The content pillar approach to content marketing is the method of creating one very big piece of content, from which smaller assets can be derived.

This provides marketers with relevant material to support the ongoing promotion and distribution of the main piece, without having to create dozens of unique assets.

For instance, you could repurpose each chapter of a 7-chapter eBook into stand-alone blog posts, thereby creating 7 posts efficiently. The benefits include:

  • More relevant promotional assets
  • Less overall work
  • More overall content created for your brand

You may be familiar with our go-to diagram of a content pillar:

But recently, a company interested in learning more about Kapost wanted to see how this “ideal” flowchart really pans out. They wanted to know what a real content campaign looks like.

So I went back to the archives, and pulled one out.

Here is the Content Marketing Hiring Handbook [eBook] content campaign. The eBook launched in March 2014, and the following content assets are all real and live.

In total the one eBook became:

  • 1 eBook
  • 1 infographic (and now this one, so really that’s 2)
  • 2 whitepapers
  • 1 video
  • 1 guest blog post
  • 15 blog posts on the Marketeer
  • 1 SlideShare presentation
  • 3 unique landing pages
  • 3 outbound email campaigns (at least)
  • 4 original photos

The above assets were the basis for an additional 90 (at least!) social promotions. And we also hosted a content marketing webinar dedicated to the topic and featuring one of the people interviewed in the book.

That adds up to, at minimum, 122 content assets. That’s almost half the work-day 2014 calendar — and that’s only 1 content pillar!

How Can You Do This, Too?

It’s easy to make a lot of content out of a content pillar. If you are writing an eBook, for example, just follow these steps:

  1. Schedule interviews with thought leaders or experts on your topic. Make each of these an independent blog post, and then create social language that promotes each blog. (1 blog post + 3 social promos)
  2. Summarize the main points of your eBook in a video interview. You can promote the video on YouTube (the second largest search engine), Vimeo, or Vidyard, and the video can be embedded on your blog. Again, create social language to drive traffic to the blog. (1 video + 3 social + 1 blog)
  3. Do original research. Original research is a great way to gain traction for your asset, have other blogs cite your work, and create a meaningful evergreen piece of content. Put your research results in an infographic, or break up the stats into a SlideShare presentation. Host the infographic on your blog, and create social language to drive users to your SlideShare presentation. (1 SlideShare preso + 1 infographic + loads of organic inbound links + 2 blog posts + at least 3 social promos)
  4. Develop gated landing pages. For each “main asset” in your content pillar, develop a quick and easy landing page. This builds out your site’s total site map (improving Google Search Rank status) and also gives your company multiple opportunities to capture the contact information of your web visitors. (3 landing pages)
  5. Create email nurture campaigns around the eBook topic. If you did your research and are dedicating resources to building out an entire eBook, the subject matters should interest your target audience. Develop an email nurture campaign around the topic that uses pieces of the campaign to engage users mid-funnel. Marketing automation software makes this easy, and provides unique data and insights about each of your customers as they engage with various pieces of content. (3 emails)

Voila! You’ve done it. 

Making a content pillar campaign isn’t hard. It’s strategic and rewarding. Follow these simple steps, and soon you’ll be showing off your recent campaigns.

You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

We’ve created worksheets so you can quickly get the hang of creating the blog posts, social, and emails that flow from your main content asset. Use these templates to get started on a content pillar tailored to your brand.

A step-by step guide to multi-channel distribution with the "content pillar" approach.

Jean Spencer

About Jean Spencer

Jean is a Content Marketing Strategist, Cloud & Enterprise at Microsoft, focused on pushing and redefining the limits of what content marketing can be. She also likes to do crossword puzzles and rock climb.