Use content pillars to generate content for your blog, social media posts, and newsletters. Stop struggling with what to write about in your blog and your author newsletter and your social posts!
Seriously, wouldn’t it be great to have a limitless well of content ideas?
Use content pillars to fill the empty well.
All you need is an hour to brainstorm and a means to capture your ideas.
To start, pick your “content pillars” and then fill them with related ideas. Once you have your list, more ideas will come. Be sure to capture your ideas where you can access them from now on. I keep mine in Notion.
What are content pillars?
Simply put, content pillars are buckets of related ideas; it is a marketing term, so if you Google it, you will find many articles.
Don’t worry. By the time you reach the end of this tip, you will understand the concept more fully.
Each of your content pillars supports your brand. Your brand needs three to five pillars. If you choose five, then you automatically have buckets for Monday through Friday. Convenient, eh?
What are some suggested content pillars for authors?
If you are a non-fiction author, then you should choose your pillars based on your area of expertise.
Let’s take an imaginary tennis pro, Andy Love, for our example. He could have the following pillars:
- Tournaments and Events
Andy should brainstorm as many potential topics as possible for each content pillar. He might add “Tennis Elbow Prevention” and “Best Hydration Drinks” and “Workout Tips” to the Fitness pillar.
The topics he lists will serve his community of readers with important information they can use. His topics will also support his credibility as an expert.
When he is creating social media posts each week, he can choose ideas from his buckets. He could even designate themes like Mindset Monday and Technique Tuesday and Fitness Friday. And it is okay to repeat topics.
If you are a fiction author, then you can borrow my content pillars or think of your own.
My fiction author content pillars are:
- Creative Process
- Author Marketing
- Speculative Fiction (my genre)
- Author Life
Under Author Marketing, I have all sorts of things to choose from: reader magnets, book covers, ads, reviews, my bio, appearances, awards, conferences, character highlights, street team news, etc. This seems self-centered, but it is essential communication.
Under my Speculative Fiction pillar, I have ideas for posts including: classic and upcoming books, movies (old and new), pirates, dragons, and games, to name a few. And I could include a narrower topic like fan art for my books. Every idea supports my brand as a speculative fiction author.
As an example from real life, H.L. Burke has many Instagram photographs of her toy dragon in all sorts of situations. See @burkesdragons on Instagram. You may have to sign in first. Burke’s dragon posts establish her connection to her dragon loving readers and potential readers.
Blend your content pillars with your avatar’s interests.
Remember Marissa, our fictional avatar from WME #095? Marissa was a socially-conscious, hard-working, single millenial who loved clean romance and cats.
How could a romance author connect with Marissa?
Under the genre column in particular, our fictional romance author could blend genre topics with Marissa’s interests in clean romance, her love of cats and the Bumble phone app, and answers to the question: What is true love? So many ideas!
Do you see the cross-section between the pillars of your author brand and your avatar’s interests?
At first, content pillars seem like they are about you, but they are a means of serving your current and future customers.
Let’s say you write military fiction. Your Creative Process pillar could include posts about military bases as possible settings for your next book. Past heroes could serve as models for your story characters. Your ideal reader, who loves all things military, is going to tune in for more.
Download the Content Pillar Exercise
Download my Content Pillar exercise. On the front, there are pillars with room for ideas. On the back, I am lending you an abbreviated example.
Set aside an hour and do this exercise today. This is only a start; I expect you will have so many ideas, your pillars will each grow to fill a page. Keep the information in a place for reference whenever you communicate with your readers.
- “How to Use Content Pillars for Your Social Media Strategy” by Monique Thomas for Later blog.