Modern marketing comes down to one thing – customer experience.
If you keep your customers happy, they will come back and repurchase whatever goods or services they’ve had from you so far, and may even add more into the mix.
But how can you do this when seemingly even the blue oceans are becoming red, where the niches of the world are becoming commoditised.
Inbound marketing, pillar and cluster content marketing specifically, is the key to standing out from the crowd, and indeed the secret of filling your pipeline with quality contacts.
Read on to discover the truth behind pillar and cluster strategies, and their role in COVID-19 era marketing.
What is a pillar page?
A pillar page is a long-form, written piece of content which offers an in-depth overview of a topic, such as ‘alcohol free lager’.
Content comes in many shapes and sizes. Lists, videos, social posts, TripAdvisor reviews, you name it, it’s content, and content which is relatable to your audience.
A pillar page is the frame of your house.
It covers a topic (also known as a head term) which you know in depth and links back to your business’ product / services.
It shows the likes of Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo that you are a knowledge fountain in your realm of expertise.
What are topic clusters?
Topic clusters are the painting, decoration and furniture.
They are sub-topics that feed back into that pillar topic. Groupings such as ‘home-made non-alcoholic lager’, ‘best non-alcoholic pubs’, and ‘non-alcoholic lager kegs’.
What is cluster content?
Cluster content is the different types of paintings, paint and furniture in the house.
This can take the form of a blog, a list, a video, webinar, eBook – but the consistent theme is that it will serve the purpose of filling up the different groups of topic clusters.
How does cluster content feed a pillar page?
Take the example layout below and apply our non alcoholic lager topic.
1. The head term
This is the theme of your page.
As a brewer who is expanding into non alcohol free beer, you would use a tool such as Ahrefs or Google Ads to sense the search volume that is attached to someone looking for ‘non alcoholic lager’.
This will hopefully have a search volume of around 2-4000 per month.
The content of this page is then formed based on knowledge of different questions your buyers have (sourced from places such as Answerthepublic or topic related media sites). You then identify themes which form your cluster topics.
2. Cluster topics
After using Answerthepublic and other sources you will have the cluster topics you will write about on your pillar page.
These are depicted by the circles in the centre of the 5 circles below.
From here you would then create cluster content which would go into more depth about those clusters, and link those pieces of content back to your pillar page. An example could be:
- What is non-alcoholic beer?
- How is non-alcoholic beer made?
- What does non-alcoholic beer taste like?
- Are there health benefits to drinking non alcoholic beer?
- Can you make non-alcoholic beer?
- Where can you buy non-alcoholic beer?
3. Cluster content
With cluster topics formed you can then begin to think of different blogs, videos, how-to guides, checklists and more which you can create which will explore those topics in depth.
You would then ensure that these pages link to that cluster page, which is depicted by the triangles, circles and squares that are linking back to the topic and then the topic to the pillar at the topic.
Thus, theoretically, your pillar and cluster strategy could last you anywhere from 12 months to 48 months. The key is to ensure you constantly update your existing content and produce new pieces to maintain to Google you know your area.
What are the differences between a landing and pillar page?
A great question, and one that can often confuse.
A landing page is typically used to capture someone’s details in exchange for a piece of content, a product or phone call.
The purpose of that page is that you simply land on that page and complete the action of filling in the form, or the chat bot.
The navigation of your site does not appear, only your branding, data protection information, and the content you want to promote.
The pillar page is the exact opposite. It contains a navigation. It wants you to explore more of your site. It’s purpose is to inform. No forms. No barriers. Just pure education to build trust, authority and expertise about your business in the eyes of your customers.
What about the differences between micro sites and pillar page?
There are far more similarities between micro sites and pillar pages than meet the eye.
A micro site, much like a pillar page, will talk in depth about a topic and feature content that builds trust, authority and expertise.
But, crucially, it is a discretely built part of a site.
It may sit off a subdomain, and it certainly won’t be promoted anywhere on your site – be that navigation or site map.
It will also unlikely be linking out to content on your site.
Why adopt a pillar and cluster strategy during COVID-19?
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on consumer confidence.
Economies ground to a halt, and our confidence in buying plummeted.
We, as buyers, need something more than an OK product, or good customer service.
We’re taking longer to think about our purchases, and that means the trend of 80% of a buying journey being online is likely in the 95% range today.
So it’s imperative you invest in digital marketing. That investment should begin with a sound website that is built with your target audience in mind.
From there you need to build your search presence so people can find you.
Pillars and clusters do that. They talk about a subject you know well, and one adjacent to what your business does.
Earning trust, showing expertise and out ranking your competitors has never been more important.
To learn more about how Flamingo Marketing Strategies can help you build your digital marketing through pillar and cluster contact, be sure to get in touch via 01926 423170
Flamingo Marketing Strategies Ltd is a marketing agency in Leamington Spa. We work with small to medium-sized businesses, creating bespoke marketing ideas for B2B and B2C. If you are targeting a local audience, we won’t work with any other companies from the same industry within an agreed milage radius. If you’re targeting a national or international audience, we won’t work with any other companies from the same industry at all. Our job is to make sure we position YOU as the flamingo of your marketplace.