5 Key Steps to Creating Winning Content Pillars
Last update: 25 January 2023 at 03:39 pm
Creating high-quality content takes a lot of time and effort. One winning system is to create content pillars to unify your content and provide a clear structure for your users to enjoy when interacting with your brand.
By creating a pillar with a web of content around it, you create a coherent story for your brand, full of useful and relevant information.
With so much competing content out there, creating something that is well-structured and organized can set you apart from all the noise. We’ll cover how you can do that here!
What are Content Pillars?
Content pillars are an integral part of any brand’s content strategy. They have a very important role: offering a complete and expert exploration of an area.
For example, this could be expertise on the quality of a software, that allows readers to find everything they may need on that subject in one space.
They offer complete and thorough information that can take on several formats, like hub pages, guides, FAQ pages, and more. It can be understood as a central hub that provides all of the essential, in-depth information a person may need.
For marketers, content pillars are a chance to enhance the user experience and improve SEO results via expert and authoritative content.
Content pillars are usually 4 or 5 topics your brand will regularly and consistently put out content for, amplify, and discuss on social media as part of your social media marketing strategy. You could also refer to them as content categories.
Ideally you would like to use these pillars to hit upon all of the key customer journey touchpoints and provide a more well-rounded customer experience, ideally increasing the levels of customer retention and loyalty.
How to Create Your Content Pillars?
To create your content pillars, you just have to follow 5 key steps that we will cover here.
1. Identify what your core topic is
By identifying your core topic as well as the relevant keywords, you will be able to clarify what the purpose of your company is. Similarly, it will allow you to attract the search engine algorithms that you need to reach your target audience.
You need to ask yourself:
- What service or product are you offering the world?
- Who would be interested in your product?
- What resonates with your audience?
You will need to develop an in-depth target audience analysis.
For example, are your customers young entrepreneurs who are struggling to afford life in the city? Maybe your content could be around money-saving hacks, marketing tools, and resources, or, collaboration with other young professionals.
You can use online surveys and carry out interviews to get to know your typical customer better. In this way, you will get them to tell you what they’re interested in learning about.
This will help you to get more informative insight into what your pillar pages should focus on.
After defining your core topic, you can start to identify your primary or focus keyword. You should choose something that is vast enough to build a hub around. The following characteristics can help you ascertain this:
- How competitive your topic is
- The search volume for your keyword
- How relevant it is to your target audience and product
The next step is to narrow down your subtopics to form cluster pages and create a structure for your pillar page. Think of them as the soil around the tree, supporting it and keeping it in place.
You would want your pillar page to touch base on all of these subtopics just like the roots of a tree sink into the earth around it, and link to the relevant articles.
Here’s an example of some pillar content and cluster content surrounding it:
A marketing company is creating content that serves as a “What Is” resource for their clients. They can create cluster content based on the most relevant questions, such as:
- What are the benefits of social media for advertising?
- How often should I post on social media?
- What is the best social media strategy?
- What are the best apps to use for marketing via social media?
Next, you can start to decide the format that these subtopics will take – e.g. infographic, blog post or article, quiz, youtube videos, or one of the other multitude of digital communication tools.
2. Check out your website’s existing content & content pillars
Going over your existing content and pages on your website can help you to figure out whether you have any relevant content you can reuse, modify and optimize, as part of your pillar content plan.
If you have a vast amount of content, there are apps you can use to scan your content and lift up relevant material.
As well as finding pillar material without a ton of extra work, this process can also help you avoid duplicating content on your website. Duplicated content is never great for the customer or for your search engine ratings.
It also allows you to see how content is interlinked, and make any necessary changes so that your content links with your central pillar.
You want your content to lead back to your pillar, ultimately. Make sure that it is easy to navigate to all of your content from your landing page.
3. Check out the competition
While you may have found your topic of expertise, there is probably a little competition out there over the same readers and users.
You can analyze their content marketing to find gaps and opportunities in their plan that you can take advantage of to get a leg up and improve your own content pillars.
By offering a more robust and expert guide for your readers than your competitors do via a blog post or other format, you can surpass your competitors and make your way up the search engine results page. This means your content pillars will stand out, proud and mighty, like the Parthenon in Athens.
4. Start making content
With your content themes and subtopics decided, your existing content upcycled, and your competition sussed out, it’s time to start putting pen to paper.
Now, begin pushing out some beautiful, nuanced, interesting content for your readers to flock to. For this, we recommend to use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to check the readability and if you’re hitting the right notes, grammar-wise.
You can plan your content by curating a list of questions that your pillar page will attempt to answer. These questions can lead the structure of your articles.
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5. Share, promote and interlink your content
Your netlinking strategy is key to improve your content ranking. Interlinking your pillar page with your cluster content is essential for creating an information web.
Both internal and backlinks from external sources should be optimized for maximum success.
For instance, by optimizing your links you can get your pillar content about Letter Templates, if that’s your area of expertise for example, to start ranking highly on search engines.
Additionally, you should think of a strategy to establish your pillar content as an authoritative resource. For instance, employing influencer marketing services to acquire high-quality backlink sources.
You should also curate a content distribution system as part of your content marketing strategy to cast your nets as wide as possible and make the most of all your hard work. You can promote your content both internally and externally, via social media and emails.
Your content can be repurposed for your social media posts, and generate engagement through Instagram, Facebook, and other channels.
You can shape your content in multiple ways, turning it into infographics, youtube videos, podcasts – whatever you like. In this way, you now have a huge library of content that you can dip in and out of and make use of for all types of marketing plans.
You can also repurpose some of your content pillar material for email newsletters to attract your contacts back to your website. Hence, it will help you generate leads and create a flow of traffic to your pages.
Similarly, you could also share your content with other companies and individuals with a lot of followers on social media so that they might reshare your content with their followers.
Winning Content Pillar Characteristics
The above steps lay out how to create your content pillars. However, this section will cover theessential elements your content should have to win your readers over.
It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the world. Pay attention to what’s currently trending on social media.
Consider this as you go through your social media approval process, and think about what news outlets are discussing so that you keep to relevant topics and relevant links related to industry trends.
Change is very fast, and what might have been considered high-quality content last year might be redundant existing content now.
The most important thing to convey to your readers is that your content is trustworthy. You can ensure this by linking to recent and relevant data, keeping your content free of any unnecessary jargon, and writing in an inclusive way (e.g. without gendered terms).
By positioning yourself as a company that values scientific reasoning without being pompous or confusing, and which also values all members of society, you will gain the trust of readers more readily than you would otherwise.
Many articles out there read like regurgitated versions of existing content. You can absolutely borrow ideas from other content and competitors and find inspiration in many places. In fact, we’re not arguing that you have to write an award-winning piece of writing for every post.
However, if you can offer a unique view and set of information, you will stand out in terms of quality. You want to be the content creator that other people are inspired by.
The Crux of It All
Creating content pillars is all about being aware of what your readers and users need. Spot their pain points and offer them quality content. By understanding who they are and what their interests are, you can create pillars.
In this way, you can deliver content supporting those pillars which are relevant, trustworthy, and unique. Lastly, we suggest to check out your competition and repurpose your own content.
However, if all of these sound too complicated for you or your team, you can always leave it to the experts. A content marketing agency will help you increase your search engine rankings and grow your readership with little effort.