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5 Steps to Using Content Pillars for Content Efficiency II

By: Mark Krenn


This is the second part of a two part series about content efficiency.

Last time we introduced the idea of a content pillar—one large, beautiful piece of content that is your cornerstone asset. From this asset you create derivative works and promotions all built around the same concept. Steps 1 and 2 laid out how to decide on your content format and brainstorm your topic, steps 3-5 focus on the implementation.
3. Create the Pillar with Derivatives in Mind
When creating your extended guide, you’ll most likely be formatting it into a book-like structure with different chapters and sub-sections. When breaking these out, keep in mind how each of these can later be turned into blog posts or email newsletters. By planning earlier on, you can save yourself formatting and editing work when you want to publish the smaller pieces.
When your graphic designer is creating the illustrations and images for the piece, have her think about how to use the same assets for a larger infographic, tweetable image, or graphics for the blog posts.
If you’re getting input from industry experts for the guide, also get audio and video recordings you can use in future podcasts and videos.
At every step of the process of building your content pillar, think – how can this be reused in another format?
4. Build out the Smaller Pieces
Now that your large piece is complete, you’re ready for the smaller chunks. It’s a good thing that you were planning for this all along, because now spinning out the smaller consumable pieces is a cakewalk.
Comb through your large content pillar and pull out content, data, and images to use in other formats. Here are some ideas:
  • Turn chapter sections into individual blog posts with light editing
  • Edit down some of the portions of the guide and turn them into guest posts
  • Turn excerpts into articles and syndicate them through news sources
  • Pull out quotes and single sentences to use as individual Tweets
  • Pull out snippets a few sentences in length along with graphics to post on Facebook and Google+
  • Turn graphics into infographics and instructographics
  • Use video you recorded during process and turn into promotional or informational videos
  • Use recorded audio interviews for podcasts and video audio
  • Build visual data assets that are smaller versions of infographics
  • Get creative
As an example, we created a small business marketing infographic as our Content Pillar, and then from there turned it into smaller pieces such as guest posts, social media posts, and a landing page on our site. Your main content pillar can be anything, but guides, ebooks, whitepapers, and infographics do work best.
5. Schedule that Editorial Calendar
This is where the magic happens—this is everything you worked for. If the previous steps are done right, you should have a full editorial calendar all scheduled out for the next two months. Isn’t that a great feeling?
When creating the editorial calendar make note of any industry experts that collaborated on the piece with you that you might want to inform of when you post some of these assets. If you’re quoting an expert on Twitter, make sure to include them. If your infographic references data sources, let those sources know before you publish the infographic. The extra outreach can give your assets the extra push they need to get in front of more eyeballs.
Now you have the power in your hands. You have the playbook, but only you can make it happen. Do a little more research on creating compelling content, devise your Content Pillar Strategy, and make it happen! Need a little inspiration? Kapost details in a self-reflective case study how it grew traffic 84% with one content campaign.
Published: October 7, 2014

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Mark Krenn

Mark Krenn is the founder of Coastal Creative Reprographics based in San Diego, CA. Founded in 2012, Coastal Creative Reprographics specializes in wide format printing including signs, tradeshow displays, banners, and vehicle graphics. Mark enjoys keeping active outdoors, and traveling in his free time. Connect on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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