What is a content pillar?

Content pillars are the foundation of all your brand’s content. From social media to blogs, from webpages to infographics, content pillars are the starting points for anything you create that gets put out to your audience.

These pillars are essentially the most vital pieces of information that your brand has to offer, and the building blocks of your brand’s content. They indicate the key themes that any marketing campaign will follow.

As such, your content strategy itself needs to focus on all parts of your business. We all know that brand consistency is key, and creating a solid strategy lays down the groundwork for all your content moving forward, making sure it is aligned with your brand values and objectives.

Why are content pillars important?

The main importance of your content pillars is cementing your business as a leader in your industry. They underpin your authority as a thought leader, problem solver, and reliable resource for your audience.

Much like a ‘hub’ for your most vital information, your pillars keep key information in one easy-to-find place. This is not only great news for users and customers who are looking for advice, services, or products, but it’s a good place to start in your SEO efforts (we’ll briefly look at this more in a second).

Additionally, a solid content pillar strategy provides clear direction and structure for all your content efforts moving forward. You and your team will know what they are focused on and what relevant topics they should always be linking back to when working on a piece of content. As previously mentioned, this is applicable for everything – whether it’s a lengthy blog or just a quick Tweet.

The benefits of a solid content strategy

Content pillars provide a wealth of benefits for your wider marketing strategy. Because you have these ‘hubs’ of key content, you can then break them off into ‘clusters’ of content that relate to your main content pillar. For example, if one of your content pillars was ‘Industry Insights’ you could then branch into ‘Key Opinion Leaders,’ ‘Recent Press,’ and ‘Top Tips from our Team.’

This is a very generic example as the pillars of a big fashion house are going to be substantially different from those of a GP surgery, but these more generalised themes are fairly applicable to most businesses. A content pillar about key insights from your industry can easily lead to more specific content clusters about advice from your team of experts, opinions from thought-leaders in your field, and recent press about your industry and any updates to lines of thinking, new products, services, etc.

These larger clusters can then flow into smaller clusters, like specific key opinion leaders if there are experts/professionals your brand works closely with or cites often. This line of thinking can continue flowing into more and more clusters until you feel you’ve reached the full potential of useful information and resources for your target audience.

In addition to the benefits of this ‘content cluster’ structure, you have the SEO and keywords benefits of content pillars. Your main content pillar pages/posts shouldn’t be littered with keywords but should have the few most vital keywords prominently placed to help with search engine rankings. Your further content surrounding these pillars should include a variety of different keywords (as they’ll be a variety of different content types), which will then attract further search engine attention.

Developing your content pillar plan

It’s all well and good theorising about content pillar plans, but how do you go about building one?

The answer is, unfortunately, not as black & white as one might hope. This is simply because different businesses and different sectors require vastly different content pillars.

For a broad overview though, there are some basic steps you can take to start putting together your content pillar strategy:

Identify your core topics and map out your content clusters

Once you’ve identified the topics that your audience will be most interested in, think about any sub-topics that can branch off from the main topics. Are they all client-focused or informative? Will they give insight into your industry and help place you as a forward-thinker?

Audit your existing content

Do you have any content available that fits into your new content pillars? Alternatively, is there any content out there that you can rework to fit into a content pillar? Minor tweaks are sometimes all that’s needed to streamline your existing work into a piece of pillar content.

Create new content

The main thing you’ll need to work on is creating new content that fits your pillar plan. Make sure your content is always valuable in some way, whether it’s putting you at the top of the industry pile, giving helpful advice to your user base, or setting you apart as a leading brand, your new content should always link back to that core pillar it’s centred around.

Link your pillars together

Once you have some pillar and cluster content put together, it’s always worth trying to find links between certain pieces. This is good from an SEO perspective, as well as helping keep up user engagement by chaining content together and keeping people on your site for longer.

Ace your content strategy with Rooster

If you need a new content pillar strategy, or maybe you just need your existing work sharpening up, get in touch with Rooster’s content specialists today to put you ahead of the game.