HOW TO IMPLEMENT A PILLAR CONTENT STRATEGY FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS
When it comes to a successful content marketing strategy, producing high-quality and valuable content is only half the battle. To attract leads and engage your audience, they first need to be able to find your content. But with more than 600 million blogs on the internet and an estimated 7.5 million blog posts per day, getting your content in front of your target audience can be quite the challenge.
While keyword optimisation is certainly an important factor in getting your content found online, it’s not the only tool in your arsenal. Supplementing your keyword strategy with a strong pillar content strategy can help ensure that your content gets found by the people who matter most to your financial advisory firm.
What is a Pillar Content Strategy?
A pillar content strategy — sometimes also known as the ‘topic cluster methodology' — is a method in which all your content is arranged into broad topics or themes which act as the stabilising foundation for your content strategy.
These pillars are typically based on the key questions your prospects and customers are asking or the topics they most need help with. Pillar pages can take many forms, including reports, resource pages, product and services pages, or ‘ultimate’ guides. This content can subsequently be broken down into smaller resources such as blog articles, videos, social media posts, infographics, and more.
By creating a lot of valuable content — known as ‘cluster’ content — around a central theme and implementing a strong internal linking strategy, your content will be easier to navigate and loved by your target audience and search engines alike.
Why Financial Advisory Firms should be Using a Pillar Content Strategy?
HubSpot research shows that roughly 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, and yet despite this, many aren’t getting the results they expect from all their hard work. Often, this is because they’re not organising their content in a way that’s easy for people and search engines to follow.
These days, search engines such as Google use more than just keywords to deliver the best possible results for every search. Search engines are now smart enough to look at the relationships between pieces of content. Rather than treating each piece of content like an independent island, search engines can see your content as an interconnected web of resources. By building links between pillar and cluster content, you’re indicating to Google that your pages are related and that there’s more information to explore. This can help improve your authority on the topic, boosting your ranking online.
Organising your content into pillars and clusters also helps your audience navigate your resources. Rather than simply cramming a heap of information into a single page, you can give a broad overview of the topic on your pillar page before using links to guide readers to more detailed and specific information. Making your content more accessible in this way is great for building relationships with your target audience. It also encourages visitors to stay on your website for longer — another important factor in how high you rank in the SERPs.
Another benefit of a pillar content strategy is that once you have your pillar page set up, you’ll have a solid foundation upon which to base other communications with your audiences, such as social posts, EDMs, and paid channels. This helps you maintain a consistent brand voice and message across all marketing channels.
Getting Started with the Topic Cluster Methodology
Taking a pillar and cluster approach to your content marketing strategy takes a bit of time and careful consideration. Here’s how to get started with the topic cluster methodology:
- Identify your core theme and brainstorm any relevant sub-topics. You can use keyword research tools such as Semrush to help you come up with ideas.
- Start with a broad search term that encapsulates your chosen theme and will serve as the basis for your pillar page. This is typically an industry-specific ‘short-tail’ keyword that’s highly competitive.
- Break that theme down into more specific topics. These will be the basis for your ‘long-tail’ keywords and will help direct the topics you cover in your cluster content.
- Make sure your pillar page is ‘ungated’ in that it doesn’t require your audience to download it or fill out a form to access it. Remember, you want search engines to be able to view this content too.
- Your pillar page should link out to all relevant cluster pages so it’s easy for visitors to find the information they’re searching for. This also helps search engines better understand the hierarchy of your content.
- With the right keywords, a clear structure, and a solid internal linking strategy, your content will be better positioned to attract relevant organic traffic and increase your conversion rate.
How to Structure Your Pillar Page
Pillar pages come in many different shapes and styles, so what your page ultimately looks like will depend on your own goals and preferences. However, there are some things that every pillar page should include to maximise visibility and effectiveness.
Here are our best practice suggestions for creating an effective pillar page.
- Make sure your H1 heading references your core topic keyword
- Reference your core topic in the URL
- Create a top navigation so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for
- Provide a table of contents with anchor links to help viewers find relevant content on the page
- Create a section defining your core topic if necessary
- Include conversion-focused elements such as buttons, forms, and options to subscribe
- Enhance the page with images, complete with alt text containing your core topic keyword
- Break your content into bite-sized chunks using H2 headings
- Include your core topic keywords throughout the page — be careful to avoid keyword stuffing
- Link to relevant internal resources using SEO-friendly anchor text
- Link out to external resources using relevant, SEO-friendly anchor text
- Consider including a ‘relevant resources’ section at the end of the page to help guide visitors deeper into your content
- Include a ‘back to top’ button or banner to conveniently return visitors to the top navigation
Choosing the Right Cluster Content Type
When it comes to building out your cluster content, it’s important to carefully consider the type of content you wish to produce, whether that be blogs, landing pages, videos, or even an event. Certain types of content are more effective at different stages of the buyer journey, so be prepared to produce a range of content types based on your audience’s needs and preferences.
- ‘Awareness’ stage content: Podcasts, blog articles, social media content, and informative landing pages (non-salesy)
- ‘Consideration’ stage content: Webinars, case studies, email marketing, comparison studies, and persuasive landing pages (show them why you’re the superior option)
- ‘Decision’ stage content: Live chat, discovery calls, retargeting, free trials, deals/coupons, and ‘offer’ landing pages that aim to make a sale
7 Steps to a Winning Pillar Content Strategy for Financial Advisors
A strong pillar content strategy starts with listening to your clients and identifying the questions they have, as well as the information they want to know. Today, we’re challenging you to spend the month listening to your clients and identifying their greatest needs. Here’s what you do:
For one month, maintain a diary listing every question your clients ask — no matter how simple.
At the end of the month, jot down any recurring topics or themes. Remember, we’re looking for broad topics, not specific questions. Don’t be surprised if you end up with about 4-6 main topics.
- Use a keyword tool such as Semrush to research how broad these topics are. If there are a lot of search requests covering a broad number of sub-topics, then the topic is probably a good candidate for pillar content.
- Next, try to uncover the ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘why’ questions surrounding this topic. Tools like Quora, Semrush, and Answer the Public can help give insight into the kinds of questions people are asking.
- As a sanity check, compare the questions you uncovered in your research to the ones you listed down over the past month.
- Create a discussion document using these topics so you can road-test them with your clients — or prospects. Did the content educate and help your clients? Did it answer their questions? If so, you now have the basis for your pillar pages and cluster content!
- Once all the prep work is done, it’s time to produce the content. Start by focusing on your strongest and most relevant pillar rather than splitting your attention across several themes. This can help you maintain a consistent voice and message while helping you remember which points you’ve already made to prevent duplicate content.
Note: Be sure to keep your target audience and the customer journey in mind throughout this entire process to ensure you’re providing relevant and valuable information with every step of the way.
Find Out More About Implementing a Successful Pillar Content Strategy
Looking to learn more about pillar content and how to integrate it into a broader inbound marketing strategy? Register today for your FREE Inbound Marketing Workshop for Financial Advisory Firms