When you think about the process of content creation, what comes to mind? What about creating brand stories? It sounds like it would be simple enough, doesn’t it? It might include a bit of planning, outlining, and then creating. That’s it!?
Not so much. While the concept of creating content and developing stories for your brand may seem simple — and while the process can be simplified with the right systems — the process of creating content takes intention, aligning with the right goals and building it around a strong strategy.
Yes, I said the dreaded “s” word. You want your content to be strategic. You want it to hit the mark and you want it to resonate with your customers. At the same time, you need to create a process that taps into your creativity and that lets you to unlock those brand stories in your head to actually create the content. The moral of the story? Without a system, you get lost.
And, let’s be honest: every single one of us have been lost before when it comes to our content.
In my business, I’ve definitely been there when it comes to wondering how to translate the brand stories in my head into meaningful, strategic content. It took me a while to actually set up my content creation for success and it was all about taking the time to organize it upfront. With a go-to process, those stories and the rough ideas of content in my head actually started to flow and, dare I say, become good content.
It’s All About Your Brand Stories
Are you looking for the secret to actually unlocking your ideas into great content? Content pillars. Content pillars are truly your brand stories. I like to think of them as buckets or key themes to organize my content strategy around, which has been key to creating them efficiently and confidently, knowing any content that I put out is now working for me.
The best content pillars are going to give your brand the foundations to become a thought leader or a problem solver.
So, which one do you want to be?
If you’re not quite sure yet, I want you to imagine your content strategy like a tree. Each of your key themes, or content pillars, is like a tree trunk. Each subtopic? A branch. See where I’m going with this? I love thinking of my content pillars like this because it’s an inspiring way to think of as many ideas under certain content pillars as I can. Remember that your content pillars (the tree trunks) don’t need to be super, super specific. The specific pieces are where the branches come in.
To start thinking about your content pillars, it may be easiest to think of one topic that you or your audience really loves to hear about. Make sure that it is a more generalized, umbrella-type topic. Examples of this could be topics like entrepreneurship or lifestyle. Once you have your main topic, you can start thinking and brainstorming anything that comes to mind around it.
While I sit at my computer and type this, I can think of so many things to go with both, from tips about how to work from home (entrepreneurship), ways I like to boost my immunity year-round (lifestyle), and more. Now, will I write about everything I think about? No, probably not — but I still have the ideas. If you’re worried that the ideas won’t flow to you easily, the best place to begin is with one idea. Take the pressure off to have all of the ideas, and instead focus on finding one. From the one idea (or brand story), another will follow.
Now, start thinking of yours!
How Many Content Pillars Should You Have?
The next question you might have is: How many content pillars/brand stories does my business need? And, to be completely honest? It’s up to you, and it’s never set in stone.
There are some brands I know of that hyperfocus on 3 main content pillars. There are others that speak to the 5-7 range. It’s all about your brand and its evolution. You can always, always add more content pillars, and you can always hone in on them. The reality of defining your content pillars is that it’s all about identifying ones that are in line with your brand, that excite you and that are relevant to your audience. That will probably change from time to time, because that’s life — and that is perfectly okay.
Remember that these content pillars are what you want your brand to be known for and they should manage to strike the balance between telling the story of your brand and addressing the needs of your audience. By creating trusted, engaging content pillars, you’re encouraging your audience to care all the while upping your own authority and strengthening your brand stories as a whole.
Jenna Kutcher puts it best: “when you pick brand stories that you are passionate about, you are inviting [your audience] into your life so that you can be invited into theirs.”
How to Find The Best Pillars for Your Niche
Now that you see the value in finding your brand stories and creating content pillars for your business, it’s time for you to choose your own. Your job? Start with 3-5 categories that you’re really passionate about, and make sure that they are relevant to your brand and to your ideal customer. Grab a pen and piece of paper or your favourite mindmapping tool, write them down and start brainstorming.
Over time, you might decide that you want to get even more strategic by drawing a more direct line to your offerings or by strengthening your emotional connection. On the other hand, you may realize that you want to integrate more lifestyle content or more freebies in your strategy. As you walk down the content creation journey, you can begin to tailor your brand stories to work for you… with no idea left behind.
I hope you’re feeling super equipped and excited to simplify and step up your content strategy. That said, if you’re feeling like you need a little extra help creating content pillars that fit your specific brand, I’ve got you covered!
If you’re looking for a guaranteed method for making sure your content is clearly speaking your brand stories and relating to your ideal audience, download my content strategy checklist and master content creation once and for all.