The five pillars of content marketing

There’s no denying that there’s a staggering amount of content being produced. Did you know that over 2 million blog posts are produced every single day? And that more content is created over a 48 hour period than was produced between the beginning of history and 2003!?

So, stepping into this vast ocean of material, and attempting to be relevant and successful can be a tricky business, to say the least. 

One of the most common mistakes is to try to run before you can walk, to try to do too much before understanding the principles and foundations of the whole content marketing process.

Luckily, we’re here to help.

Before diving into the world of content marketing, it’s a wise idea to take a step back and get the lay of the land. 

Getting a proper definition and understanding of the content marketing process before creating content will give you a huge head start when it comes to the crunch.

The content marketing process is best understood as a framework, supported and defined by five pillars. Each pillar explores one aspect of the process, going from the process of creation itself through user experience, distribution and finally learning from the results. 

So let’s take a look at each individual pillar, what they all actually mean, and how they can help you launch an effective and successful marketing campaign. Ready? Let’s go…

Content marketing pillars

1. Audience

In any form of marketing, you should always know who you’re talking to before doing anything at all, and content marketing is no exception. 

Understanding your audience – who they are, what they want, and how to engage with them – is the key to creating the right content for your brand. 

Segmenting and analyzing your audience, gives you the ability to create targeted, bespoke content that speaks to your reader’s needs. Targeted content is far more effective at bringing in traffic, converting visitors, and marketing your business. And the only way to truly create bespoke content is to fully understand your audience. 

Understanding your audience is a two-pronged process. You need to know who your current customers are, but also who your potential customers are, think about who else might like what you’re offering.

Plenty of marketers turn to customer personas to help them get a handle on who they’re targeting with their content. Personas allow you to test out ideas and solve problems based on the types of people you currently attract, and the types you might want to attract in the future. 

Content marketing target audience

2. Creation

It won’t come as a huge shock that creating your content is the most important part of the content marketing process, or that content creation requires the most time, creativity, and productivity.

To create good content you need to be able to ideate effectively, then draft, edit, and optimize to ensure it does exactly what you want it to, and that it will perform effectively. 

Creativity and productivity in this process are key. But most businesses require content to be produced at scale, and maintaining creativity and productivity on a larger scale can be challenging. 

Forcing a constant stream of brilliant, unique content is beyond the capabilities of almost every marketing team, but with a small tweak to your process, you don’t have to have new ideas every day to still produce new content. 

Content atomization, or recreating content in a number of different formats, means that the same creative can achieve a number of different goals, and reach various different audiences. Creating blog posts, videos, infographics, and various other forms of content from the same creative idea makes your content go further, reach more people and work harder

Essentially using the best tools and processes to create the right content gives you a solid foundation on which to base the rest of your content marketing pillars.

Content creation

3. Experience

The pillars of content marketing are a progression, building on each other to enable the most successful outcomes. As a result, each one is directly reliant on the previous pillars, and the framework requires a consistent method to succeed. 

Content experience is all about how your chosen audience engages with and consumes the content you’ve created. It’s also a vital component of discovering where and how your content generates leads, and optimizing it further to make it more successful.

Making sure your content provides a great experience for anyone who reads it should be your number one priority

A great experience means that readers are more likely to come back to your website, to trust your business, and to take the actions that you want them to take. 

Creating optimized content that provides a great user experience requires certain elements to succeed:

  1. First up, you need to create great content targeted specifically at your chosen audience. This should include in-depth knowledge of your current and potential customers.
  2. Next, your design needs to be usable and responsive. It should encourage action, and work on any and all devices.
  3. Your content should be easy to find. This means making it SEO-friendly, of course, but it also means that it should be obvious on your website too! The last thing you want is content hidden away, as it means that your website visitors will bounce before finding it, and look for solutions elsewhere. 
  4. Finally, never forget about your CTAs. They should feel like a natural, integrated part of the overall content experience, and provide an obvious, relevant next step for the visitor to take. Get the CTA right and your job will be that much easier. 

4. Promotion

Once you’ve got your content locked and loaded, you have to get it out there. Promoting and distributing your content to your target audience is arguably as important as creating it in the first place, and helped enormously by how comprehensively you’ve applied the previous pillars to your content marketing strategy. 

Distributing your content is a combination of four things: finding the right channel(s); building a community; building relationships; and measuring what works. 

Finding the right channels to distribute your content is not as simple as picking the most popular social media platform and posting. 

Sure, Instagram or TikTok might be the big thing right now, but if your particular audience isn’t there then you’re wasting your time. Don’t try and force your content where it doesn’t work, or try and attract your audience to a new channel. Focus your time, your energy, and your resources on the channels where your content is most effective, and where your audience already is.

Email marketing remains an incredibly effective way to get your content out to a community who have already expressed an interest. But you have to build that community first! Establishing a sizable, high-quality email subscriber list does take time, but it pays dividends in the long run. 

Establishing great relationships with others who can help broadcast and amplify your content is a must, and while cold outreach can work, taking time to build a genuine relationship with someone is far more fulfilling and successful in the long term. 

Finally, always measure, analyze, and examine what works, and what doesn’t. Marketing of any stripe is nothing without data, which leads us neatly on to…

Content promotion

5. Insight

The last pillar in the content marketing strategy framework should be the last pillar in any marketing framework. Simply put, knowing why you do things, and what things work, will make your marketing efforts easier and more successful. 

You should always be using your content to gather insights and collect data on:

  • what are the most successful forms of content, 
  • how your audience reacts at any given time to particular content types, 
  • where your content is most successful and, 
  • everything else in between. 

To collect accurate and relevant data, you need to be collecting data from the right sources – Google Analytics and your marketing automation platform for starters. But, also from any other analytics sources that can give you solid measurements of key content marketing metrics. 

You need to ensure that you’re producing and sharing regular reports, so you can make tweaks and updates where needed.

You also need to analyze how your content is performing in terms of ROI. This can be a tricky thing to do, but it’s important to know when it comes to choosing where to put your resources. 

Getting good insights brings the five pillars around full circle, feeding into the first pillar and making your content marketing strategy a self-sustaining, continuous, and ever-improving process!

Content marketing can be a tricky beast to master, but can also be an insanely effective way of reaching your potential customers. 

At Scribly we offer scalable content marketing services for every business type, as well as expertise in the world of content marketing. We can help you take your first steps with content marketing, or fuel your existing content marketing campaigns with bespoke, hand-crafted content from our team of specialist writers and strategists.

Want to take Scribly for a spin? Get in touch today and see where we could take your business.