Your content marketing strategy is a key factor in your long-term marketing success. If you get your content right, you’ll continue to see returns on it even years into the future.
The best topics, or content pillars, cover general, evergreen topics that will perform well on SERP pages for a long time.
How can you determine what content pillars to write about first?
Hushly is here to help. We’ve created today’s guide to help you understand the process of finding and creating content pillars and how to choose which ones to develop first for maximum efficiency.
What are Content Pillars?
If your website is like a building made up of content, then your content pillars are the essential pieces you’ll be creating. They’ll hold up and define the shape of your overall content strategy.
The best content pillar examples are:
- Large, generalized pieces of content about subjects related to your company and your customer’s interests.
- Consisting of overlapping subjects that share a similar theme—this theme is your pillar.
- An overview of a topic that can be broken down into several smaller pieces of content with more specific information.
Why Are Content Pillars Important?
Your content pillars will be:
- A hub for backlinks.
- An introduction to critical topics that define your business.
- High-performing SEO pieces.
- Authoritative content marketing that will draw traffic and drive conversions.
They also serve as important touchstones for your content marketing roadmap. They can guide the rest of your content and even reveal weak points that give you an idea of where you need to build up your content portfolio.
If you plan to get serious about content marketing, you’ll want to start with pillars and build from there.
How to Determine Content Pillars
To start, you’ll need to gather information about the following:
- What you do best.
- What you want your customers to know you for.
- Who are your competitors, and what are their strengths and weaknesses in content marketing.
- The key search terms you need to be found under to generate leads and conversions.
- The kinds of content you want to create.
Uncovering this information will immediately start to form the foundation for your content pillars to rest on.
If we use cybersecurity as an example, you may want to check for key terms like “best cybersecurity companies,” “how to choose a cybersecurity partner,” or “what is cybersecurity?” among others.
These very general subjects will pull up a long list of content aimed at customers who know little about your industry. The best-performing content will address these questions in ways that are effective at attracting consumers and keeping them interested, which immediately gives you an idea for a content pillar.
However, a proper content pillar can be broken down into smaller subjects in more detail. You’ll need to do more research to ensure you have an actual pillar and not just a single standalone piece.
Start With Research
Put yourself in the audience’s shoes and look for information like:
- What types of content is my audience searching for?
- What are the highest-volume keywords for my industry?
- What do these search results indicate regarding what my audience wants and needs?
- How can I create content that addresses these concerns?
When it comes to the best-performing content that already exists, ask yourself:
- Is the content organic (forum posts, Q&A websites, etc.) or marketing material?
- How old is the content? Can it be updated, or is it evergreen?
- How difficult will it be to rise on the SERP page for these keywords?
Ultimately, you may still want to create the pillar even if it’s highly saturated and difficult to rank with. This is because you create the pillar as a value statement to your customers. Furthermore, you will be breaking down the pillar into more specific subjects that could be easier to rank with.
Organize Your Data
Now that you’ve gathered a lot of information about the content you hope to produce start making connections that will reveal more content pillars and sub-pillars you can start to work with.
Look for overlap between certain subjects.
For example, you are a SASE vendor. You may notice that many customers don’t understand what SASE is or why it’s valuable, let alone how to evaluate it between different SASE vendors. On searching further, you notice that many cloud products suffer the same problem and get tons of inquiries per month.
You could choose to create a content pillar titled “What is Cloud Computing” as a result. This piece could contain a general overview of the subject and what products are often advertised as “cloud solutions.” The SASE solution you provide and any related subtopics would naturally be within the breakdown.
Repeat this process a few times until you’ve accumulated 2-3 solid content pillar ideas.
How to Prioritize Your Content Pillars
Now that you’ve got a few content pillars in mind, you’ll need to prioritize them to ensure your content marketing is as effective as possible.
First, you need to determine which keywords are absolute must-haves. These keywords are terms or phrases that your customers are searching for. These will be your #1 priority.
Here are a few tips when prioritizing content pillars:
- Your main pillars don’t necessarily need to be created first. It’s always possible to backlink pieces and update them with new information. If a subtopic is a must-have while the central pillar isn’t, you can start with the subtopic and link to it later.
- Pick the must-haves which are evergreen first. For example, general cloud computing is a topic that will continue to be relevant for years. In contrast, the article you want to write about your industry-specific cloud solution could be subject to change.
- Rank the importance of the topics you want to create content for so that you always know which direction to go in next.
- Be ready to update your list as SEO changes or your industry adapts to shifting market forces.
General Tips for Prioritizing Content Pillars
At every step of the way, check to make sure that:
- Your topics align with your original goals and are relevant to what your customers are searching for regularly.
- Whether or not you can tie your topic to a product you sell. If not, it may not be a “must-have.”
- How difficult the SERP rankings will be for a given keyword or subject? Higher-difficulty keywords could still be worth creating content for. However, you must be realistic about where you think you’ll end up on the rankings.
Hushly Can Help with Content Strategy for All Businesses
The best content strategies will involve a layer of analytics that tracks how your customers respond to them.
You need to know information like:
- What content is being viewed the most.
- How long do customers spend with each piece.
- Where customers are finding your content.
- How well each piece is converting customers.
In addition to this information, the best content management partner will help your company design content hubs and website experiences that draw customers in and keep them interested for longer.
Let Hushly get started on a demo that will turn your website into a content hub that engages customers and drives massive conversions.