The Content Corner: Content Pillars: The Foundation of Any Effective Content Strategy

Feb 9, 2015

If you and your organization don’t already have a content strategy, then you are most likely working too hard to create content that is less effective in communicating your desired message and less relevant to your end-user. The lack of a content strategy can leave you at the mercy of the content “beast” where you are constantly scrambling to feed it with little time to think of the quality of the random scraps you keep flinging into the cage.

The problem of feeding this content beast is certainly not unique to government. A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that producing enough content was a challenge for 64% of all business-to-business (B2B) marketers. So how can you and your agency stand a chance against this ever-growing appetite? Embrace the content pillar.

The content pillar (sometimes also referred to as an asset pillar) may be something you are already doing and are simply thinking of as an essential survival tool or just a good idea. If you look at the generation of any one type of content for as many opportunities to generate additional content for your additional channels, then you are already utilizing content pillars. Just be sure you take it from a reactionary exercise to an established part of your content strategy. A content pillar ensures that you properly plan to squeeze as much new content as possible from every single initial content generation.

For example, your organization is hosting an event where two subject matter experts will be discussing a topic of interest within your community. This is a live event for people to attend and it will also be broadcast live over the web. But how can this event be broken into additional bits of content that will both be of interest to your audience and allow you to keep several other channels fresh with content? Certainly the live stream will be packaged and repurposed for on-demand viewing at a later date for your website and YouTube channel, but what else?

  • How about taking clips from that video and using it to also populate your various social media feeds?
  • And photos of the live event could be posted via social media, particularly Instagram or Flickr.
  • Perhaps the audio could also be turned into a podcast, if the event was of two people conversing on a stage the audience of the podcast wouldn’t really miss out on anything.

So as opposed to a live event with one video, you are now populating various other channels with a variety of content that can also easily be consumed and shared by your audience. This is the awesome power of the content pillar.

Many organizations are so busy feeding their beast that they simply don’t have time to even effectively consider developing a content pillar around a particular event. But, even if you need to let your content generation slow down—or even temporarily stop—so you can develop a content strategy with content pillars, you and your audience will be better for it once its in place. You will generate more quality content and more effectively communicate your message. Instead of being at the mercy of the content beast, you will be able to plan a full menu possibly even with a beverage pairing and keep your audience fully sated and coming back for more.

Tyrus “Ty” Manuel is an IT Specialist with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and has been passionate about digital content since at least 1994.