Pillar content is a great tool to position your company or organization as a subject matter expert, as well as helping your audience by providing a comprehensive guide or resource for a particular topic. In this blog, I want to explain how pillar content can act as a nurture strategy for key buyer personas. Compiling particular information surrounding a topic will help put all of the information (cluster topics) into one place, aiming to delight your prospects and provide them with more information to make them comfortable with starting a sales conversation.
First to start, if you are just getting introduced to pillar content as a topic, feel free to check out our last two blogs which detail the difference between a landing page and a pillar page, and also steps to creating pillar content. Both of these blogs will provide you with a great foundation for understanding the concept of pillar content, and how to get started.
My blog will focus more on the beneficial relationship between pillar content, and it’s ability to nurture silent prospects into sales conversations. Pillar content is one of the best strategies for positioning your organization or company as a thought leader and a resource for prospects who may be searching for information on a product or service. The entire idea of pillar content is to identify a core area of your business, and build a cluster of topics and information supporting the main idea. This blog strategy is designed to provide helpful and easy to digest information not only with the reader, but also with Google in terms of searchability. Pillar content creates a scenario that is a win-win for not only your search rankings, but also in providing readers with high quality content on a topic that usually requires a lot of information.
How Pillar Content Works
So how does pillar content nurture potential clients? Pillar content in its own right is a compilation of valuable topics that support a main “pillar” of your business. If done correctly, a prospect may find a blog post that covers a cluster topic. I’ll use a hypothetical motorcycle shop for example. This motorcycle shop has produced a number of different blogs related to a Harley Davidson Sportster (their best selling model). One of the blog’s they’ve written is selecting the best spark plugs for this bike, where they rate the top 3 recommended spark plugs. The reader finds this blog while searching for information on changing their own spark plugs, finds it helpful, but also notices another recommended blog post about the best oil, or a pillar page titled, The Ultimate Guide to Harley Davidson’s Sporters. Chances are this person would be highly interested in such a topic where they want to learn more. Providing this guide helps position the shop as an authority on the topic, and unbeknownst to them (because a sales conversation hasn’t been started) the reader decides to call them to make an appointment to look at new Sporters. By creating content in this way, the motorcycle shop has provided multiple entrance points for the reader to consume information they have already produced. It creates multiple access points for the reader based on interest, and also creates link synergy for the motorcycle shop.
How do we know this? Check out this excerpt from a HubSpot blog where Anum Hussain and Cambria Davies launched topic cluster experiments for a select group of topics in 2016. Their experiment showed that the more inter-linking between their own content, the better Google SERP results they gained. To take pillar content a step farther, Google is known to reward content that is more organized. Why is that? In order to help Google identify what content is related, structuring blog content in pillars and topic clusters helps communicate to Google what topics are interlinked, and why referring to your content is valuable. Google SERP algorithms have become so complex and smart that they are almost as good as a human searching for content. If you structure your content and organize it in a helpful and relevant manner, Google will likely shower it with gifts!
Another example of pillar content working as a nurture strategy is based again from the motorcycle shop example. The researcher of the content may only be in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. That person may only be looking for spark plug recommendations at the time. 6 months or a year later, that person may only be looking for oil recommendations. They may still find your information helpful and certainly relevant. In year two, their Sportster may need service, or they may be in the market for an upgrade. This is where that helpful and relevant information can pay off. They may think of you as an expert that has helped them, or a subject matter expert. Whether it be a literal bookmark, or a mental one, that person will likely come back to explore your service or offering as a potential resource. We are almost hardwired to do this as humans. We like working with people who are helpful and provide the most rationale or information to make our lives easier. So utilizing pillar content can help benefit your SERP rankings, but more importantly, start attracting and helping potential new customers.
The Best Place to Start
So how do you get started? If you aren’t blogging as an organic search strategy, you should seriously consider it. Here is a blog that I wrote that explains the impact and value of blogging. If you’ve already started blogging, but would like to know how to implement a pillar strategy, you are going to want to start brainstorming pillar topics, and also cluster topics to support those pillar pages. Try taking a look at your existing blogs and identify trends or commonalities of those topics so that you can start to group and compile them into a longer format of pillar content. Once you have this plan, you can start to identify any gaps that you may need to fill. Over time, you’ll start to develop pillar pages on your website that cover detailed subjects and support each area with clusters of relevant topics, positioning you as an expert, and the right company to help. Following this strategy, you’ll start to generate the right sales conversations over time!