CEO of Letterdrop, former Product Manager on Google Search
Content pillars are a handful of topics that a brand consistently discusses, amplifies, and creates content for.
They can be split into smaller fragments and repurposed for various communication channels.
Content pillars boost SEO ranking, lower bounce rates, and encourage backlinks from other sites.
To implement a content pillar strategy, businesses need to understand their audience, address their problems, create a content calendar, and repurpose engaging content.
Imagine this: you spend hours brainstorming and creating content around various topics, only to realize that they're not driving any business.
You put in all that time and effort, but you're not getting the value you expected.
Enter the content pillar. It allows you to focus on the topics that truly matter to your audience.
Not only will you be able to build authority and credibility in your industry, but you'll also be able to create multiple pieces of valuable content from these "anchor" pieces. This means more opportunities to drive qualified traffic to your website and ultimately, more conversions and sales.
Without them, you risk wasting time on random content that does absolutely nothing for the top line. If you want to dodge that, you need to learn the value of content pillars and how to implement a strategy around them.
What is a Content Pillar?
Content pillars (also known as content buckets or anchors) are a handful of topics that a brand consistently discusses, amplifies, and creates content for.
They allow businesses to focus all their efforts on creating one anchor piece of content they can always refer back to and use to further their content marketing efforts.
These usually take the form of ebooks, guides, articles, and reports and can be split into smaller fragments. These include:
Blog posts or email newsletters
Images, infographics, memes, GIFs
Social media captions/updates
At the end of the day, content pillars give companies enough material to drive business through each content channel, whether it's their blog, LinkedIn page, or YouTube channel.
What Does a Content Pillar Look Like?
To understand how businesses organize content pillars, here’s a look at Hello Social's content pillar strategy.
The brand has multiple well-defined content pillars, each serving a specific purpose.
You can see that Hello Social lists four major pillars:
Content that will engage social media influencers
A content piece with brands as its target audience.
A blog post that will interest digital marketers.
A segment dedicated to businesses who want to collaborate with influencers.
Each of these content buckets is detailed enough to be turned into shorter or more specific blog posts, social media snippets, memes, GIFs, infographics, a podcast, a short video clip... the list goes on.
Content Pillar Examples for More Niche Industries
Still wondering what content pillars might look like for different business models?
Here are some possibilities:
SaaS product owners can create pillar content by publishing how-to guides and educational e-books that bring value to customers and prospects. You can also put together case studies and customer testimonials.
If you own an e-commerce store that sells soaps, you can base content pillars around teaser articles or monthly newsletters around the next product line. You can even write articles talking about soap recipes, the inspiration for them, all their benefits, and more.
Medical practitioners and clinic owners can build pillar pages around case studies, articles about the latest news in the healthcare industry (specific to your practice), and other content relevant to your patients.
Why Your Business Needs Content Pillars
Writing random blog posts doesn’t drive results from an SEO perspective.
Content pillars are the foundation for smaller pieces of content to focus your efforts and rank for a specific topic.
More specifically, here are three reasons why they're important for your company.
1. Content Pillars Boost Your Google Rankings
Content pillars allow businesses to better their SEO ranking and let search engines know that your domain has authority on a specific topic.
For example, after a little bit of digging, we discovered that the search query ‘automate tasks’ shows more than one result for the integration platform, Zapier.
The first result leads to the main pillar page
The second is a featured snippet that backlinks to the pillar page
This shows that, with a proper content pillar page strategy, your site stands a far higher chance of ending up on the first page of the SERP. And results on the first page of the SERP get more than half (54.4%) of all clicks — that means more traffic for you.
2. Content Pillars Lower Bounce Rateand Increase Time Spent on Your Website
If you focus on building an exhaustive amount of content resources on a topic for your audience, visitors will spend more time going through related links on your site.
If they've found what they're looking for, they won't bounce off the page.
It's as simple as that.
3. Content Pillars Encourage Backlinks From Other Sites
As pillar pages are content-specific, they are shareable across multiple social media platforms. This allows your content to be distributed across the digital space multiple times.
Content pillars also allow businesses to save time through content repurposing, making content creation and curation quick and easy.
Looking to automate distribution and repurposing?
Let AI take care of distribution and help you repurpose content in seconds so you can focus on more important tasks.
Now you know how important content pillars can be in helping you build authority within your niche and expediting traffic growth. It's finally time to think about implementing a content pillar strategy in a way that's best for your business.
Step 1: Learn What Your Audience Needs To Create Content Pillars That Help
You need your pillar content to appeal to your audience while keeping it aligned with business goals. And to do that, you need to understand your audience.
Sales calls are a fantastic way for marketing to get to know who they're targeting and can help create buyer personas. Native social media analytics tools, Buffer, and Google Analytics are also handy.
Here's what you need to find out about your target audience:
Their age and gender
Where they hang out online (forums, social media, etc)
Their location. Are you looking at a local, national or international demographic?
The industries or job titles they hold. Do you want to target only CxO and decision-makers or marketers, professionals, etc
Their education level
Their socio-economic status
Letterdrop integrates with Gong and lets you automatically pull this kind of data from sales calls, which can save you hours of sitting through call footage.
Once you’ve put together all the data you need around your customers, you can start compiling ideas for content pillars that address their problems.
Step 2: Create a Content Calendar
For your brand to stay ahead on the content marketing scene, you have to plan all your content at least a month in advance.
This saves you from getting overwhelmed by everything that you're juggling and helps you set up a consistent schedule. Content calendars are a great way to keep on top of things, especially one that syncs with your content as it moves through your content workflow.
Here's what you need to keep in mind when planning a content schedule:
Make sure you’ve taken note of special dates like holidays, launch dates, key events, and so forth so that you can plan specific SEO or newsletter-based content for those dates.
Make sure you have decided on days when you'll post macro content such as blog posts, videos for YouTube/vlogging platforms, podcasts, etc.
Allocate slots for micro-content, like short SEO posts for social media.
Always include a clearly defined CTA in every bit of content you send out, no matter where it goes.
Make sure all pillar pages have backlinks to smaller, related content pieces, whether they are social media bits, infographics, videos, and vice versa.
Step 3: Create, Repurpose and Plan Engaging Content With a clear CTA
Now it's time to focus on repurposing content.
Content repurposing is the process of finding new ways to use old content. Instead of going back to the drawing board to come up with ideas for new topics every time you need pieces to post on your website, blog, or social media, you can simply use what you already have.
Take, for example, a general article that's already sitting in your blog. This one blog post can be repurposed into:
A short, engaging, creative video with a brief on the main points.
An infographic focusing on the numbers.
Short social media snippets for your Twitter and Instagram.
Just like that, you have four additional pieces of content that you can now plan your week around, schedule and publish on your website, and share across social media without having to break your head over new content ideas.
Keep in mind that whenever you do share this content, it is done so with a clear CTA, so that you can make the best use of the situation.
Step 4: Linking Content Pillar to Sub Posts and Posts Back to the Content Pillar
You're more likely to attract Google's search engine crawlers the more that you make use of internal links to connect your pillar to sub-pages.
Here's an example of linking a main pillar, "Enterprise Customer Support", to various other sub-posts.
Content Pillars Are Key to Getting More Value from One Source
Content pillars let you create a foundation for multiple related pieces of content, saving you the headache of constant new content.
By consistently producing high-quality content around your content pillars, you'll attract a larger audience and keep them coming back for more. Your website will become a go-to resource, and your brand will gain credibility and trust.
We at Letterdrop can help you get ideas for pillar content and streamline your content ops to save you time and energy. Reach out to us anytime.
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