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  • Writer's pictureDr Joseph Nightingale

What is a Content Pillar? The Answer to Creating Profit-Boosting Content

Updated: Jan 11, 2023


Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash

Creating content is a never-ending task. No sooner have you written last month's content than the next month rolls around, and the process begins all over again. And on and on and on it goes. Sometimes I think content creation is like a ravenous monster – you feed it and feed it, but it never gets full. Content pillars are the answer.


Writing content is half the problem; thinking ideas up is the mammoth challenge. You want your content to be engaging, informative, and value-adding. You want, eventually, to drive customers towards purchasing your product: that is, after all, the whole point!


But after two or three months of churning out articles and social media posts, the idea well runs dry. "I've got to do this forever," you sweat.


Enter the content pillar.


What is a content pillar?

A content pillar is a broad, overarching topic around which your content creation can be themed. Think of content pillars like genres in fiction. They're core tenants of your business. As a copywriter, for example, my content pillars involve SEO, content creation, writing tips, and more.


Content pillars are like the trunks of a tree. The central bough is a piece of "bedrock content". It could be an in-depth guide to lawn care if you sell lawnmowers or a beginner's intro to running if you produce running shoes.


From these core pieces of content, sprout smaller offshoots – each like the leaves on a tree. We might see a comparison of different running shoes or a science-backed article exploring running techniques.


So, if each content pillar is like a tree, our content pillars collectively form an orchard – our brand.


Brand pillars vs content pillars: What's the difference?

Another concept is the brand pillar: it's the core value of your business. Content creation lies at the intersection of these two concepts – for example, if your brand pillar is sustainability, content pillars around seasonal, fast fashion create a clash of ideas.


It'll put your target customers off.


But brand pillars and content pillars are more than buzzwords – they really can help spark ideas. Otherwise, you struggle with "blank page syndrome", where you stare at a page racking your brain for content ideas that never come.


Types of content

Alongside content pillars, understanding the different types of content helps content creation. Avoiding formulaic content is essential – passion and originality matter; we, nevertheless, need to structure our approach.


Here are few core types of content:

  • How-to guides

  • Intro/beginner's guides

  • Statistics pages

  • Listicles

  • In-depth ("deep dive") research

  • Editorials/opinion pieces

  • Guest posts

  • News stories

  • eBooks

  • Infographics

  • Newsletters


Content pillar examples

Let's put these ideas into practice:


The business: A copywriting company (not me at all…)

The content pillar: Content creation

The brand pillar: Honest advice

The bedrock content: Blog article – Everything You Need to Know About Content Creation

The branch content:

  • What is a content pillar?

  • What's the difference between content and copy?

  • Creating a content calendar

You see – behind the curtain, it's really quite simple. That's why I'm writing this article. And, let's be honest, I'm doing so because you'll learn something, think I'm an authority, and hire my services one of these days.


We can use the same principles for any business: say, tree surgery.


The business: A tree surgeon.

The content pillar: Tree care

The brand pillar: Sustainability

The bedrock content: How to Care for Your Trees

The branch content:

  • When is it best to plant trees?

  • How to Prune a Tree?

  • 5 Sustainable Ideas for Recycling Tree Clippings

Nor do these ideas need to be blog posts. "5 Sustainable Ideas for Recycling Tree Clippings" could make a viral video marketing campaign. Just take a few short videos and add captions over the top. It's simple yet effective.


Remember: Content creation is about providing value. Why write if your content isn't adding something to your business? Readers should finish the content better informed than they went in.


Use content pillars to craft valuable, profit-boosting content

Structure your content marketing strategy around a handful of content pillars. Create "evergreen" bedrock content your customer will always find valuable and develop new articles and social media posts around the core ideas.


With content pillars, you're never left scratching your head – and you'll publish content that keeps customers coming back.

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