Content Creation

The Definition of a Content Pillar

By November 24, 2014 No Comments

You might have never heard the term before, but if you’re running a content marketing program, chances are you’ve worked with content pillars in the past.

A content pillar is simply an in-depth piece of content, such as an eBook, whitepaper, video, or research report, that can be broken out into many smaller assets, such as blog posts, infographics, and emails.

The name is pretty appropriate, if you think about it.

Running a content program can be highly challenging at times, and if you don’t find ways to repurpose and reuse content, your program can easily collapse, burying your marketing team in a heap of unfinished, one-off projects. Content pillars provide the support you need to strategize and produce a large volume of organized, related content in a short time.

Take, for example, this recent Kapost content campaign that discussed best practices for hiring a content marketing team.

Kapost used a single eBook as the basis for 122 pieces of content—32 assets and 90 social media posts.

Imagine the time and energy that would have gone into creating that many content pieces from scratch.

You might be surprised by which content is re-purposable. Next time you’re creating or partnering on a larger content asset, ask yourself a few questions:

1. What can I repurpose from the discovery process?

Capture and record your interviews with executives and other thought leaders as you gather information. How many ways can you think of to repurpose those interviews (videos, audio + animation, pull quotes, transcripts, webinars)?

2. How can I use the full content of the piece for a different medium?

For example, if you’ve written an eBook, you might be able to turn it into a slide deck for a webinar with very minimal edits. Record your webinar and post a video of it on YouTube and your own website. You can use an inexpensive transcription company to create a transcript, which you can post in its entirety as a blog post. You can also post the webinar slide deck on SlideShare.

If you promote each of these pieces via social media posts, you’ve now turned one asset into at least 8 without even having to edit your original content (not to mention the many emails and articles you’ll create to promote and share your webinar with your mailing list).

3. What can I reduce and repurpose from the final product (stats, images, lists, etc.)?

Now that you’ve determined a few ways to repurpose the content in its entirety, ask yourself if certain pieces might make for good content on their own. Can the supporting stats from your piece be grouped into an infographic? Can you generate a list of the most important lessons the piece offers? Perhaps there’s an explanatory section that might make for a good infoGIF, or a few pull quotes you can pair with interesting photos for your Instagram feed.

To help you brainstorm, here’s a list of content that might come out of your content pillar:

  • Blog posts
  • Comic strips
  • EBooks
  • Emails
  • Guest posts
  • InfoGIFs
  • Infographics
  • Landing pages
  • Newsletter articles
  • Photos
  • Press releases
  • Pull quotes
  • Social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, imgur, Instagram)
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Transcripts
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Whitepapers

Using the content pillar strategy not only helps your team save time, it’s also an easy way to ensure you’re offering a consistent message to your audience. So next time you sit down to create your editorial calendar, start by planning content pillars and watch the rest fall into place.

Want Some Help Getting Started Creating Your Content Pillar? Check Out These Templates

Use this workflow to create templates suited to every step of the content marketing process.

Step-by-step processes for creating, assigning, approving, and publishing your content assets/

Amanda Farmer

About Amanda Farmer

Amanda Farmer is the strategic director and writer for Dreamtown Creative, an Austin-based marketing agency specializing in the development of visual media and thought leadership content. When she and her co-founder/husband aren’t working together on client projects, they’re working together on screenwriting, filmmaking, or one of their other creative side projects. INTJ, but unexpectedly warm. Tweet her @amandathehun.