When it comes to product-based business models, content pillars are crucial to blogging and SEO success. But what happens when you don’t even know where to start with your content strategy, never mind your content pillars?
That’s where Dandy’s SEO content experts come in handy.
We know that creating strategic content pillars isn’t just about throwing some ideas into a spreadsheet—or, even worse, an AI generator.
No, great content pillars are about putting the right topics, in the right place, at the right time, in the right way.
They tightly weave SEO best practices into a tapestry of stylish, thought-leadership content ideas that are ready to shine a light onto your product-based business, and why it is the perfect solution for your potential customers.
And when done right, content pillars can enhance your brand’s visibility, boosting customer engagement, and skyrocketing your sales with a powerful, tried-and-tested strategy. Without content pillars, any great content strategy can fall flat.
So, our expert guide is here to help. Read on to discover all our top tips and tricks on how to create content pillars for product-based business models, and how to make sure they work for your business.
What is a content pillar strategy?
Content pillars define the core topics (and pillar pages) that will hold up your website content strategy, and the related supporting content needed to get better coverage on those topics.
Imagine your small business content strategy as a game of chess. You need to anticipate your customer’s moves, be there with the right content at the right time, and make sure your strategy is tried-and-tested in order to succeed.
It’s a lot of work, but when done correctly it can drive your organic traffic, increase brand awareness and engagement through SEO rankings, and even drive your organic sales numbers. In other words, it makes for a strategic win!
How do content pillars work?
- Content pillars provide a structure for content creation, allowing you to create relevant, keyword targeted, and optimised content that is aligned with your overarching goals.
- Content pillars are the core topics that hold up your content strategy, each usually with its own pillar page that targets the main keyword relating to the topic.
- Each pillar page will link to a number of subpillars or subtopics, each usually with its own blog content that also links back to the pillar page.
- By creating a network of links between the relevant keywords, topics, subtopics, your content strategy can become more discoverable and authoritative.
- In addition to increased optimization of the website’s pages, this also increases the chances of being found in organic search results as well as improving user experience.
Creating content strategies for product-based businesses
With the help of effective keyword research, SEO optimisation tools, and social media amplification strategies, your content pillars can become the backbone of your website.
For a product-based or e-commerce business, your content pillars are going to need to be related to your key product offerings and the problems they solve for your target audience.
A few key questions to consider before you start on your content pillars could include:
- What are my target audience’s biggest challenges?
- What products do I offer that can help them solve these problems?
- How can I use content to showcase the solutions that my products provide?
Once you have these questions answered, it’s time to start building out your content pillars…
How to create content pillars for a product-based business
1. Understand your target audience
First things first, you need to know who you’re talking to. This isn’t about simply sending a shout-out into the void and hoping someone hears. This is about understanding your audience’s needs, wants, and pain points, and then tailoring your content to answer those.
You might want to do some user research into what topics your audience is interested in, what websites they spend their time on, what language they use, and other crucial information about their interests and behaviours.
That way, you can tailor your content pillars to target specific audiences and their specific needs, making it all the more effective for building topical authority in your chosen sector.
2. Understand your buyer’s journey
Once you know your audience, understanding your buyer’s journey is crucial. It’s the path your customers take from realising they have a need, to considering different solutions, and finally, deciding on a product.
By mapping out this journey, you can create content that’s relevant, timely, and helpful, aligning with the user’s search intent. You can also create content specifically for each stage in the buyer’s journey, utilising a range of topics that have either:
- Informational intent for the awareness stage: Top-of-the-funnel (or TOFU) blog topics that solve problems relating to your product and wider pain points for your target audience, making them aware of your product as an answer to this problem.
- Commercial investigation intent for the consideration stage: Middle-of-the-funnel (or MOFU) content pieces such as the best X for Y, comparing X and Y, and cost comparison content are all useful at this stage.
- Transactional intent for the decision stage: While content for this stage is often best placed on a landing page, you can manually check the SERPs for topics with blog content opportunities in the decision stage by looking to see if there are any article type pieces ranking on the SERP, and aiming to beat them with stronger, more valuable content.
Having an understanding of the buyer’s journey and how this relates to search intent is really useful when starting to identify what your core topics are going to be. This leads us nicely to our next point.
3. Identify key topics
Now that you know your audience and understand search intent, it’s time to identify the key topics that matter to both your audience and your brand.
Remember, these core topics need to be broad enough to generate multiple pieces of content, yet specific enough to be relevant for your product.
Each pillar page should usually target higher-volume keywords with lots of avenues for discussion with high-quality educational content, for example complete guides or comprehensive, step-by-step how-to blogs.
However, depending on your industry and the size of your audience – and their search behaviours – you may need to also consider lower volume topics that are vital to your product.
4. Keyword research
Keyword research is the backbone of SEO. It is the discovery process of finding out what words and phrases your customers are using to search for your products or services.
Start by researching and assigning your overall pillar keyword, and then cluster any subtopics ready to organise in the next step.
Tools like AHRefs, SEMRush, or Moz can be a treasure trove of keyword data. Use these insights to create content that answers your customers’ queries and leads them down the purchase funnel.
If you don’t have access to the tools required to gain the keyword data that you need, an SEO agency is a great way to gain this tech access and additional expertise.
With long-term experience in creating content pillars for products and services, SEO professionals can provide tailored insights into the best content strategy for your business model.
5. Organise subtopics
Now that you’ve got your key topics and keywords, it’s time to dig into those topics further and define your subtopics.
Subtopics are like the secret ingredients in a recipe, they add flavour and depth to your content. They are also a great way to dive deeper into a topic and provide more detailed information than you will in your pillar content.
For example, if your product is bespoke office furniture, your pillar page might be a complete guide to ‘office furniture’ and the subtopics (and blogs) for this might include:
- How to arrange your office furniture
- Best office furniture delivery methods
- Choosing a desk and desk chair
- Best office desks
Bring it all together in a content calendar including all the relevant content information you need and you’re almost ready to start writing your content!
You could even go so far as to plan content pillars for your social media platforms, too, but more on this later…
6. Plan your internal link strategy
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, the way you link between the pillar pages and supporting content is key to creating an effective SEO strategy. This means strategically linking between your pillar pages, cluster pages and other relevant content on your website – and using both internal and external links to significantly improve your on-page SEO.
Your content internal linking network is especially important, as it will help Google crawl—and most importantly understand—your website more easily.
You can also add some outbound links to high-authority websites in order to build credibility for your own content, but the main focus in your pillar strategy will be to plan how you will internally link between the pieces of content.
7. Develop high-quality, value-added content
Alright, you’ve got your key topics, subtopics, and all of your keywords organised in a content calendar. Now for the fun part – it’s time to create high-quality content around them.
This isn’t about cranking out content like a factory. It’s about crafting content that’s valuable, informative, and engaging. Remember, quality over quantity, folks!
No one likes to read fluff. Your content needs to be high-quality, value-added, and engaging. Every piece of content you put out there should be informative, entertaining, or both. Think tutorials, how-to guides, product reviews, case studies, or blog posts.
Vary your content formats to keep things fresh and engaging.
8. SEO optimization
Last, but by no means least, in the content writing steps of this process is SEO optimization. This is like the cherry on top of your content sundae. It makes your content discoverable and helps you reach a wider audience.
Blogging for SEO can be extremely effective. So, make sure you are writing SEO-friendly blogs that are optimised with relevant keywords, are the right length, have a good metadata, and contain adequate high-quality internal and external links.
Tools like SurferSEO and InLinks provide content editors that are extremely useful for optimising content for SEO without it becoming too stuffy, we recommend running your content through these editors at the very least to start optimising for SEO.
9. Optimise for mobile
Google is all about mobile-first indexing. This means, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re likely to take a hit in the search rankings. Optimise your content for mobile viewing. That means fast-loading pages, easy navigation, and readable text.
It also means that you need to optimise your content for mobile devices. Think about how people will be viewing your content on their phone, tablet or laptop.
Optimise for fast-loading pages, easy navigation and readable text – all of which are key elements in providing a good mobile user experience.
10. Use social media to amplify your content
Don’t just create content and wait for people to stumble upon it. Amplify it. Share it on your social media channels. Encourage your followers to share it. The more your content is shared, the more visibility it gets, leading to more traffic and potentially more conversions.
A strong social media strategy can help you achieve this.
Social media marketing can go a long way to ensure your pillar pages and blogs are getting fresh clicks from a number of different channels, not just search engines. On top of this, social media marketers can often add a new sprinkle of magic to older, evergreen content and keep it relevant to your audience over time.
You could even mimic your SEO pillar content strategy with the same social media content pillars. (Yes, Instagram content pillars exist…)
Turning every piece of pillar content into multiple social media posts, reels or stories can help you bring more attention to your content and make sure it is seen by the highest number of people possible.
11. Audits & monitoring
Getting your content strategy right takes time. Evaluate your website analytics and metrics regularly. Are you getting the traffic you want? Are people spending time on your pages? Are they taking the desired action? If not, it’s time to adjust.
Maybe you need to tweak your keywords, or maybe your content isn’t as engaging as you thought. It’s all about trial and error.
SEO professionals can often provide comprehensive content audits that analyse all the content currently on your website, making recommendations for where improvements can be made. Get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more!
3 real-life product-based content pillar examples
Product-based content pillar example 1: Yoga Pants
This example, as you can see in the topic and pillar information below, is centred around a product-based business model to sell high-quality yoga leggings and other clothing products. Here’s the content pillar strategy we used.
- Pillar Topic: What to wear to yoga
- Pillar Content Title: What to Wear To Yoga: The Complete Expert Guide
- Keyword: what to wear to yoga
- Subtopic: What to wear to hot yoga
- Blog Title: What to Wear to Hot Yoga: Your 2023 Guide
- Keywords: what to wear to hot yoga, hot yoga outfits, hot yoga outfit ideas
- Subtopic: What to wear with yoga pants
- Blog Title: What to Wear With Yoga Pants This Year
- Keywords: what to wear to with yoga pants, yoga pants styling, how to style yoga pants
- Subtopic: How to style capris pants
- Blog Title: How To Style Capris Pants in 2023
- Keywords: what to wear to with yoga pants, yoga pants styling, how to style yoga pants
Product-based content pillar example 2: ERP Systems
In this content pillar example, the products are ERP systems and solutions. Here, there was direct informational search volume around the product itself, so this was a natural fit for our content pillar strategy.
- Pillar Topic: ERP systems
- Pillar Content Title: What is an ERP Management System & How Do They Work?
- Keywords: erp management system, how does erp work
- Subtopic: Best ERP systems
- Blog Title: The Best ERP Systems For Small Manufacturers
- Keywords: best erp systems, small manufacturer erp system
- Subtopic: How to integrate ERP systems
- Blog Title: How To Integrate ERP Systems & Solutions
- Keywords: how to integrate erp, erp integration
- Subtopic: Best ERP system For custom manufacturing
- Blog Title: What is the Best ERP System For Custom Manufacturing?
- Keywords: best erp custom manufacturing, erp system custom manufacturing
Product-based content pillar example 3: Karaoke Machines
In our final product content pillar example, we have karaoke machines as our central product. This had some good informational search volume and so was also a great fit for the content pillar strategy.
- Pillar Topic: Karaoke machines
- Pillar Content Title: Karaoke Machines: What, How & Why
- Keyword: what karaoke machines
- Subtopic: How to set up your karaoke machine
- Blog Title: How To Set Up & Use Your Home Karaoke Machine
- Keyword: how to set up karaoke machine, how to use karaoke machine
- Subtopic: Best karaoke machine for kids
- Blog Title: What is the Best Karaoke Machine For Kids?
- Keyword: best karaoke machine for kids, best kids karaoke machine
- Subtopic: Best home karaoke machines
- Blog Title: The X Best Home Karaoke Machines For 2023
- Keyword: best karaoke machines, best home karaoke machine
To sum up, the payoff for creating product-based content pillars is totally worth it, but it’s a lot of work. Sometimes, it’s better to let an expert lend a hand.
If you’re looking for support with your SEO content strategy, wider SEO efforts, or PPC management, don’t hesitate to chat with us today. Our friendly, experienced team is here to help you get the most out of your digital strategy.
We know the ins and outs of content creation, SEO and PPC so that you don’t have to. From keyword research and content audits, to link building and social media marketing – we’ve got you covered.