By now, you pretty much have a grasp on the fact that we’re HUGE proponents of creating pillar content for your audience. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise to see more information about it coming from us now!
Court just made an incredible video defining pillar content and microcontent for you so give that one a watch if you need some guidance on knowing how to use different pieces of content for your business. She goes into why you need it and how to share the information about your brand.
We also have an article about how to choose the right type of pillar content for your brand so if you’re struggling with knowing exactly the right platform to use, that’s the article for you.
Here, I’m going to give you a bit of insight into how to know what topics to write* about and how to keep your momentum once you do start. I’ve been creating content for brands for almost 10 years and I haven’t run out of ideas yet.
*Don’t click away when I talk about writing. This same advice applies to vlogging or podcasting, or any other pillar content plan that you have.
How to Start Creating Content
Creating killer content doesn’t come overnight, especially for a new brand.
I always say that when you’re starting on a content creation journey, it’s best to start with the basics. This is where you groan because yes, I’m about to Mr. Miyagi you into building a successful content strategy. This is how you start to use your pillar content as a backbone of your business and marketing strategy.
Step one – Start by making a list
Sit down at your desk – you can use a computer, but I highly recommend a notebook. Write down, in bullet points:
- Every product that you have.
- Every single benefit of your product.
- Every type of information you gathered to formulate/create/study what you’re doing.
- For products, write down info on everything from your sustainable packaging research to the process of creation to the ingredients.
- For service providers, write down every modality you work in, every type of education you’ve utilized, and every focus/value you have.
- Every single reason why you started your brand.
- Every value you want to instill
- Every question your customers have asked you (even if you think it’s stupid).
- Every question you can imagine your customers asking you.
To start, spend five to seven minutes on this project.
Then come back to it in two days and spend 15-20 minutes on it.
Then revisit this list in a week and spend an entire hour focused on making your list.
Set this down again for at least a day.
The reason I have you leave and come back to this is because creativity comes in waves. Content creation is a muscle. If you’re new to getting yourself into it, jumping headlong into a whole content strategy management structure can paralyze you.
When you start slowly by making this list for a short time, you give yourself the chance to dust off, come back with more inspiration, and then finally sit right down and make an exhaustive list of the above categories.
Step two – Recategorize your raw ideas into topics
At this point, you likely have a pretty darn good list of all the things going on with your brand.
It’s pretty likely that a lot of the categories in your list overlap. For instance, your reasons and values are probably pretty similar, and they are probably connected to why you chose your packaging or why you studied a certain modality. That’s a good thing.
Remember that you’re just getting started and you’re building the foundation of your business through your pillar content, so these things are going to feel really similar.
Look at your list, look for patterns in each of the categories and start to pair things up that you think would make sense to talk about together – or things that can warrant their own standalone post.
- A product benefit can be paired with an ingredient or a specific method formulation.
- A sustainable packaging article could encompass labels, boxes, containers, and the values about why you went so far in choosing that route.
- Your specific method of formulation could have it’s own post (and link to the product benefit post).
- Each of your products has their own post (and links to your in depth benefits posts).
Your customer questions and the questions that you can possibly think of are probably good to create FAQs for at least, but it’s likely that there are some questions there that would warrant their own post—things like, “how to use” are really great to have standalone pillar content about.
Keep in mind the length you want each piece of content to be when you’re – for blogs around 3 pages is great, for youtube videos 10-12 minutes is ideal, and for podcasts 30min-1 hour is standard.
Step three – How often to post new content
So you have a list of raw ideas, and you have your topics. These are topics you KNOW about so they shouldn’t be hard to talk about on your blog.
Oh hey content creation – you’re literally right there.
Now it’s time to make your calendar.
We suggest starting with every other week at least because that level of consistently creating content allows you to create enough interesting microcontent for your social media channels.
We put out two pieces of pillar content every week – either a blog or vlog and a podcast.
We also know brands that put out content daily! It’s really up to you and your bandwidth.
Don’t compare your solopreneur brand with a company operating with a team of people here, and don’t slave over making “enough” pillar content – that’s the number one way to hate it and give up.
In the beginning, I always suggest building yourself a calendar-lite. Remember that this is a new muscle for your brand. Starting lite means that you won’t bite off more than you can chew and make promises to your audience that you can’t keep. Or that you have to kill yourself to keep.
Getting into calendar building is a bit much for this so if you’re stuck at the calendar stage, send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll walk you through it or we can just do it for you.
Step four – Advice for first time content creators
Once you have it all together, your topics and your calendar, it’s just time to get writing. There really isn’t much more to it. I do have some tips for you that I have found helpful (ie. learned the hard way)
Build the foundation. There’s a reason why I have you start with the basics! You’re building a foundation by writing about who you are, what you are, and how you benefit people. This helps build your authority in your niche and ultimately what a new audience is looking for. This will probably feel monotonous for a little while. Just do it, you will absolutely thank me later.
Don’t fall into the trap of going too deep too quickly with your content. If you haven’t written articles about your products or their benefits, don’t start spotlighting ingredients. People will get confused and you won’t have anything to link to when you’re talking about your brand.
Use series to communicate an entire train of thought. Your brand is the central post to every piece of content you put out, so use series to communicate. Start with a product spotlight, then the next week write about how your customers can use it within their lives to get all the benefits.
How to Find Inspiration for Content Creation
Aha – I think this is the question we always come to, so I’m going to cover my method a little bit here, but if this is something you really struggle with, please schedule a call with me so we can talk about your brand specifically.
Once you’ve set the foundation, you have to keep going – consistency is KEY in the content creation biz. How do you keep coming up with more to talk about?
1 – Share your message in a different way
Connect with your message again and find another way to say the same thing. Write about a deeper aspect of your idea, or even update and re-post an article from forever ago.
We’ve talked about why creating content is important on our vlog, our blog, in our podcast, and even live in our Facebook Group.
2 – Creating content to go deeper
This is my favorite way to find more inspiration.
There is no shortage of content out there, but good content – the stuff that people READ is the deeper investigative stuff that doesn’t already have 5,000 articles about it.
So you’re a massage therapist and you have an article about swedish massage, write another one about why it’s good for you, another one comparing it to deep tissue, another one about when it’s not good for you, another one about a specific shoulder pressure etc.
You can have a whole series just about one aspect of your brand. Once you’ve done one, do another one.
3 – Find someone you disagree with and post about why
Do NOT start a flame war (or do, that’s up to you, but that is not what I’m suggesting).
Do a thirty second google search for one of your guiding principles and you will find a whole slew of content with the opposite voice of your own. Read those, read the comment threads and the questions that people ask.
Spend some time creating content to answer them, and do it with sass. Whether you actually tag the people you researched to disagree with is up to you.
4 – Research and curate
There is so much information in the world and you do not have to know it all or be an expert on a topic to research it or curate the information you find about it.
Use other people’s work – you can share a dope article or another post if you want to. If you’re using someone’s pillar content, just make sure you ask permission and ALWAYS credit them.
Also do this with fringe information that is connected with your brand but isn’t a direct match. It’s so much easier to say “here’s an article about pilates” from an instructor that you follow than it is to be an herbal company writing about pilates.
How do you stay inspired? Tell me in the comments!