One of our clients came to me the other day and said: ‘Stuart, you’re a very stable genius, how do you consistently come up with incredible and insightful stuff to write about for our blog?’

This isn’t the easiest question to answer; after all, there are no hard and fast rules for coming up with ideas (although there are techniques you can try).

Things jump into your head at the most random times. Something you hear on TV or a conversation with a friend might spark inspiration. There’s a however, however.

Just because something is interesting to you, doesn’t mean it’s interesting to your clients.

With the time pressure of publishing something on a weekly basis (or more), it can be tempting to simply write anything. This scattergun approach is something we try to avoid.

Content pillars help us sort the wheat from the chaff.

Content pillars are overarching themes to sense-check your article ideas against, making your marketing comms purposeful, focussed and efficient.

For our clients, we’re urging them to think about 3-4 areas that they absolutely want to be known for, or can cover with authority. This could be ‘App technology’; it could be ‘Cybersecurity for retail banks’, or it could be ‘Ice cream sandwiches for the over-50s’.

For Future Content, one pillar would be ‘Content marketing for SaaS’. Another would be ‘Content marketing for creative agencies’.

If you have 3-4 solid pillars, you simply need to think of 3 month’s worth of ideas around each and you’ll have a quarter’s worth of content in the bag.

Similarly, if you do have ad-hoc ideas for content – perhaps around recent news stories or announcements – content pillars will help put the right spin on them, stopping you simply regurgitating what other people are writing.

It’s the difference between writing content, and writing your content.

So.

What do you really want to be known for?

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I’m the Head of Content for Future Content and the man in charge of words. As a former journalist for a number of publications, from Chat to MailOnline to that’s Shanghai, I have a wealth of editorial experience and a way of making words do good.

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