The objective of online marketing is to establish an online presence, build brand visibility, and generate sales.
Creating pillar content is one of the best ways to reach these goals. It helps you establish your blog as an authority in your niche by driving targeted traffic your way.
Below we break down pillar content so you have a clear understanding of how to use pillar posts to effectively increase traffic to your blog.
What is a Pillar Post?
A pillar post is a massive, highly-informational blog post that acts as a foundation for the other content on your blog.
Well-written, well-researched content is key to an effective pillar post. Your pillar posts should set the tone for the rest of your blog’s content.
Think of your pillar post as a go-to resource for those interested in your niche. Strive to make it as detailed and thorough as possible. You want readers to consider you an authority in your niche after reading through your pillar content.
A well-written pillar post will not only bring in new readers, it will create a lot of backlinks (other sites linking to your content). These backlinks plus new traffic from search engines will ensure your pillar post remains relevant long after it’s published.
If you’re starting a new blog from scratch, a few pillar posts are essential to the success of the blog as a whole. They’ll immediately generate traffic and give you a good jumping off point for plenty of additional, shorter-format blog content.
Benefits of Pillar Content
Pillar posts are among the most effective types of online content, especially for new blogs that are just starting out.
The top benefits of pillar content include:
- Backlinks/Shares – Due to their highly informative nature, pillar posts pick up backlinks like nobody’s business. Ensure yours is above and beyond all the other resources out there and the backlinks (and social shares) will come rolling in.
- Authority in Niche – Create the best and most thorough resource available in your niche and your blog will quickly become viewed as an authority. This only increases the amount of traffic your pillar posts generate.
- SEO – Pillar posts are one of the best ways to rank for big keywords on search engines. Ranking for these big keywords helps further establish your website as a niche and makes it that much easier to rank for long-tail keywords in the future.
- Easier Future Content – Getting several long, well-research pillar posts on your blog right away makes creating content in the future much easier. The pillar posts do all the heavy lifting, allowing you to rely on shorter (500 word) blog posts for the majority of the rest of your content marketing plan.
- User Engagement – According to CodeFuel, pillar posts greatly increase user engagement, keeping them on the page for longer and enticing them to check back frequently for new content.
Yet another benefit of pillar posts it that their content rarely grows stale. As long as you update yours with relevant new information, Google will continue to rank them highly and they’ll continue to rack up their fair share of traffic over their lifetime.
Creating a Pillar Post
Don’t just throw together a pillar post. Spend plenty of time researching, writing, and formatting your post so you get the most bang for your buck possible.
The top tips to keep in mind when creating a pillar post include:
- Type – Pillar posts are generally informative articles. Popular ideas are a “how-to,” ultimate guide, definition article, case study, list post, or technical blueprint.
- Research – Start by researching other resources by typing your top keywords into Google. You’ll notice that while these are considered authoritative, the actual content they contain is probably thin. Set out to one-up all of these resources by adding literally all the relevant information you possibly can, no matter how small, in your pillar post.
- Length – Pillar posts should be at least 2,000 words long. We recommend aiming for at least 5,000 and up to 10,000 words. According to Neil Patel, long-form content does better on Google and boosts your ranking.
- Subtopics – Add as many subtopics as you can to your pillar post, but make sure each is backed up with in-depth information. Dive deeply into each subtopic, no matter how simple it seems.
- Resources – According to SEO-Hacker, external links boost SEO and even increase user engagement. Your readers like to see that the points you make are backed up with credible sources. Link out to sources throughout your article, for each point or statistic you use, rather than including a single link at the end.
- Design & Formatting – A clean design and intuitive formatting is a must for all your pillar posts. We recommend using Wikipedia-style formatting with a table of contents at the beginning of the post with in-page links to each subsection.
- Images & Videos – It’s 2017, blog posts without relevant images or videos just aren’t going to do well. Use as many as you can and consider creating your own images and videos for an added SEO boost. Infographics are a hot trend right now that are also shown to boost traffic.
Promoting Your Pillar Post
Your pillar post can only do so much on its own. Increase its effectiveness by promoting it properly.
The top tips to promote your pillar post include:
- Share on Social – Share your post on all your social media channels. Be sure to mention word count to increase click-through rate.
- Link on Home Page – Include prominent links to your pillar posts on your website’s home page to increase visibility and improve SEO.
- Promote with Influencers – Ask social influencers and authoritative in your niche (and similar, relevant niches) to promote your pillar posts. An idea is to tweet or link to these influencers to pique their interest.
Pillar content is all about providing real value to your readers.
Spend your time crafting high-quality, well-written pillar posts for your blog and results are sure to follow. They set a solid foundation for SEO and future content while bringing in a whole lot of new traffic.
The tips and information above should give you the basic tools you need to create highly effective pillar content for your blog.