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How to Identify Content Pillars for Your Marketing

How much strategy goes into the content that you create? If you are the type that likes to keep things organized, content pillars may be the right marketing strategy for you. Instead of spending thousands of hours creating content that nobody sees, you can focus your efforts on creating useful content built around specific audience needs. Let’s break down how this strategy works.

First, What is a Content Pillar?

A content pillar has become a common phrase in the digital marketing space. Essentially, it refers to broad topics intended to match the interests of your target audience. The idea behind them is that you can structure your content pieces to appeal to your target audience, curating exclusive and in-depth resources that they will be interested in. And as these customers spend more time interacting with your content, you will begin steadily building a relationship with them in preparation for selling them later in the relationship.

Content Pillars are a great way to:

· Demonstrate your Expertise

· Build your Audience

· Highlight your Offers

One success story from an encryption key management solution provider used content pillars to boost their organic search engine traffic and in ten months they saw a 150% increase in traffic with 63% of their visitors forking over their contact information. Content pillars not only helped them reach their traffic goal, but it helped them generate qualified leads.

Get to Know Your Target Customers Well

It’s the first baby step in marketing—understanding your customer. You have likely built dozens, if not hundreds, of customer profiles in your marketing career. You’ve probably even had heated conversations with your colleagues about the age, gender, income, and interests of your ideal clients.

But guess what, we have all changed a whole lot since the beginning of 2020. In the last two years, a global pandemic has tipped us upside down and redefined social constructs. And we didn’t have anything else to do but turn to social media and news outlets to see what was going on in the world. And like it was some sort of organized effort to distract ourselves from the fear of the pandemic, we started talking about all the hard things that we face in life.

We saw the rise of social justice warriors who were emboldened to stand for their causes. But more importantly, we all began to see the world a little differently. You can take your pick from any number of important issues ranging from the environment to diversity and inclusion. You can fight for education reform or you can fight against it. The point is that people have changed in a short amount of time and if your content marketing plan hasn’t been updated, then its outdated. So, step one is redefining your customer profiles with a diversity lens or considering strong political or ideological interests.

Identify what Expertise you Can Offer

The consensus seems to be three to five content pillars related to your business and serving the needs of your ideal customer. The most misunderstood part of adding your expertise into the mix is that this is not an opportunity to sell your products. In fact, there should be no selling in your content at all. When customers who interact with your content are ready to buy, they can find their way to your products or services page without a sleazy gimmick.

Instead, focus on providing substantial value that demonstrates your expertise. For example, a realtor may want to demonstrate expertise in recognizing potential problems in a house or the buying process for first time home buyers. These topics are valuable to their audience without being a direct sale where the realtor is bombarding potential clients with listings.

Find the Intersections and Build Your Pillars Where Your Paths Meet

The perfect content pillars exist where your audience needs, and your expertise match up. Let’s consider how clients find businesses online. The journey begins with an interest. Let’s say that you were interested in making a dramatic hair color change. First, you will go online and begin searching for inspiration.

As you browse pictures and styles online, you come across content that highlights the style or color that you are looking for. You click on a picture, or a link and you find more relevant content. Pretty soon, you have decided to trust whoever is putting out this content. Ideally, the publisher would be a salon in your local area thanks to local search results.

But it takes great content—a lot of great content to show up in those search results. You want to create enough targeted content that the search engines know who and when to show your content to so that you can bring the curious window shopper into the salon and make their hair color dreams come true!

Final Thoughts on Creating Content Pillars

Content pillars work on both the front-end (customer side) and the back end (search engine side). On one hand, curating a collection of detailed content on a relevant subject provides a treasure-trove of information for the right search. Simply showing up with the answers to a question without making them work too hard to get it wins customers. And on the other hand, investing your time strategically to create content on three to five specific subjects really defines your purpose for the search engines and helps them catalog your content for the appropriate search results. Essentially, it’s a good strategy for you search engine optimization and for serving your clients.

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