Creating effective content as part of your content marketing strategy can be challenging, especially when trying to reach every relevant social media platform and blog in the process. In the age of the internet, there are innumerable channels through which marketing collateral can be sent. Because of this, it’s difficult to reach and fill many of those media with high-quality content. Creating a content pillar, which is a single, major concept that can be divided into smaller portions that can easily be distributed to your followers, can help you efficiently deliver your marketing collateral. 

By taking large concepts and breaking them down into smaller pieces, those pieces will be more accessible and can be spread easily throughout your audience. In fact, a 2013 white paper released by the CMO Council discussed Deloitte’s effort to make and market a content pillar. Deloitte’s marketing department used an approximately 60-page document as foundation for the creation of miniature pieces, such as infographics and social media posts. Users shared these smaller pieces of content, and the company discovered that this activity contributed to an increased number of full report downloads and media hits.

By employing the content pillar concept in your marketing campaigns, you can likely achieve similar results. Consider taking large themes and topics and separating them into smaller parts, such as blog entries, infographics, video clips, emails and social media posts, to get your message to your market. 

Once you have set the topic you want to cover, consider how you might be able to utilize various channels to express its individual parts. For example, you may want to conduct an interview with a thought leader to support your company’s message. If you record that interview on video, you can then edit individual clips to be posted on your company’s blog or sent via email lists. You can even post them on social media or any other venue. Furthermore, the words expressed during the interview can be written down and quoted within the aforementioned channels. Implementing the content pillar concept allows you to turn a single event into many parts, all of which return to a unifying topic. 

If you’re trying to determine the best topic to cover for a content pillar, ask yourself the following questions: 

1. Who Is Your Audience? 

If you don’t know your target audience, then knowing what to market to them will be difficult. Use surveys to collect relevant demographic information from the people you are trying to reach, and use this data to determine what information they would find valuable. This is necessary for communicating your intended message to your target market. Knowing your audience helps you determine what they care about and what type of material will effectively resonate with them. 

2. What Does Your Target Market Need? 

What type of information is your target market seeking, and what are its biggest concerns? If you are a member of the target market, ask yourself what type of information is most useful for you. If you are not part of the target market, go to the source. Speak with people who represent your targets, and ask them what their needs are. You can also explore message boards, Twitter and other forums in which your target market expresses their needs and asks questions. 

3. Do You Have Something Valuable to Share? 

This is critical. Don’t create content for the sake of having something to say. Create content because you have something worth saying. Is there a way that you can clarify something, go deeper into a subject or shed new light on a topic? If so, you should have a foundation to create bits of content that your followers find valuable, insightful and shareable. 

4. Are There Older Topics and Materials That Are Worth Revisiting? 

Perhaps you have already addressed a topic that’s become relevant again due to changes in the industry, market or greater economy. It may be worth researching your company’s historical content to see if an older topic can be made new again in light of newer circumstances. Consider how your company may have had positive or dramatic changes since that topic was last mentioned, and think about what insight you might provide when comparing past and present circumstances. 

5. Have There Been Recent News Items That Are Worth Sharing? 

Has there been a recent study done? Has someone or something made a significant impact in your industry? If so, this might lead to a larger issue that is worth developing a content pillar around. 

If consistently coming up with valuable content is taking its toll on your marketing production, then a content pillar may be the reprieve you need. A content pillar is an excellent way to develop content for a modern multi-channel marketing environment. Content pillars help a company create serviceable parts of content that contribute to a greater topic and idea, and it helps audiences discover that the value of your message is greater than the sum of its parts.