The end of 2021 was a weird one for me. Normally, things after December 15th start to slow down a bit. People get into holiday spirits, companies do their yearly reviews, communities organize end-of-year dinners. But this year everyone around me – including myself – got into an ‘everything needs to be done before the end of the year’ frenzy. Why? I have no fucking clue.
During this stressful time, one thing was mentioned more than any other. Consistency. Let me explain.
Building a brand – personal or otherwise – is a long game. In order to position yourself like someone who knows something, you need to show up and talk about stuff that people care about. And you have to do it consistently. But how can you produce awesome content consistently when there are tasks being added to your to-do list faster than you can say “No, Diana, I don’t have time to babysit your cat tonight, I have 77 pending tasks to do!”?
The answer? Structure & content planning.
Yeah, yeah, I know, planning is boring and movies have taught us to only appreciate quick-thinking, sword-wielding heroes who are put on the spot and save the day by improvising and thinking on their feet. But trust me – I was guilty of not posting consistently on Linkedin in December because too many things were happening and I didn’t have my content planned. So from first-hand experience: If you sit down, think about, and structure content like a pro, your content can only get better and your results improve. More importantly, your followers will get more value out of you, raising your stock price. Pretty sweet, huh? How is that for the poor Albert who pretty much prepared everything for Batman but never got any credit for Batman’s successes?
Right, back to the topic. Content, structure, positioning. Here we go.
What are content pillars?
Ellie Scoot in her article says content pillars are a set of themes or topics that your brand can use to create posts.
Consider them your guidelines on what to post and how to do it. These topics are specific to your brand. They represent what your brand stands for, what your values are, your tone of voice. They represent your positioning.
To make things a bit more tangible. The article you are currently reading (thanks, btw) is one of my content pillars. It is written about the things that I believe are important to my audience, it is written in my tone of voice, it shows my values and opinions. It represents my positioning.
My other content pillars may include other stuff my audience may be interested in. Testimonials, case studies, value (knowledge) posts, photos from my positioning workshops, video rants,…
Yours may be completely different and specific to you. You do you, I will do me.
Why are content pillars important?
As mentioned above, content pillars are, essentially, your positioning. As such, you should use them as a compass for your content. What to post, how to post it, how to say what you mean in the post and how to do it in your voice. It’s not a simple formula, but if you want simple, you are in the wrong business. I like to have a checklist. Simple stuff. Is this how I would explain something? Is this the language I use in my daily life? Is this post me? If so, post it. If not, rewrite it.
Next, what content pillars provide is structure. Because you have the basics set up, you don’t need to worry about them, which improves the content-creating speed as well as gives you (yup, you guessed it) consistency.
For example, articles are my main pieces of content every month. I already know that I will have to write an article in February. In March as well. So instead of wasting 3 hours doing research on the day of the deadline, I can just be mindful of what I want to write every day, and when I come across an interesting topic that suits my content pillars, I can put it in my notebook and have it ready for the “write the article day”. That saves me time & makes sure I am not getting “writer’s block” on the day of the deadline. I set up processes to make sure I write consistently. I look terribly smart right now, don’t I?
How we define your pillars
I see you raising hands: “Yeah, but Andrej, how did you decide on the articles? How did you know articles would work? How do we know what our main pieces of content should be?”
Glad you asked.
I didn’t know articles would work. You don’t know if your content will work. That’s the beauty of it. Wouldn’t it be boring if everything was so predictable? The thing is, you are not a magic 8-ball to predict the future. You don’t know whether something would work or not. That’s where your growth mentality comes in. You need to test. Listen to your clients, figure out what kind of content they like to digest. You try writing an article. Or ten. And see whether they work. Then you film a video. Nobody watches it. You ignore the critic inside you and film another one. And slowly something takes off. As mentioned in the beginning. It’s a long game.
What you can and should do is approach your content strategy strategically (yeah, not the bestest piece of writing, I know) and make educated guesses. Before deciding on content, I went through my positioning exercise for personal brands, found potential clients’ pain points, thought about how I can help solve those pain points and that created my topics. Then I talked to people so I better understood my strengths, combined that with knowledge about the Linkedin algorithm, and decided on the how (whether I would be writing articles or doing Tik Tok-style videos).
The positioning exercise gave me structure, which gives me consistency. Consistency helps my leads understand what I do – it helps with my positioning.
(Bonus) Structuring content around content pillars
Structuring content around my content pillars helps me maintain consistency & makes my positioning (as the positioning guy) clear. (Hopefully, no competent writer will ever read this).
But it also saves me time. Because I have a common topic that I keep for longer periods, I can repurpose my main content into smaller pieces of content. I write an article, but aside from publishing it as an article, I also split it into shorter knowledge posts. That means I don’t have to craft my posts from scratch. And that, in turn, clears my schedule a bit, and now maybe I do have time to babysit Diana’s cat. Shit.
(Bonus x2) Yeah, since you managed to get through all 1364 words of the article you deserve a second bonus. Here is a link to my Monthly Editorial Calendar. A million years ago I studied to become a journalist. Aside from writing, doing the posting calendar is one habit I brought with me to my marketing career.
TL ; DR
Consistency drives your positioning. People remember those who show up consistently, so make sure you post shit people love and do it regularly. How to make sure you can stay consistent even when shit hits the proverbial fan and you are in the middle of extinguishing fires left and right? Structure & content planning. Define your content pillars and schedule your posts in advance.
In order to post consistently, you need to:
– Define what makes you, you.
– Create a content plan
– Schedule like a boss!
Hey. My name is Andrej, I am a growth marketer talking about positioning a lot. But hey, it’s important. Positioning is the basis of your marketing and sales. Flop that and you will flop your company. That’s why I created a portal of free resources on digital marketing and positioning. Access it here: RESOURCES
If you find it useful – every like, every share on social media helps. Spread the love.
+ get in touch with me on Linkedin, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Thanks.