How to Use Content Pillars for Your Social Media Strategy
Have you ever struggled to create a social media post? We’ve been there. On the days when you’re feeling uninspired, having content pillars to reference can be a huge help!
Using content pillars for social media is a great way to stay organized, be consistent, and create high-quality content your audience will love.
In this blog post, LaterCon speaker Christina Galbato shares her top tips for creating content pillars that will drive the growth of your business, and how to apply them to your content strategy in a free video workshop:
How to Use Content Pillars for Social Media
- Choose Your Content Pillars
- Find and Establish Content for Your Pillars
- Create and Plan Your Content Calendar
#1: What is a Content Pillar?
Content pillars are 3 to 5 topics your brand will consistently discuss, amplify, and create content for on social media. As social media strategist Christina Galbato explains, “You might hear them called content categories or content buckets. They all mean the same thing.”
First, content pillars will help you get clarity on your niche. Being an expert in one area or a few specific things will help your audience grow faster.
When Christina first started her business, she was primarily focused on travel and lifestyle. As her community grew, she was able to incorporate social media and entrepreneurship pillars into her overall strategy.
“A good way to think about this is an upside-down pyramid. The more focused and niched you are in the beginning, the easier time you’ll have growing an audience of people that trust and love you. And then you can expand to other subjects.”
Another reason why content pillars for social media are important?
They make planning your content so much easier!
Rather than scrambling to create last-minute posts, you can use your content pillars to strategically build your content calendar for the month ahead.
Your content pillars will be specific to your brand, but can encompass multiple themes. For example:
- An independent bookstore could focus primarily on new book releases, indie authors, cozy reading spots, and local coffee shops
- A birth worker’s content pillars could be nutrition during pregnancy, self-love, and yoga
- A marketing strategist could focus on entrepreneurship, marketing tips, and mental health
- A fashion content creator’s pillars could be street style, body positivity, beauty, and mindset
Ready to create a killer content strategy? Discover how Christina Galbato uses content pillars for her content planning and creation in this free video workshop:
#2: Find and Establish Content For Your Pillars
When you’re feeling uninspired, your content bank can become a valuable resource of ideas for you to refer to.
And the best way to build a strong content bank for your brand?
Create a document with separate sections for each of your content pillars. Every month, set time aside to add new ideas to each section. There’s no need to overthink it — write down every idea you have!
Christina calls content banking a game-changer: “This document will act as an ever-evolving resource with all your ideas. It will help when you’re thinking about what to write for an Instagram caption or a blog post, and will save time.”
After you’ve come up with some initial ideas, it’s time to seek inspiration from other places.
Christina recommends these 3 tactics:
Look at Your Analytics
Looking at your analytics is a great way to find out what content performs well, is engaged with the most, and resonates with your audience.
Make note of high-performing social media posts, their captions, the visuals you used, and any hashtags you added.
For example, Christina noticed that her travel posts which included recommended hotels, restaurants, and activities received thousands of saves.
View this post on Instagram
Fifth time here and Tulum remains one of my favorite places in the world. 🌴 Save this post if you want recs for a future trip 👇🏼 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ STAY: You can stay either in the town of Tulum, which is about a 10 min drive from the beach or splurge on a hotel in Tulum Beach, a road that runs for miles right along the shore. My fave places to stay in Tulum Beach are… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ @lavalisetulum: The beachfront hotel I stayed at last week. With less than 10 rooms and the sand right outside your room, La Valise is heaven on Earth. My NYC anxiety literally disappeared the second I stepped on property. It’s a very low-key, beautifully rustic hotel and the staff is fantastic; they somehow all know your name within hour 1. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ @papayaplayaproject: PPP is an absolutely stunnnning hotel with a variety of accommodation options, from a small cabana to large sprawling casas with pools on the roof. (the pools overlook the top of the jungle and it’s beautiful) Whether you stay here or not, try to make it to one of their Full Moon parties. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ EAT: ✨ @posadamargherita: Yummy Italian food on the beach ✨ @grupo.gitano: Mezcal and tacos in the jungle under a disco ball ✨ @casajaguar_tulum: Rustic restaurant in the jungle and yummy fish & meat dishes. ✨ @nutulum: La Valise’s dinner restaurant! Super delicious and innovative dishes set in the jungle with lots of candles. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ DO: ✨ Cenotes. There are thousands and thousands of beautiful swimming holes located in the Yucatan Peninsula, all connected with an underground cave system. 😱Swimming and snorkeling in them is a must. My faves are Dos Ojos, Suytun, Sac Aktun and Oxman. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ Chichen Itza: This massive pyramid built by the Mayans is a must-see. It’s about 2 hours from Tulum. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ Tulum ruins: If you don’t have time to get to Chichen Itza, you can see incredible ruins right in Tulum! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ Beach time: Of course. The beaches in Tulum are beautiful. My fave way to spend the day in Tulum is on the beach, passionfruit margarita in hand. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Any Q’s about Tulum?
When planning for future content, she made sure to create posts that had a similar travel itinerary format.
TIP: Later’s analytics allow you to track key metrics like comments, likes, and engagement rate. Not only does this allow you to monitor and compare your posts, but it’s a great way to visualize the content that’s driven engagement over the last 3 months!
Increase your engagement, optimize your stories, and drive traffic with Later’s Instagram Analytics! Available now on all Later paid plans.
Follow Industry Trends and News
Paying attention to what’s happening in your industry can help you plan your content calendar for the weeks ahead.
For example, if you’re a travel blogger, you could draw inspiration from others in the travel industry. This is especially relevant at the moment, with many content creators having to pivot their strategy during COVID-19:
View this post on Instagram
I stayed at a hotel for the first time in 5 months and this is what it was like👇🏼 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🤍 The front desk for check-in had plastic in front of it to protect guests & staff. 🤍 Masks were required in public areas at all times, except when seated at your own chair at the pool or beach. 🤍 The on-site restaurant wasn’t open. Instead, you could order food at a stand (with plastic in front of it) and take it to a seating area or your room. 🤍 No housekeeping services during your stay. If you needed something (like extra towels or coffee pods), you had to call a specific number for contactless drop-off. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Obviously every hotel will be different (I stayed at @marrammontauk – not pictured here lol), so it’s important to call ahead and ask how they are keeping guest safety in mind before booking! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What else do you want to know about my experience? 🥂 I’ll be writing a full blog post about it soon (+ sharing measures I wish were taken).
Likewise, a beauty brand could notice a surge in clean cosmetics, and create content around the growing trend — whether it’s blog posts, Instagram Reels, or interactive polls on their Instagram Stories.
Need help finding trending topics? Christina recommends using Google Trends and Pinterest.
“Google Trends will show you what people are searching for on Google. On Pinterest, use the search tool to look up your industry, for example, holistic health coach. The Pins that show up at the top are a good indicator of the type of content people want to see.”
Want to learn how to get the most out of your Pinterest marketing strategy? Here’s everything you need to know!
Listen to Your Audience
Another way to gain inspiration for new content is by listening to your audience and making note of FAQs. What do they frequently ask you about or want to know?
“The relationship between you and your audience should always be reciprocal. You’re not just creating whatever you want — you’re listening to them and creating content they’ll find valuable,” explains Christina.
And when in doubt, create posts that specifically ask your community what type of content they’re looking for:
View this post on Instagram
Listening is a great way to stay connected to your audience, learn what they actually want, and use their feedback to create content they’ll enjoy.
#3: Create and Plan Your Content Calendar
For the best results, plan out your content calendar a few weeks in advance, ideally a month. If you leave your content planning to the last minute, you run the risk of making mistakes.
“This is where you’ll get into trouble and quality will fall by the wayside,” adds Christina.
Say goodbye to the flying-by-the-seat of your pants mentality and hello to a more calm and stress-free approach.
Her 3 step process includes:
- Making note of important dates, like upcoming holidays or launch days. These key events should go into your calendar first so you can create supplementary content to support and promote them.
- Plugging in macro content, like long-form blog posts, YouTube videos, or podcast episodes. Start with posting one piece of macro content per week — as they require more time for you to create.
- Slotting in micro content, like daily Instagram or Facebook posts. Unlike macro content, micro content is quicker and shorter. They can either promote macro content or be a standalone post that adds some additional value for your community.
And guess what? Planning your content calendar has never been easier thanks to Later’s easy to use Calendar View.
From here, you can see all of your upcoming posts across Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter — and even craft your captions in advance!
You’ll be able to see exactly how your posts look before they go live, and gain a holistic view of whether you’re striking the right balance of your content pillars.
Not only will content pillars lay the foundation for a killer content strategy, but they’ll help you feel more confident about your ability to be consistent on every platform!
Create content pillars for social media, plan your content calendar, and then schedule your posts with Later (for free!)