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How To Develop a Pillar Content Strategy

How To Develop a Pillar Content Strategy

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Using search engine optimization (SEO) on your website can help improve your search engine visibility and drive more potential customers to your website. Organic searches make up about 53% of internet traffic, and SEO helps you reach these users. Content is a big part of SEO, and using a pillar strategy is a proven approach to creating and managing valuable content.

What is a Content Pillar Strategy?

A content pillar strategy organizes your content by topic instead of focusing solely on keywords. Using a content pillar strategy makes it easier for your readers to find content that interests them and deep dive into subjects with related links.

When you use a pillar content strategy, you create various pillar pages, or landing pages, that cover the basics of a broad topic. You would strategically place keywords throughout your pillar piece and include links to other, more specific elements of related content.

Arranging your content into pillars and topic clusters helps improve your website’s flow and can come across as more authoritative. It also makes it easier for algorithms to establish your site as a credible result for different internet searches.

Importance of High-Performing Content Pillars

When you create your pillar content strategy, it’s important to choose strong pillar topics. High-performance content pillars can generate multiple topics and highlight your expertise related to a certain topic. Because high-performing content pillars are organized to appeal to meaning and interest, they can play a key part in your SEO strategy.

Improves Google Search Engine Ranking

When someone searches Google, the search engine analyzes your site as a whole. Its algorithm scans each page and assesses how they link together. Using a pillar content strategy organizes your site and lets you build more interlinking pages.

By having multiple pieces of relevant content related to a specific topic, Google and other search engines can evaluate your page and determine that it’s a credible result. A pillar strategy also lets you refine how you use keywords. Instead of peppering keywords throughout random content, you can be more strategic about where you place high-volume keywords.

Since pillar content is long-form writing, you can add more detailed keywords and phrases people would use to find your website without stuffing them into smaller pieces of content. This improves your site’s visibility when people search for a broad topic instead of the specific keywords you use on other parts of your website.

Increases Audience Traffic

Getting people to your website isn’t enough to inspire them to make a purchase or learn more about your business. Since pillar content helps you organize blog posts, videos, and other content by subject, people interested in each topic can spend more time reading articles and learning about their favorite subjects on your site.

The pillar system improves the user experience by changing how your site is organized. When you know about your target audience and focus on content that interests them, you can nudge them to spend more time on your site with targeted keywords and relevant backlinks.

How to Create a Pillar Content Strategy

Before you create pillars and other related content, take some time to develop a strategy. This will help you create focused content that puts you on the path to meeting your marketing goals. Follow this step-by-step guide to get started.

Identify Your Target Audience and Buyer Personas

The best content pillar strategies work because a business owner knows how to create informational, engaging content relevant to their audience. You could post the most well-written blogs and high-quality videos, but unless you’re posting relevant content for your audience, people likely won’t be attracted to your site on quality alone.

Before you create your content pillars, identify your target audience and generate some buyer personas. If you’ve been in business for a while, you may already understand your target audience. Look through your social media analytics, current customer database, and other market research to paint a picture of your target audience.

Next, turn your best customers into fictional personas who share similar characteristics. For example, if your best customers are men in their 40s who live in the suburbs and work in finance, turn this profile into a persona. You will likely have multiple personas in your customer base. If you’re a new business or want to target a new type of customer, make buyer personas that reflect them.  

Turning a collection of demographic information into a fictional personality helps you get into their heads. You can guess what each persona would value and what content would resonate with them. You can also get a sense of their frequently asked questions and potential objections to doing business with you.

Conduct Keyword Research

After you’ve brainstormed a list of potential content pillar ideas based on your buyer personas, conduct keyword research. This will help you determine which keywords are best to target based on your preferred content pillars.  

Look through your existing blog and social media analytics to see which topics you already post about and what content drives traffic to your site. Make a list of potential search terms people would use to find your chosen content pillars on the internet.

Next, do some searches of your own and look through the results, noting keywords and phrases that pop up consistently. You can also look through related searches to come up with more ideas. Consider using an SEO auditing tool and analyze some of your competitors’ websites.

Select Your Core Topic and Topic Clusters

Your pillars will serve as your core topics. If you’re a graphic designer using a pillar content strategy to generate more leads, your pillar topics could include branding, social media, design guidelines, and multimedia.

Each of these pillars would link to various topic clusters with articles and other content that explores each subject in depth. For example, your branding pillar could include topic clusters related to logo design, choosing your brand colors, refining your branding, and developing your brand voice.

Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy Around the Content Clusters

Once you’ve settled on your key pillars and content clusters, use them to build out your content marketing strategy. If you already have a blog or media page, do a content audit to see which existing posts fit into your chosen pillars and link them to your pillar pages.

Outline your content marketing goals and use them to create your pillar pages. If you’re interested in generating new leads, decide which of your pillars you can use to develop content that addresses your customers’ needs.

Make a content calendar starting with your pillar pages and topic clusters. If you’ve selected high-quality pillars, you should be able to think of multiple ideas for each of your content buckets. Think of evergreen content that fits into each cluster and build it into your content calendar.

Keep the Customer Journey at the Top of Mind

An enterprise content strategy should be built around potential customers. While content marketing allows you to be creative and go in-depth about different topics, you need to cater to your customer’s journey. Not everyone who stumbles on your website will be at the same point in their journey. Some don’t know about you yet, and they will use your content pillars to learn more about your brand and what you can do.

Other customers may be aware of your brand and at the stage of comparing your company to competitors. For these customers, you can write content that addresses potential objections to purchase or go into more detail about what you offer and what you can do for them.

Imagine you’re the graphic designer in the previous example and want to focus on your branding pillar. To attract new businesses, you may write evergreen content about how your logo and website work together to strengthen your brand. You could include pieces about choosing your branding colors and what to consider when developing your brand strategy.

To engage your existing customers, you could write articles or post videos about how to ensure social media posts stay on brand or keep your branding consistent at each point of the marketing process. Or you might include some posts about how to approach a rebrand without losing existing customers.

Using your pillar strategy, you can develop content that speaks to people at every stage of the buyer journey and interlink articles that may interest them. This helps you create awareness of new customers and build rapport with people who already know you.

Create a Title Page for Each of Your Pillar Pages

Your pillar pages serve as a table of contents, guiding users around your website and signaling algorithms when someone conducts an internet search. Keep your title pages simple, and use keywords when writing your headers.

Each of your pillar pages will include a long-form guide to each topic. You can use different types of content pillars to write each pillar page. Common types of content pillars include:

  • How to: Use this pillar to establish your authority by walking your audience through a topic step by step.
  • What is: Use this pillar to answer user questions and give detailed information about your pillar topic.
  • Guide: Unlike a how-to, a guide offers a general overview of your pillar topic. Use this one to address multiple points about your subject and include links to different content clusters.

Think about what your audience wants when you’re creating your content pillars. Your keyword research should give you a good idea of which type of pillar to write.

Start Developing High-Quality Content

Once you’ve created a content calendar and written your pillar pages, you can start developing high-quality content for each topic cluster. Use your keyword research to prioritize your content buckets and begin with the most interesting topics for your audience.

When you’ve committed to a pillar content strategy, each piece of content you post should be interlinked with other topics on your website. Your social media posts can also link to one of your content pillars.

A content pillar strategy aims to create consistent content that serves as a reliable knowledge base for your target audience. Having multiple pieces of related content helps you establish your credibility and stand out in your customers’ minds.

Think about your audience and what they want to know. Consider your target audience’s search intent and write pieces that speak to these needs. Include internal links in every content post so your readers can learn more about each topic that interests them.

Monitor Search Rankings and Adjust Accordingly

Your search ranking won’t go up overnight, so don’t fret if the algorithms don’t pick you up immediately. That said, you do need to monitor your search rankings. If your current content pillar strategy isn’t getting you the results you want, do some more keyword research and try a different strategy.

When your content pillars have been live for a few months, look at analytics to see which topics generate the most traffic and which need to be refined. You don’t have to stick with the same pillars forever. You might find that your audience is interested in a topic you hadn’t considered. Keep an eye on your audience’s behavior. Note which social media posts and blog entries get the most traction.

Do You Need Help Creating Evergreen Content?

Writing high-quality, evergreen content is one of the hardest parts of executing a content pillar strategy. If you’ve got your content pillars sorted but you’re having trouble with the actual copywriting, Composely can help.

Our talented pool includes vetted writers who are familiar with SEO best practices. They can write engaging, high-quality content for your audience to build your authority and help you stand out in the SERPs. You don’t have to do it alone. Contact us and request a sample today.

Need help developing and executing your content strategy? Compose.ly has you covered.
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