Why your content marketing isn’t working (and how to solve it with the pillar technique)

 

Publishing blog posts, sending out emails, posting on social media. It’s all content creation. Often a mammoth task, many businesses feel overwhelmed with the amount of content they must create as part of their marketing strategy. And in many cases, they fail to create all the content they need. In fact, it feels like an ever-growing to-do list that you never have the time to get on top of.

However, there is another way. A more efficient and very effective strategy to put in place. It focuses on high-quality content – and works harder to achieve your results… but saves you time.

Does that sound too good to be true? Bear with us!

Because in this blog post, you’ll learn how to:

  • remedy content creation overload stress
  • adopt a focused content strategy that works towards your objectives
  • create high-quality content your audience (and google) loves
  • use ‘pillar content’ to keep you on track
  • remove the feeling “creating content for the sake of creating content”
  • be more efficient and turn mammoth content creation tasks into a manageable part of your workflow

Need help creating great content now? Get in touch with our team to get started.

The problem with content creation

First things first, let’s dive deeper into why content creation is difficult for businesses. Largely, it comes down to time versus quality. Your aim is to produce high-quality content but to do this, you need time.

Now creating high-quality content is not always easy. After all, we’re all human beings with busy professional lives. So, if you leave your content creation to someone in the business – most likely, someone in the marketing department – they will likely have a million other things to do. Or at least, other pieces of content to create.

Imagine a marketing meeting

You catch up with your colleagues and by the end of the meeting, your marketing team (or whoever is responsible for creating the content for your marketing time) has heard this:

“We need 15 social media posts, 2 blog posts, 4 emails and not to mention we need to create sales page copy for our new service!”

That’s a lot of content to get together. Not only from the actual copywriting perspective – but from the design perspective too. Not to mention, the ideas part! Coming up with ideas for the content is a whole job in itself.

time vs quality in content creation

Time is high-quality content’s enemy

What happens in many business scenarios is that they make the best of their time to create this content – but they go about it without a proper strategy.  Furthermore, with the pressure of a ticking clock to produce content, it is either not done – or done poorly. And this? It leads to low-quality content.

But is ‘high-quality’ content that important?

“As long as we’re churning it out, surely that’s the most important thing?”

Absolutely not! In fact, this is a common misconception we hear a lot – especially when it comes to using content as part of your SEO strategy.

Say, for example, you want…

  • Your company website to rank on the first pages of Google for terms ‘X’ ‘Y’ and ‘Z’? You need high-quality content.
  • To attract customers through social media ads? You need high-quality content.
  • To engage an audience through organic social media posts? You need high-quality content.
  • Prospects to email you? You need high-quality content.
  • To generate leads through a workshop? You need high-quality content.

And so on and so forth. You get the picture.

Basically, there is so much content out there. And whether you’re competing for eyeballs online or delivering a workshop at an industry event, your content must represent a real high value to your audience. It must be authentically good – because otherwise, your audience will see right through you (and so will Google – if we return to the SEO example!).

An example of ‘low-quality’ content in the digital world

Say your goal is more organic traffic on your website. You’ve identified that you need to rank higher on Google to achieve this. And you’ve also identified your specific strategy is to rank for keywords and phrases. So, you’re going to publish blogs around this! Excellent start!

However, a not-so-excellent approach is then churning out blog content hyper-focused on those keywords and phrases… because that’s the easiest way to do it, right? Wrong. This is spammy and leads to low-quality content. In fact, this can even fall into the realms of ‘black hat’ SEO – which can really upset Google and damage your performance.

Top Tip

When writing blogs to rank better for keywords and phrases: Do keyword research. Write naturally and authentically (yes, have the keywords & phrases in mind but don’t shoehorn them in!)Review your content and check for keywords and phrases (do you need to weave some more in? If so, go for it

Or perhaps, you’re happy to write this content authentically for a human audience (no spammy keywords – because that’s the best way to do it!), but you don’t have the time. So, instead, you quickly pull together a 500-word blog post rather than delving into it in great details – and perhaps using 3000 words, as what’s truly needed.

What will happen? Google will see from the user metrics that your content is lacking information – and it will rank you down for that. It’s why low word counts don’t perform as well as high word counts. After all, someone is bound to have written a better, more informative, high-quality blog post on the very same subject.

high quality content is key

High-quality content is key

‘Content is king’ is one of the most widely spread expressions in marketing. However, as a curve-ball, we’d like to say this is limited to high-quality specifically.

As you can see, in the above example, low-quality content can even work against your goals. However, rarely does anyone aim to produce low-quality content (unless you’re a content farm!). Instead, it’s simply a by-product of not having a strategy in place that considers your resources and time available too.

Enter the pillar content method

Also known as the ‘anchor’ or ‘cornerstone’ method. It’s nothing new! In fact, it’s been around for ages! Yet so many businesses don’t realise they can adopt this method.

At Starbots Creative, we love this method as not only does it give us focus on the objectives behind our clients’ content marketing, but it makes creating high-quality content efficient and manageable too. Looking at the bigger picture, this is more than making life easier – it improves ROI significantly.

The pillar method: explained

Simply put, it’s about creating one important large and detailed piece. Then, breaking it down and repurposing it to use across multiple channels – to work towards either your overarching objective or to hit various complementary objectives.

Let’s return to the earlier example of producing blog posts to improve organic website traffic via search. In that case, the difficulty could have been the production of this content is mixed up with a whole other content creation tasks – social media post, email newsletters and so on and so forth.

However, what if the example business employed the pillar method?

Here’s what they’d do…

  1. Define the blog post as the pillar content (because your objective is to increase web traffic via organic search for specific key phrases)
  2. Allocate time and resources to create an excellent blog post
  3. Once you’re happy with your blog post, make a list of all the ways you can repurpose it. For example:
    • Instagram post (you’ll have content for captions and graphics)
    • Facebook (as above!)
    • LinkedIn (there are organic company posts but also share via personal accounts too)
    • Youtube (turn your blog post into an informative video – all the content is there already!)
    • EDM (a top tips email to help clients and prospects)
    • Personal email to existing clients (“we thought you’d find this helpful…”)
    • Sales page (pull out key CTAs & key sales points)
  4. Then, use existing blog content within the framework of all your other distribution channels.

For instance, the 5 top-line points in your blog post would become a ‘5 quick top tips’ carousel Instagram post. And your EDM could be a preview of the blog post or a bitesise summary of what a reader needs to know.

So, as you can see. By adopting the pillar method, you simply create content once – and then reuse it as much as you need to to work towards your objectives. Yes, we’re not saying you can switch your brains off. There’s still copy to create and hone so each piece of content fits – but it’s so much better than aimlessly trying to create lots of content across the board.

Final pillar technique top tips

  • Content isn’t just words! Every time you create a pillar piece of content, think of how you can repurpose its design – the visual elements – too.
  • Create a content calendar so you can see what your focus is each month and how one pillar piece of content will guide other pieces of content creation across the business
  • Forget the feeling ‘are we repeating ourselves?’ because every channel is likely to have a varying audience – and besides we’re all busy people, so if we see content more than once, we probably needed that reminder anyway.
  • Discuss outsourcing pillar content creation for not only a more efficient approach to your content marketing strategy – but a more consistent approach that works to improve your brand’s awareness and authority over time.

see results in your content creation

Save time and see more results with the pillar content strategy

Whatever goals you have in mind, the actions you take to work towards them must be do-able.

Although content creation can be seen as time-consuming and resource-heavy, putting in a focused strategy to repeat at regular intervals – say every month – will help you reach your deliverables. And approaching it with the ‘pillar technique’ allows it to fit in with your digital marketing strategy and wider overall marketing strategy.

Get support creating content

We create high-quality content for a range of our B2B and B2C clients that helps them develop connections with their target audience, maintain relationships with existing clients – and overall, continuously build on their brand authority.

Can we help you create content that positions your business as a market-leader and starts conversations with prospect customers? Get in touch to learn about how our content marketing services can help you.

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