You chose to blog a book and build author platform and compose your manuscript at the same time. However, building a platform of avid blog readers can take a while even if you are making good progress on your blogged book. That’s why you want to add pillar content to your site. In this post, Jay Artale (@BirdsOAFpress), a digital nomad and full-time writer and blogger, explains how to create pillar content that attract readers to your site like a magnet.
Google is my search engine of choice, and I can lose hours each day going down online rabbit holes. Having all that information at my fingertips is mesmerizing, but not everyone shares my excitement for research. To some, it’s information overload, and others just don’t have time. They want answers, and they want them quick.
As soon as I realized I had a passion for a task that bloggers in my niche avoided—online research, I created two pages featuring pillar content (also known as cornerstone or evergreen content) on my website. These pages attract a high volume of monthly traffic and appear on the first page of Google for the target keywords. One is a list of travel blogs accepting guest posts, and the other is a list of travel writing competitions.
The image below is a private browsing search I did for “travel writing competition 2019.” Not only is my travel writing pillar page #1 in a list of 146M search results, but Google also has displayed my website as a featured snippet, which includes my brand’s logo.
Both of my pillar pages attract my target audience of travel bloggers and travel writers. The information in these posts is readily available on the Internet, but I centralize it onto one page, which makes it easy to access. My audience gets a one-stop-shop that saves them time.
My Pillar Content
Travel Writing Competitions: I firmly believe the best way to improve your writing is to read vicariously in your niche. As part of my skill development, I read travel writing competition submissions and evaluate them to see why the article works. There aren’t many active travel writing competitions, so I started off searching for them manually. Later, I set up Google alerts to get notified when new competitions are published.
I knew if I was having trouble finding competitions, other travel bloggers probably were, too. I did keyword research using Google Ads keyword checker. Although the keyword “competition” was low, and the average monthly search was in the 10-100 range. Therefore, I was convinced it was a good idea to compile a list of active competitions to provide travel bloggers with a one-stop-shop.
I started publishing my findings three years ago. Today, this page is the most popular one on my website each month. Last month it got 1,063 views.
It’s important to track metrics. Doing so gives you information about whether what you’re doing is providing a return on your time investment. I knew it was worth maintaining this page when the top searches that landed people on my site each month contained two closely-related keywords (see image on the left)—travel writing competition and travel writing competitions.
List of Travel Blogs Accepting Guest Posts: My other pillar page is 150+ travel blogs accepting guest posts, which is #3 in a list of 177M search results. I began by compiling this list manually, but now the submission process is automated. Travel bloggers have to submit the information into a Mail Chimp form, and every month, my VA adds them to the new entries to the pillar page.
These pillar pages have one thing in common. They’re both aimed at my target audience. I’m currently blogging my How Travel Writers Self-Publish series on my website, and I’m using these two pillar pages to attract my target audience.
Pillar Pages for your Niche
It takes a while to build an audience for your blog-to-book content. Creating broad pillar content helps speed up that discovery process. No matter the niche in which you’re blogging, there’s an opportunity to create content that’s valuable to your readers.
Streamline their workflow, and you’re one step closer to creating an avid fan base for your content.
The best place to start creating pillar content is to think about the information that would be useful to you. That way you kill two birds with one stone. You’re getting value out of the information, and you’re making it available on your website to attract traffic. It’s a win-win.
Choosing your Pillar Content Topic
As a blogger and writer/author, you can create all types of pillar content. However, like me, you can create a pillar page by compile a list of blogs in your niche that accept guest posts. Many types of people—bloggers, authors, experts, coaches—look for guest posting opportunities.
Here’s how to start:
- Search in a niche (e.g., life+coaching, mommy+blog, financial+planner, etc.) and add “guest post” or “write for us” to your search terms.
- Choose the results that produce professional-looking websites with an extensive blog post history.
- Check their guest post submission information.
If you want to use more specific and complex search methods to pinpoint relevant content, this Kindlepreneur article provides some advanced Google search tactics.
While you’re building your brand and expanding your skillset, keep an eye out for opportunities to compile content that benefits you and helps your audience at the same time. These are excellent pillar content subjects.
If you happen to dislike research, don’t worry. Use a freelance site to find and pay a researcher to curate the content on your behalf. It’s worth the investment.
Here are suggestions for additional pillar pages that would benefit the audience in your niche:
- List of awards, competitions, conferences, or events
- A summary of recommended reference websites
- A list of recommended service providers for your industry
- List of recommended tools or software essential for your niche
- A roundup of podcasts, blogs, or YouTube channels hosted by thought leaders in your niche
This list is by no means exhaustive. Be aware of the answers or information you search for on the Internet. Your readers—who are like you—are likely searching for them, too. Those searches can become your first (or next) pillar page.
Do you have other ideas for topics that would make engaging and magnetic pillar content? If so, tell me about it in a comment below. And if you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might benefit!
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay