3 Formulas to Drive Your Content Pillar Strategy

4 minute read

Upland Admin

Have you heard of the content pillar approach?

As we cover in The Multi-Channel Content Distribution Guide, it’s a content-centered marketing strategy that fuels your distribution channels with original, buyer-centric content. We use it here at Kapost—and so do our customers. Not to mention, huge players like Hubspot are catching on to how pillars keep your organization at the forefront of content marketing.

Recently, we expanded the content pillar approach to more effectively focus on each stage of the funnel. Now, instead of simply creating only one major asset, we create three, closely aligned assets to engage, drive action, and propel purchase: the Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert.

The goal of these three assets is to efficiently fuel every marketing channel—from social media to sales emails—and deliver highly relevant content that engages your target audience, speaks to a specific buyer need, and aligns that specific need to your solution.

To work through this strategy, check out this editable workbook, which walks you through every step of the content pillar planning process.

Here’s a little taste of the simple formulas that will help you build out the three key assets to drive your content distribution strategy.

The Appetizer Asset

The Appetizer is a fun, engaging asset, like a SlideShare or an infographic that serves the top of the funnel. The goal here is to engage a lot of prospects, and drive them toward a related, gated content asset. This type of content is often optimized by channels like your blog and website, social channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and video channels like YouTube and Vimeo, or even used to facilitate conversations with influencers and media outlets.

To come up with the Appetizer, choose which eye-catching format you’d like to use, an easily accessible topic related to your pillar theme, and the major insight that will hook your audience to learn more by downloading the Entree asset.

appetizer formula for content pillar approach

The Entree Asset

The Entree is your major content pillar asset. The entree piece could be an eBook, a whitepaper, or a workbook. It gives readers who download it actionable guidance for tackling the challenges related to your selected theme. The key to making this content asset valuable to readers is ensuring it helps them solve a pain point or problem. Marketers should distribute this content through email or marketing automation, and support it with paid advertising.

To come up with your Entree asset, choose a content format that allows for in-depth analysis or coverage of best practices, define the buyer pain point you’re addressing (which your product or solution also solves), and the tactics or best practices that will help your buyer overcome their challenges.

entree formula for content pillar approach

The Dessert Asset

The Dessert is a product-centric asset, like a PDF, video and or demo, that reveals how your product serves the theme in question. This content can be distributed through your marketing automation as part of your nurturing efforts, hosted on video channels or supported by webinar platforms (ReadyTalk, ON24, etc.), and distributed to the sales team to accelerate the deal cycle.

To determine your Dessert asset, choose a format that makes it easy to see your product strengths at a glance, addresses the same pain point you discuss in your Entree, and the specific product features or functions that eliminate that pain point for customers.

dessert formula for content pillar approach

How do these work together? The Appetizer drives to the Entree asset. And the Entree asset directs readers toward the product-centric Dessert asset.

Once you determine these assets, they can each be distributed through their key channels to reach buyers at the right stage in their journey. By working through this process, not only will you have relevant, valuable content across all your channels, but each key asset will share a consistent message and theme, creating a cohesive buyer experience.

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