Consistently creating high-quality content is not easy but it is necessary if you want to be successful. To that end, pillar content is not something you can ignore and must be part of your business strategy. Not only will publishing quality blog posts or articles result in improving your SEO but it will also help you connect with your audience on a more personal level.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73% of B2B marketers think that blog posts and articles are the most effective content types. This refers to demand generation within the awareness stage of the customer’s journey (top of the sales funnel). In this article, we take a look at some easy-to-follow tips to generate quality pillar content.
Understanding Pillar Content
Firstly, in order to create quality pillar content, you need to know exactly what it is. Pillar content is essentially the main sections of your website known as the foundation for content marketing. Another term used by marketers is 10x content and is described by Rand Fishkin from Moz as “content that’s 10x better than the highest-ranking result for a given keyword.”
Pillar content provides a complete answer to any question that someone may have searched for. It solves a problem or answers a question combining trustworthy, useful or interesting information. Many define it as a series of posts that promotes your best online work. Some examples of pillar content may include blog posts and articles but infographics, videos or other types of content can add considerable value to pillar pages.
Why You Should Use Pillar Content
Pillar content has numerous benefits as it provides users with all the information they need for a specific topic. Below, we’ve highlighted several reasons why business owners should invest in pillar content:
- Visitors spend more time on your website
- Lower bounce rate as users find what they are looking for and won’t go back to Google to find a different source
- You could get loads of backlinks and social media shares as pillar pages are often shared among influencers
- Pillar content is evergreen so you get more traffic throughout the entire lifespan of your blog or website
- Better Google ranking thanks to the high word count, shares and backlinks
How To Create Pillar Content
While pillar content is exceptionally powerful and important, it does take extra effort to create. If you are serious about creating quality, everlasting content, keep the following tips handy.
Step 1: Know Your Primary Audience
Pillar content unique to your brand is essential but whatever you create, it has to meet and resonate with your audience. If your articles represent your business in the best possible way, they should also be of great value to your audience.
One way of doing this is to create buyer personas which are digital representations of your target audience. Use the following questions to identify who you are targeting to deliver the best possible content:
- Is my target audience mostly male or female?
- What’s the average age of my audience?
- Which ethnic groups do they belong to?
- Where is my target audience located?
- What do I know about the average education level of my audience?
- What is their average socio-economic status?
Recommended: ‘Creating Buyer Personas From Real Data’
Step 2: Identify What Your Target Audience Needs
The best way to create content for your target audience is to think about them when writing copy. Find out what motivates them or what problems they face every day? How can you help answer their most pressing questions? How do they search for information and where do they consume most of their content?
Experienced marketers often start off using broad areas like age and gender but you will likely need to know more. This includes their location, spending habits, industries and income as well in some cases. Creating content according to personas will speak directly to the challenges of your potential customers where it will help them solve it.
How Can Social Media Monitoring Help With Pillar Content?
Don’t underestimate the power of social media as monitoring ongoing conversations on certain channels can help reveal a lot of information. Read through your followers’ posts and find the most mentioned or shared topics. Anything that stands out there should be part of your content creation strategy. With this information, you should have a great starting point for producing pillar content.
The Importance Of Competitor Analysis
In order to remain relevant and up-to-date, find out what types of pillar content other companies in your niche have. This is a great way to find content ideas if you struggling to come up with consistently interesting and related topic ideas.
There are many tools you could use for a competitive analysis but at the top are SEMrush and Ahrefs. Of course, this only works if you share a similar target audience as your competitors. If their topics resonate well with their audience, chances are it will do the same for you.
Recommended: ‘How To Conduct A Competitor Analysis’
Step 3: Create Amazing, Shareable Content
Now that the nitty-gritty stuff is out of the way, it’s time to focus on creating quality pillar articles. Remember, pillar content should be helpful and engaging that makes your audience want to share it with their friends, families and colleagues. While there are several content creation tips, below we’ve included a brief summary of the top 6.
Include a compelling headline or title
Adding a good title or headline is nothing new but it remains an important piece of the content creation puzzle. If you consider that 80% of people focus on headlines while only 20% will actually click to read further, an interesting and thought-provoking title is vital. Whatever you do, don’t resort to ‘clickbait’ tactics to get people to click. It’s unethical as it misleads your target audience!
Captivate readers with a lede or hook
Once you have generated interest through your title, it comes down to a lede or hook. This refers to the beginning part of the content that grabs attention and encourages visitors to continue reading. Some simple hook ideas are interesting facts, an anecdote or a ‘cliffhanger’, a question readers can resonate with and referencing current events.
Some tips for creating quality ledes include the following:
- Be clear and succinct
- Short, sweet and punchy
- Always use active voice
- Address readers as “you”
- Put attribution (referencing) second
- Use relevant statistics
Tell A Story
Storytelling has become increasingly popular in marketing and advertising circles and for good reason. People love reading stories as it creates a real human connection mostly based on empathy. Storytelling is not reserved for novels and should also be used when writing articles. Think about writing a post on how you started your business with nothing more than an idea and £500 in your pocket.
Use The Right Content Structure
Quality content is more than just the message within the article as it relates to layout and structure as well. You could have the best content in the world but if you don’t use titles, subtitles, bullet points, images or paragraphs, nobody would want to read a 2,000-word article.
Related: ‘Simple Content Marketing Tips’
Do Thorough Research
Too often we come across articles that appear to have been written without doing proper research. If you’re going to state an important statistic, flesh it out with more detailed information. Instead of saying that, “Most people use mobile phones to do online searches”, dig a little deeper and use something like this instead, “52% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices.” (Source: Wordstream.com)
Call To Action / Takeaway
Once you’ve created the right type of content and visitors actually read the entire article, you need to inform them what they should do next. Without guiding your audience with a clear call to action at the end of your content piece, chances are they will not go any further. If you’re offering advice on how to use Facebook ads, include a call to action button or image with “Book Free Facebook Advertising Consultation Today”.
Step 4: Regularly Promote Pillar Content
It’s one thing creating and publishing quality pillar content but you also need to promote them regularly. Besides, you don’t want your hard work to go unnoticed by having the content waste away on your website. We recommend that you keep promoting your pillar articles by doing the following:
- Add links to pillar content from your “About Us” page and “Home Page” as it increases visibility and search engine rankings
- Share content in your online communities or groups
- Post content to all of your social channels and boost the posts for additional exposure
- Include links to influencers within your blog post and email each one (don’t forget to also tag them when you post on social media)
- Add internal links within current blog posts
- Add recent or most popular posts throughout your website (in the sidebar or at the bottom)
Step 5: Continuously Update Pillar Content
One thing to keep in mind is updating your pillar articles when necessary to avoid having old, dated information. Because pillar content is the foundation for your entire blog, it should always reflect the latest data and stand out from your other content. Make the extra effort to edit and check your content regularly to ensure they remain accurate and relevant.
If anything changes in your industry, make sure you update your articles so they don’t contain out-of-date information. This becomes increasingly important if you promote your pillar articles frequently. Remember, referring visitors to old or incorrect information can negatively impact your online reputation over time.
Update blog posts regularly and you could see a decent boost in Google rankings. However, don’t forget to also change the date as Google requires it to recognise that the content has really been updated.
If your pillar articles deliver tons of valuable information, don’t feel weird about sharing it frequently. For those who did their due diligence in research and content creation, these particular articles will continue to deliver value to anyone who reads it.
When you update any content, promote it across all your marketing channels highlighting that it’s new or updated. People who engaged with it before will likely go back to see what’s been added while it provides new visitors with relevant content. Furthermore, it also tells your audience that you are a trusted source of information within your industry.
If you need any help with your content marketing strategy for 2020, get in touch with WSI eMarketing for a FREE consultation. We specialise in several areas including PPC, content marketing, SEO, social media marketing and marketing automation among others.