How to create Content Pillars that don’t suck

How to create Content Pillars that don’t suck

Or, how to engage your audience through authentic, organic social media posts

Content pillars, also known as buckets, are key themes you weave into your brand to provide consistency and highlight your brand’s purpose, advantages, aesthetics and tone. Useful in every area of marketing, content pillars are especially relevant on social media where you only get a split second to showcase your brand and the corresponding value you hope to demonstrate to your audience.

Not all industries will have the same content pillars, and not all professionals within any given industry will have buckets that look alike, either. You want your tone to reflect your brand’s personality, and if that brand is you- give the audience a dose of what your life looks like! Authenticity is key, and if organized appropriately, content pillars should make your planning easier rather than more complicated. 

Content Pillars should prioritize at least 3 out of the following 5 buckets:

  1. Promotional
  2. Educational
  3. Community
  4. Entertainment
  5. Engagement

Whether you organize your communications calendar around these specific buckets, or just keep them in mind generally when posting, it’s important to personalize the bucket so the content is organic and authentic to your brand. 

If you’re a retail brand, Educate on your differentiators. Is your product made to order? Do you have lower costs due to a DTC production model? If you’re a realtor- put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Do you want to Engage using polls on Instagram Stories? Maybe this vs that in home trends. Do you Entertain by walking people through listings? Realtors have a never ending opportunity to Educate their audience. Interest rates and preferred lenders are always going to be relevant, so share what you know and keep your audience plugged in. 

Audit, analyze, improve

As you post and begin to have a backlog of content to reference, you can glean insights from your traffic as to which content pillars are performing well and which need tweaking. A social media audit is necessary from time to time to evaluate your audience’s response, especially as your brand grows, it’s important to wrap new followers into the fold and not alienate your original customers. It’s also important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Adopting best practices and latching on to current trends (Reels, anyone?) communicates to your audience that you are up to speed with your industry and instills trust in your brand. 

Curious how to authentically market your brand using best practices and create organic content pillars that effectively communicate your product/service? We can design a communications strategy for you that takes the guesswork out of marketing your brand and turns on and utilizes the channels your business needs, just ask

The Big Reveal: Fall 2020 OTC Newsletter

The Big Reveal: Fall 2020 OTC Newsletter


It’s been a long… um, year. We hope this finds you and yours well. Like many of you we’ve had our head down helping our clients, becoming homeschool teachers, working on ourselves – you may have noticed we’ve had some work done.

Your Market Watch

You know you can count on us to be watching everything that’s going on out there and give you the deets. Here’s what’s up:

  • The Social Dilemma: Those outside the tech industry are catching wind of the power of social media and the potentially negative effects on our democracy and children. Why is this important? Brands need to be more aware of how they’re talking to their audience, why they’re talking, and messaging that is both socially aware in addition to benefiting the bottom line. Thoughtful marketing is more important now than ever.
  • Rethinking Retail: With the ability to shop in person made more difficult due to the pandemic, many brands are opting for pop-up options for the holidays. Risk is lower with a higher reward. Have you thought about your holiday strategy while in the midst of COVID? Even if physical retail isn’t in the cards this year, there are other ways to break through to your audience.
  • Influencer Backlash: Influencers have been catching some negative attention since COVID hit both from partner brands and their audience. Consumers are fully aware of “pay to play” strategies and weary of becoming clickbait associated with social issues. Strategic partnerships are vital for brands but must be carefully selected with authentic and true partners who value your product and can build a long term relationship.

What We’ve Been Up To:

BigStar: BigStar is an award-winning motion design and graphics studio that is experiencing growth in both talent and project recognition. OTC came on to amplify and define the agency’s brand identity along with expand their reach to new and prospective clients and talent.

  • Brand Identity, Internal and External Messaging
  • Social performance: Organic 20% increase in IG followers, 15K impressions, 7% growth on Twitter and 5% growth on LinkedIn in 5 months
  • Client pitch wins: 2
  • Website Refresh

Lindsay Neuren Group: OTC partnered with leading Austin realtor Lindsay Neuren to amplify the Lindsay Neuren Group brand through a bespoke strategy that focuses on growing their social following on Instagram, developing a robust advertising strategy with print ads and evergreen video content, and strategically crafting brand partnerships with local Austin brands to distinguish and elevate the Lindsay Neuren Group within the crowded realtor space.

  • 15% Social Growth in followers over four months. Ideate content and saw efforts to tailor content to generate sales leads via social saw 1000%+ increase
  • Messaging and tagline creation for Website, Social and Advertising copy
  • Coordinated and creative directed advertisement creation, sourcing agencies for print and video advertising

One Two Collective: Like many clients we work with, 2020 has pushed us to re-evaluate our offerings and ensure that our own marketing strategy makes sense and aligns with the consumer climate we’ve seen shift over the course of the year. We’re still your reliable marketers in residence, we’ve just edited our focus to be what we feel is most relevant to clients today: 

  • Brand Building
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Social Strategy
  • Experiential & Retail Optimization

These core services can easily bloom into neighboring areas, but focusing on these four areas maximizes marketing spend and gives the highest ROI to our customers. Browse our new site and get acquainted. 

OK! Enough about us. How are you? No, for real, you’re being a stranger. Say hello and give us a follow.
Your friends,

We help companies of all sizes scale their marketing capabilities to expand brand reach and engage consumers across all touchpoints. We generate results by customizing consumer experiences through creating 360° marketing strategies from scratch or crafting targeted strategies to supplement an existing plan.

We’re not an agency,
We’re a part of your team.

Reach out to us at to learn more.

Strengthening Your Brand to Thrive in a Flooded Market

Strengthening Your Brand to Thrive in a Flooded Market

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Navigating Uncharted Waters

The events of recent weeks have left brands in a tailspin and future challenges will continue to make themselves apparent. As marketers in residence, we’re tasked with helping our clients create and implement strategies that drive demand and loyalty and in trying times like these, we feel it’s important to drop the curtain and help as many people as we can. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing tips for how to strengthen your brand and stand out in a flooded market place.


Top Level Overview

  • Now that you’ve had a moment to pause and reassess the framework of the situation, it’s time to reallocate your ad spend and strategically focus on the right customers.
  • Rebalance your budget. Focus on growth and efficiency in marketing and R&D. Cut back on non essentials like fixed asset expenses or nice to have functions.
  • Over invest in your current customers and new ways to reach them. Ask them what they need from you and make customer service your top priority. Deploy new ways to reach them outside of social media.
  • Share positive stories and information- tell people where you’re at, show your teams that work tirelessly and get no credit. Give a face to the people in your company so that consumers are more likely to support you.

Next, focus on the brand:

  • Think long term. This is an event that will change the way people think moving forward. You’re focusing on digital/social now but, what is your long term strategy for connecting on a human (or in-person) level?
  • Be creative. Content is critical right now. To cut through the clutter, be empathetic to the situation, but find interesting ways to engage with consumers. Advertising prices drop during times of recession (and hopefully the economy will bounce back quickly) so this gives you a unique opportunity to increase your market share. So now might be the time to invest in a new creative strategy. 
  • This is the perfect time to work on your brand messaging and mission. Spend time focusing on your core offerings. Tragedy and the unknown makes consumers more aware of who they invest in, make sure your messaging is authentic and resonates with your audience.
Is your brand ready for SXSW?

Is your brand ready for SXSW?

Smart brands know that an effective experience incites emotion and pays itself forward by creating a personal connection to your brand that lasts long after the event itself is over. You can probably guess what we’re getting at here- it’s time to start planning your 2019 SXSW experience. Check out some of our capabilities in the deck below and then let’s connect as we start to craft an event- retail, thought leadership, scavenger hunt & more- that makes your presence at SXSW memorable and beneficial for your brand.

Fall 2018 SXSW One Two Entertainment Deck by Elizabeth Hood

Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is one of many marketing tactics you can implement to garner awareness for your brand, but to be successful you might need to shift your idea of what its application looks like today. A phrase that once triggered the image of a suit on stage in a drafty hotel conference room, modern thought leadership has expanded to include podcasts, LinkedIn and even Instagram. Traditional thought leadership formats of white papers, speeches and articles seem rather dull with all the avenues available today and savvy brands have realized that the advent and mass adoption of social media has increased the opportunity for brands to share knowledge and add a little color to how they convey their subject matter expertise.

Elevating your brand via thought leadership requires effort to stand out, but successfully doing so and positioning yourself as an expert in the field you operate in is the kind of invaluable metric that will continue to pay itself forward as you build out your overall growth strategy. While such a competitive space might seem intimidating, implementing new formats gives you the opportunity to create a strategy that best suits your brand and personality and forge your own path. Use traditional outlets and combine them with more modern social platforms to allow you to practice your messaging in multiple formats and diversify your outreach.

So, where to start? As with any well intentioned plan, begin by visualizing your end goals and work backward. Who is your customer and what expertise are you looking to show them that you and your brand have? Ultimately, what message do you have that is worth sharing and how are you most comfortable delivering those insights? Once you have that in mind, you can develop a strategy that infuses modern media platforms into a more traditional thought leadership pathway. By creating a hybrid methodology, your outreach makes sense to reach your customer and you choose formats that showcase your strengths.

Here are a few keys to remember as your build out your thought leadership strategy and determine which platforms to utilize as you start implementing applications like LinkedIn, industry podcasts, Medium, Quora, and even Twitter into more traditional thought leadership routes.  

  1. Quality trumps quantity. If your goal is to be considered a thought leader, you are asking your audience to consider you a subject matter expert. As such, you need to approach whatever medium you pursue to relay your information with a measured approach and pack in an appropriate amount of information for the amount of time you’re requesting from your audience. One great nugget can stand alone on Twitter or Instagram, but five insights are likely best delivered in a more long-form format like a blog. Don’t attempt to pack a check list into a social media snippet and likewise, don’t ask people to listen to a 25 minute speech for one piece of actionable insight.
  2. Do your research. Who is talking about your area of expertise and what are they discussing? Talk about something intriguing and design your message to work best within whatever format you choose. Guest speaking on a podcast? Come prepared with soundbites that reflect your range of knowledge but are condensed for on-air consumption. Don’t be afraid to add in humor when appropriate, either.
  3. Be solution focused. No one wants to hear a sales pitch- we can do that work on our own by visiting your website. Instead, present a compelling storyline based on a problem you personally have had or seen in your industry and offer actual solutions to resolve it. Take advantage of the show & tell nature of social media to help your audience visualize a process in real time and reinforce your expertise.
  4. Make the effort you’ve put in on social media inform your greater thought leadership goals. Since traditional thought leadership formats like speeches at a conference don’t see as many concrete metrics, ensure that your larger concept talks are successful by taking a look at which of your tweets, articles and podcasts have performed the best and use that information to shape your live presentations.

Although the shape of thought leadership has changed with the advent of social media, the goal is the same: adding credibility to you and your organization/brand by relaying knowledge and experiences that have informed your successes and failures. Genuine enthusiasm about your subject matter translates no matter the medium and utilizing multiple formats to build a collective body of work will provide the foundation for a successful and modern thought leadership platform for your brand.

Tips: Make Your Brand Stand Out at SXSW

Tips: Make Your Brand Stand Out at SXSW

The sun was shining last weekend in Austin for SXSW Interactive- whether it was actually hot or cold out depended on the day but as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait a minute. SXSW is an excellent way for brands to showcase their latest and greatest while incorporating some fun elements (we see you, baby goats at Viceland) and free schwag. After attending countless SXs, we thought it might be helpful to share some of our key take-aways and tips for success as more brands begin to enter the fray.

Don’t get lost in the clutter

SX has becoming a melting pot for brands to showcase the latest and greatest- there are a ton of activations to experience and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. There are some key factors to consider while creating your buildout to alleviate this common pain point and help you stand out.

  1. Differentiate yourself by creating authentic moments that enhance your brand. You can do this by being clear about your objective.THis is a chance for you to tell your brand’s story in an organic way, don’t fall into the hype of doing too much. It’s better to have one memorable moment than 5 “eh” ones  While building out your activation around your objective (sales, email capture, etc), develop clear branding and have a logical and immediate call to action. Develop clear signage with key takeaways so participants know what’s going on when you can’t greet them immediately.
  2. That being said- hire great talent. They WILL be the face of your brand. If they are excited about your product, it resonates so much more with visitors.
  3. We all want to reward guests for stopping by, but don’t get caught up in the schwag game. At an event where everyone is handing out schwag, make sure you develop memorable  takeaways that relate to your products

Have a little something for everybody

Not everyone who attends SXSW is a badge holder, and if your activation is limited exclusively to people with a badge, you’re missing out on a core demographic.

  1. Negotiate your activation smartly. When you’re working with a large property like SXSW, they have specific requirements to activate. Look out for your goals and your core consumer by making sure you get what you pay for and allowing access to everyone.
  2. Kitschy activations are fun, on this we can all agree, but make sure you’re extending your reach by creating shareable social moments and valuable content.
  3. SXSW has become a playground of places to pitch and get your hands on products- the problem is it’s also become a schwag branding war. People will walk with items that are useful or unique. Don’t overthink the schwag component and instead focus on creating memorable moments in your activation itself.

Be true to your brand

Now more than ever, buzzwords are everywhere- specifically those attached to movements. Attaching yourself to a meaningful movement is very important, but make sure it doesn’t come across as unauthentic or not thought out.  Make sure you ttach yourself to movements that tie back to your core values. If it doesn’t make sense or feel genuine, it won’t resonate and may actually hurt more than it helps.

  1. This year the women’s movement was heavily promoted, but we saw several activations where there was no tie-in or clear goal as to how you’re helping the movement. Find a balance between what your company does and what you’re preaching.

Now, about the word “experience”

Let’s be real here, despite our usage of the word experience several times in this blog post- it’s more than a hair overused. Everyone wants in on the experiential game, so you need to thoughtfully consider what that means to your brand before activating.

  1. Giving away free snacks is not an experience. Thanks for the turkey burger/fish taco/protein smoothie/etc, but that does not mean it’s an experience. . Keep up the free snacks- keep out the word experience.
  2. SXSW has become a playground of places to pitch and get your hands on new products- the problem is it’s also become a schwag branding war. People will walk with items that are useful or unique. Don’t overthink the schwag component and instead focus on creating memorable moments in your activation itself.
  3. With a clear message comes a clear name. Use your brand’s name in your experience and be straightforward in your lingo. The Fast Company Bar & Grill is a great example- you know exactly who the activation belongs to and exactly what to expect when you walk inside. Clarity is much more valuable than cleverness when competing with dozens of other activations.

It’s time to get prepared for SXSW 2019. Let us assist you in making sure your band stands out! –