“How many blog posts did we publish this quarter? And…what was the ROI?”
If you’re a B2B marketer, at some point you’ve heard these questions in a marketing strategy meeting.
Maybe it was the CEO. Or maybe it was your CMO.
But these questions aren’t the problem. They’re the symptom of a larger issue — marketing teams struggle to craft an overarching content marketing strategy designed to help their customers.
Instead of connecting every piece of content to their customers’ needs, marketing teams focus on churning out independent pieces of content. One blog post here. One short social video there.
Ultimately, your marketing team gets evaluated on how many pieces of content you publish, how many “likes” you get, or how many views you generate.
If you want to get out of this cycle and create content that generates revenue, your team needs to use a content pillar.
In this post, we cover:
- The biggest reasons B2B marketers struggle with their content marketing strategy
- The power of using a content pillar to fuel your company’s content marketing strategy
- Three concrete examples of content pillar programs used by B2B tech companies
After reading this article, I hope you’ll get inspired and perhaps use a content pillar within your company’s content strategy.
Stuck in a rut: What's wrong with many B2B content marketing strategies right now?
As a B2B marketer, the pressure to produce content is relentless. You have to balance quantity and quality. You have to stick out in the feed. You have to be on page 1 of Google.
And ultimately, you have to generate revenue.
The demand for more blog posts, videos, ebooks, and other content types can lead to a frantic scramble to “push out more content.”
But this approach often misses the mark, leaving marketing teams stuck in a rut.
Searching for Technology to Help “Push Out More Content”: Many B2B marketing teams fall into the trap of believing that technology alone can solve their content woes. They invest in tools and platforms, hoping to enable them to churn out content more quickly. While tools like chatGPT, Jasper, SurferSEO, etc. can certainly aid in content creation, it’s not a silver bullet. Even the most advanced tools can lead to disjointed and ineffective content without a coherent strategy.
Focusing on Singular Content Types & Volume: Another common pitfall is the obsession with specific content types and sheer volume. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, or ebooks, focusing solely on one type of content or prioritizing quantity over quality can lead to a lack of diversity and depth. This narrow approach fails to engage different audience segments and often results in superficial content that doesn’t resonate.
Reinventing the Wheel Each Time: Content creation doesn’t have to be a constant reinvention. Yet, many teams approach each piece of content as a standalone project, starting from scratch every time. This consumes valuable time and resources and leads to inconsistency in messaging and branding. A more strategic approach would involve crafting your frameworks, creating reusable templates, and aligning content with overarching themes and goals.
Organizing One-Time Campaigns or Events: Temporary campaigns and events might generate a buzz, but they often lack connection to a consistent programming strategy. This disjointed approach can confuse the audience and dilute the brand message. Instead of isolated efforts, content should be part of a continuous narrative that builds relationships and trust over time.
Adding a “Videographer” to Take Care of All Media: Adding a videographer or other specialized roles might seem like a solution to your owned media needs, but it’s not enough if it’s disconnected from the overall strategy. Content creation is a collaborative effort that requires alignment across different roles and departments. A videographer alone cannot carry the weight of a comprehensive content strategy.
Many B2B content marketing strategies falter because they focus on the wrong things.
Whether it’s an overreliance on technology, a narrow focus on specific content types, or a lack of strategic planning, these pitfalls can lead to a marketing strategy stuck in a rut.
The way out of this rut is a holistic approach that prioritizes quality over quantity, aligns content with overall business goals, and fosters collaboration across the team. By avoiding these common mistakes, your marketing team can create content that truly resonates with your audience and drives growth for your business.
Content Pillars: The Cornerstone of a Robust B2B Content Marketing Strategy
What is a Content Pillar?
A content pillar is a strategic approach to content marketing that revolves around a central theme or topic. It’s a foundation designed to help your ideal customers and provides a way to generate all of the different content pieces your organization needs.
Some of the best content pillar examples include virtual events, in-person micro-events, podcasts, video series, or written interview series.
These related pieces, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, or micro-events, are connected to the core theme, creating a cohesive and interconnected content ecosystem.
Unlike one-off content projects, a content pillar approach ensures that every piece of content serves a specific purpose within a broader strategy. It’s like building a series of bridges that connect your brand to your customers, each one reinforcing the other.
How Does a Content Pillar Help Your Marketing Team?
The content pillar approach offers several key benefits that align with the unique needs and challenges of B2B marketing:
Building Serialized Content Programs: By focusing on a central theme, your marketing team can create serialized content programs such as virtual events, in-person micro-events, podcasts, video series, or written interview series. These serialized programs allow for deeper customer engagement, providing ongoing value and building trust over time. They’re not isolated efforts but tightly connected experiences that resonate with your audience.
Crafting & Refining the Overall Strategy Internally: The content pillar approach emphasizes internal ownership of the strategy. While external resources can be valuable, the core strategy must be driven by your company. Outsourcing it entirely can lead to a disconnect between your brand and your content. By internally crafting and refining the strategy, your team ensures that the content pillar aligns with your brand’s values, goals, and customer needs.
Executing Major Programs Using a Combination of In-House and External Resources: Creating a content pillar is a complex task requiring diverse skills and expertise. Bringing all the necessary resources in-house can be hard and incredibly expensive. Your team can execute major programs efficiently without compromising quality by leveraging internal and external resources. This collaborative approach allows for flexibility and access to specialized skills when needed.
Adding Layers to Serialized Content: A content pillar is not a static entity. It’s a dynamic and evolving framework that encourages continuous refinement, iteration, and innovation. Your team can add layers to serialized content, building upon previous efforts, taking risks, and experimenting with new ideas. This iterative process ensures the content stays fresh, relevant, and aligned with your audience’s evolving needs.
Avoiding Content Silos: Traditional content marketing often leads to content silos, where individual pieces of content are developed in isolation. The content pillar approach breaks down these silos, ensuring that every piece of content is interconnected and serves the overall strategy. This holistic approach creates a seamless customer journey, where each content piece complements the others, enhancing the overall experience.
The content pillar approach is a powerful tool for B2B marketing teams. It provides a strategic foundation that guides content creation, ensuring alignment with brand goals and customer needs. By focusing on serialized content, internal strategy development, collaborative execution, continuous refinement, and breaking down content silos, the content pillar approach transforms your marketing efforts into a cohesive and impactful growth engine.
With a content pillar, your marketing team is no longer chasing views or churning out disconnected pieces. Instead, you’re building meaningful connections with your customers, delivering value at every touchpoint, and driving sustainable growth for your business.
Content Pillars in Action: Three Success Stories from B2B Content Marketers
Content pillars are more than a concept; they’re a proven strategy in action. To illustrate the transformative power of content pillars in B2B marketing, we’ll explore three distinct examples.
From empowering tech marketers with podcasts to inspiring innovation in restaurants and guiding finance leaders, these case studies highlight how content pillars can be creatively leveraged to connect, engage, and drive success in diverse industries.
- Type of Content Pillar: The Recorded Content is a podcast series, serving as a content pillar for Motion, a podcast agency for B2B tech companies.
- How the Company Uses the Content Pillar: This show is designed to guide marketing teams through the challenges of launching, running, and growing a successful B2B podcast. It offers actionable insights and inspiring stories by addressing issues with technology, content marketing, distribution, and more. If you check out Motion’s website, you’ll notice how the company uses podcast episodes to spark blog posts, Youtube videos, and organic social content.
- What are the Benefits: The Recorded Content podcast empowers marketing teams to become B2B podcasting heroes, and this aligns directly with Motion’s core customers. It provides a centralized resource for overcoming common challenges, fostering a sense of community, and enhancing the skills needed to create an amazing show. Using a podcast, Motion can evolve its content strategy over time and create content across various mediums.
- Type of Content Pillar: Restaurants Reinvented is a podcast content pillar focusing on innovative brand building, guest engagement, and revenue-driving strategies in the restaurant industry.
- How the Company Uses the Content Pillar: Produced by Qu, a restaurant tech company, this show features interviews with leading restaurant marketing professionals. Hosted by long-time CMO Jen Kern, it explores how marketers stay agile and elevate their brands amid uncertainty.
- What are the Benefits: Restaurants Reinvented is a hub of inspiration and practical guidance for restaurant marketers. Showcasing real-world examples and innovative strategies fosters creativity and resilience within the industry. The show helps marketers adapt to changing landscapes, connect with peers, and drive brand success, positioning Qu as a thought leader in restaurant technology.
- Type of Content Pillar: The Role Forward is a podcast content pillar aimed at the next wave of finance leaders, focusing on the transformative power of technology and forward-thinking finance strategies.
- How the Company Uses the Content Pillar: This podcast explores how finance leaders can make smarter, faster, and more profitable business decisions. It delves into the intersection of technology and finance, offering insights, trends, and practical advice for modern finance professionals. Mosaic’s content marketing team uses the podcast to spark blog posts and a social media strategy.
- What are the Benefits: The Role Forward podcast is a valuable resource for finance leaders seeking to innovate and evolve their roles. By highlighting the potential of technology and a forward-looking approach, it encourages listeners to embrace change and drive growth. The show fosters a community of like-minded professionals, promotes thought leadership, and positions Mosaic as a trusted authority in the field of finance and technology.
From Chaos to Cohesion: How Content Pillars Fuel Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy
To break through to potential customers, you must generate content to help them.
Content pillars provide a way to overcome the biggest challenges faced by B2B marketers when it comes to crafting a comprehensive content marketing strategy.
From the Recorded Content podcast that empowers tech marketers to become podcasting heroes, to Restaurants Reinvented that inspires innovation in the restaurant industry, and The Role Forward that guides finance leaders towards transformative success, content pillars are proving to be a game-changer.
They enable brands to build serialized content programs, craft internal strategies, execute with a blend of resources, and continuously innovate. By avoiding the pitfalls of disjointed content and embracing the power of content pillars, B2B marketers can create meaningful connections, deliver consistent value, and drive sustainable growth.
The journey from being stuck in a content rut to becoming a powerful growth engine is within reach.
Embrace the content pillar approach and easily answer those tough questions in your next marketing strategy meeting.