What is a Content Pillar? How to Use Pillars to Grow Your Website Traffic
Published on July 14, 2022
If you spend any time at all talking to marketing people, you’ll hear the expression “content is king.” In this age of omnichannel communications, people prefer to educate themselves and would rather learn about a brand via their “own research” (a.k.a. curated content) than be punched in the face with heavy-handed advertising. That’s just science.
So if you’re going full speed ahead into content marketing, you’ll need to identify your pillars first to create a strong framework for your overall strategy. Let’s dive in!
Laying your foundation
In construction lingo, a pillar is an essential support structure. In marketing, it’s a basic value, tenet, or concept that relates to your brand. It will serve as a foundation for your content and messaging. Content pillars will help you achieve clarity and supremacy in your niche — and boost your audience reach to the stratosphere.
You want to position your brand as a subject matter expert, so you become the go-to resource for anything that touches on that topic. This also helps you optimize your content for keywords and search intent.
Creating a “content cluster” around in-depth ideas will lead you to higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Higher rankings mean better brand awareness and more enthusiastic traffic.
How do you choose which topics to use for your pillars? This depends on what industry you’re in. A restaurant owner would obviously want to focus on their style of cuisine, dining experiences, fine wine, cooking, and other culinary-related concepts.
Your brand is unique, so your content pillars should spotlight what makes you stand above the crowd.
For example, a plumbing company with 24-hour availability might want to develop content about exciting new trends in concierge customer service, advances in plumbing technology, water conservation, and sustainability.
This might seem like a lot of fuss, but it actually makes sense. Arranging your content in pillars helps you stay organized and makes it easier to nurture new ideas and sub-topics that will truly appeal to your audience.
Main pillar pieces are typically over 3,000 words of deliciously high-ranking content that will keep your readers on your site for a longer period of time. More visitors to your site interacting for a longer period of time means you can collect vast amounts of valuable customer data you can use to build an effective content marketing system to complement your business goals.
Research is a crucial part of creating any kind of strategy like this, and that always begins with being intimately familiar with your target customers and what they need and want. Keyword analytics will help you drill down to what people search for the most.
If you haven’t yet created your ideal customer profile, you’re missing out on a chance to get in front of the right people while they’re still in the early stages of their decision-making process.
Crafting your pillars
Once you’ve identified the main key topics you want to focus on, it’s time to start building your content library. This is the perfect time to evaluate and refine your existing content to fit into your content pillar structure.
For creating new material, you might be wondering where to find inspiration. There, too, the answer lies with your intended audience.
How-to’s, explainer articles, and knowledgable guides backed up with plenty of links offer your readers a one-stop-shop that increases your brand’s value proposition and leads to higher conversion rates.
Engagement with your social media followers will also give you precious insight into the kinds of content they’re looking for. Reach out and ask them what they need.
It’s also smart to check out your competitors and see what kind of content they are putting out. What does their engagement look like? Can you build a better mousetrap? Explore the gaps in their coverage and see where you can offer a better alternative.
A vibrant online community
The ongoing digital transformation has had a huge impact on how companies deal with their customers, and how people make buying decisions and purchases. Everything has changed and continues to evolve rapidly.
One of the biggest challenges today is staying relevant. In this uncertain world, the customer attention span is shorter than ever.
How do you regain the love of past buyers while attracting new audiences? Boldly pursuing a new content pillar strategy will give you some power, as people love things that are new and shiny. Update and refresh your site, add new visual appeal, or consider creating a contest related to one of your pillar concepts.
Microcontent, like daily Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok posts, will help you build a highly engaged online community. This invaluable team of customer ambassadors adds to your organic growth potential.
The bottom line
Content pillars are a vital competitive advantage in your overarching marketing plan. Customers no longer want cold calling, automated emails, or junk mail. They want useful information at the tip of their fingers, whenever they need it.
And when they Google it, you want to be the first responder, the expert ready to answer any and all questions — and you’re the one they turn to when a purchasing decision needs to be made.
Rich, interesting content pillars will help you grow your business and your traffic by luring customers in with the things they want to know, almost before they know.
Ready to learn more about content and building a sustainable digital ecosystem? Geek Chicago has got you covered. Reach out to one of our experts today for a guided tour through digital biz, social media, email, web development, and how to create content that sizzles.