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3 Easy Steps to Choose Content Pillars

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Content writer posing with a dark bay horse. Giving tips on how to choose content pillars

Let’s talk content pillars. Some call them content topics or content buckets. They are all the same thing, just different names. I wrote recently about why you need an actual content strategy instead of just throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks. And having the right content pillars for your business is a KEY piece of having a solid content strategy. 

Quick definition so we’re on the same page: What are content pillars? Content pillars are the topics that you typically stick to with your online marketing content. They are the pillars (eh, eh) on which you build your marketing strategy. 

And after all, “Content marketing is the only marketing that’s left.”- Seth Godin

“Cool, Faith, but why do I need pillars plural. Why can’t I just talk about what I sell?” Well, Susy-Sells-A-Lot-and-runs-off-all-her-friends, do YOU get tired of being sold to all the time? Ya, I bet you do. Me too! And the truth of the matter is, you need to talk about more than just what you sell in terms of “buy my ___” because consumers WANT to connect with brands beyond just what they sell. There are 587,000 people out there who do what you do, but none of them do it JUST like you, and if you don’t showcase that, your potential clients will never fall in love with you. 

3 Easy Steps to Choose Content Pillars

1. Start with your why when choosing content pillars

  • WHY are you in business? If it’s just to make money, better just close up shop right now cuz 1, your customers will be able to tell and 2 you’ll hate your job 3 you probably won’t be that successful
  • Good ol Simon Sinek really put into words what we all instinctually know about business, WHY people are in business matters. When someone is in business for more than just to make a buck, we, as the consumer can tell and are more likely to stay connected with that business. 
  • It may take a bit of time and even a little soul searching, but get clear on your why BEYOND the fact you need to put food on the table and buy coffee. 

Does your content need an upgrade? Grab this list of 10 Easy Ways to Uplevel Your Content.

2. Ask yourself who you’re speaking to (or want to be speaking to).

  • Please, for the love, know that this is not another “find your ideal client avatar” exercise.
    • Ultimately, everyone in business is in the business of serving people regardless of whether you sell a product or a service. People buy from you because they need it OR because they want it and it solves a desire. 
  • What peripheral problems do they have?
  • For example, if someone buys baby plates and utensils from you, they probably have other baby-related problems that you can speak to even if you don’t “sell” the solution:
  • Such as:
    • Tips on how to keep your house clean with small children
    • Questions to ask your doctor at varying ages
    • Fun playtime ideas with your baby
    • Beautiful parenting moments
    • Parenting fails
    • Healthy meal ideas that kids will eat- and feature your cool product
  • When you approach your content pillars with a heart of service instead of just selling, then it’s easy to come up with the right content pillars for your business and your audience.
graphic with text overlay that says "when you approach content pillars with a heart of service instead of selling, it's easy to come up with the right content pillars for your business."

3. Choose a content pillar for connection: What things about you can (and do) connect you to people?

This is the part of my content pillars that always surprises me the most. One of my content pillars for social media especially is to share my horses. Why? Well… partly because it’s easy because they are a big part of my life, and I love them. However, this is also something that connects me to people in business and my life in general. Not only that, a love for horses is something that I’ve had in common with lots of my clients that I LOVE working with.

For ME, horses are a content pillar because it’s a connection point and something that makes me unique in my industry. Is it something that I spend a ton of time creating content around? No. I’m not in this space to offer barrel racing or horse training tips. But if your “connection point” pillars are a little less far from what you sell, then you could totally create some long-form content around that pillar. 

Want personalized and professional help choosing your content pillars? Book a Content Strategy Session here and we’ll choose your pillars AND plan your content.

Ideally, you need 3-5 main content pillars. Any more than that and people start to get confused. Any less than three content pillars and people start to get bored (remember, we don’t want to get sold to all the time). So take these 3 Easy Steps to Choose Content Pillars and start creating content that actually connects you to your audience, helps you sell more, and builds a bigger base of loyal fans. 

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