Making Your Content Count with Content Pillars

Publishing blogs and articles on your website is a great way to connect with your target users on a personal level and to generate the content needed to improve the performance of your website on search engines. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73 percent of B2B marketers consider these to be the most effective content format in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.

This shows just how important content is when you need to promote your business online, but what use is it if it isn’t being found or read? With millions of blog posts published every day, just a small fraction attract readers and gain traction. Among those readers, Sumo say that only 20 percent will read the entire blog post.

To ensure your web pages aren’t ignored, you need to create high-value content that resonates with your audience. You get to do this by producing content pillars that will make you the go-to source for informative content in your industry.

What are content pillars?

Content pillars are pieces of foundational content that provide valuable information to users in your industry. They offer complete answers to questions users may have on a given topic. They can be broken down further into related subtopics that will be linked back to the content pillar to enhance your website’s SEO strategy.

Some of the basic characteristics of content pillars include:

  • They answer questions and solve user problems with comprehensive and accurate information
  • They are different in scope from other content on your website
  • They have trustworthy information that’s useful to the readers

Content pillars can also be described as the posts that represent a website’s best work. These are the posts business owners refer to new clients when they want them to have a better understanding of the business and what they do. This continues to be useful to the target audience long after they are posted. They don’t lose relevance and always have a high ranking on SERPs.

Pillar content usually takes the form of blog posts, guides, reports, and eBooks. Infographics, photos, and videos aren’t forms of content pillars, but they can be included in the pillar pages to support the topics.

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How do they benefit your brand?

Content pillars should be an essential element of your content marketing strategy if you want to establish your business as a thought leader in the industry. Here are the benefits of creating quality content pillars.

Makes it easy for search engines to navigate your content

By sorting content into specific topics and subtopics, your website gets more organized. Through this, you make it easy for search engines to understand the architecture of your site and find related content. The topic clusters help web-crawlers to see the connections in your content, and this will ultimately improve your visibility in search engines.

A high search ranking

With all the clutter that exists online, Google likes it when a website offers a clean experience where the hyperlinks make sense, and it can easily tell what each content is all about. The internal linking that occurs when content pillars are linked to related blogs on a website makes it easy for Google to understand the structure of a website. As such, it ranks it higher on SERPS than other pages that aren’t well developed and correctly linked.

When one web page performs well, the entire cluster benefits from it. More people will click your links to read your content, and this is how you’ll end up becoming an authority in your industry on a given topic.

Helps your customers navigate your content

Content pillars act as huge catalogs of incredibly useful resources that have been grouped together for easy access. Your readers won’t have to scan the internet to find all the information they need on a particular topic since you have gathered all the necessary information and linked all the related topics. Navigating your content becomes easier for your visitors, and this goes a long way to enhance the user experience.

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How do you set up content pillars?

Creating strong content pillars requires proper planning. By following the steps below, you’ll be able to set up strong content pillars that will enhance your growth marketing strategy.

Know your audience

Like any great marketing strategy, you’ll need to start by researching your audience. Your content will only be successful when it resonates with your users, and to find out what appeals to them, you need to take the time to understand your audience and create buyer personas.  

Try to find out what the average age of your audience is. What are they interested in? What issues do they face? What’s the socio-economic status of your audience members?

The answers to these questions will provide you with great insights about your audience. You will understand what their pain points are and how you can provide value through your content pillars. Your posts will be effective, and you will be able to attract more readers and shares online.

Monitoring conversations on social media is also another effective way to get a glimpse of your audience’s mindset. Check the posts they are commenting on and sharing with their friends to understand the problems they face and the issues they need to be addressed.

Research the competition

For any topic you are planning to write about, there’s a lot of pillar content online from other publishers. Before finalizing your content pillar idea, ensure you know what you are competing against.

This means you’ll have to analyze your competitors deeply to understand the types of content marketing they use and their keyword strategies. Visit their websites to see the content they have created and how they’ve structured their topic clusters. Analyze their popular posts to see what kind of content works for your audience.

Of course, you should not copy everything they are doing since your content pillars need to be unique for you to attract more readers. If you’re struggling to come up with engaging content ideas, hire a content marketing consultant to help you find topics that will appeal to your audience.

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Research your keywords

Next, you’ll have to perform keyword research to ensure you are using keywords and phrases that are used frequently by your audience members and relevant to your topic. Stuffing irrelevant keywords into your content will create a poor user experience, and potential customers will reject your posts. Google will also penalize you and this will make it even difficult for users to find your content when they perform queries on search engines.

After finding the relevant keywords on a specific topic, sprinkle them evenly within the pillar page. Later on, when you write cluster posts on these topics, it will be easier for you to link the keywords and blog posts, and this will make it easy for web crawlers and readers to navigate your content.

Plan your pillars

You’ve got your audience insights and keywords, so start separating the ideal content into pillars. First, you’ll have to decide the format for your content pillar. A listicle model or guide model are some of the content formats that you might choose, but the end goal should be to create excellent and actionable content for your target users.

After that, assess the current content on your website to know which items can be linked to provide your audience with comprehensive knowledge.

Write your pillar page

As you approach this stage, remember that your pillar page should be so helpful that your audience members should feel compelled to bookmark it for later reading and share it with their friends and colleagues. It should be engaging with valuable insights that your audience wants to hear.

A pillar page is a web page that covers a particular topic comprehensively with the intention to rank high in search engines for a specific search term. It’s typically longer than the regular content pieces and blog posts on a website.

The content covered by a pillar page provides a broad and high-level overview of the topic you want to rank for. It’s hyperlinked to cluster posts that provide more in-depth information on the subtopics related to the main content pillar idea. Think of cluster posts as child-content and the pillar page as the parent-content that organizes them in a greater context.

In the example below, Sales Qualification is the content pillar. Around it, it’s been surrounded by sub-topics that are related to Sales Qualification and connected via a link. The sub-topics are strong standalone ideas that can be developed into individual blog articles (cluster posts).

Content pillar overview graphic

Figure 1: Content Pillar Overview. Source: Simple Marketing Now

What happens next?

Your work is not done after creating the pillar pages. You need to keep creating great content to link to your pillar pages. Go back to your keyword research and identify the topic ideas that can be developed into blog posts and linked to the pillar pages. By doing this, you will be providing prospects with all the information they need on a specific topic, and this will make you a trusted authority in the industry. Work with a content marketing agency to find relevant topics that can be developed into web content for your pillar pages.


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The complete content guide

Content marketing makes the world a more engaging place, and without it, you’re risking incredible engagement and conversion opportunities. Get all of the knowledge you need with our insider resources that’ll tell you how to make the most out of your content production – Content Marketing Made Easy: Your Complete Handbook.

Great content is one of the best assets for marketing your business. It caters to the educational needs of prospects at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Every forward-thinking business should make content development a key element of its growth marketing strategy.

The team at Growth Marketing Genie can help you create valuable content and set up your pillar pages to increase your ranking and growth.

Contact us today and book an appointment with our marketing experts.

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