Level Up Your Education Content Marketing Strategy with Pillar Pages

By October 7, 2020January 25th, 2021No Comments

How to leverage your existing content assets to drive SEO

Picture this: More visibility. More credibility. More substantial, relevant website traffic. The secret? Pillar pages. If you have lots of content about a topic your company wants to “own,” then a pillar page is a must-have tactic in your education marketing plan.

In this post, we’re highlighting key takeaways from our CB&A Expert Series Webinar, Level Up Your Content Marketing with Pillar Pages. During this event, digital marketing expert Jenny Munn and CB&A’s Charlene Blohm discussed what pillar pages are, and how they support a business-to-education (B2E) content marketing strategy.

Click here to download the webinar recording.

Read on to learn how to incorporate pillar pages into your B2E content marketing strategy.

Pillar Pages 101

What are pillar pages?

Before we get to pillar pages, it’s helpful to understand the topic cluster model. As defined by HubSpot, topic clusters are groups of related web pages that all link to one core pillar page. Organizing your site content into clusters helps search engines distinguish your area of expertise and better understand the relationship between these pages.

Pillar pages cover all aspects of a topic on a single page, with room for more in-depth info in detailed cluster content assets, such as blog posts, that hyperlink back to the pillar page. Pillar pages broadly cover a topic, and cluster content addresses a specific keyword related to that topic in-depth.

Tip: Keyword research is unique for education marketing. Education companies are targeting a very specific audience, which impacts keyword search volume, cost-per-click and competition numbers. When in doubt, remember quality over quantity.

“I often come across companies who are posting several one-off blog posts that aren’t linked back to a central topic – that’s essentially what a pillar page is for,” Munn explained. “It’s important to link related content together to drive SEO.”

Why use pillar pages?

Pillar pages are an appropriate strategy for those who want to be known as a leader and expert in a specific area. Most companies fall into one of two buckets:

  • You’re drowning in content.
  • You have good intentions to create thought leadership content, but haven’t gotten traction or haven’t gotten started.

Great content is the basis to pillar pages.

“When I first started working in K-12, I found that a lot of the content being created by companies was product-focused, and wasn’t necessarily tailored to thought leadership, or showing expertise,” Munn said. “Content should be helpful and credible, that’s what search engines are looking for.”

Tip: Pillar pages are also known as hub pages, hub and spoke concept and the cluster content strategy.

Pillar pages are a next-level marketing strategy for those who want to be known as an authority in their industry, generate more brand awareness and put their “stake in the ground.”  Google’s latest algorithm seeks out expert content to ensure users are able to access content that’s not only relevant, but accurate.

To make the most of your pillar pages, it’s important to have quality content assets that you can place on them.

The CB&A B2E Content Marketing Process

For pillar pages to work, you need good content. CB&A’s B2E content marketing process includes four key steps:

  1. Develop content strategy
  2. Create content
  3. Execute promotion plan
  4. Measure success

Step #1: Content Strategy

How does your company’s content strategy support your business goals? It’s important to consider where content is going to be placed, how you’ll promote it, what audience you are targeting and how you’re going to segment that audience.

  • Identify specific business goals, target audience, KPIs and budget.
  • Decide what type of content to create, sources to inform the content and what background info must be incorporated.
  • Consider where the content should be placed, how you’ll promote it and how to segment your audience.

Step #2: Create Content

When it comes to creating content, keywords are the name of the game. Ideally, each content asset will include two to three specific keywords, and your pillar pages will include a wider array of keywords related to the overarching topic.

  • Conduct an SEO audit, including competitor, content and onsite audits. Research and identify education or product-specific keywords to include. What SEO keywords do you currently rank for? What about your competitors?
Tip: Focus on 2 to 3 main keywords, and add in others as you grow your content library.

After conducting your SEO audit, you’ll be ready to create the asset itself. It’s important to consider what will guide the drafting process, who should be involved in the review and editing process and where the final asset will be published.

  • Write, edit, publish and leverage your content asset. Every 17 months a content asset can be revisited and refreshed.

Step #3: Execute Promotion Plan

Distribute your published content asset according to your promotion plan, including sharing across marketing channels and leveraging in PR and sales outreach. Use the PESO model to establish brand authority.

  • Promote content via paid, earned, shared and owned media.
  • Monitor content promotion on each marketing channel and make adjustments as needed.

Step #4: Measure success

Finally, it’s time to track the success of your content marketing campaign, and use what you learn to optimize your strategy.

  • Conduct an end-of-campaign assessment through key performance indicator (KPI) reporting. Engagement on social media, media outreach, email marketing and website analytics should all be considered.
Tip: Since you’ll likely be tracking the success of many content assets over time, measure KPIs on a monthly or quarterly basis.

We’re living in a time of continuous change. By staying on top of trends and leveraging proven marketing tactics (like pillar pages), your company is more likely to capture the attention of your target audience, and become a credible source in your industry.