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What are content pillars, and why do you need them for influencer marketing?

Published on By Tara Schwenk

Marketing a travel brand on social media can be a challenge, and defined strategies are needed to manage the constant pressure of creating, posting, managing influencers and keeping up with trends. This is where content pillars come in.

Marketing travel brands on social media can feel chaotic. There’s a pressure to always be posting, always be creating – juggling different projects, multiple social channels, working with influencers, keeping up with changes and trends… It’s a lot of work.

Many might even assume that managing social media for a brand is “easy”, driven largely by the fact that we all have our own personal accounts, but it’s a challenging task. There’s a big difference between a scattergun approach to social, and keeping your finger on the pulse while also sticking to an organised, thought-out strategy.

This is what content pillars are all about; creating a social media strategy that thrives, based on front-loaded, structured work. This is especially important in influencer marketing, which requires input from numerous sources, and serious planning.

So let’s get right into it, starting with the basics: what are content pillars?

What are content pillars?

Content pillars are the key themes that a brand wants to communicate. They form the foundations of your social media strategy – the pillars if you will – holding up the rest of your content securely.

Content pillars are “what you’re known for” on social media. Essentially, the most top-level way of describing your content. If you’re a European tourism board, maybe these content pillars look something like…

  1. Food
  2. Arts and culture
  3. Classical music

Or if you're a hotel, deep in the Amazonian Rainforest, your content pillars might look more like…

  1. Adventure
  2. Nature and biodiversity
  3. Citizen science

Your content pillars are completely unique to your brand, and often change over time too.

Content pillars form the foundations of your marketing strategy, ensuring consistency and relevancy. These pillars guide the creation of content for newsletters, social media posts, website copy, PR campaigns, SEO efforts, promotional materials - anything that gets in front of a potential customer or guest. By aligning all your messaging with core themes, you can deliver a unified voice making it easier to connect with your audience.

Why are social media content pillars so important?

Your social media content pillars give you a strategic framework. By knowing that there are x number of pillars to build from, you are far less likely to be fumbling in the dark, or constantly looking for shareable content and new ideas.

You’ll be consistently on-brand, and generating content that your follower base wants - and expects - to see from you.

It also saves you time. Creating content is hard work, but defining your content pillars lets you create content more efficiently, more freely – and even allows you to repurpose it across different platforms.

Having consistent messaging also means you’re much less likely to overwhelm the user. If you’re clear internally on what you want to be “known” for, this message is much easier to communicate to your visitors. You can’t be all things to all people, so nailing down what you stand for is key.

Sticking to your foundational content pillars can boost growth, too. Content that appeals directly to your audience makes them more likely to engage with your content – and the more engagement your posts get, the more visible they become. This is a self-feeding cycle which can help you grow your following and reach even more people.

How do content pillars apply to influencer marketing?

Have you ever wondered why so many travel brands are partnering with influencers these days? It’s not just a trend; it’s a powerful strategy that can take your marketing to the next level.

Starting with the basics, an influencer is someone in your niche or industry with sway over your target audience. Many of our clients know that they need to work with influencers, but hate the whole “coffee mug cliché”. And to be honest, so do we. Yet, if you know where to look there are fantastic influencers, who produce genuinely good content, have loyal followers and can shift tours, packages, hotel rooms or bring new visitors to a destination.

Working with travel influencers is such a game-changer for your travel brand, but it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. We’ve written extensively about the topic of influencers, including our ultimate guide, navigating if you should pay influencers or not, and even if de-influencing is here to stay. This is a great place to start if you need the foundations.

In our next section, we’ll explain how to bring together your content pillars with influencer marketing, and why.

Authentic promotion

Trust and authenticity are huge for audiences – especially with something as meaningful as travel. Travel influencers have built loyal followings who trust them, so when an influencer shares an authentic, genuine experience with your brand, it doesn’t feel like an ad; it feels like a friend’s recommendation.

Great influencers are, at their core, great storytellers. They don’t just post pictures; they share engaging, authentic narratives with visuals that captivate their audience. But you’ll only feel the power of that authenticity if you target the right fit for your brand and your audience.

The best way to know this quickly is to have core content themes you work within. Take for example one of our hotel clients based in the Scottish borders. They recently hosted a group influencer trip, and we sent influencers who had interests in golf, the outdoors, hiking and travelling with their dogs. This was a carefully curated list, based on the brand’s key content pillars, and aimed to grow their brand awareness in the outdoor space, and increase winter stays.

From this group trip, we reached an audience of over 550,000 people on Instagram, gaining our client an additional 573 followers across the time of the 3-day trip. The results were so powerful that hosting group influencer trips throughout the year is now part of their core communication strategy.

Targeted reach

Influencers help you reach the right people.

Whether you’re targeting adventure seekers, luxury travellers or families, there’s an influencer who speaks directly to them. And it’s not just about local reach, either. Travel influencers have followers from all over the world, giving your brand global exposure.

One of our family hotel clients in Portugal regularly hosts influencer trips to get in front of the right audience. This is key for them, as their core content pillar is around family, and specifically the pre-school market. However, children have a habit of growing up! This means a steady stream of user generated content (or UGC) is required to keep them in the eyes of young families watching on social media year-on-year. Parents trust recommendations from other parents, and working with influencers is a great way to create that same feeling of trust with a brand. We have even seen influencers act as an extension to a customer service team, where they have been asked specific questions about the type of villa they are staying in, what kids’ club sessions they used and even asking what the menu choice was like.

Creative content

Without experience or equipment, creating high-quality content and visuals is pretty resource-intensive. But influencers have got you covered on this.

Influencers bring fresh, creative ideas to the table, making your brand stand out. They create stunning content that showcases your destinations and services beautifully, and in a way that will connect with the audience you’ve targeted.

You can repurpose this content across your own channels, too. However, this is where you can easily become unstuck. Influencers often offer some of their creative content to you to reuse; this is especially common if you’re lacking in great images and have agreed this as part of their deliverables. But, if an influencer is offering you a library or suite of images, it's critical to know which will resonate with your audience to make the most of this offer. If you’re a high-end hotel on the Amalfi coast, for example, you want images that fit into your content pillars. These might be around showcasing the scenery (and the lemons!). Or maybe one of your pillars is around showing the quieter side to Amalfi… I’m sure these examples are conjuring images already in your mind of what you’d expect to see on Instagram. What you might not choose, if these were your content pillars, would be images of the town centre, or the hustle of Sorrento town. While beautiful images in their own right, they have to be aligned with your brand.

When people see influencers enjoying and endorsing your brand, it acts as social proof. It’s like a stamp of approval that encourages their followers to check you out. Influencers are also trendsetters – so by partnering with them, you can position your brand among the latest trending destinations. Again, this is something you want to consider from the outset. Is this an influencer known for adventure and off-the-beaten track trips? They might not be the best fit if you’re a city tourism board looking to focus on food as a core content pillar.

How to create content pillars for your social channels

So now we’ve learnt what content pillars are, and seen how they can amplify and improve your relationships with influencers and influencer marketing… How do we create them?

Creating content pillars isn't a quick one-second brainstorm.

First, you need to identify what they could be and then narrow them down!

1. Business Goals

Ask yourself:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your social media presence?
  • Are you aiming to be primarily educational, inspirational, entertaining — a mix of all three?
  • Do you want to drive traffic to your website or hone in on brand awareness?

It may seem simple, but this is key to building out what your content pillars will be.

2. Identify your target audience

These are the most important questions to ask early on;

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are their interests and needs?
  • What drives them to travel?
  • What other brands do they engage with?

Understanding your audience's persona is crucial to creating content that resonates with them and drives engagement.

For example – if you run a wellness retreat targeting elder millennials (those born from 1981-1984), your social media content pillars might include posts on nutrition, sleep, exercise and mindfulness. Or if you run an adventure travel brand, your posts might include content on the environment, wildlife, exploring parts unknown, and fighting pollution.

If you need help going deeper in finding your target audience, we’ve covered in detail in our previous blog: How to generate the right kind of leads for your travel brand.

3. Topics and keywords

Keeping up with industry trends can really help shape your social media content pillars.

Start with keyword research to identify what's trending, spot content gaps, and showcase your unique expertise or perspective. Check to see if these fit within your core brand identity, and where they do, you can cash in on trending terms and keywords when you’re creating and uploading your content.

This approach not only guides your content pillars but also boosts your SEO strategy by using popular keywords in your captions, making it easier for your audience to find you.

Here are a few free recommendations:

  • Instagram and TikTok Search: Type your niche in the search bar and take note of the relevant keywords that pop up, hashtags being used, and content being created.
  • Google Trends: Discover what people are searching for on Google. You can narrow it down to certain categories, countries, and even length of time (say for example, the past month).
  • Pinterest Search: Use the search tool to look up your industry. The Pins that show up at the top are a good indicator of the type of content people want to see.
  • AnswerThePublic: Gives you insight into your audience's pain points and what they're searching for.

Stick to what you do, and do it as well as you can – whether there are high-value keywords attached to it or not. A content pillar should act as your guide, not keep you prisoner.

4. Content clusters

So, you’ve created a central content pillar – now, you can build “clusters” on that pillar. These are ideas that have relevant content to your pillar topic, but are less rigidly attached to it. This can help you to create a more diverse range of content and appeal to different segments of your audience.

Here is an example:

Content pillar: Adventure travel

  • Content cluster 1: Hiking routes, gear and essential skills
  • Content cluster 2: Backpacking
  • Content cluster 3: The most untouched places on Earth

Now you can niche down and cater to the interests of different audience segments – plus, it keeps your content fresh and engaging. This can also be channel specific; you might find that your audience loves your content on hiking on Instagram, but that it does not translate across to a more corporate LinkedIn account. Different platforms need different content clusters based on the audience that platform gets.

5. Measure and analyse your results

Tools like Google Analytics or Meta Business Suite help you to measure and analyse your social media content pillar's performance. This is important if you want to refine your strategy and optimise your results.

If a particular topic or platform is driving more engagement and traffic than others, you can double down on that strategy and create more content around it, as long as it fits within your overall brand objectives.

Why Track Social Media KPIs?

Social media evolves quickly, and with so much performance data available, it's easy to get lost in the details.

Tracking KPIs keeps you focused on your real business goals. Instead of just looking at the numbers, you're seeing how they impact your business direction. This helps you understand your progress and make necessary strategic changes to stay on track.

Remember, your social media KPIs should include SMART elements like specific targets and timeframes. Consider the KPIs below as the foundation, with the SMART components adding the unique details that align with your business and strategic goals.

Impressions: This is the number of times your post was visible in someone’s feed or timeline. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person who viewed the post noticed it or watched it, but you know for sure it appeared on their screen.

Follower count: The number of followers your social channel has at a set time.

Reach: This is how many people see a post. Reach changes based on factors like when your audience is online and how good your content is. It gives you an idea of what your audience finds valuable and interesting.

Engagements: The number of times followers interact with a social post by tapping the Like button, leaving a comment or privately sharing with their network within a given social media platform.

Clicks: How many times users click the link in your post. This helps track how people are engaging with content beyond the social platform.

Shares: How many times your post has been shared from one user to another. This is a great measure of how engaging and viral your content is.

Click-through rate (CTR)
: CTR is the percentage of people who viewed your post and clicked on the CTA (call to action) it included. This provides insight into whether your content captures your audience’s attention and inspires them to act.

In conclusion

Content pillars are comprehensive pieces of content that inform, educate, and provide real value to your guests. Your pillar content should offer in-depth information about a topic and establish your brand as an authority on the subject. This process starts well before your audience finds you on social media.

For content marketers, the content model allows us to be more strategic and consider what readers really want, and to create winning content that overrides the noise from the competition across all platforms - anywhere your brand has a presence, so should your content pillars.

With the right strategy in place, your pillars can help visitors quickly understand the ethos of your brand, enticing them to click into your website, and then sign up for your newsletters - ultimately ending with a booking. All messages across these different touchpoints need to be consistent, and getting it right first with content pillars makes this a lot easier.

Content pillars are there to help you stay on track, and easily identify the right partners and influencer relationships to cultivate.

Looking for support with social media and influencer marketing?

Introducing Springboard – a social media and influencer marketing programme from the travel marketing experts at Lemongrass

Springboard – the simple way to upskill your Social Media and Influencer Marketing. We’ll work with your team, giving them the skills and knowledge to create content pillars, define your messaging, create high quality assets, and work with the right influencers.


Send a message to – or call 01865 237990 to get started.