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The power of content pillars in digital marketing

Digital marketing is an intensive field requiring an organized and structured content strategy for success. Keep reading to discover how to use content pillars to achieve this.

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Lucie SimonovaPublished on Feb 14, 2024

The role of content pillars in shaping successful digital marketing campaigns

Most brands with successful digital marketing campaigns have a structured framework for their content strategy. To achieve such a systemized structure, these brands utilize content pillars.

But–what are content pillars?

As Eternity explains, these are the foundational topics or themes that the content strategy centers around. These themes are brand-specific and furnish brands with a content skeleton or guide for creating and managing content. Essentially, content pillars ensure that the message passed remains consistent with your brand’s identity, values, and the niche interests of your target audience.

In addition, structured content, as an integral component of this framework, enhances the effectiveness of content pillars by ensuring that content is coherent, reusable, and compatible with multiple channels.

By ticking these boxes, content pillars, supported by structured content, will streamline your content creation process, build brand recognition and trust, increase engagement, and ultimately lead to more conversions. 

Here’s how you can make it work for your brand.

Decrypting the concept of content pillars

Every brand aiming to stand out in its industry should choose a niche and tailor its marketing strategy to suit its target audience. You should be able to identify your audience, understand their needs, and align this with your brand’s overarching message. In this context, consistency will determine how well a brand can build and retain a loyal audience base. For this reason, amongst others, establishing content pillars is key to the success of any digital marketing campaign.

What are content pillars?

Content pillars can be defined as topics or themes specific to your brand that interest your audience. These content pillars inspire your content ideas, shape your brand messaging, and showcase the strength of your content strategy.

Let’s paint a picture.

A health and fitness brand will have content pillars such as nutrition, exercise, and mental health. These are content themes or topics that the audience of a health and fitness brand would typically expect.

These content pillars will then form the basis of further content created by the brand. For example, topics like “meal-prepping tips, nutritional resources, and intuitive eating” under the nutrition content pillar can be conceptualized. At the same time, under exercise, you can have topics such as “home exercises, post-workout care, and resources on specific exercise forms.” These topics are relevant to the audience and the message being passed by the brand.

It is necessary to ensure all these content pillars relate in one way or another to each other and the overall premise of your brand so that when topics are created, they maintain the same level of relevance to your audience. It is also important that content is released in a structured and consistent manner with the help of an effective content calendar. This gives your audience a grasp on what to expect and when to expect it.

When developing these topics, laying out foundational content themes helps give perspective and inspiration for creativity. They provide a reference when researching topics and give ideas for keywords that allow you to find the most relevant topics for your target audience. Depending on the content calendar, some brands focus on creating content based on one theme for a substantial period, while others may dabble in each theme from time to time. Regardless of your approach, content pillars will furnish your content with a structured and recognizable look.

How do content pillars support your content strategy?

The most important step in the marketing process is understanding your audience. This doesn’t just include the knowledge of the customers consuming your content, but also knowledge of the type of content you want them to consume. This is why establishing content pillars is key for effective and efficient digital marketing. It ensures that all published content is specifically optimized to satisfy your anticipated audience.

Establishing content pillars is also important for improving content SEO. It serves as a guide when using keywords for your content on search engines, social media, or other digital marketing platforms. This allows you to comprehensively cover any content topic to ensure they can be found easily by the consumers. It also helps you to stay consistent in delivering content to your audience, allowing your brand to remain in the spotlight for as long as possible.

Maintaining a consistent content schedule is crucial for audience retention, and pre-planning themes can simplify this process significantly. Having a general premise that guides the creation of content topics lets you come up with new and engaging content quickly and consistently while ensuring that all released content relates perfectly with each other and remains relevant to the message you are trying to convey. 

It is important to remember to stay diligent and consistent with your content pillars. Constantly referencing your content pillars in the content creation process solidifies you as a trusted and knowledgeable player in your field and also builds confidence in your work from your audience. This helps raise the searchability of your content and makes it easy for users to recommend your service.

The pivotal role of CMS in developing agile content pillars

To understand how a CMS can impact the construction of good content pillars, you can think of those content pillars as chapters in a book, while each topic is a new story under each chapter. Content types are the building blocks of your overall content body. These pieces of information are stitched together to give your content definition and identity. When we think about our previous definition of content pillars, it’s easy to visualize this similarity.

What is the best CMS to use when creating and managing content pillars? Traditional CMS provides a straightforward approach. The coupled nature of a traditional CMS dictates that what you see is what you get, which may be beneficial in certain situations. However, it cannot match the flexibility and adaptability of a headless CMS. Let’s discover some of the drawbacks of traditional CMSs and explore the advantages of opting for a headless CMS.

Why not traditional CMS?

A traditional CMS operates on a coupled architecture. This means that the front and back ends are joined and cannot be separated. Here, content can only be viewed on the exact platforms it was created for—usually a specific website. This means that content structures have no flexibility or adaptability. They cannot be reworked and repurposed based on different content channels or changing consumer preferences.

This makes managing your content pillars difficult because regularly reviewing and updating the content pillar is essential to maintaining its effectiveness. It also means you cannot utilize your content pillar on multiple channels. This is a considerable disadvantage as the topics derived from a content pillar are based on information pulled from different channels and mediums of communication. Being unable to optimally produce content for all these channels makes the research process somewhat redundant.

Coupled architecture also makes it difficult to receive and act on feedback based on the performance of your content, as making changes to your content structure is difficult and requires the help of a specialist to carry out any maintenance or security work. With these challenges, it is easy to understand why the development and maintenance of content pillars are simply not suited to the coupled nature of a traditional CMS. On the other hand, the advantages provided by a headless CMS prove a perfect match for building your content pillars, especially when using a solution like Kontent.ai.

Why is headless CMS ideal for creating content pillars?

Headless CMS is designed for flexibility and adaptability—exactly what your content pillars require. The decoupled architecture of a headless CMS allows you to have creative freedom when defining your content types. With a headless CMS, content types can be moved around, repurposed, and utilized on multiple platforms based on the metadata attached to the content type. It allows you to analyze multiple channels to see how best content can be customized to maximize reach on that specific channel.

With a headless CMS, it is easy to make channel-specific changes to your content or even general changes that instantly apply to all channels. With Kontent.ai’s API-first approach, teams can work together to create clear connections and well-defined functionalities that foster collaboration and allow quick and easy adaptability of your content.

In addition, Kontent.ai’s Web Spotlight makes it easy to manage content visually in context, by combining website management with the multi-channel flexibility of a headless CMS. With Web Spotlight, you can make sure your content looks its best wherever it’s displayed with device-specific previews, and get an immediate preview of how changes you make will look on applications or web pages.

But that’s not all. 

Kontent.ai has an array of features to map out and manage content pillars. Create content pillars that fit your business and facilitate seamless collaboration between team members while doing it – everything you need is a click away. Check out the Kontent.ai features to learn more.

A step-by-step guide to building content pillars with Kontent.ai

Your content pillars are the building blocks to success. All stages need to work efficiently, from defining the content pillars to managing and monitoring how they are being used. Luckily, Kontent.ai helps on every step of the content creation process journey.

Identify and define your core content pillars

Well-defined content pillars are built on actionable analytics. Keeping up-to-date and informed on your production process ensures nothing goes unnoticed, and Kontent.ai makes doing that easier. 

With the help of Kontent.ai’s Mission Control, which gives you a bird’s-eye view of all content operations, you can efficiently track progress in all phases of your content creation process and ensure all team members remain on the same page and are working in the same direction. It also allows you to detect errors or issues early, saving valuable time in the review process. This immediate access to insights lets you monitor task deadlines, content progress, the pace of the workflow, and so much more all in one place.

Kontent.ai

Furthermore, by using comments and suggestions, you can ensure that content production remains collaborative. When defining your content pillars, this enables the team to brainstorm and refine content themes. It allows team members to openly discuss aspects of the content pillars or make changes to specific parts of the content, speeding up the creative process and encouraging a collaborative culture.

Commenting in Kontent.ai

Create interconnected content pieces

When defining your content pillars, it is crucial to understand how each content pillar works and relates to other pillars. This knowledge allows for creative freedom and the ability to interconnect different types of content like videos and articles. Think of yourself as a Michelin-star chef with all kinds of ingredients at your disposal. Having extensive knowledge of each ingredient makes you capable of combining them in various ways to develop your five-star menu.

But every five-star chef knows that not every ingredient in the kitchen goes together. This is where your content model comes in. Content modeling lets you structure your data into reusable pieces with clearly defined metadata that helps you understand how content pieces relate and which can be combined. It is what tells you a freshly squeezed lime goes beautifully on a salmon but not so much on steak.

The result of the content modeling process is the creation of a content model, a set of rules guiding how your brand utilizes content. It is what houses and governs your content pillars and the topics within it. In light of this, it is crucial to ensure that your content model is optimal. Note that the process of content modeling has to be a collaborative one, as it dictates how content works throughout your organization.

Additionally, a good content model consists of well-defined content pillars with topics explaining each. These topics play a key role in determining how your content can be repurposed and interconnected with other content pillars.

Consistently assess, review, and update content pillars

The landscape of content creation is ever-changing, which means it is crucial to review and update your content pillars regularly. Staying up-to-date and informed means paying attention to changing consumer preferences and habits and identifying what stages in your content creation process are not working efficiently enough to deliver your brand’s best content.

Kontent.ai’s versioning allows you to view older versions of your content items. Team members can stay informed on changes made to your content and improve performance by comparing versions. You can also restore older versions of content if you decide certain changes were unnecessary. In addition, Kontent.ai’s Mission Control, helps teams keep in touch with production efficiency and ensure all team members are playing their part in delivering high-quality content. 

Lastly, it pays off to consider audience feedback and engagement metrics. Keeping track of your content engagement metrics and taking feedback from your audience gives you the necessary insights on how and where to adapt and refine your content pillars to get the most out of them. 

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What lies ahead

Content pillars are a part of the core elements responsible for the success of most digital marketing campaigns. As the digital ecosystem evolves, they will remain integral to the effectiveness of content strategies. Moreover, sustaining powerful content strategies will require:

  • Innovation
  • Adaptability
  • Relevance
  • Responsiveness to feedback
  • Strong understanding of the target audience’s preferences

Generally, brands with accurate data on audience insights and adapting their content pillars accordingly are better positioned for success. Furthermore, the synergy between content pillars and the cutting-edge decoupled technology provided by a headless CMS like Kontent.ai will result in unparalleled flexibility in creating, managing, and distributing content across diverse platforms.

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Written by

Lucie Simonova

I’m a Creative Writer at Kontent.ai. In other words, I draft and craft stories that people enjoy reading.

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