Creating compelling and engaging content is more critical than ever, especially as 71% of B2B marketers agree that content has become increasingly important in the last year. In an age where content fuels every stage of the buying cycle, helps you stand out from the competition, and builds trust, marketers face constant pressure to keep calendars and channels full, sales teams satisfied, and prospects engaged.
Fortunately, there's a smarter way to meet your content needs without resorting to panic-driven, ad-hoc projects. Content pillars are the answer, driving web traffic through improved SEO, ensuring message consistency, and streamlining the process of generating new ideas.
Before diving into the examples and workflow, let's clarify the concept of pillar content, their structure, and why they're essential for a successful marketing strategy. Not only will we discuss content pillars in general, but we'll also touch on their role in social media marketing, providing a comprehensive understanding of how content pillars can transform your marketing efforts across various channels. Get ready to unleash the power of pillar content and elevate your marketing game to new heights.
- What Is a Content Pillar?
- Why Are Content Pillars Important?
- An Example of Content Pillars with the Keyword "SEO" and How It Works
Developing a Pillar Content Strategy for Your Website
- Step 1: Identify Your Content Pillar Topic
- Step 2: Create a List of Topics for Your Cluster Pages
- Step 3: Designing the Structure and Format for Cluster Pages
- Step 4: Optimize Existing Content
- Step 5: Effectively Interlinking Pillar and Cluster Content for Better SEO Performance
- Step 6: Effectively Distributing and Promoting Your Pillar Content for Maximum Reach
What Is a Content Pillar?
A content pillar is a comprehensive, informative piece of content centered around a specific topic or theme, designed to be broken down into numerous derivative sections, pieces, and materials. Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and long-form webpages.
In essence, a content pillar serves as a large, foundational piece of content that can be repurposed into various smaller content formats, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, and social media updates. This approach caters to different types of buyers across multiple channels, making it an efficient, process-driven method to cover all your content bases and deliver the right content to the right buyer at the right time.
Moreover, content pillars can significantly improve your website's SEO by fostering strong interlinking within your site. A content pillar page acts as the core of a content hub, where cluster pages, or subtopics, interlink with the pillar. The purpose of a content hub is to provide exhaustive coverage of a topic, answering every possible question related to it. Pillar contents and their cluster pages work together to create a holistic, all-encompassing view of the main topic.
For example, let's say "Home Remodeling" is your main pillar topic. You can then break down subtopics such as "Home Remodeling Budgets" and "Best Time To Complete a Home Remodeling" as cluster topics. This interconnected network effectively supports the main pillar topic.
In the following sections, we'll explore various types of pillar content and outline a workflow to help you get started with building a high-performing content pillar.
Why Are Content Pillars Important?
Content pillars are vital for several reasons, primarily due to their ability to enhance organic rankings and drive traffic growth. By showcasing your expertise on a particular topic and establishing a well-structured interlinking system, content pillars form the foundation of an effective SEO strategy using the pillar-cluster model.
One key advantage of content pillars and clusters is their role in improving your search rankings and authority through comprehensive topic coverage. By generating numerous subtopics from a single idea or theme, pillar contents allow you to explore various aspects of a subject in depth. Meanwhile, cluster pages excel at targeting long-tail keywords and addressing the specific subtopics your readers are seeking, such as conversational questions or queries. This approach not only provides you with ample content ideas but also offers numerous opportunities to rank higher in search engine results.
Additionally, content pillars enable you to cater to different types of buyers by repurposing the central piece of content into various formats, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, and social media updates. This ensures that you deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time, ultimately resulting in increased engagement and conversions.
An Example of Content Pillars with the Keyword "SEO" and How It Works
Content pillars help create a comprehensive knowledge base around a central topic, providing valuable information to readers and improving your website's SEO performance. Let's take a closer look at an example of content pillars centered around the keyword "SEO" to understand how it works.
Main Content Pillar: "The Ultimate Guide to SEO"
The central content pillar, "The Ultimate Guide to SEO," is an in-depth, long-form piece of content that covers all aspects of search engine optimization. This comprehensive guide aims to answer every question related to SEO, from fundamental concepts to advanced techniques.
To support the main content pillar, you'll create a series of subtopics or cluster pages that delve into specific aspects of SEO. Some examples of cluster topics include:
- "On-Page SEO: Tips and Best Practices"
- "Off-Page SEO: Strategies for Building Backlinks"
- "Technical SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Website Optimization"
- "Local SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search"
To help search engines understand the relationship between your content pillar and cluster pages, you need to create a strong interlinking structure. Link the main content pillar to each cluster page and vice versa. Additionally, interlink the cluster pages when it's contextually relevant.
Now that you have a solid foundation with your main content pillar and cluster pages, you can repurpose this content into various formats to cater to different types of buyers across multiple channels. For instance:
- Create infographics for each cluster topic to share on social media.
- Record video tutorials explaining specific SEO techniques.
- Develop a series of blog posts covering SEO case studies.
- Create email newsletters offering SEO tips and insights.
By using content pillars, you can build a well-structured and comprehensive resource on SEO that caters to your audience's needs while also enhancing your search engine rankings. This approach ultimately helps establish your brand as an industry authority and drives organic traffic to your website.
Developing a Pillar Content Strategy for Your Website
Strategic thinking is crucial in content creation to achieve the desired outcomes for your marketing efforts. To develop a successful pillar content strategy for your website, follow these steps:
Step 1: Identify Your Content Pillar Topic
High-performing pillar pages typically share two common traits:
- They cover a topic that's interesting, relevant, and essential for their target audience.
- The keyword has a healthy search volume and ranking potential.
Begin by researching your audience. Conduct interviews, send out customer surveys, examine customer questions, and analyze social media and community platforms to identify their pain points. Create buyer personas to better understand their online behaviors, demographics, and preferences.
Next, choose the topic for your pillar page, ensuring it's substantial enough to build a content hub around.
Create a list of high-level topics your audience is interested in. To make this process more data-driven and validate your topics, use a Keyword Magic Tool of Semrush, which can generate dozens of subtopics and themes related to your main subject.
Filter the subtopics by Volume, Difficulty, and Topic Efficiency to choose topics with traffic generation potential that are attainable for your website. Ensure the search volume and keyword difficulty are optimal for your specific case.
Step 2: Create a List of Topics for Your Cluster Pages
After selecting the main topic for your content pillar, the next step is to create a list of cluster topics based on highly relevant questions or issues related to your main topic. In this example, we'll consider a content pillar focused on Slim SEO Schema.
Identify Relevant Questions for Cluster Pages
To create cluster pages, consider questions or subtopics related to Slim SEO Schema that your target audience might find interesting. Some examples could include:
- What is Slim SEO Schema and why is it important?
- How to implement Slim SEO Schema on your website?
- The benefits of using Slim SEO Schema for search engine optimization.
- Common mistakes to avoid when implementing Slim SEO Schema.
- How to monitor and measure the impact of Slim SEO Schema on your website's performance.
- Slim SEO Schema best practices and success stories.
Use Semrush and Google Trends for Topic Research
Leverage research tools like Semrush and Google Trends to explore subtopics related to your future pillar page on Slim SEO Schema. These tools can help you identify trending topics, uncover related search queries, and gauge the popularity of certain subtopics.
- For Semrush: Use the Keyword Magic Tool and Topic Research tool to generate relevant subtopics and keywords. If you find a subtopic that seems like a good fit for your content hub, delve deeper into the topic and gather more ideas.
- In Google Trends: Enter your main keyword (Slim SEO Schema) and analyze search trends over time. You can also explore related queries and topics that are gaining traction. This information can help you identify potential cluster topics that resonate with your target audience.
Conduct Competitive Content Analysis
When creating content pillars, it's essential to understand your competition and identify opportunities for your own content to stand out. Conducting a competitive content analysis to determine how their content strategy compares to yours.
Look for topic gaps, areas where you can improve on existing content, or any thin pages that may present an opportunity for you to create more valuable content.
Analyze Existing Content on SERPs
Start by searching your target keywords on Google and analyzing the content that ranks on the first page. Take note of the structure and formats of those pages, as well as the subsections and questions they cover. Don't forget to look at the "People also ask", "Things to know," and "Related searches" sections.
Step 3: Designing the Structure and Format for Cluster Pages
After identifying your pillar page's topic and subtopics, it's time to map out the structure of your content. You'll want to collect all possible questions your pillar page should answer and use them to design the article's structure.
At this stage, decide what format your cluster pages will take. These could include news articles, blog posts, quizzes, infographics, e-books, videos, or other content types.
Step 4: Optimize Existing Content
After identifying your cluster topics, review your website's existing content to see if there are any low-hanging fruits that can be optimized and repurposed to fit within your content pillar strategy. This approach can save time and resources while effectively contributing to your overall content strategy.
By carefully crafting cluster pages around Slim SEO Schema, you can create a comprehensive content pillar that effectively addresses your target audience's questions and concerns while improving your website's SEO performance.
Interlinking your pillar content with cluster content (and between cluster pages) is a crucial aspect of your information architecture. Interlinking helps guide users through your content, making it easier for them to find relevant information.
It also establishes a hierarchy and relationship between different pages on your site, helping search engines understand the connections between your content pieces. It not only enhances the user experience but also provides better context for search engines, improving your overall SEO performance.
To create a well-structured interlinking system, start by linking your cluster pages to your pillar page. This will signal to search engines that the pillar page is the central hub for that particular topic. Additionally, link between cluster pages when it's relevant to provide more in-depth information and a better user experience.
Examine successful interlinking examples to understand how they create a seamless content experience for their users. For instance, Apple's pillar page dedicated to the iPhone covers all essential information and links to cluster pages that address specific questions or provide detailed explanations.
As you create new content and update existing pieces, monitor your interlinking structure to ensure it remains relevant and helpful to your users. Adjust the links when necessary to maintain a coherent and easy-to-navigate content hub.
By implementing a strategic interlinking system, you'll create a more cohesive content experience for your users and improve your website's SEO performance.
Step 6: Effectively Distributing and Promoting Your Pillar Content for Maximum Reach
Creating high-quality pillar content is only half the battle; ensuring that it reaches your target audience is essential for success. A comprehensive content distribution plan should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. Here are some channels and methods to effectively distribute and promote your pillar content:
Pillar and cluster content provide a wealth of material to populate your social media content calendar. Repurpose key messages, facts, and visuals from your pillar content to engage your audience on social platforms. Experiment with different copy, graphics, and calls-to-action for maximum impact. If you have a budget for paid promotion, consider boosting your best-performing organic posts to reach new audiences.
Utilize Email Campaigns
Email marketing remains a popular and effective way to distribute content to a qualified audience. Highlight some cluster topics and create multiple email newsletters to drive traffic back to your website. This approach can generate immediate leads and reinforce your subject matter expertise.
Engage with Influencers and Bloggers
Identify and reach out to relevant influencers, bloggers, and thought leaders who may be interested in sharing your content. Use backlink analysis tools to discover linking opportunities based on your competitors and develop a targeted outreach plan. Don't limit yourself to pitching the entire pillar content; focus on specific cluster topics, pages, or visuals that could interest potential partners.
Send Press Releases and Use Content Distribution Services
Craft an official press release to promote your pillar content and distribute it using content distribution or wire services. Target specific audiences or geographies based on your business objectives to maximize the reach of your content.
You can make sure that your pillar content achieves its maximum potential and promotes traffic, engagement, and sales for your company by leveraging a variety of distribution channels and techniques.
In conclusion, content pillars are essential in building a strong and effective SEO strategy. They not only enhance organic rankings and propel traffic growth, but also showcase your expertise on a particular topic. The pillar-cluster model allows for comprehensive topic coverage, targeting long-tail keywords and subtopics that your audience is searching for.
By implementing a well-researched and structured content pillar strategy, you can effectively improve your website's search rankings and authority, engage your target audience, and drive traffic and conversions for your business.