As an inbound marketer, you’ve likely seen a ton of content about the value of pillar pages and a topic-cluster approach to SEO. While there is plenty out there describing the merits of this approach, and what a good pillar page might look like, there wasn’t a very useful resource that walks marketers through the process of creating topic clusters and pillar page content from start to finish. Until now.
With this in-depth, tactical guide—chock-full of video lessons, templates, frameworks, and resources—you’ll be creating your very own pillar pages and topic clusters while avoiding the mistakes and pitfalls most marketers make.
–Updated June 20th, 2018–
Topic Cluster and Pillar Page Creation Guide
What Are Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters and When Are They Necessary?
We all want to create blog content that causes our websites to climb to the top of search results, driving a surge in website traffic, more qualified leads, and more revenue.
But those marketers who bought into the early promise of inbound marketing—the idea that “if you build it, they will come”—often find themselves disillusioned after one or two years of consistent blogging activity.
A client recently emailed me and said “I’ve been blogging about all of the topics you identified, and I feel like our content is so much better than our competitors. Why aren’t we doing better?”
She was being honest. They had written a blog post for nearly every keyword I helped them identify as a priority, and their content was actually quite good. The problem was that there was a mismatch in the type of content they were creating in response to the terms they were targeting. The content they were creating for broad, two-word terms that were competitive and heavily searched were equal in length, depth, and quality as the content they were creating for longer tail terms that were much more specific and far less competitive.
In other words, they were failing to recognize that search engines now require more depth and breadth in the content they serve for search queries around broad topics than they need and require for more detailed, long-tail search terms.
Let’s take a broad topic like “lawn mower repair” as an example.
The person conducting this search could have many different goals in mind. For example, they might want to:
- Find a local lawn mower repair service
- Learn how to repair the lawn mower on their own
- Buy the right part necessary to do the repair
- Find a guide that will help them diagnose what needs to be repaired in the first place
A search engine like Google simply doesn’t know what a person’s real intent is when they conduct a search like this, so it needs to take its best shot at guessing based on all available data. They do this by serving up a blend of different kinds of content on the first page of results, hoping that one or two might appeal to the searcher’s intent.
A broad search like this is rarely the final step in the searcher’s journey. In fact, it’s more likely to be the first of many searches that individual will do until they find a satisfactory solution.
Let’s assume the searcher is hoping to do the repair themselves. This means they’d skip the top results that show local businesses, and instead opt to click on a top-ranked article by Popular Mechanics titled “How to Fix a Lawn Mower.”
The article, at 625 words in length, provides a high-level overview of basic lawn mower maintenance and preventative measures, but very little guidance on how to fix real problems, like a smoking mower, dead battery, or busted belt.
Frustrated by what some might call “thin” content, dissatisfied searchers might find themselves hitting the back button and moving on to the next result with the hope it might help them complete their task. They might also try refining their search to something more specific. For example, “How to fix a smoking lawn mower” or “How to change a lawn mower battery.”
Google sees this behavior—sometimes referred to as “pogo-sticking”—so they choose to display a list of suggested searches in the “People also search” box below the result, including terms like:
- Lawn mower repair videos
- Lawn mower repair parts
- Lawn mower repair costs
This is Google’s attempt to salvage a failed search. They know that if you can’t find the content you needed to solve your task, you might not choose Google the next time you search, which means less revenue from ads and other Google products It’s in Google’s best interest to make sure that searchers find what they’re looking for, and that means that it’s in Google’s best interest to truly understand a searcher’s intent.
Imagine if Popular Mechanics noticed this pogo-sticking behavior, and decided to build these subtopics into an expanded version of this resource. Recognizing that many searchers needed more than just a general preventative maintenance guide, they could use their resource to guide readers to instructional videos, stats about the most common repair costs, and some guidance on when it’s best to try to do a repair on your own, and when it makes more sense to go hire a pro.
To further establish their site as the go-to guide for lawn mower repair education, they could develop an editorial calendar of content that offers a deeper dive into specific repairs, common models, and advanced tips and tricks that appeal to more targeted audiences.
Their main lawn mower repair guide could link to these resources, creating a single destination that a search engine could begin with in order to discover these resources and understand their relationship to the core topic. Each individual article could link back to the primary guide, elevating the authority of the parent topic and further strengthening the relationship between content.
In short, they would transform their article into a Pillar Page.
The result of this would be a more useful resource for readers, an improved navigational experience, and the likelihood that they would solidify their top ranking for “lawn mower repair” while capturing hundreds, if not thousands of additional keywords with the same resource.
The Emergence of 10X Content and a Shift towards Topics over Keywords
In the scenario above, I outlined the perfect opportunity for Popular Mechanics to convert an average blog post into a Pillar Page—an authoritative, long-form piece of content on your website that addresses a topic comprehensively in an organized, logical way. It’s something that searchers want, and something that search engines want to serve up in results.
By what has caused this shift towards Pillar Pages when, in the past, simple blog posts may have done the job well enough?
There are a number of reasons for this change, which we’ll touch on briefly here.
1. The way people search is changing.
In the past, if a marketer wanted their content to rank for a specific search term or query, they simply needed to create a piece of content that was tailored specifically to that exact search phrase, and the traffic would pour in. To ensure relevancy to the searcher’s query, the marketer would include the targeted term in the headline, title tag, meta description, their section headers, and their text. And then they’d do it all over again with the next keyword, even if that keyword was close to the first one.
For years, that’s just how marketing worked.
But the way people search has changed drastically in the last few years, especially with the emergence of voice search through devices like Google Home and its competitors. Now, people search a lot more naturally, in the same way, that they talk, and this has led to an explosion in keyword variations.
Creating content according to the old playbook would mean writing a piece of content for each of those variations—a herculean task if ever there was one, for both the marketers (who have to create the content) and the search engines (who have to crawl and understand this content).
By shifting the focus from one of “keywords” to one of “topics,” search engines have simplified their job and the job of marketers. Instead of writing countless articles to cover all angles of a complex topic, a single, authoritative piece of content would now suffice.
Enter the age of Pillar Pages, also known as 10X, Flagship, and Cornerstone content.
2. The internet is full of garbage.
Another factor leading to the emergence of Pillar Pages? Well, the internet is, frankly, full of garbage.
When you force marketers to churn out multiple blog posts a week, each targeting different keyword variations, you’re bound to find a lot of repetition and fluff. After all, there’s only so much that one marketer can write. But when you’re trained to think that frequency is more important than quality, that’s just what is going to happen.
It only makes sense, then, that search engines (and searchers) would seek to find ways of cutting through the noise so that they could become more efficient in finding the answers that they are looking for. Pillar Pages of different sorts have existed for nearly as long as the internet. All it took was this overcrowding to really make the need for them obvious.
If you spend enough time wallowing through the muck of a swamp trying to find the road, you eventually come to appreciate the value of an accurate map.
3. Marketers are competitive.
And then, of course, is the fact that marketers are amongst the most competitive people on the planet. Marketers are constantly trying to think of ways of one-upping each other, with the goal, of course, is to have their own content served at the top of search results instead of the content of their competitors.
This competition led to the emergence of “10X content” which is, essentially, a strategy of looking to the content that is already ranking well and finding out how you can make it 10 times better. In some cases that may have been achievable simply by adding some visuals, or video, or (especially in the early 2010s) an infographic.
The idea was originally introduced by Rand Fishkin, formerly of MOZ, in an episode of Whiteboard Friday.
In the video, Rand explained how more and more, it has become clear, the best way for you to outperform the existing content is to create a resource that is more authoritative and more complete. So if you want to rank for a specific search query you might, for example, look at the content that is already ranking and ask yourself: How can I cover this topic better? What questions might a searcher be asking that this content doesn’t answer? Does this content speak to the searcher’s intent?
This idea was further improved upon with Brian Dean’s “Skyscraper Technique,” which outlined a powerful way to use 10X content as a means to earn high-quality, authoritative backlinks by creating content that blows the competition out of the water.
Then, at INBOUND 2016, Matthew Barby from HubSpot illustrated how he and the SEO team had partnered with their blog editorial team to create clusters of content that helped to establish HubSpot’s topical authority, leading to an enormous growth of organic rankings and traffic. In this presentation, the team at HubSpot introduced the concept of Topic Clusters and Pillar Pages.
What is a Topic Cluster?
A topic cluster is a selection of related content that is grouped together with hyperlinks to establish a relationship between the content for both search engines and website visitors. At the center of the cluster is a page that provides a broad overview of the main topic, known as a “pillar page.” This interlinking structure helps to improve visibility in search results and to establish topical authority for a brand.
What is a Pillar Page?
A pillar page covers all aspects of a heavily-searched topic on a single page and acts as the center of a topic cluster. Pillar page content creates a path for visitors to explore a topic in more depth by hyperlinking to more detailed blog posts. These blog posts also link back to the pillar page, establishing a relationship between the resources.
The Topic Cluster/Pillar Page methodology has quickly been adopted by the world’s most advanced content marketers and SEOs and has given hundreds of businesses the opportunity to rank for heavily searched, competitive terms that had previously been out of reach.
So where should you begin?
How to Pick a Topic for Your Pillar Page
Choosing a topic for your Pillar Page, ebook, or next marketing campaign is step #1 in the content creation process, and often the most challenging and debated step.
And for good reason.
The creation of these assets will take a lot of time, money, and effort. The initiative will likely take you away from focusing on other potentially valuable projects—that website redesign project you’ve been meaning to tackle, a historical blog optimization effort, or perhaps an overhaul of your email lead nurturing campaigns.
You likely have hefty goals behind this too. Pillar Pages are often created when a company needs to build a significant amount of organic traffic to its blog or website. This means that your boss expects your Pillar Page is going to attract visitors, leads, and links. Lots of them.
What if you spend a full month creating the pillar page only nobody cares about it? What if it doesn’t rank? What if you don’t see a rise in traffic? Or, just as bad, you see a rise in the wrong kind of traffic?
Those negative outcomes are a painful possibility, but fortunately, there are some steps you can take to significantly reduce that risk.
Below is a process that will help you and your organization pick a topic for your Pillar Page that will grow traffic to your site, and most importantly, resonate with your buyers.
1. Choose the Buyer Persona that you should target first.
The #1 reason that Pillar Pages fail is that they focus on a topic that the business wants to talk about rather than a topic that a specific type of buyer needs to learn about.
So first things first: This is about them, not you.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s think about which of your buyers you should focus on first.
Ask yourself: Which of your personas does your sales team have the most success with? Which segment represents the greatest potential in your plans for growth? Which personas have historically converted from MQL to Opportunity to Customer at the highest rate?
If you focus on the persona that your organization is most likely to win as a customer, you’ll increase the chances that your Pillar Page effort provides a positive ROI.
It’s also helpful to identify what type of buyer that persona is. Are they more strategic, or tactical? What type of information do they typically look for as they research solutions and make decisions?
Pillar Pages tend to be a great fit for more tactical buyers, who need in-depth guides that help them think through a topic comprehensively. (Check out these examples if you need some inspiration.)
If you’re targeting a busy executive who is mostly focused on big-picture strategy, a 2,000-15,000 word resource might not be the best way to go.
Sometimes, you may choose to pursue a persona that is NOT your typical buyer. This approach may make sense when you see your Pillar Page as more of a PR or link-building opportunity than a direct lead-generating opportunity. If this sounds like you, put extra emphasis on Step #6 in this list.
2. Brainstorm a list of your buyer’s needs.
At Pepperland Marketing, we’re firm believers that for every product, service, or solution, there is a corresponding skill, process, or strategy that your customer needs to obtain in order to find success.
These skills, processes, or strategies align directly to real customer needs that your Pillar Page should help address.
For example, in order for a working professional to pursue their Masters Degree while working full time, they’ll need to develop sharp time management skills and a strategy for affording a graduate education.
Another example: In order for a marketer to realize value from their investment in a tool like HubSpot, they’ll need to develop a strong inbound marketing strategy and content creation skills.
Brainstorming these needs can become a little easier with some structure to guide you, which is why we created this campaign topic worksheet.
To keep your ideas framed through the lense of your buyer’s point of view, consider listing each idea as a User Story. This would look something like this:
As a [PERSONA], I need to [GOAL], so that I can [BENEFIT].
Don’t make the mistake of generating these ideas without conducting thorough buyer persona research first. You may feel like you know what your customers are thinking, seeing, and doing, but if you’re not working directly with them on a day-to-day basis and haven’t spent a mile walking in their shoes, there’s a good chance you’ll be making some false assumptions.
3. Eliminate any ideas that don’t lead to your solution.
Once you’ve brainstormed the list of needs that your ideal customer is likely facing, you’ll need to remove any of those needs that do not either directly or indirectly lead the customer to your solution.
For example, let’s think back to the working professional who wants to pursue a master’s degree. If they have children, then on top of balancing their career and education, they will also need to develop a plan around childcare. Though this is a clear need of the customer, unless your product or service addresses this directly or indirectly, it is not something that you should focus your efforts on.
By ensuring there is a direct line between the need and your solution, you will see the greatest return on your content marketing investment.
Remember that your goal should be to find a need, problem, or pain that that your prospects or customers will need to overcome in order to adopt or find success with your product or solution. The purpose of your Pillar Page content will be to give them the process, skill, or strategy required to overcome that challenge.
4. Prioritize by urgency, clarity, and level of pain.
With a list of 5-20 needs in mind, it’s time to find the one that your buyer will be the most motivated to fulfill. You are looking for a pain or problem where the cost of inaction or living with the status quo significantly outweighs the cost and effort to solve it.
List out all of your ideas as sticky notes on a whiteboard, or in a spreadsheet, and assess their:
- Level of severity: Is this something that someone would lose their job over if not solved, or is it more of an annoyance that someone could easily go on living with?
- Clarity: Is this a pain or need that everyone is aware of and regularly discussed? Or is it more like the leak behind the wall that you don’t know about until it’s too late?
- Monthly Search Volume: Is anyone searching for this topic on Google? You’ll need a keyword tool like Moz Keyword Explorer or Ubersuggest for this.
Start by listing out each idea, and then scoring them by severity and clarity on a scale of 1-5. Layer in the max monthly search volume pulled from your keyword research tool.
Next, map each rated idea in a bubble chart or in a simple 4 quadrant grid. We’re looking for the topics in the upper right-hand corner that also reflect a higher search volume.
5. Look for an unmet or underserved need.
With a topic or two now in mind that you know your audience will be motivated to seek out, you’ll want to make sure that there is still an opportunity for you to be the one to solve it.
You want to avoid being one of 1,000 solutions to the problem, as it will be extremely difficult to compete and you’ll most likely be too late to the party.
Try doing a quick Google search for your topic and evaluate the results. I tried this exercise prior to writing this blog, searching “how to pick a topic for a pillar page” in Google. You can see the results below. There was plenty of content that answered the question, “what is a pillar page?” but not a single article that addressed the topic I was searching for head on. This is an example of an unmet or underserved need, which presented an opportunity for me to the first to fulfill.
If you find that there are many other sites already addressing the topic, try assessing the quality of that content. Do they serve the searcher’s needs well? Do you see an opportunity to answer the need in a much more effective, or otherwise better, way? This could mean going into more depth, addressing the topic with more clarity, including visual aids, or some other means of making your content more useful to your targeted audience.
If you do not see an opportunity to be the first to meet the need or a way to meet that need in a significantly better way than the competition, you may want to consider a different topic.
6. Ask yourself: Is this topic linkable? Is this topic shareable? Who would help me promote it?
Creating content that answers the searcher’s intent, serves your targeted audience well, and helps them achieve their goals is essential if you want your content to rank well in search results and grow traffic, but it’s not the only thing that you need to do in order to be successful.
Google and other search engines also evaluate the number of other websites that link to your content as a sign of its trustworthiness and authority. This means that your ability to secure external links to your Pillar Page isa must if you wish for it to rank well in search results.
A quick test of the linkability of your topic is to try the “inurl:” search operator plus the word “links.html” and your topic in quotes.
This will return a list of sites that curate lists of valuable links on a given topic. If you find hundreds of results, chances are that you have a very linkable topic.
To find out if the topic is social friendly and likely to be shared, try searching for your topic in a tool like BuzzSumo. Look for topics with dozens, or ideally hundreds, of results.
If you’ve found a topic that you feel is either linkable or shareable, or ideally both, you’ll want to test your assumptions by beginning to build a real list of bloggers, influencers, journalists, and people within your network who you believe would help share your content once you’ve created it.
Try brainstorming an actual pitch to these people. What’s in it for them to share or link to your content? Is your pitch compelling?
7. When unsure, test it first.
If you’ve read this far, you’re likely now thinking “wow, this is going to be a TON of work.” You’re likely having some doubts that the effort will be worth it, and perhaps the risk of investing all this time, money and effort into a Pillar Page that may or may not be successful is a bit too risky.
Executed well, Pillar Pages are one of the most effective tactics out there for ranking highly in search results for heavily searched, highly competitive terms—but there certainly is some risk.
If you’re a little bit too uneasy about going all in on a pillar page, you can test the viability of the topic by starting with a high-quality, long-form blog post first. Make sure the article is good enough to have a decent shot at ranking highly in search results, and then watch the data start to come in.
If you see the article start to climb towards the top ten and begin to rank for dozens, or even hundreds, of terms, there’s a good chance that you’ve found a good opportunity. You can now invest the additional time to cover the topic with more depth, and invest in the custom graphics, videos, or other elements that you skipped over initially.
Creating Your Pillar: Effective Copywriting Techniques to Increase Engagement
Once you’ve identified the primary focus of your pillar page, and completed a content audit to determine what content you already have, you can finally begin to create your content. And that means one thing: Copywriting.
Now, before we get into the specifics of copywriting for pillar pages, I want to take a minute to give a sort of disclaimer. Though the methods and techniques mentioned below will help you become a more effective writer, simply following them won’t make you a good writer.
Writing is a skill that really can’t be taught by reading and following instructions. It’s a skill that can only be truly learned and honed by practice. So if you want to become a better writer, the best way for you to do that is to simply start reading and writing more!
Copywriting for The Web
Some people might think that writing for the web is the same as any other kind of writing, but the truth is, it is very different and brings with it its own unique challenges. This primarily stems from what the web is and how people use it, which is very different from how people might use a book (for example).
This means that there are certain best practices that you should always use when you are creating any resource for the web, whether that be a pillar page or a blog post. Here, we’ll discuss some of those more general copywriting best practices that you should incorporate into your content creation in general.
1. Start with a keyword in mind.
This should go without saying, but before you begin creating any content, you should have a keyword or phrase in mind that you want the content to rank for. Even in the case of a pillar page, where you will hopefully rank for hundreds of keyword variations, you should have a specific, high-value keyword in mind before you begin any writing.
Later, when you begin to write your content, you will strategically weave this keyword and its variants into your text.
2. Identify the Searcher’s intent.
If you want to create content that is going to resonate with the reader and perform well in search, then you can’t just create content that you want to create. You need to create the content that your reader wants and needs.
The easiest way to do this is to create a user intent statement which explains why a searcher is conducting a search. Once you understand the intent—the why behind a search—you can create content that effectively addresses it.
This is an example of a user intent statement that we fill out prior to creating any content:
As a (PERSONA), I want (TO LEARN MORE ABOUT X) so that (I CAN ACCOMPLISH Y).
For example: “As a digital marketer, I want to learn more about copywriting techniques for writing pillar pages so that I can effectively create a pillar page that will be valuable to my business.
But you can’t just make assumptions when completing your user intent statement. These statements should be informed and/or validated by conducting persona research that helps you to truly understand the motivations, hopes, and fears of your targeted audience.
3. Structure your content in a user-friendly way.
People don’t often think about text as being something that can be user-friendly. But the truth is, text can be easy to use and consume, or it can be difficult to use or consume. And it’s surprisingly easy to turn content that is difficult to read into content that is easier to read.
By following just a few simple rules, you can dramatically increase the usability of your content, making your readers happier and signaling to Google that your content deserves to be ranked higher:
- Use Subheads to break up your content: Before someone decides to sit down and read through an entire blog post or article, they’ll often do a quick scan to try and determine whether or not they should even bother reading the content. By adding easy to spot subheads (H2s and H3s), you make it easier for the reader to know what your content is about and whether or not it will help them. (These also help Google understand your content, which can help with your rankings.)
- Keep your paragraphs short: Large blocks of text are intimidating for the reader, and can encourage someone to just skim your content instead of fully reading and understanding it. By keeping your paragraphs shorter (three to four reasonable sentences in length) you encourage a deeper reading of your content.
- Use text formatting to your benefit: You can use certain text elements to draw your reader’s eyes to the content that you want them to read. Bullet points, numbered lists, block quotes, colored text, etc., can all help you keep the reader focused and moving through your content effectively.
- Keep accessibility in mind: According to a study conducted by Interactive Accessibility, an estimated 57 million Americans have a disability of some kind which may impact how they consume information on the web. For that reason, it’s important to make your content as accessible as possible. This means things like using appropriately-sized text and fonts, making sure that there is adequate color contrast between text and other on-page elements, and a whole lot more. Not really content-creation related, but important to keep in mind.
4. Write naturally.
When internet search was in its infancy, in order to find the information they were looking for, searchers needed to structure their searches in a particular way. But search algorithms have become so much more advanced in the decades since that the way that we search has dramatically changed. Simply put, we can now ask a question using incredibly natural language and syntax, and the search engines can now infer what we mean.
And that’s a good thing. In the past, getting found in search often meant writing in a way that the search engine would understand. Though good for search engines, this often meant writing in unnatural ways which could be difficult for a reader to consume.
Now that the search engines can understand more natural language, that means we can write naturally (good for the searcher) without damaging our SEO efforts. In fact, trying to create content according to the old rules of SEO will now actually damage your rankings and SEO efforts.
Simply put, human beings and search engines both want your content to be written in natural language. More often than not, that means writing the way that we speak, and doing your best to avoid writing content that is difficult to understand.
Not sure if your content sounds “natural”? You could use a tool like the Hemmingway App, which grades the readability of your text.
Or you could opt to use a tool like Google’s Natural Language Processing API, which analyzes your text and interprets it based on a number of factors.
While both of those tools are great, I personally recommend that before you publish any content, you simply take the time to read it out loud. If at any point you get to a sentence or word that seems unnatural, change it to something that flows better.
5. Edit for grammar and spelling errors.
Once you’ve written your comment, it’s incredibly important that you go back and edit the content for spelling and grammar mistakes, for a number of reasons.
For starters, when a visitor lands on content that you have created, they do so understanding that you are an expert on that content. But every time the reader encounters a spelling or grammar mistake, that trust in your expertise gets damaged. One or two errors in a blog post might be forgivable, but a piece of content rife with errors is definitely going to raise some red flags in whoever is reading it.
Beyond this, the quality of your content (and how many errors your content has) will definitely have an impact on your SEO efforts and your ability to rank. This may be a direct impact by Google penalizing you for errors, or it may be an indirect impact caused by, for example, other websites refusing to link to you because they don’t want to link to sites that are full of errors.
Luckily, there are a number of tools that you can use to make your writing cleaner. One of our favorites is the free Grammarly Chrome extension, which instantly marks errors while you type. Though it doesn’t seem to integrate with Google Docs, the tool will flag errors once you paste your text into your content management system or other text window.
6. Read for consistency and clarity.
Beyond editing for obvious errors, it’s also important to look at your content through a lens of consistency and clarity.
How easy is it for the reader to follow along with your content from start to finish? Is there a clear path from point A to point B, or does the water get a bit murky? Do you consistently use the same words and phrases when talking about a topic, or do you bound back and forth between multiple different phrases?
Why is this so important? Because it speaks to user experience. If your content is clear and easy to understand, the reader is more likely to get value out of it. This makes them more likely to share your content through social media and to link to it from their own website, both of which can help your SEO efforts. If, on the other hand, your content is confusing to read or difficult to follow, the reader is going to leave your website and find a different resource to leverage.
This is especially important for longer pieces of content, like pillar pages, which can easily lose focus and become diluted if the writer isn’t careful. For that reason, I typically recommend that someone besides the writer read through the content and flag any areas that are difficult to read.
But beyond simply being consistent throughout a single piece, you must make sure that your content is also consistent across multiple pieces of content. The easiest way to do this is to create a set of clear editorial guidelines and a brand voice that your writers will be able to leverage as they create content.
7. Think about what other questions your reader might have.
As your reader reads through your pillar page, they are bound to have a lot of questions. Whenever possible, you should do your best to try and think of what those questions are, so you can preemptively write about them.
By doing so, you can make your pillar page even more authoritative and complete, making it more valuable for your reader (and, therefore, more likely to appear in search results).
One way that you can do this is by leveraging the “People also search for” function in Google. This is a little window that typically pops up in Google results when someone first clicks on a search result but then hits the back button, and it is pulled from past searcher behavior. It can be incredibly helpful in identifying the questions that your content should address, and can even be helpful in building out your topic clusters.
Copywriting for Pillar Pages
Writing a pillar page is, in many regards, very similar to writing any kind of content for the web, so you’ll want to keep in mind everything that we mention above while you’re writing your pillar page and topic cluster. But pillar page creation also comes with its own unique challenges.
The primary challenge? Ensuring that the narrative of your pillar page is strong enough to carry all the way through what will, ultimately, be a very long document. This can be hard enough with shorter works, but for pillar pages it is essential: If you don’t have a strong narrative, then your reader is going to lose interest. And if they lose interest, then your pillar page isn’t able to accomplish what you need it to accomplish.
So how can you combat this? Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet, other than to make sure that you’re aware of the concern. As you write each section of text (and, especially, as you edit it) make sure that you can clearly connect back to the narrative.
One potential strategy to keep the narrative consistent: Sit down and write your pillar page over the course of a single day or week.
This obviously isn’t always possible. But when it is possible, completing the first draft of your pillar page in one go can help you keep the narrative center-stage in a way that can be challenging when you are piecing the resource together over a number of weeks or months.
Join us on Wednesday, June 27th for our next class in the Masterclass Series to learn how you can audit your existing content and map it back to the topic cluster you will be building your pillar around. Just <a href=”https://go.pepperlandmarketing.com/pillar-page-master-class-series?”>register here</a> and we’ll let you know when we plan to go live.
Register for the Masterclass to Gain Access to These Upcoming Sessions:
- Designing Your Pillar: How to Improve UX and Boost Shareability – July 18, 2018
- Promoting Your Pillar: Outreach and Amplification Tips from the Pros – July 25, 2018
- Measuring Success: Using the Hubspot Content Strategy Tool and Databox to Prove ROI – August 1, 2018
- Dead on Arrival: How to Raise Your Pillar from the Dead – August 8, 2018
- How to Make Pillar Pages & Topic Clusters the Core of Your Content Strategy – August 15, 2018