To even the bravest of content creators, pillar content can be a scary concept—think about the daunting task of writing 5,000+ words on just one topic. This is too bad because pillar content has been part of a major shift in the world of inbound marketing, and many people still don’t even know where to start with it!
Here, you’ll discover exactly what pillar content is and how to take the first steps with this content strategy.
Defining Pillar Content
Pillar content is substantive and informative, covering a specific topic, that can be divided into many different sections. Essentially, a pillar page is a long webpage that is focused on a specific topic or theme. By creating these documents, you end up with something that is essential and indispensable to your readers—and tempts external sites to link back to your page. You are giving visitors a thorough guide that answers all their questions on a given topic.
Importantly, you can separate out different sections of your pillar to create smaller content items to fill up different channels of your internet presence. Blog posts are excellent examples of ways in which pillar content can be broken up and then presented as smaller, more focused way that links back to the greater pillar page. But blog posts are just one example. A single content pillar page can be sectioned off into infographics, videos, newsletters, social media posts, and much more.
Why Do You Need Content Pillars?
You might be thinking, why can’t I just make smaller blog posts? What is the value of creating pillar content?
The answer has everything to do with topic clusters. A pillar page is not just a massive document, unconnected to anything around it. Instead, it’s linked to other related content, and new content continues to be linked back to the pillar page. This topic cluster, or network of related information, helps search engines understand that you are an authority on a particular topic.
As search engines continue to be more human-friendly and better at answering the questions we type in, rather than just looking for keywords, pillar content becomes more valuable. As search engines move away from using strict keywords and move into machine learning algorithms and semantic search, pillar content provides the higher-level topics that are now beings searched for, while keywords validate and create supporting content clusters for your pillar.
The best part about using a pillar content strategy is that you can spend time optimizing your pillar content for conversions while your supporting topic clusters bring in traffic. The high word count of your pillar page generates a high Google rank to start with, while new, updated content with shares and backlinks will keep increasing your rank.
The ideal pillar page will provide valuable content to visitors and will play a major role in generating leads. Many readers prefer to read long-form content as a PDF. You can convert your pillar content into a pdf and offer that on the webpage as a downloadable option. In this way, your pillar content page is similar to a landing page as it makes an offer to potential customers and includes a conversion form.
The First Steps in Creating Pillar Content
To get started, first you need to understand who your audience is, and what their most pressing needs are. Look for information about your audience using social media analytics tools or customer databases. Identify your audience’s needs to help you decide on topics for each of your pillar pages. Once you have settled on your topics, create some excellent content that covers everything your audience needs to know about it.