Having solid content pillars can bolster your business and help you connect with your customers; check out these content pillar examples of companies that are doing it right.
Most social media managers and marketers have been there; wondering whether your latest post was too specific, not specific enough, or whether it would pique the interest of your target audience. Choosing your content pillar strategy – three to five topics your brand consistently discusses online – can help you find your niche, appeal to your target market, and streamline your social media strategy. If you’re interested in this topic, check out our round-up of the best content marketing tools!
- What is a Content Pillar?
- Content Pillar Examples
- Industry Guide Pillar
- Product-Centric Pillar
- Audience-Centric Pillar
- FAQ Pillar
- Trending Topic Pillar
- How to Choose the Right Content Pillar for Your Brand
- Tips for Creating Effective Content Pillars
- Promoting Your Content Pillars
- Measuring the Success of Content Pillars
- If You’ve Created a Great Content Pillar, We Want to Check it Out!
- Further Reading and Resources
What is a Content Pillar?
Also known as themes or buckets, content pillars are a set of high-quality, evergreen content pages that focus on the main topics that matter most to your company–and your target market. In addition to boosting your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, content pillars also give your market a place to return for top-notch information they’re likely to share with others, boosting your brand awareness.
Generally, a content pillar is long-form content. Your content pillars may be in the form of an article loaded with infographics, a literature review that compiles information on a topic in your industry, videos that provide tried-and-trusted content to your target market, or how-to guides that provide industry-best advice.
Your content creation will drive your website persona and social media accounts. It’s important to ensure that your content pillars make sense for where your audience will most likely interact with your brand. For example, if your audience typically spends time on your website, long-form blog posts that give in-depth information on one of your content pillar topics may be a great choice. If your audience spends most of their time on Instagram, creating pinned Instagram stories that allow you to visually tell your brand’s story may be helpful.
It’s important to note the difference between content pillars and topic clusters. Content pillars are mainstays of your brand that are tailored to explain your focus areas in great detail. Typically, content pillars are evergreen, meaning your audience can repeatedly return to the same page without feeling like your content is outdated.
These pages can often be a jumping-off point for new audience members. For example, if you’re running a health and nutrition business and providing simple slow cooker recipes is one of your content pillars, you may want to link to an extensive list of healthy slow cooker recipes that your audience can bookmark and return to time and again.
Topic clusters are different from content pillars. While a pillar is a hub for information your target audience needs, topic clusters are subtopics you can link to from your content pillar page. For example, in the slow cooker example, your subtopics could include the most effective way to make a healthy grocery list, meal prep, and finding time to work out on a busy schedule.
When you have solid content pillars to boost your business, your audience won’t just return repeatedly- they’ll also send others your way. When you can create a how-to guide or a list of FAQs perfect for newbies to your niche, your audience won’t just visit your content regularly–they’ll also come to trust you as an expert in your industry.
Content Pillar Examples
You likely already have a few potential content pillars in mind. Here, we’ll look at some examples of stellar content pillar pages from various brands.
Industry Guide Pillar
Industry guide pillars provide a high-level reference point that can give industry newbies and veterans a great place to learn more about what it takes to succeed within a specific marketplace.
Digital Marketing in 2023: The Ultimate Guide by Forbes takes readers through everything they need to know to succeed in the modern digital landscape.
Cluster topics under Forbes’ digital marketing pillar include SEO trends, the latest updates in influencer marketing, direct response email best practices, social media marketing platforms, and more.
This content pillar allowed Forbes to continue cementing their place as an industry expert and boosted their web traffic from new and repeat visitors.
A product-centric page allows you to provide your target market with useful information–all while recommending your products to solve a problem. Here, we’ll look at how a grocery store might use a product-centric page to provide recipes that feature their products.
Cluster topics from a grocery store’s product-centric page may include incorporating produce into recipes, grilling, and creating kid-friendly recipes.
Featuring great recipes could boost repeat visitor traffic and result in visitors spending more minutes per visit on your page as they create your recipes.
An audience-centric pillar can be a beginner’s guide to a topic that appeals to your target market. For example, a beginner’s guide to graphic design concepts could be a good fit for a company selling adult education classes.
Cluster topics on this pillar page include graphic design theory, why people should consider a career in graphic design, how to become a graphic designer, and what to do once you’re established in the industry.
By establishing trust with your specific audience, this type of page may boost engagement and course sign-ups–all while making it easy for those interested in getting started in graphic design to send others in their circle to the page.
A FAQ content pillar can follow the style of an “Everything You Need to Know About XYZ” page. Here, we’ll explore possibilities for a hypothetical “Everything You Need to Know About a Vegan Diet” page.
Cluster topics for this type of page might include the definition of veganism, macronutrient recommendations for a vegan diet, what foods are permitted on a vegan diet, and special considerations for exercising while following a vegan nutrition plan.
Using headings to boost SEO rankings can make it more likely that your target market gets your pillar page in your search results, making you an expert on the topic and increasing overall site traffic.
Trending Topic Pillar
Creating content pillars around trending news topics related to your industry is smart. For example, a trending topic page for a CBD company might cover the legalization of cannabis in the news.
Cluster topics for this type of page might involve cannabis legalization by state, politician’s stances on legalization, and timelines that show how cannabis law has changed over time.
This type of page can boost your repeat visitor numbers, as your target market may return to check for updates. This may also boost unique visitors looking for information on current news topics in your industry.
How to Choose the Right Content Pillar for Your Brand
When choosing the content pillars that will support your brand’s message to your audience, it can be tough to figure out where to start. Like many aspects of marketing, knowing your audience is key to choosing the right content pillars.
You’ll need to carefully consider where your audience spends time online, as you’ll need to tailor your content pillar pages to their preferred platforms. The more you understand your audience’s needs, the better you’ll be able to create content pillars that are the right fit to create conversions from potential to actual customers.
You’ll also need to ensure that your content pillars align with your business goals. You should be able to weave your products and services into your content pillars seamlessly without obvious product placement. Your content pillars should naturally lend themselves to your business and the interests of your target market.
Since one of the mainstays of content pillars is ensuring that they’re evergreen, it’s smart to keep an eye on future predictions for your industry. While you can always switch up your content pillars if necessary, keeping them consistent for as long as possible helps your target market understand what your brand offers.
An important note: Pay attention to your content pillar’s performance and your market’s feedback when determining whether your content pillars are effective. Your audience will tell you when something is fantastic–silence could be a better thing regarding content pillars.
Tips for Creating Effective Content Pillars
Once you’ve decided what topics to cover in your content pillars, you’ll need to craft them effectively to get them in front of your target market. Key tips for creating stellar content pillars that can stand the test of time include:
- Pay attention to SEO. You will want to pop up at the top of the search results when your target market looks for the information you provide in your content pillar. Use headings and keyword research to help you get the right eyes on your site.
- Use social media to your advantage. Sharing your content pillars isn’t a one-and-done deal. As your social media following grows, you’ll want to share your content pillar pages regularly to allow your new followers to learn what your business offers.
- Talk to others in your industry. It’s smart to work with others who are experts in your industry when developing your content pillars–doing so can help to build trust with your audience. You can also ask other industry experts to review your pillar pages and provide feedback. Implementing their advice can help you boost your appeal to your target market.
- Commit to excellence. Your content pillars should be your target market’s go-to place for all the information they need on a topic. Don’t rush the creation of your content pillars–take your time to ensure that you’ve done all you can to make your page stellar. If you receive negative feedback or your page isn’t performing as well as you’d like, don’t hesitate to return to work.
- Update pillars regularly. Yes, you should aim to make your pillars as evergreen as possible–but you’ll need to be sure your pages are as accurate as possible. When new research pops up in your field, be sure to update your pillar pages–and promote the updates on social media posts to drive traffic to your site.
There’s a learning process when it comes to creating excellent content pillars. Taking the helpful feedback of experts and your target market to heart can help you make the changes you need to keep your target audience and their friends coming back for more.
Promoting Your Content Pillars
After you’ve developed your content pillars, it’s time to ensure your target audience knows what you have to offer. When you’ve developed your content, promoting on social media is key. Just like you took the time to figure out how to tailor your content pillars to the platform on which they appear, you’ll need to tailor the promotion of your content pillars to several different platforms.
Email marketing campaigns can also help you get the word out. If you have a subscription list, sending out news of your new content pillar can be helpful. Be sure to talk about the problem your content pillar can solve, and let your audience know that they’re the first to learn of your new offering.
If you’ve collaborated with another professional or company to develop your content pillar, talk with them about cross-promotional options. Ask the company you’ve collaborated with to promote your page on their social media channels.
Publishing a new content pillar can also be a great opportunity to utilize paid advertising. Your target market won’t see that they’re being asked to buy something or being asked to support a brand. Instead, they’ll see that you’re offering information that meets their need–allowing you to build trust with new audience members. Pay attention to who is checking out your new page by utilizing social media comments and shares, and re-target your ads to a new market if necessary.
Measuring the Success of Content Pillars
After you’ve put hard work into your content pillars, ensuring they’re performing well is key. Keeping an eye on your web traffic and engagement metrics can help you figure out anywhere to switch up your page.
You’ll also want to track backlinks. If other sites link to your content pillar, you’re doing something right. Keeping an eye on current keywords is also a smart move, and it can be simple to update your headings in your content pillar to reflect keyword changes and keep your SEO driving forward.
Finally, you’ll want to check on the actual success of your page, digging into how many people are providing you with their information and are then converted into customers.
Creating a great content pillar is hard work, but it can pay dividends if you take the time to do it right. With top-notch content pillars, you’ll know how to streamline your social media, email marketing strategies, and more.
It can take time to figure out the right content pillars for your market–don’t worry if you don’t get it right on the first try. Like so much of marketing, trial and error is key–and your efforts will be well worth your time.
If You’ve Created a Great Content Pillar, We Want to Check it Out!
If you have an excellent content pillar, we want to check it out! It can be tough to find great content pillar examples, and it’s best to learn from others who are in the arena. Post your content pillar pages here–we’d love to have a look (and the other eyes on this page would too).
Further Reading and Resources
It’s important to keep up with the latest trends when creating great content pillars. Check out some of our favorite resources to help you create content pillars that matter:
4 Content Pillars for Social Media–A Complete Guide (Content Marketing Services Agency)
Content Pillars for Instagram: Examples, Tips, and Steps (Vista Social)