The Importance of Pillar Content to Grow Your Blog

by Joanne Faith

 

The real secret to growing your blog is quality and original content.

 

You’ve probably been beaten over the head with this fact enough all ready, but something you may not be as aware about is producing pillar content as a part of your content strategy.

 

So, what exactly is pillar content?

Pillar content is a collection of articles / posts that both provide a lot of value to your readers, and help to define what your blog is all about.

 

They are generally longer and more in-depth than regular articles, and provide timeless value to readers.

 

They also help to establish you as an expert in your niche by letting others know what you know.

 

Pillar content attracts new traffic (and thus readers and subscribers) because other bloggers are happy to link to it for its high quality, usefulness and timelessness. And this is what makes it a strong long-run strategy to boosting in-bound links (those that link to you), and sources of traffic.

 

Let me use my blog as an example. I regard my skills to be in pro-blogging and digital marketing, and I’ve started producing in-depth, quality content around these subject areas with the aim of genuinely sharing what i know for the benefit of readers. Doing so has helped establish my expertise in these areas, and outlined the focus of my blog for both myself and my readers. These posts  have received more attention than I had expected, and I have definitely seen a boost in long-term traffic. The effort I put into producing them? Well worth it.

 

Whether you’re just starting out, or have been blogging for awhile, it’s not to late to start creating pillar content (and I’m here to encourage it).

 

How Do You Create A Pillar Article?

The first thing you want to do is make clear for yourself what your niche/specialty is, and what exactly you want to establish your authority on (as is relevant to your blog).

 

Assuming you have a fashion blog, but you also specialize in food, then make the goal of creating pillar content around food. If you’re more of a tech-head, then create pillar content that goes into technical detail. You get the idea.

 

When you’re deciding what form a pillar article might take, there are a few different approaches you can take.

 

1) The ‘How-To' Article
Write an in-depth article that really teaches people how to something that they really want to know how to do. The most successful ‘how-to’ articles are based on real experiences and backed up by anecdotal evidence, so its worth explaining how your ‘how-to’ worked out for you.

 

2) The ‘Definition’ or ‘Statement' Article

Define something that is relevant to your readers. For example, what are the essential skills of fashion blogging, or the types of shoes that every girl needs (or the 5 most wanted Jeffrey Campbell’s)? If you can define something that others can relate to, you’ll find that people are quite happy to link back to you.

 

3) The ‘List' Article

People love list articles. They’re easy to read, easy to action, and easy to pass on. Think ‘50 ways to…’, ‘10 tips to…’, you get the idea.

 

The biggest hurdle with list articles is producing a list with original list items. To get around this, follow the advice given for ‘how-to’ articles above: keep referring back to your experiences wherever possible.

 

In Summary…

 

I’ve explained to you why pillar content is important, and given you three easy approaches to creating your pillar content.

 

On a final note, be sure to display your pillar content prominently on your blog. Include a ‘popular posts' widget on the sidebar, or on the menu. Make it easier for people to find, as you’d be surprised a how often people look out for recommendations on what to read when landing on a blog for the first time.

 

image by Jennine Jacob via instagram

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31 Responses

  1. holier than now

    88 thumbs up to this! I didn’t have a name for it until this article, but pillar content totally changed my traffic and ultimately is what sustained my blogging (at Holier than Now) and certain pillar pieces led to the creation of a whole new blog (Cult of Pretty)

    excellent read.

    Reply
    • Joanne Faith

      Thanks for the thumbs up! I think the concept is very easy to get your head around, and a lot of bloggers identify with the concept without having a term for it either. I’ve definitely found that my pillar pieces have given my blog a whole lot more life!

      Reply
  2. Rhoda

    Spot on advice. I used to create lots of how to’s and 10 list and so fort but then I took a break from blogging. But now am back and ready to do some more pillar contents as it helped alot in the past. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Sade Strehlke

    Great advice! I’ve definitely noticed that people love how-to content, as do I. Another great tip is having a weekly time and date for that content in addition to random posts. Thanks J!

    Reply
  4. Michelle

    i’ve been posting a ton of food but ii really love accessories. I think i’m going to base myself around those two.

    Reply
  5. Dayner

    This is fab advice, I’ve started giving my posts a running theme and found that my “hair inspiration” and “home” themed posts are most popular!

    I’m hoping to start popping in some tips/lists as these are the type of posts I love reading!

    Dayner x
    http://www.mozzypop.com

    Reply
  6. Marie

    Thank you so much for this post. As a young blogger – 1 year – I still find it very difficult to find my niche. I want to post about so many things that I understand that it might be confusing for my readers sometimes.
    This is really an issue I am working on – trying to define my blog. Thanks for helping.
    – Marie

    Reply
    • Joanne Faith

      Marie – keep thinking on it! It isn’t easy to figure these things out, my focus came to me about a year after struggling through it. I am still grateful for that year though, learnt a lot of things.

      Reply
  7. Bee

    Ive been blogging on beauty and fashion but was stuck in a rut…. this post was a great eye-opener… thanks a lot!!!1

    Reply
  8. Jamillah

    YOU ARE THE BEST!! Thank you so much for sharing another bloggin gem. Your generosity in advice is soooo appreciated.

    Reply
  9. flyycoast2coast

    What a great article! We have been looking for ways to grow and develop new content for our blog (flyycoast2coast.wordpress.com) as we approach the celebration of our first year and this was awesome advice.

    Reply
  10. sagemag

    Lists and how-to’s are definitely popular because they work! As a blog surfer, blogs that stand out are ones that write interesting content. On most fashion blogs, I rarely take the time to read what bloggers have to say because it’s not interesting. I really don’t care what you did for the day or how you came up with your outfit. Share your story and insight, don’t just post photos!

    Reply
  11. Amber

    Original content is always interesting, I am slowly learning how to incorporate original photographs in my articles. It makes all the difference when you are dishing something fresh to the dinner table than something stale that’s been talked about or posted over and over and over…that is unless you bring a totally unique perspective on it.

    Reply
  12. Kirstin Marie

    Thank you so much for this amazing article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I’ve gained knowledge from it. Being a newer blogger still (only 6 months!), I love learning everything I can. I’ve saved this article. Thanks again!

    Reply
  13. GawgusThings

    10 ways to say ‘Thank you’ for such a great article..
    1. Merci
    2. Gracias
    3. Danke
    4. Mahalo
    5. Paldies
    6. Obrigada
    7. Spasiba
    8. Khob Khun Ka
    9. Diolch
    10. Ngiyabonga

    Am I getting it?! XX

    Reply
  14. Vanessa

    What a great article! I’m already thinking about what I know that people might find interesting. We’ll see!

    Reply
  15. Pearl Westwood

    Great tips, it is very true most of my most popular posts are on how to’s my niche are guides on spotting designer counterfeits.

    I have also found many of my favourite blogs through google searching for help with things usually techy stuff on blogger.

    Reply
  16. Ayanna Scott

    I love how everything is right on time. I began doing these types of posts a few months ago simply because people were querying me about blogging – how did I start, what platform is best, can I give them advice. After these meetings I found myself giddy that I had actually LEARNED something over time and now I just wanted to share what I knew and my perspective.

    After all, we as bloggers take the advice of other bloggers and then eventually find that somethings just work better or not at all.

    Nice 🙂

    Reply
  17. shabby

    Great article and advice! I’d really like to improve my pillar content in the future as I get more confident with blogging. I’ll be referring back to this :]

    Reply
  18. Monica // crossthat

    Thanks for the tips.

    I really agree with the making a “Popular Posts” section in your sidebar as when I first go to a new blog, I tend to want to get a better idea of what that blog is about.

    xMonica

    Reply
  19. Jayvee Doroteo

    I’ve recently gotten into the idea of blogging real good content aside from my usual outufit posts and personal rants and wishlists. This has given me good information. I’m just a bit scared because I want to attract two different types of crowds and I have yet to find a solution to that other than starting a new blog.

    Reply
  20. Eunice

    Always very useful! I learn so much from your blog it’s amazing!! Keep up the great work, I’m a regular!!

    Reply