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How Many Content Pillars Should You Have?

Date published: December 18, 2023
Last updated: February 20, 2024

There are many different types of content in digital marketing. One classic item that often sits at the center of a content strategy is pillar content.

There are many content pillar examples out there. Information-heavy on-site pillar pages are a marketing staple. Social media content pillars are also popular ways to generate theme-related content for social media marketing.

If you’re investing in a content pillar strategy but you aren’t sure how many pillars to make, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dig into why content pillars are important and how many pillars make sense with an average content marketing strategy.

Why Are Content Pillars Important?

A content pillar approach to content creation is important because it provides a clear structure for your engaging content to follow. Pillar pages are examples of long form content that centers on a handful of specific themes that are unique to your brand, ensuring they are properly communicated to your target audience.

Content pillars centralize your message and make it easier to create a content calendar to pace your publishing schedule. They also interlink on-site content and improve keyword research and integration across your relevant content. This creates greater website organization and boosts SEO, improving search engine traffic in the process.

Pillar content is also an effective way to generate a variety of marketing content that all works toward the same goal. Pillars are central repositories of information that can inspire a supporting blog post, related social media content, email campaigns, and so on.

While pillars are powerful, they take time and resources to build. Each pillar should serve a distinct purpose and highlight the right topic if it’s going to have a positive effect on your marketing — which begs the question: how many content pillars should the average content pillar strategy have?

How Many Content Pillars Should You Have?

The technical answer to how many content pillars you should have is that it varies. In most cases, though, three to four pillars is the sweet spot. That is, unless your business provides a large number of services.

This number tends to work best because each pillar page takes time to plan, create, and maintain. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.

At the same time, focusing on a single pillar page or even two can restrict your marketing strategy. Working with three or four themes is a great way to find a balance. It provides depth as to why your brand is the best option without overwhelming your pillar strategy in the process.

How Do You Decide What Your Content Pillars Should Be?

Okay, so you should focus on three or four themes for your pillars. That’s nice. But how do you decide what those themes are? After all, there are likely many different reasons you think your brand is the best option on the market.

The main point here is to identify the primary relevant topics on which your company can build its reputation. In other words, what are the top unique factors that set your brand apart from the competition?

This could be customer service, superior products, innovation, or any number of other things. Start by considering your customers’ pain points and the main services you offer as solutions to those problems. Now, ask yourself how those solutions are better than what your competitors are offering.

Here’s the part where you have to resist getting carried away with the brainstorming exercise. You may think there are 20 different ways your business is better than the next guy’s — and that may even be true. But what are the top reasons that set you apart?

What are the factors you won’t mind repeating over and over again as you promote your brand? Identifying three or four of these provides you with the most important themes, each of which you can emphasize in its own pillar.

Building a Content Cluster for Each Pillar

A good content pillar template should build out on each of your primary themes. This should cover all of the basic information related to that theme.

Keep in mind that with the pillars themselves, there’s no need to go into too much detail. These are meant to be comprehensive but should only provide 10,000-foot views of each theme.

Once a pillar is complete, You can use many different types of valuable content to support your main pillar page and dig into the nitty gritty details surrounding that core topic. You can create sub-pillars that handle meatier thematic elements and a blog post that zooms in on specific related topics. You can also use your pillar to inspire your email marketing and social media strategy.

This image shows the pillar strategy and how many content pillars you should have

Finding the Sweet Spot With Pillar Content

Pillars are a powerful way to create synergy with your content and digital marketing activities. They organize each content idea, focusing them on specific themes and marketing goals.

However, creating content pillars is no walk in the park. Each pillar takes a lot of time and effort and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Instead, your brand should focus on creating three or four primary pillar pages to keep things manageable.

If you aren’t sure which themes these should adopt, it can be helpful to seek the help of a content marketing professional to guide you. That way, you can choose each theme with the confidence of knowing that you’re orienting your content marketing in a direction that will provide synergistic results over time.

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