Keyword-stuffing extravaganzas are out, replaced with the need for quality content above all else.
No quality content? No first-page keyword rankings for you.
What does quality mean? All your content must perfectly match the search intent of the keyword – and provide even more helpful info than all the top-ranking pages for that term.
There’s more to it, of course, but that’s the gist.
It’s been that way for a while, too, but the marketing world is just catching on to what that means: the need for content pillars.
With content pillars, you can build all-inclusive digital resources that cover all aspects of the topic at hand.
Wondering how that works? Here’s what you need to know about using content pillars in your digital marketing strategy.
What is a Content Pillar?
A content pillar is a long-form article designed to cover a well-defined topic in full. The main section gives a broad overview. Then, the piece branches out into clusters of content for a deep dive.
Ideally, the resulting piece covers the topic better than anyone has ever done, making your page the go-to resource on the subject.
The content cannot just belong though – it needs to fully satisfy the search intent for the keyword to truly make a difference in your rankings and the readers’ lives.
In short, aim to cover everything your readers need to know about that topic.
Beyond that, the content should:
- Be easy to read and understand
- Have images, graphics, and/or videos
- Use well-sourced stats as appropriate
- Be free of typos and other errors
- Include internal and external links
Don’t forget to center your content around the main keyword and its semantic equivalents. Otherwise, how are your customers going to find and enjoy your pillar content to the fullest?
With that formula, you can use the pillar content to drive your digital marketing strategy – and scale up your agency over time.
Evergreen vs. Timely Content Pillars
As with all content, you must decide if you want to take a timely approach or go the evergreen route.
Evergreen content typically stays relevant to the topic forevermore. The info surrounding that topic never changes, making it easy to create a static resource for the ages.
Timely content, on the other hand, covers an ever-changing topic, like breaking events, scientific studies, and tech updates. As the information rapidly changes, your content must also evolve to keep up with the times.
In the end, there’s no hard and fast rule to follow when deciding whether to create evergreen vs timely content pillars.
It all comes down to one thing: search intent. Think about why your readers might search for your content pillar’s main keyword.
For example, do they:
- Want to learn about a historical event, including what led up to it? Evergreen content is the only way to go, for sure.
- Want to follow a riveting court case to completion and see who wins? You’ll need to set up a timely content pillar – and keep it updated all along the way.
- Need solutions in a fast-changing industry, like cybersecurity, travel, or automotive? Build pillar pages with a mix of evergreen and timely content.
As a bonus, timely pillar content can turn evergreen after the event in question ends. The only question is: will your readers want to return to the content later to explore past events in detail?
How to Create a Content Pillar Strategy
Ready to create a winning content pillar strategy for your brand? Just follow these steps when creating your content brief and beyond.
Determine Your Core Topic
To truly elevate your digital marketing strategy, your content pillar pages must center around topics highly relevant to your brand.
To find them, you’ll need to:
- Do a full content audit
- Complete a competitor analysis
- Perform customer research
- Look at your customers’ pain points
Where are the gaps in your existing content? How could you improve on the pages you already have? Are you missing any key chances to support your customers on their buyer’s journey?
Once you have a few key topics in mind, dive into the research phase to see if there’s room for improvement.
Start by completing a search using the topic as your keyword. Look at the top five pages to see how they are covering the subject, and then honestly reflect on if you could do better.
If the answer is yes, move on to seeing if the topic has enough interest to make the endeavor worthwhile.
To do that, simply look at the search volume and competitiveness of the keyword. Review the domain authority of the top five pages on the topic as well.
The perfect keyword? High search volume, low competitiveness, and domain authority numbers that match or fall below your own.
Not all things in life are perfect, however. So, if the topic is highly relevant to your customer’s needs, then you might want to move forward anyway.
Identify Compelling Cluster Content
The main topic for your content pillar serves as the foundation for your page. Within that topic, there are many subtopics to explore, also known as your cluster content.
If you’re writing a pillar page on “dog obedience training,” your subtopics might include:
- Top dog obedience commands
- Positive vs balanced training methods
- Dog training tools and rewards
- When to start obedience training
- Ways to work through training challenges
- How to train dogs for obedience trials
- Popular dog obedience trials in the world
- Most effective ways to reward dogs
The goal here is to identify all the things your readers want to know about the subject and put them on one page. Your research in the prior step can help you do that, including your review of the competitors’ pages. But, if you’re stuck, just look to Google for help.
Complete a search using your main topic as your keyword. Then, look at the autocomplete predictions to see all the different directions your content could go.
After that, explore the ‘People Also Ask’ section toward the center of the search results page. Once that’s done, check out the ‘Related Searches’ at the bottom as well.
Finish Your Creative Brief and Start Writing
With your main topic and clusters in your creative brief, fill out the rest of the sections, including:
- Main and semantic keywords
- Relevant, high-quality internal links
- Reputable external links
- Distribution plan with promotional text
Remember to list any collaborators you’ll include in the pillar content along with their social media profile info.
With all that mapped out, it’s time to start writing. You can start at the very top – or dive right into a content cluster you know best. The choice is yours. As you do that, aim to thoroughly cover the topic in each section while making it a joy to read.
Proofread, Publish, and Promote Your Pillar Content
Once you’re done writing, all that’s left to do is proofread, publicize, and promote your pillar content.
Proofreading lets you address any technical or readability issues in the piece before unleashing it on the world.
Publishing lets you put your content where it will work best for your digital marketing strategy.
Promoting lets you sing the praises of your content and get as many eyes turning your way as possible.
Proofreading and publishing are usually a one-and-done endeavor, but never stop promoting your pillar content.
Regularly post about it on social media, link to it in your other content, and encourage your collaborators to do the same. You spend a ton of time creating the content, after all, so feel free to wave it around proudly whenever you get the chance.
Using Content Pillars for Social Media
Content pillars, long-form articles that cover a topic your company wants to discuss, are essential to entertain, inform, or educate your audience. The pillar topic covers a broad overview of whatever you want to talk about, and then you’ll go on to branch out into deeper dives about specific terminology or topics as you see fit.
On top of this purpose, your content pillar also helps your business stay focused on core objectives. You don’t have to randomly market to your audience, because you have specific pillars and specific types of content you have decided to focus on.
Your content pillars must be easy to understand, free of errors, and visually interesting. It is particularly important to have content that looks good and encourages conversation on social media.
Remember, your social media content pillars need to focus on a core theme or value. Then, you can revolve all of your related posts around this focus. Doing so can help define your brand, evoke your values, and describe your business’s mission.
Why Do You Need to Use Content Pillars for Social Media as Well?
Content pillars have the potential to drum up conversation, which is why it’s so powerful on social media. You want to make shareable content pillars, usually between three and five core topics, that your audience can refer back to as and when needed.
Content pillars are designed to make sure all of the content you post is relevant to your audience. Sticking with your content pillar topics means you can’t go off track and won’t risk posting something you shouldn’t.
Overall, content pillars make sure people know what to expect when interacting with your brand, and they have the potential to educate your audience on everything you want them to know.
Tips for Content Pillars on Social Media and Content
Now that you’re ready to start working with content pillars, there are a few things you should know about them and how to use them to reach your audience.
The kind of content you choose to create can have a lasting impact on your business, so keep these things in mind while you work on your content pillars.
1. Understand your audience
The first thing you have to remember is that you need to understand your audience to come up with the kinds of content pillars that will make an impact on social media.
What will get your audience talking? For example, if you’re an independent book store, will you talk about new indie authors, and upcoming events, and do book reviews?
Those three pillars of content could be perfect for your audience. Alternatively, you could switch your focus to something else your business does, like outreach to local schools or reporting on industry trends.
Whatever pillars you choose, make sure they line up with what your audience is interested in seeing. Check your website’s analytics to see if your social media posts are making an impact.
2. Create a content calendar
Another step to take once you know which pillars you want to use is to create a content calendar. This content calendar should note when you’re going to release content.
Why use a content calendar? You’ll stay more consistent. When you have a calendar that goes over all the content you want to release within the quarter or over the course of the year, you’ll be more likely to do so and avoid missing out on any important marketing dates.
3. Use keyword research
The next thing to think about when you’re creating a content pillar is how your keywords will pull in your audience. For example, what kinds of hashtags and keywords will help you get the most traffic if you’re running an independent bookstore?
Doing keyword research is a must. Figure out which social media hashtags are trending, and find a way to work them into your content. Is “#Babiesandbooks” popular?
Consider if you can adjust one of your posts to include relevant content to the hashtag. Give your audience what it wants, and it will grow.
4. Promote the content
Finally, to help with your content pillar, you need to think about how you can promote it and help it grow. There are several ways to promote your content.
First, you can allow it to grow organically through SEO and hashtags. People will stumble across your content because of how you’ve tagged it. Some may find it because it has happened to go viral or because a friend or colleague has shared it.
Another way to promote your content is with ads. Every social media platform has its own kind of advertising service. For example, with TikTok, you can encourage people to click through and buy things from you, or you can try to build your following.
As you continue to release content along the same main pillars, your audience will become stronger. Again, give your audience what it wants, and it will continue to come back to you for more.
When you need help marketing your company, you need good content. It can be tough to narrow down the options and come up with the right content pillars, but once you do, it’s time to get to work.
Fortunately, there are already industry experts ready to help you with all your social media needs. From Twitter posts to blogs, the professionals at Writer Access are ready to get started. Try a two-week free trial to start your next social media campaign now.
Need Help Creating Content Pillars for Your Brand?
Despite knowing just how to use content pillars in your digital marketing strategy, completing the process can prove overwhelming.
If that’s the case, then think about getting the content marketing services you need to easily hit the mark with all your marketing efforts.
But where are you supposed to find all the content marketing services you need? At WriterAccess, of course!
All our marketing managers, content strategists, freelance writers, and other leading experts eagerly await the chance to help you achieve your goals.
To get started, all you have to do is sign up for our 14-day free trial.