The decision-making process when investing in a piece of capital equipment, software solution or managed service is vastly different than that for commodity goods. The sales cycle can take months and sometimes years, and buyers will do a fair amount of research about the product or service before ever contacting your company.
When they’re doing that research, you want to attract them to your site, and present a wide range of information and related resources through which they can learn – and not just a couple blog posts or product page. One of the best ways is through information-rich, targeted web pages, called content pillars. Content pillars help increase your search ranking by providing an exhaustive yet easily digestible resource for your ideal buyers.
It’s been a highly effective strategy for our clients. But how do you decide which topics should be covered on your pillar pages? Here are some ideas about where to begin.
Find Your Focus
Developing content pillar pages should align closely with your marketing and sales strategies. When you developed these strategies, you hopefully defined your buyer personas, which is another major consideration in determining next steps.
Ask yourself these important questions:
- Which products or services are differentiators and make my organization stand out from the competition?
- What are my best-selling products?
- Which services continue to have substantial ROI?
- Which products or services continue to receive rave reviews from my ideal buyers?
Rather than putting your initial effort into poorly performing products or services that you wish were doing better, focus on what you already do well. You can tackle those other topics down the road.
Another area of focus could include industry trends. Or, do you have a team of experts that’s extremely knowledgeable on a given topic that would be interesting and valuable to your prospects? Maybe it revolves around an issue that’s discussed during the buying process, such as Industry 4.0 automation capabilities, choosing a supply chain partner, the implementation process or data security concerns. Each of these areas could be developed into its own comprehensive pillar page to position your company as the authority on the subject and build confidence and rapport with potential buyers.
Make Your Decision
Chances are you have several topics you could focus on, but which should be your top priorities? In addition to answering the questions previously noted, you’ll want to consider the following in order to gain some quick wins and make your pillar pages effective for the long-term.
Existing Blogs — Do you already have a lot of articles written on the topic that you can link to and reference? Your pillar page can serve as a library of sorts that lists all your relevant blogs in one convenient spot.
Existing Gated Content — Do you have a long-form white paper or eBook that would just need some reformatting and tweaking in order to turn it into a pillar page? It might just involve adding relevant links to your related blog posts and product pages. Since one of the goals of long-form content is conversions, you may not want to include everything word-for-word. Be sure to include prominent and attractive CTAs for downloading more information.
Search Volume — Are people actually searching for this topic? Use Google, Moz, SEMRush and other SEO tools to figure out what some of the top-trafficked keywords are related to your subject matter and adjust your wording and content accordingly. Although specific keywords aren’t the be-all-end-all, they do indicate what the competitiveness of a topic and what opportunities there may be in terms of additional traffic.
Your Content Calendar — You may want to focus on a topic, but what if it doesn’t currently have a lot of supporting blogs or advanced content to contribute added value? When assessing your existing library of online content, use the opportunity to identify gaps in your content strategy and plan for more on the subject moving forward. A topic may not be a prime candidate for a pillar page today, but could be a few months down the road. Additionally, once your pillar page is published, be sure to keep a pulse on future articles or insights that should be added. Update, update, update!
Be Strategic About Format
Let’s face it: a pillar page can include a LOT of content. Once you’ve determined your pillage page core topic, you won’t want to just create one giant run-on page of text. Be strategic about your layout, design, flow and how that content will be broken up into topic clusters and subcategories. The goal is to make the user experience as seamless and effortless as possible while still providing substance and value. You’ll really want to think through the layout to ensure it doesn’t feel overwhelming when a visitor lands on your pillar page.
We’ll cover topic clusters in more depth in a future blog post, so be sure to sign up to be notified when a new blog is published. Meanwhile, want to see what a real-life pillar page looks like? Click the link below to learn all you ever wanted to know about Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers. Okay, maybe not e-v-v-v-v-rything, but that’s why we’re here to answer any questions that remain. Simply reach out.