less eliminate writer’s block—and who isn’t on board with that?
Here is a guide to finding your core content pillars and how to incorporate them into your business for a winning content strategy.
First step: Research
Whether you’re a solopreneur or managing a team of hundreds, research is always the first step to achieving marketing success. You need to understand every corner of your market and validate (or reject) any assumptions you already have. Vagueness has no place in marketing; you need the specifics. What are your dream clients really looking for? Don’t just settle with “good photography” or “good food”—dig in and ask them how they define a service as “good.” You may not even have to ask anyone directly; browse forums and chat boards to see what people want. Desires, as well as challenges, both make great content fodder.
“Broader topics are usually well-covered online already, so take this process as an opportunity to become a subject expert on your core content pillars.”
Next: Review your research and identify core topics
With research in hand, you’ll likely notice some strong themes emerging. If you did your research diligently, these themes should speak directly to your ideal client’s needs. Don’t be afraid to get specific. Broader topics are usually well-covered online already, so take this process as an opportunity to become a subject expert on your core content pillars. If you’re a photographer, it may mean being a resource for local advice (i.e., best spots for engagement shoots, fun props that speak to your locale, etc.). If you’re a rental company, you may find that people are looking for more content about designing a space for guests’ entertainment.
Then: Revamp your editorial calendar
Use your core content pillars to flesh out your social media and blog calendars, with topics and imagery that connect directly to your company’s purpose. Not only does this help to educate prospective clients, but it also gives them an inside look at your expertise and builds the trust factor that is essential for closing a sale. Now that you have a clear direction, your content should feel fresh and inspired as opposed to the tired, overdone copy that accompanies a scattered content strategy.
Last: Evaluate your progress
No major task is complete with the final stage, evaluation. Without it, you’ll never know if your efforts were worthwhile and you won’t be able to identify areas for improvement. Don’t expect to see results overnight but keep an eye on your metrics to determine whether there was a return for your shift in strategy. Look for higher click-through rates, more social engagement and, of course, the big goal of increased inquiries. If you don’t see the return you expected, you may need to take another look at your strategies for content creation and promotion.
This process has led many businesses, large and small, to success in marketing their content. However, it will only be fruitful if you have a clear research-backed picture of your ideal client; otherwise, your content will fall short and come across as disjointed. Your content marketing strategy must start with reaching the right people, so don’t worry about what to write until you know who you want to write for.