You’ve undoubtedly read about the effectiveness of content pillars as a top-of-funnel, inbound marketing tactic. Knowing how important content pillars are, and actually deploying them as an inbound strategy are two very different activities.
Theoretically, it just makes sense: identify some unifying themes and organize your supporting content around those themes. Add a few hyperlinks and Voila! you’ve done it! As a marketing professional, though, you know nothing is ever as simple as it seems on the surface.
While it is important to pay the proper respect to the details, today we’ll get you started with a few broad principles for deploying content pillars and content clusters as part of your inbound marketing strategy.
Essentially, there are three steps to successfully developing and deploying pillar pages and content themes:
- Choose your core topics.
- Create content that supports those core topics.
- Use hyperlinks to guide users to the related content.
Choose your core topics
What problem do you solve for your audience? Answer that question and you’ll find your core topics. Your pillar pages should be sufficiently broad in scope to allow for more deep-dives into related subjects in your topic clusters.
Keyword mapping is an important component in developing your content pillar strategy. Look at keywords with a relatively high monthly ranking. However, keep in mind the changing algorithms of today’s sophisticated search engines.
Today’s search engines are focused on “searcher intent” rather than solely on keywords. This means that search engines are trying to deliver more helpful responses by searching for content that solves for the user’s “intent”, not necessarily just searching based on the keywords entered.
Create content that supports those core topics
Searcher Intent is at the heart of your supporting content. Beginning with your Buyer Persona (this is the profile you’ve created of your ideal customer – keep in mind that this is not a “gut feeling” or “experience in the industry” – this MUST be based on solid consumer market research) and correlating to your keyword map, you can develop a sense of what content will satisfy your ideal customer’s search intent.
Once you’ve created a list of these relevant subtopics that will satisfy searcher intent and address some of those long-tail keywords, spend some time thinking through which of these subtopics is strong enough to stand alone.
Can you create an effective YouTube video based on this content? Will you have a blog post that is meaty enough to drive traffic on its own? Is there a potential infographic that would be shareable based on what you know about this content?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you should begin developing content around that topic. If the topic is too far out-of-scope for you – don’t go there. You don’t want to drive traffic and rank for something you can’t effectively deliver.
Use hyperlinks to guide users to the related content
On the surface, this seems like the easy part. And from a time-commitment standpoint, it probably is. However, you need to have a pretty solid understanding of your SEO goals and strategy to do this effectively.
The most important part of effective SEO, is not actually the search engine, but the human searcher themselves. If you keep your buyer persona top-of-mind when building in links between content clusters and content pillars, you’ll have better conversions because your content will answer searcher-intent. So, while a particular internal hyperlink may not pass SEO authority to your page, it should drive users to the content that responds to their search intent.
Ultimately, when one of your content clusters performs well in SEO, it elevates all of the linked pages within that cluster. By making your content more organized with content pillars and content clusters, you are offering a one-stop-shopping solution to your website visitors. They can land on one page, and find all the related information they are seeking linked to that page. This will draw in more qualified leads that are more likely to convert because they have confidence in your authority on the topic.
There you have it: 3 simple steps to deploying content pillars. If it still seems a bit daunting, connect with the digital marketing professionals at ACS Creative. One simple call and our SEO, Content, and Website teams will help you deliver content that truly converts.