Content pillars are the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. They drive traffic to your website by improving SEO, giving your content focus, and acting as building blocks for additional content.

What are Content Pillars

Content Pillars are educational, long-form, evergreen pieces of content that examine a specific topic in-depth. Their purpose is to drive traffic to your website. These large pieces of content can also be broken down and used to create smaller chunks of content for email, social media, and other communication channels.

Choosing Topics for Content Pillars

You should choose topics for your content pillars that are relevant to your target audience. You want to answer their questions and provide solutions. For example, a store that sells camera equipment might publish an article outlining the different types of digital cameras and how photographers can choose the right one for them.

SEO is Key

The primary purpose of content pillars is to drive traffic to your website. So it’s crucial that your content is search engine optimized. Appling SEO best practices help your target audience find your content and your website when they search for topics related to your niche.

Once you zero in on the main topics for your content, you need to find the relevant keywords that relate to them. These are the words your target audience is most likely to use when they search for information online. These words also tell Google and other search engines what your content is about. These keywords should be used in titles and sprinkled throughout your articles. For more, see our article about keywords.

Content Clusters

Once you create a few main pieces of pillar content, you can start creating content clusters. This means you write other articles about subtopics related to the main topic. Then you create internal links connecting all these articles on your website. As with keywords, Google uses internal links to determine what your website is about and how much authority it has. Your site gains authority on a topic when it contains a large quantity of useful information about that topic. Your website ranking on Google is determined by its authority. The higher you rank in search results, the more likely your target audience will find you.

Here is an example of a content cluster for a photography store:

Main article: Introduction to Digital Cameras


  • Choosing the Digital Camera that is Right for You
  • Mirrorless vs. DSLR Camera
  • Is a Stand Alone Camera Really Better Than the Camera on Your Cell Phone?
  • How to Maintain Your Digital Camera
  • How Much Should I Invest in a Digital Camera

It’s important to note that content pillars and their sub-articles should be well-researched and offer quality information. Google can weed out spammy, poorly written content intended to game their system. It lowers your authority and placement in search engine rankings. 

Different Forms of Content Pillars

Content Pillars can include more than just standard web articles. Sticking with the photography theme, here are some examples:

E-books – An E-book about how you turned your photography hobby into a thriving business. Sharing your story is a powerful way to create a connection with your audience.

How-tos – A How-to outlines the step-by-step process for completing a task. For example, steps for taking digital camera photos of the night sky. How-tos establish your authority on a topic by demonstrating your hands-on knowledge.

Guide – A Guide to Portrait Photography. A guide gives comprehensive answers to the most common questions about a topic. 

Resource -100 Ideas for Taking Creative Wedding Photos. A resource is a reference that readers might bookmark and return to frequently.

This method for creating content clusters can be applied to any niche.

Create Content on Other Channels

Once created, content pillars make it easier for you to produce content for your other digital marketing channels. Break down the main articles and sub-articles into snippets for social media posts. Use images from the articles on Instagram. Create Youtube, email, and podcast series based on them. The pillars also inspire and help you focus as you brainstorm post ideas. A camera store might pull photography tips from their content pillar articles and share one each day across their social media channels.

For more help creating content for your small business, check out our other Content Marketing articles.

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