Content Pillars for Instagram: Examples, Tips, And Steps

Updated on February 28, 2024

9 min to read

Content Writer

Published April 20, 2022

Content Pillars for Instagram: Examples, Tips, And Steps
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(Published on April 20,2022 | Updated on September 11, 2023)

Create content pillars for Instagram easily and quickly using the steps detailed in this guide.

Content pillars help your clients establish their brand as an authority in their space and set their audience’s expectations and amass their ideal followers on Instagram.

As an added bonus, it also makes content ideation and creation easy routines for your social media marketing team.

Sounds fantastic, right?

Here, we’ll lend you a hand to develop content pillars that will help your agency get reliable results out of your Instagram marketing campaigns.

You’ll also find a couple of IG tools that will help you through certain steps.

Let’s get this show on the road. 

Table of contents

What you’ll learn

  • What is a content pillar?
  • Benefits of creating content pillars for Instagram
  • How to create content pillars for Instagram
  • Instagram content pillar examples
  • What to consider when developing content pillars for Instagram
  • FAQs for creating Instagram content pillars
  • Make the most out of content pillars with Vista Social

What is a content pillar?

In simple terms, content pillars are a handful of interconnected topics that a brand focuses on when publishing posts.

Think of them as clusters.

For example, a food blogger can create content pillars based on countries and the various types of dishes each country serves.

In the example above, the first pillar can be about the famous dishes in the United States. Within that pillar, the food blogger can post dishes that are grilled, steamed, fried, etc.

The second pillar can be about dishes famous in Canada. Within that pillar, the food blogger can cover grilled, steamed, and fried dishes, etc.

Using a content pillar creates a better structure for your posts, making it easier for your audience to digest your content.

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Benefits of creating content pillars for Instagram

Here are a few reasons why you need content pillars for your Instagram marketing strategy:

  • Consistency is key. If you want to keep a consistent flow of Instagram posts—from Stories to in-feed videos, content pillars can be your ticket. Grouping your content into specific themes lets you maintain a consistent brand voice, aesthetic, and messaging across your client’s Instagram posts, including content for the brand’s social media channels.  
  • Give audience engagement a boost. One of the biggest perks of brand pillars is that it helps you create content that your client’s audience actually cares about. Knowing what your audience is into equips you with the information to create content that’s valuable to them. It can increase your client’s audience engagement and help them build a loyal following.
  • Show off your client’s brand. Content pillars allow you to showcase various facets of your client’s brand via authentic content. Creating posts highlighting the unique selling points and key messages of your client’s brand across different themes can increase brand awareness and recognition.
  • Save precious time. Content buckets or pillars help you plan your content in advance and organize everything in a social media content calendar. By sorting your content into specific themes, you can plan your content calendar and batch produce quality content, saving you time and effort in the long run.
  • Boost creativity. If you’ve ever had a content creation block, a social media content pillar can be your solution. Content pillars can boost your creativity. Having various themes to work with lets you explore multiple ideas and angles, keeping your client’s content fresh and exciting to drive engagement.
  • Build authority. Solid content pillars can help you position your clients as industry experts. Create posts around various topics related to your client’s brand to showcase their knowledge and expertise, helping to build authority and trust with target audiences.

A solid content pillar strategy is the way to go to create high-quality content and level up your Instagram content marketing game. 

How to create content pillars for Instagram

Follow the steps below to create content pillars for Instagram.

1. Start with your target followers, work your way backward

When it comes to Instagram marketing, follower count is a crucial Key Performance Indicator. 

Instead of starting from the bottom and brainstorming what Instagram users “might like,” do it the other way around. Start from the top and look at what your ideal customers already like.

A straightforward strategy is to look at the Instagram profile of someone you’d call your “ideal” audience. From there, check out the brands they follow and see if they like any of their content.

You can check a profile’s list of followed accounts by clicking ‘Following’ on their profile page.

Screenshot of @marketingwithjosh Instagram Profile
Image Source:, @marketingwithjosh

It should be easy to spot brands in a user’s list of followed accounts. Simply look for brand names or logos and you’ll do great.

Screenshot of @marketingwithjosh Instagram Profile
Image Source:, @marketingwithjosh

Of course, feel free to look at any competitors and observe what they’ve been doing. Pay close attention to the content formats they use regularly.

Screenshot of hypeco_o Instagram Profile
Image Source:, @hypeco_o

In the example above, you can see that the brand’s top pillar is most likely social media marketing. At the same time, you can observe how they present their content in visual form. 

While you’re at it, look at details like their most viewed Instagram video, Story Highlights, and so on. Doing so will help you concoct a competitive Instagram and overall social media marketing strategy for your client. 

2. Check out your target audience’s hashtags 

The next step is to look at the hashtags that your ideal audience follows. 

Suggested Article: 487+ Best, Most Popular, Viral Hashtags for Instagram this 2022

Again, you can research this by looking at their ‘Following’ list. 

Screenshot of @marketingwithjosh Instagram Profile
Image Source:, @marketingwithjosh

Looking at your ideal audience’s followed hashtags is a more direct way to discover potential content pillars. 

In the example above, it’s pretty transparent that the user is into SEO. You can use that to come up with more specific content pillars, like SEO agency reviews, SEO tips, SEO tools, and so on. 

3. Align your strategy with website content pillars

If your client runs a blog, there’s a good chance your client already has content pillars. You can then absorb these verticals into their Instagram content strategy.

The best-case scenario is, they feature a ton of visual content on their website. That should make your content ideation for Instagram a whole lot easier. 

You can easily identify content pillars by looking at their blog categories. 

Screenshot of Pixlee's homepage
Image Source:

4. Check out industry trends

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Keeping up with the latest trends and news in your industry will help you uncover potential content pillars for your client. 

The downside is, there’s no way to be sure that a particular trend will make a good content pillar for your client. You need to know your client well and understand their audience to determine if a topic will be a fit. 

You can use tools like Google Trends to easily spot trends in specific industries. 

Screenshot of a search result for Google trends
Image Source:

5. Define Instagram-level content pillars

Take note that you still have to define content pillars for the types of visuals you’ll promote on Instagram. These will function like a style guide that your content team will follow to keep your client’s messaging consistent. 

For example, SEO keyword research could be your client’s overarching content pillar. But, on Instagram, their pillar would be tutorial videos, infographics, and SEO-related quotes. 

Those will be the types of content your client’s Instagram profile should upload regularly. 

Again, you can check the Instagram accounts of similar brands to collect ideas. Don’t forget to analyze the little things to bolster your Instagram strategy, like: 

  • Comments: You can borrow ideas on how to respond to comments by checking competitors’ posts. Look specifically for the way they handle negative feedback and some of the funniest things to comment on Instagram
  • Hashtags: Of course, you can’t ignore the hashtags that competitors use when posting content, particularly those under your target pillars. This will help you maximize the searchability of your client’s content. 
  • Descriptions: Your clients’ top competitors, of all people, should know how to craft spicy post descriptions that will engage Instagram users. Don’t hesitate to borrow powerful one-liners and tweak them to match your client’s brand.
  • Stories: Looking at the Instagram Stories of competitors is another surefire way to beef up your client’s Instagram strategy. Gather ideas like the best questions to ask on Instagram Story, video types to upload, and ideas for Highlights.  

Suggested Article: 142+ Instagram Poll Questions to Ask Your Followers

Instagram content pillar examples

At this point, you should have a clear idea of what overarching content pillars to prioritize for your client’s Instagram campaign. 

To get your planning phase up to speed, here are a few Instagram content pillar examples you can use: 

1. Product photos

Product photos should be a staple in your client’s Instagram Feed. 

Just be sure to tie it in with relevant and useful content. For example, you could link to an informative guide on how the product can help users solve their problems. 

2. Behind-the-scenes content

Be it a story or a regular post, posting about your client’s culture will make them more relatable and likable. 

You can upload an Instagram Story that features the company having lunch. Or, you can upload a photo of your client’s field team doing their best work. 

Match it up with a motivational or reassuring caption and you’re golden.

Suggested Article: 431+ Best One-Word Instagram Captions to COPY & PASTE! [2022]

3. User-generated content

If you understand the importance of influencer marketing, you should also know why it’s important to utilize user-generated content. 

This pertains to posts uploaded by users, including influencers, that feature your brand—directly or not. This can be a customer success story, review, or just a plain photo featuring your product. 

You can feature user-generated content on your client’s Instagram as is. A better approach, however, is to create custom visuals that highlight what the user or influencer said along with some branding elements. 

4. Informative content

A lot of agencies feature educational Instagram posts that focus on a relevant tip or piece of data. 

You can do the same with your client’s Instagram marketing and social media strategy to generate more followers and improve their credibility in their niche. 

Some examples of content that falls under this pillar are:

  • Short-form tutorial videos
  • Text-based information
  • Data visualizations (charts, graphs, etc.)
  • Screenshots
  • Lists

Suggested Article: How to Get Followers on Instagram Without Following

What to consider when developing content pillars for Instagram

When you’re brainstorming content pillars for your client’s Instagram campaign, here are some fun things to consider:

  • What’s the end goal? Understand what your client wants to achieve with their Instagram marketing campaigns. It helps you create content that hits the mark—from boosting followers to getting more conversions. 
  • Who is your client’s target audience? Who do they want to reach? Knowing your client’s target audience helps you create content that resonates with them. Save hours and resources by not targeting the wrong people while addressing your target audience’s pain points.
  • What’s their vibe? Your client’s brand voice is important. It helps maintain consistency and builds a strong brand image across their Instagram content and campaigns. Do a vibe check of your client, including the brand’s values, and incorporate it when creating content.
  • What’s trending? Stay on top of trends and industry news across social media platforms. You can get great ideas and come up with relevant content themes from trending topics for client campaigns.
  • Mix it up. Consider various content formats such as videos, images, carousels, and stories. It’s a great way to keep things fresh and exciting for your client’s audiences.
  • Plan it out. Use the social media marketers’ bestfriend: A content calendar to plan your posts and keep your Instagram and even social media content pillars in check. Content calendars are the bomb when planning, publishing, organizing and creating content pillars and social media posts. 
  • Keep score. Establishing key metrics to measure your content’s success helps you make data-driven decisions and optimize your client’s Instagram content pillars and campaigns for even better results.

Keep these tips in mind to create content pillars that boost engagement, attract prospects, build brand awareness, and achieve your client’s goals. 

Have fun brainstorming new and exciting content ideas and create meaningful content pillars and posts.

FAQs for creating Instagram content pillars

1. How do I choose my content pillars?

When choosing a content pillar, list the topics you want to be known for and the concerns or issues your audience cares about. The overlaps between both lists are a great foundation to build upon.

2. What are the best content pillars for social media?

The best content pillars for social media are tailor-fitted to the platform where they’re published. If you target Instagram, for example, then your content pillars can be videos, captivating graphics, UGC, etc.

3. Why do I need content pillars?

You need content pillars because it helps organize and add clarity to your content planning and structure. It also streamlines your internal processes since your team will align with the content pillars established as opposed to creating content for random topics.

Make the most out of content pillars with Vista Social

Are you ready to use content pillars to boost your client’s Instagram presence?

Vista Social is armed to the teeth with features that can help you reap the full benefits of content pillars. 

It can help you automate posting schedules, edit your content, obtain customer reviews, track Instagram content performance, and so on.

You can also use Vista Social to create white-label reports that can communicate your results with clients.

The best part is, you can get started with Vista Social and access basic features without paying a single cent. 

Create your free Vista Social account today!

About the Author

Content Writer

Jimmy Rodela is a social media and content marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in social media, content marketing, SaaS, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.

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