How To Write A Pillar Blog Post
Wanna know the biggest challenge all bloggers face today?
Getting your blog posts to stand out from the rest of the blogging “herd”.
With over 2.7 million new blog posts being published every day, it’s no wonder it’s so hard to get your audience to read your blog posts.
Fact is, your readers are being distracted and overwhelmed by all of the vanilla, bland content that exists online today.
Therefore, if you’re not proactively distinguishing yourself from the current glut of uninspired, “boiled chicken” blog content…
… you’ll quickly find that nobody is finding or reading your blog posts too.
So what’s a blogger gonna do?
You write a pillar blog post.
If you didn’t already know, a pillar blog post is the best way to:
- Distinguish yourself from your competition
- Make your blog content stand out from all the rest
- Establish yourself as a true authority on the topic you’re writing about
So the next logical question is…
What’s a pillar blog post and how do I write one?
Patience my young padawan.
We’ll dive into WHAT a pillar blog post is in a moment…
… but first, let’s talk about why you want to write one.
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Why Write A Pillar Blog Post?
From an online business standpoint, everything starts with content.
Meaning, if you want to…
- Buy Facebook ads
- Drive organic traffic to a website or a landing page
- Have an idea that you want to spread
… it all starts with content.
And whether you realize it or not…
… you are one amazing piece of content away from differentiating yourself in the marketplace.
That one amazing piece of content is a pillar blog post.
But the challenge is, with more bloggers comes more blog posts.
And with more blog posts comes more content that will distract your readers by taking their attention away from YOUR blog posts.
Think about it:
- 2.7 million blog posts being published every day
- Anyone can be a blogger
- Google has to sift through roughly 20 years worth of web pages every time anyone types a query into Google’s search bar
So while there is a glut of 500-800 word, bland, vanilla, watered down blog posts on the internet you have to compete with, here’s the silver lining…
… there isn’t a glut of well thought out, meaty, 2,000 words or more, in depth blog posts on a specific topic.
So what’s the solution to get around the “Content Shock” so your readers will find your blog posts to be amazing?
You write a pillar blog post.
This brings us to our next section… what is a pillar blog post?
What Is A Pillar Blog Post?
Simply put, a pillar blog post is absolutely epic!
But how do you determine what’s an epic blog post?
Simple… go to google and find the top 10 blog posts on the topic on which you’re writing.
Then make a piece of content that is 10x better than those.
If there is nothing else you take away from reading this article it’s this…
… make a 10x better blog post!
Because very few people are willing to do this!
(thanks to the glut of content on the internet today, you have to make your content THAT much better than the rest)
But there is still plenty of room for blog posts that are better, and more highly produced.
If you put content out there that is boiled chicken… you’ll lose out.
You’ll be buried under all the other content (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that’s been written about your same topic.
Baseball analogy: Any decent pitcher can throw an 85 mph fast ball (but hitters will rake those out of the ball park all day long)
But the pitcher who can throw 95 mph will be great and strike out batters.
So the first 85 mph are worthless in this case – it’s the last 10 mph that make all the difference
And that’s what pillar posts are all about.
The pillar blog post is the 95 mph fastball.
All the other vanilla content out there is the 85 mph fastball.
Therefore, when you write a pillar blog post you’re showing proving to your audience:
- You have experience in this particular topic
- You’re an authority on this topic
- You can be trusted when/if it comes time for them to purchase a product from you regarding this topic
Bottom line: if you want to distinguish yourself from your competition then keep reading…
… because I’m about to reveal to you exactly how to write a pillar blog post so you can rise above the rest of the blog posts out there.
How Should You Treat A Pillar Blog Post?
I’m going to show you the 11 steps to create a pillar blog post in a sec…
… but before I do, here’s how you’ll want to treat your pillar post once it’s written.
You should treat your pillar blog post as if it’s your baby.
After all, you’re going to put 10x more effort into your pillar post than any other blog post you write.
Once written, you’ll want to do the following with your pillar blog post.
- Place it obvious and available on your blog
- Make it highly publicized
- Link to a lot
- Share it a lot
- Improve it over time
When you take action on all 5 of those steps you’ll get more “Google love” and as a result, receive more organic traffic to your post.
Now that we’ve covered what a pillar blog post is and how you should treat it…
… lets dive into the 11 step process to write a pillar blog post.
1.) Determine the Goal
When creating pillar content you’ve got to write backwards.
Sounds a bit crazy, right?
However, I find that reverse engineering the process is the best way to keep your pillar blog post focused and streamlined.
There are the 3 possible goals of pillar content (you must choose only one).
The 3 possible goals to choose from are:
- Generate leads
- Acquire Qualified Customers
- Increase Offer Awareness
Let’s take a look at each one:
1.) Generate Leads: Opt in for a Lead Magnet, register for a webinar, rsvp for a live event, request a coupon – these are all examples of how your pillar blog post will generate leads for you
2.) Acquire Qualified Customers: Buy a low dollar product or service, put down a deposit, etc. The reason why we say “qualified customers” is because the front end offer is cheap and we’re not making a lot of money from it. Therefore we need them to be qualified customers (i.e. people who are willing and able to ascend).
3.) Increase Offer Awareness: Learn more about a more complex, higher ticket, higher risk product or service. For example, get someone to know that we have “XYZ” course that costs $497.
We don’t expect to sell someone on the $497 course from the blog post but we want them to know our course exists.
Now that you’ve determined the goal of your pillar post, let’s move onto the Call To Action.
2.) Write The Call To Action
The second step when it comes time to write a pillar blog post is to write the Call To Action.
Obviously, any good piece of content will have a “next step” for your readers to take.
(think back to the “goal” of the pillar post I mentioned above).
Well that “next step” comes in the form a Call To Action.
The “Call To Action” can come in many different ways depending on the type of action you want your reader to take.
The following are all examples of a Call To Action from which you might choose:
- Learn More About
- Get More Info
Remember, without a Call To Action your reader has nowhere else to go once they’ve finished reading your pillar blog post.
So unless the only action you want them to take is to hit the back button and go on their merry way…
… you better have a clear cut Call To Action that provides the next step you want them to take.
[RELATED: Use this 8 Step Blog Post Writing Formula so you can crank out high quality share worthy blog posts that generate you more leads & more sales]
3.) Choose The Topic
Before you choose the topic of your pillar blog post ask yourself the following 3 questions….
- What does my prospect need to believe in order to buy my product or service?
- What is my prospect researching before they buy my product or service?
- What is my prospect having a question about?
Another way to look approach this is to think about what our prospects will self identify as?
In his book titled “The Robert Collier Letter Book” the famous author Robert Collier states:
“You could either change people’s minds or you could enter the conversation they’re already having in their head.”
With the point being, it’s easier to enter the conversation they’re already having in their head.
So ask yourself this:
What is the conversation your ideal prospect is already having in their head?
What are they doing at the zero moment of truth (the moment they’re doing the research for how to solve their problem).
This is content marketing!
Instead of spraying and praying, just build one pillar piece of content and dog whistle the right people to your offer.
4.) Pick A Post Type
The fourth ting to do when writing a pillar blog post is to pick your post type.
For pillar posts we need to choose from only 2 types of posts:
- The “How To” post
- The “List” post
(For example, this blog post is a “How To” post on how to write a pillar blog post).
So what’s the difference between the two post types?
The “How To” Post: Describes how to execute a process and it utilizes images, video, or audio to enrich the post. If you want people to respect your authority, go with a “How To” post.
The Listicle Post: Create a list of books, tools, resources, or literally anything else your target market will find useful – if you don’t need to necessarily build your authority you can be a curator and create the list post.
If you’re really looking for viral traffic, List Posts tend to go viral more often than How To posts.
5.) Find The Angle
Whether you realize it or not, you’re making an offer every time you create a blog post.
You’re asking the reader to give you their time.
Believe me when I say that IS a transaction (they’re exchanging their time for your information).
Therefore, if you don’t grab them with your headline right then and there…
… you’re done!
So how are you going to find the right angle so you can come up with a catchy headline?
You use one of the following 5 headline angles whenever you sit down to write a pillar blog post.
The “Benefit” Angle:
The Benefit angle boils down to this…
… this article is in your best interest so you probably want to check it out.
This is a direct angle that speaks to the readers self interest.
Example: “7 Proven Tips To Make You A Better Marketer”
The “New” Angle:
Use this angle when there is something novel or unknown to reveal to the reader.
If you don’t have anything new don’t use this angle.
However, if your topic or info is new, you’d be an idiot NOT to use this angle in your headline.
Example: “How Bloggers Monetize: New Research”
The “Threat” Angle:
The “Threat” angle is a form of the benefit angle with one slight difference…
… the “Threat” angle speaks to the avoidance of pain.
This is a very powerful angle but you need to be careful because it’s negative.
So if you’re going to use this angle, be sure to turn it in a positive direction very quickly.
Example: “What Your Banker Won’t Tell You And How It Can Save You Cold Hard Cash”
The “Piggy Back” Angle:
This is when you leverage the authority or popularity of someone else (most likely someone famous within your niche).
Example: “How To Run Your Start Up like Richard Branson”
The “Curiosity” Angle:
The “curiosity” angle piques your reader’s interest without providing direct information.
This angle is not recommended for beginners because it can be tricker than the other angles.
(Beginners should start out with a straight forward “benefit” angle)
However, when done right, the “Curiosity” angle can do a great job of getting people to click the link to read your pillar blog post.
Example: “The Dirty Little Secret About Digital Marketing”
By using one of the 5 above angles to come up with your headline you’ll be able to hook your reader into your pillar blog post.
[RELATED: To discover 5 proven tips to write catchy headlines that convert CLICK HERE]
6.) Choose The Keyword
If you’re not already familiar with keywords, they are…
- Words and phrases that identify what people are searching for
- Words and phrases that identify the topic you’re writing about
The keywords I chose for this particular blog post are “write a pillar blog post”.
Now I could’ve chosen “blogging” as a keyword or even “How to blog”.
But as you’ll see in a moment, the latter keywords would’ve done this blog post (and my efforts to get more organic traffic to it) a disservice.
While it’s great to get visitors to your site…
… it’s far better to get the right visitors to your site.
In order to get the right visitors to your site you must first have a basic knowledge of “the Search Demand Curve”.
The above image (taken from the blog of moz.com) is a great illustration of “The Search Demand Curve”.
What that image shows us is the fewer keywords you use in your keyword phrase…
… the greater the amount of searches that are being conducted.
You’re much better served being somewhere in the “Chunky Middle”.
Or better yet, be in the “Long Tail”.
However, you don’t want to be in the “Fat Head”
For example, if your keyword is “pillow” (in the “Fat Head”)…
… you’ll have lots of competition because you’re competing with everyone else also trying to rank for that same keyword.
The solution is to turn your keyword into a keyword phrase so you can be more specific.
We call this “long tail SEO”.
Long tail SEO is a technique of targeting highly specific niche search terms (long tail keywords).
Long tail keywords usually consist of 3+ words and are much easier to rank for due to low competition.
So in the “pillow” scenario, instead of using Pillow as your keyword…
…try moving your way into the “Long Tail” and rank for “hypoallergenic organic pillow”.
You want to stay in the long tail for two reasons:
- Search competition is lower – Long tail keywords have lower volume, less competition, and higher conversions.
- In the “Fat Head” you have higher competition and lower conversion rates.
Below is a micro-case study where I show how a long tail keyword phrase can help your blog post get found by the right people.
In this example, I’m searching for Men’s sunglasses, that are polarized, and have tortoise shell frames.
Watch how I went from the “Fat Head” to the “Chunky Middle” and eventually into the “Long Tail” with my search.
I began using the search term “sunglasses”.
My next search was a bit more specific. I added a word to expand my keyword phrase to…
I then took it a step further by getting even more specific and adding a modifier to my search…
“Polarized Sunglasses for Men”
Lastly, I took further steps to narrow my search by adding an additional word “tortoise shell”. This brought my final keyword search phrase to…
“Polarized Sunglasses For Men Tortoise Shell”
As you can see, my original search for “sunglasses” returned 840,000,000 results.
Whereas my narrowed down search of “Polarized Sunglasses For Men Tortoise Shell” returned 2,230,000 results.
Let’s loop this back into your pillar content strategy.
If your keyword phrase of your pillar blog post was “sunglasses”, you’d be smack in the middle of the “Fat Head”.
This means you’ll have lots of competition (840,000,000 competing results)… and as a result, lower conversions.
However, if you’re keyword phrase is “Polarized Sunglasses For Men Tortoise Shell”…
… you’ll have far less competition (2,230,000 results).
Therefore, the more specific you are with your keywords, the more likely you’ll get the right people finding your pillar blog post.
7.) Write The Outline
When creating pillar content it’s always best to write an outline to help you formulate your ideas.
If it’s a “Listicle Post” … create your outline with every item on your list.
- Item #1 on the list
- Item #2 on the list
- Item #3 on the list (do this for all items on your list)
If it’s “How To” post… break it up into steps or “Talking Points” that you want to explain to your readers.
- Talking Point #1
- Talking Point #2
- Talking Point #3
PRO TIP: If you truly want to write a pillar blog post, don’t stop at “5 Tips To _____”.
Remember, this is pillar blog post… not some watered down “boiled chicken” blog post.
A strong pillar content strategy means you’re giving your reader 10, 20, or even 30 tips to achieve something.
8.) Identify Media Opportunities
When creating pillar content, the presence and quality of images, video, and audio is the difference between a good post and a spectacular post.
So ask yourself, where are the opportunities to add high quality audio, video, or images to my pillar post?
Where can you add images that will really set this post apart from all the rest???
Some ideas for adding media to your pillar content are:
- Add an info graphic to make the pillar post more visually engaging
- Use a big “23” graphic if your listicle post contains 23 items
- Utilize screenshots (like the ones I used above) that will help support your ideas
Getting back to my earlier baseball analogy, this can be the difference between an 85 mile per hour fast ball and a 95 mph fast ball.
Sometimes it’s the little things that will separate you’re pillar blog post from all of the mediocre blog posts that exist online.
If you think you’re done with your pillar blog post, spend another two hours on it so you can take it from good to great.
9.) Create a P.A.E.S. Opening When You Write Pillar Content
When you write a pillar blog post, your introduction has to draw in your readers and hook them.
That’s why the P.A.E.S. opening is so effective.
The P.A.E.S. formula stands for:
P = Problem
A = Agitate
E = Empathize
S = Solution
Taking it a step further, the P.A.E.S. formula accomplishes the following…
- Problem: Identify the problem
- Agitate: agitate the problem by pouring some salt in the wounds
- Empathize: empathize with the reader: so they resonate with you and don’t think you’re a jerk
- Solution: trot out the solution
The P.A.E.S. intro will start out negative but it quickly turns into a positive.
So it goes… negative, negative, positive.
For example, let’s take a look at this hypothetical blog post that uses the “piggy back” angle for the headline.
Let’s use this hypothetical blog post using the piggy back angle as an example.
“How To Launch A Business Like Richard Branson”
Launching a business is exciting but it can also be nerve wracking [Problem]
One wrong move and your business can be toast – along with all the time and money you’v invested getting your business off the ground. [Agitate]
But you know what? You’re not alone. Thousands of business owners attend my classes every year with these exact same worries. [Empathy]
Fortunately, in this article you’re about to discover the 7 step process that billionaire and serial entrepreneur Richard Branson uses to launch all of this businesses online [Solution]
Here are some examples of Empathy statements you can use in the introduction when you write pillar content.
- “I get where you’re coming from…”
- “I know how you feel.”
- “You’re not alone, ”
- “I used to be like you.”
Now that you’ve completed your P.A.E.S. Introduction it’s time to roll up your sleeves, get some dirt under your fingernails and “dig the ditch”.
10.) Dig The Ditch: Time To Write Pillar Content
So you’ve got the first 9 steps out of the way…
… now it’s time to sit down and write the pillar post.
This is the easiest step to describe, yet the most likely the hardest one for you to do.
You’ve got to simply roll up your sleeves and do the work.
It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had…
… but it will be worth the effort when your new pillar blog post ranks higher on Google than any other similar blog post on the same topic.
The good news is, with all the work you’ve already done, you’re really just filling in some gaps and rounding out the post to make it complete.
Once you’ve finished “digging the ditch” you’ll move onto the editing process.
11.) The Editing Process
Now we’re getting towards the end of the pillar post process and hopefully you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
However, that doesn’t diminish the importance of the editing process.
Here’s where you smooth out the edges, correct typos, and improve your formatting.
Additionally, when it comes to editing your pillar blog post you should take into consideration the three C’s.
The three C’s are:
Let’s take a look at each one individually.
Consumption means that you’ve made your pillar blog post consumable and readable.
For example, if your blog post looks intimidating your reader will leave.
Here are 7 ways to make your pillar blog post more consumable:
- Numbered lists
- Line breaks (rarely more than 3 sentences in a single paragraph)
- Block quotes
Keep in mind, people don’t want to look at big, chunky, blocks of text when online.
After your done writing your pillar blog post…
… spend two more hours working on it!
Use screenshots, photos, graphics or video to show the reader how to do it.
Create a downloadable resource: make a pdf for printing, an Excel calculator or spreadsheet, a checklist, a cheat sheet, etc.
Add design: add relevant and useful images, photos, graphic that support the points you’re trying to make.
Ask yourself these two questions:
Is my pillar blog post consistent with my brand?
Is this post consistent with other posts I’ve written?
For example, if you typically write for business professionals…
… don’t start dropping F-bombs in your blog posts.
Additionally, if you’re known as a person who blogs about survival in the outdoors…
… don’t veer off track with a blog post about “How To Baby Proof Your Kitchen”.
[RELATED: To help with the editing process, use these 6 tips to improve your content to make your pillar post as readable and consumable as possible.
Your Next Steps To Write A Pillar Blog Post
By now you know the power of a pillar blog post and how it can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
You probably also see how when you write a pillar blog post…
… it will help to establish you as an authority within your niche.
Here are the steps you’ll want to take create your pillar post:
- Determine the Goal
- Write the Call To Action
- Choose the Topic
- Pick a Post Type
- Find the Angle
- Choose the Keyword
- Write the Outline
- Identify Media Opportunities
- Create a P.A.E.S. Introduction
- Dig the Ditch
- Edit the Pillar Blog Post
Will creating pillar blog posts take more time, effort, and attention than writing a “regular” blog post?
But the long term benefits will outweigh the short term inconvenience you might experience throughout the process.
Plus, your audience will come to see you as an authority within your nice which will help to establish the Know, Like, Trust factor that is so critical in today’s marketplace.
Lastly, if you want to leverage a tool that will help you crank out pillar blog posts in hours instead of days (or weeks)…
... download your copy of the “Ultimate Blog Post Writing Formula” HERE