Content CreationDigital Marketing

How to Use a Content Pillar to Create Brilliant Microcontent

This blog will detail how you can use a content pillar as your launchpad for microcontent.

First, let’s do a quick refresher about what microcontent is and what it can do.

Think of microcontent as bite-sized information that counterbalances your high-value evergreen assets like whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies. Microcontent ensures a steady stream of original, real-time, and snackable content sandwiched between your content heavy-hitters. It’s meant to be super shareable and trackable. Exceptional microcontent allows you to not only contribute to an ongoing and engaging conversation, it helps you own it, moving you closer to achieving your marketing and sales goals.

The Marketer’s Staple: The Content Pillar 

The content pillar approach is a working roadmap for driving engagement and action, and the perfect inspiration for microcontent. The goal of an effective pillar is to provide your prospects with exactly what they need when they need it, thus driving lead conversions and boosting sales.

Content pillar assets tend to be large, expansive resources. And while top-of-funnel prospects may consider lengthy whitepapers too much of a time investment, they are far more likely engage with interesting stats, inspiring quotes, or funny GIFs. This is where microcontent comes in handy for proving value and attracting prospects to these bigger assets.

Let’s Get Practical and Tactical 

Step 1:  Pillar Strategy

Creating a content pillar—the inspiration for all your microcontent—starts with collaborative theme planning. This theme, or themes, reflect a major product, service, organizational initiative, or a key customer pain point. Check out The Multi-Channel Content Distribution Guide. This eBook will give you step-by-step instructions on pulling together your team to create audience-centric themes. These approved themes then form the blueprint for your working pillars.

Step 2: Pillar Creation—Top, Middle, and Bottom

Each of your content pillars should contain three pieces that serve the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. These are like the appetizer, entree, and dessert of a meal. This is your evergreen content. Let’s review each one.

Appetizer. This piece is a fun, engaging, curiosity-provoking asset like an infographic, SlideShare, or free webinar. The goal of this piece is to engage a lot of prospects and drive them toward a related, gated content asset. This content is meant to be optimized by channels like your blog and website, social channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and video channels like YouTube and Vimeo.

Entree  This piece is the major, hefty content asset. The asset could be an eBook, a whitepaper, or a how-to guide. Marketers can distribute this content through email or marketing automation and support it with paid email and online or social advertising.

Dessert. This is your product or service-centric asset, like a PDF, video or demo. This asset is meant to concisely reveal how your product or service solves core pain points for your target audience. It can be distributed through marketing automation as part of your nurturing efforts, hosted on video channels or webinar platforms, and should be provided to your sales team to help accelerate the deal cycle.

Step 3: Riff Off Your Three Evergreen Assets

These assets are rich resources for you. And if you’ve done your persona homework, this should be a fun and creative venture. Dig back into each of your three evergreens and extract bite-sized excerpts you know will be engaging and shareable like data or stats, micrographics, a customer quote, an image with a caption, etc. Make sure it continues to take your prospect along your differentiated storyline. Drop these excerpts into your content publishing calendar.

Step 4: Create Original Microcontent

This step is especially suited to anyone on your team who is super creative and an out-of-the-box thinker. Remember that microcontent can be just about anything—topical factoids, data or stats, cool illustrations, photo images, small infographics, memorable quotes, memes, tips, minigraphics, GIFS, diagrams, charts, video snips, to anything else your imaginations conjure up—in direct support of your pillared storyline.

Have fun with this but don’t forget to stick close to the pain point relief of your target audiences. When you get this right, your microcontent will be highly shareable and should spark an analytics uptrend.

As you get better and faster at producing microcontent, you’ll begin to appreciate its power to own the discussion, elevate your brand, increase awareness for your products or services, and grow your sales.

Laura E. Peterson

About Laura E. Peterson

Laura E. Peterson is owner of Five Spot Communications, a marketing firm specializing in transformative digital marketing. Her 20 years of agency- and client-side marketing for Fortune 100 technology companies, national health industry leaders, and entrepreneurial startups centers around transforming brands and storylines to become more engaging, conversational, educational and digitally relevant.

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