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How to Create Content Pillars

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

Pillar content is a classic form of content strategy. It centralizes and unifies a brand’s content creation, ensuring that everything is working toward the same marketing goals and reaching your target audience.  

While pillars have been around for a while, they remain an important part of a good strategy. Let’s dig into why that’s the case and consider how you can create your own effective pillar page.

Are Content Pillars Still Relevant?

A content marketing strategy is as important as ever. But it’s a changing field of marketing, nonetheless. From complex video content to AI tools, how we engage with and create content is evolving — quickly.

While this has dated certain digital marketing techniques, one tool that remains in the mix for many marketers is pillar content. Building a pillar page around each of a brand’s important themes remains a critical part of an effective content strategy. 

Solid content pillars help build authority by demonstrating deep and comprehensive knowledge in areas where you are expected to excel as a company. It builds trust and brand awareness, educates consumers while moving them down the sales funnel, and effectively uses marketing resources.

All of these are true if you have a good content pillar strategy. What does that look like, though?

What Should a Content Pillar Be?

There are a lot of opinions and varying terminology that surround the content pillars concept. Depending on who you ask, you might hear a content marketer describe these gigantic on-site marketing assets as content pillars vs. content buckets, content categories, content topics — the list goes on. 

At the end of the day, these terms are basically synonymous and arguing over them is simply semantics. It’s the way that you go about building these principle pieces of content that matters. A content pillar is typically an all-encompassing resource that focuses on one of the primary services that a business offers. 

Usually, there are only three or four of these per brand, each of which is worthy of its own pillar piece. These can vary in word count, but 3,000 words is a perfectly acceptable length. 

These sizable central pillars are then surrounded by sub-pillars, smaller blog posts, and social media content pillars resources. These different types of content form a unified topic cluster that supports your content pillar strategy.

Content pillars remain a prime marketing tool in an era defined by rapidly evolving AI tools and skyrocketing user expectations. They bring together unique and insightful information from a brand that informs readers, emphasizes unique selling propositions, and helps set each company apart from competitors in a crowded online marketplace. They provide one-of-a-kind precision in an Internet era where generative AI is becoming king and generic branded solutions are no longer useful marketing tools.

How Do You Create Content Pillars?

Understanding the value of content pillars is one thing. Creating one is another. Below is a content pillar template. Use this step-by-step process to envision your own content pillars examples and then develop them into rock-solid content for your brand.

  1. Start with audience research: What are the needs of your target audience? What problems are you trying to solve for them? Conduct keyword research to better understand how to answer these questions.You can glean inspiration from things like your mission statement and company vision — but always start by putting yourself in the customers’ shoes.
  2. Define your USPs: Unique selling propositions (USPs) are the factors that set you apart from the competition. These are more than solutions for your customers. They are the specific reasons your solutions are better than your competitor’s alternatives. List your strengths, review customer feedback, compare yourself to the competition, and otherwise, take steps to identify your USPs and why they help you stand out as a superior option. This can help you create each content idea. 
  3. Choose the top three or four themes that stand out: What USPs make your brand special? Is your product better? Do you have superior service? Do you cater to a specific demographic or use cutting-edge technology? Find the top three or four themes that make you an attractive option for your target customers.

At this point, you have your primary brand themes. Each one functions as a topic for one of your pillar pages. Now, it’s time to create each pillar.

How Do You Write Pillar Content?

Once you have your primary themes, you need to create a pillar around each one. Pick one to start with, and then follow the steps below.

Graphic lining out how to write a content pillar

At this point, you’ve created a pillar, built out supporting sub-pillars and blog articles into a topic cluster, and used it to create quality content in a variety of formats and places.

Using Content Pillars to Keep Your Marketing Momentum

Content pillars may not be new, but they remain integral to creating content. Thoughtful pillar content underlines the areas where your business has a competitive advantage. It shows off thought leadership, improves brand authority, and builds credibility and trust. 

Use the steps above to identify your pillar themes and then create powerful pillars and the cluster content.  

If you’re still unsure how to build your content marketing strategy, reach out to a content marketing agency. Working with a qualified third-party marketing firm is the perfect way to gain peace of mind, knowing that you’re setting your content creation strategy on the right path to success from the start.

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