From my experience, many SMEs have difficulties knowing what collaterals to produce for their Facebook ads and how to consistently produce these collaterals. They often adapt a shoot-in-the-dark approach or just end up copying what their competitors are doing.
The drawback of this is that there is no consistency in the whole process, and oftentimes when the staff handling social media marketing leaves, the whole ‘system’ crumbles.
One of the ways that you can solve this is to have proper content pillars defined to guide your ads creation process.
What are content pillars?
In a nutshell, content pillars are broad topics or themes that you use to guide your content creation.
These are topics that your business or brand will consistently talk about. These content pillars should be specific to your industry and if done correctly, can be used as a gauge as to what appeals to your customers.
People tend to use content pillars to guide their organic posts creation, but I have found it very helpful when it comes to Facebook ads creation too, since we are extremely aggressive in our online marketing.
Why do you need content pillars?
First, by using content pillars, you will have a proper framework for your team to brainstorm and create your ads. This is especially important when you are ready to scale your business. You need a replicable framework that can be delegated either to your growing marketing team or an outsourced agency.
Secondly, you can stay organized and be consistent in your brand messaging
Thirdly, it helps your team to focus on topics that are relevant to your audience. When you find a particular topic or marketing message that works well with your audience, you can expand on it and dive deeper into it
The 8 content pillars
Here are the 8 content pillars I recommend you to try out. I use a majority of them in my own business, and all of my clients have found very good success with a few content pillars that are relevant to their industries
I’ll also be providing some actual samples of the visuals I’ve been using in one of my eCommerce ventures, where applicable
Pillar #1: Generic company intro
What does your company do? Why should people buy from you or engage you for your services?
One of my eCommerce ventures sells frozen delicacies – our whole business is built on the premise that our frozen delicacies are ready to serve in 15 minutes and is extremely easy to prepare. We have a wide variety of products and we deliver to the whole of West Malaysia (which at that time a lot of other competitors don’t)
Here’s a sample of one of the visuals we used:
Pillar #2 : Product or service USP
What’s unique about your product or service? What is your unique selling proposition?
In my case, we had these few points that we wanted to highlight
- We sell authentic frozen delicacies
- Our products can be prepared in just 15 minutes
- We use natural ingredients only, we don’t use preservatives, and we don’t use coloring
Here are 2 samples of what we developed based on this pillar
Pillar #3 : Persona based
With this content pillar you are trying to speak to a certain group of people. These can be in terms of demographics or psychographic wise.
Demographic wise – females aged between 25 – 50
Psychograpic wise – Working females that are busy
We were trying to appeal to people that have a busy lifestyle and developed this visual
Pillar #4 : Pain Point Based
What is the pain points that are experienced by your ideal audience? How can your product or service solve their pain point?
We realized that there were 2 main pain points experienced by our target audience and we developed collaterals to address this.
1. It takes a lot of hassle to prepare a meal – our products can help you enjoy a meal without the preparation hassle.
2. It’s very tiring to cook a full meal, hence our products can help you take a break from cooking.
It’s also very important to keep an open mind when it comes to pain points. When a pain point is not appealing to you, it doesn’t mean it isn’t appealing to other audiences.
Case in point – we never thought that having less dishes to wash would be an appealing pain point, this ended up to be one of our top performing visuals for the month.
Pillar #5 : Product or service based
Highlight specific products that are unique in your industry, or some of your most popular products or services.
In this example, we showcased our star product – a convenient steamboat pot that only requires heating up.
Pillar #6 : Tactical
This should be one of the easier content pillars to churn out content.
Tactical, in my definition, means that any type of collaterals that are meant to get your customers to take a specific action or make a purchase.
For product based businesses, these can be things like discounts, limited time promotions, bundles, flash sales, anniversary sales, free deliveries.
For service based businesses, these can be things like free consultation sessions, free site visits, free installations, free blueprints, free ebooks, discounts off your first session, referral discounts.
The sky is really the limit if you put some creative thoughts into the tactical content pillar.
However, remember to put caution when thinking about your tactical content – a lot of brands end up using discounts because it’s the easiest tactical pillar to come up with, and I’m not a big fan of price wars.
Here’s an example of one of our best performing visuals of all time – our anniversary sale:
Pillar #7 : Info Based
This is where you take the soft-sell approach by providing useful information to your target audience.
By doing so, you establish yourself as an authority in your space, and at the same time generate enquiries for your business.
I don’t personally use info based collaterals much, but here are some examples of my clients that have used this with success:
- The 5 things you did not know about Kraft packaging
- Safety tips for your ladder usage
- The Pantone color of the year (with a series of their products in that color)
- Reasons why extra-curricular activities are crucial to your child’s development
If you realize, these examples have one thing in common – they create curiosity and provide value to your target audience.
Pillar #8 : Remarketing
Remarketing collaterals are collaterals that you show to people who already been exposed to your ads but might still be on the fence about purchasing your product or service.
I usually use remarketing ads to:
- Provide more information about my products
- Convince people to make a purchase
- Build authority of my brand
- Overcome objections
- Remind existing customers about a current promotion or to purchase from us again
I also tend to re-use some of the collaterals from other pillars but be a bit more creative in terms of my ads copywriting to try to convince customers to make a purchase.
Here’s a sample visual I used in my own venture – the idea behind this visual is to overcome objections and to build authority of my brand through a series of testimonials:
How to further expand on your content pillars
Now that you’ve have your content pillars down, you should already have a slew of collaterals waiting to be created.
If you are ready to take things to another level and start going more in-depth and precise with your messaging, always try to ask yourself one of these 2 questions
Question 1: What is another way you can rephrase or further breakdown this content pillar?
Taking my own venture as an example – One of our product USP is ‘Ready to serve in 15 minutes’
It can be rephrased into:
- No more cooking hassle
- Just steam or boil and you’re done!
- Meals ready to serve even before you know it!
Here’s another example for service based businesses – Top notch customer service
- Guaranteed reply within 24 hours
- We provide you recommendations relevant to your industry
- Review and improvement of your design by our expert in-house designers
Question 2: What are the benefits your customers will get? i.e. Thinking forward
Looking back at the same ‘Ready to serve in 15 minutes’ USP – What are the benefits you get if your meals are ready to serve in 15 minutes?
- You are able to take a break from cooking
- Less tiring after a long day from work
- You can spend time doing other more important things
- You can spend more time with your children
- You can enjoy meals that would otherwise take very long to prepare and cook
Here are examples for other industries:
- One-stop-solution : You can focus on more important aspects of your business
- Tailored designs : Have something that is truly yours
- Durable products: Have to replace it less frequently and results in cost savings
Apart from helping to churn out more collaterals, there’s a very important reason for us to do this – Different angles and different approaches to a same marketing appeals to different people
Top notch customer service might not appea to a person, but guaranteed reply within 24 hours might.
Ready to serve in 15 minutes might not appeal to a person, but taking a break from cooking might.
That’s why as marketers, we owe it to ourselves to speak to our target audiences in a way that best appeals to them. After all, we are serving our target audiences, and not the other way round.