Welcome back to Coffee Break Blogging, once again! 🙂
The term “pillar post” is often used to refer to that initial batch of blog posts that you create to kick off a brand new blog. But, exactly HOW do you go about creating these pillar posts? In this episode, we discuss how to do data-driven pillar posts… meaning how to create highly strategic pillar posts based on real data that will not only help you kick start your traffic, your niche standing, but also help bring you traffic into the future.
Pit Stop – Coming Up Next
Now, in the next episode we are going to do a little bit of a pit stop and we are going to kind of review where we are in our series as we’ve talked about before, Coffee Break Blogging is a little bit of a different kind of podcast because while each episode is kind of self-contained in the fact that it is tactical on a particular topic; overall it goes together in a sequential format. I have got a 7-Stage process that takes starting a business from scratch and bringing it up to a point of very good profitability. And right now, we are working on Stage 2.
If you are listening to Coffee Break Blogging in order, then we are going in a particular order where the episodes are only around the particular stages. We already went through Stage 1; we are now in Stage 2. So the last many episodes of the show have had to deal with setting up the platform itself. We talked about the setting up the server and all that; now we are talking about the content and how to structure the content and then we are going to be moving forward from there. So we will cover that again in the next episode of the show. But to wrap it up, one big one that I really want to talk about here when it comes to the content is what is known sometimes as “Pillar Content.”
Like I said earlier, the word “pillar content” or “pillar posts” is usually referring to your initial batch of content. It is that content that you are going to put up on your blog first. So when you are starting out a new site, if you are building a business from scratch; that content marketing is going to be a big part of it, you are going to have those initial set of posts. So the big question is, what the hell are you going to do with those initial posts? What are you going to put there?
You want to like, to put your best foot forward and build something that can be a leverage to launch your blog off right and you know, that is the way you want it to be, but how are you actually going to do that?
In the last episode, I ended it off by saying that a blog post should be looked at as an asset for your business; a business asset. And I said that you should not be looking at your blog post as a clock driven thing to where you are like, “Well, I just got a post a blog post once a week or once every few days, or once a day” horrible if you are trying to still do once a day but the whole idea here is that you should not be looking at your blog content as something that you have to do because the clock told you to.
That is old school. It is not very smart; it ain’t very strategic. Don’t do that. It also just burns you out, man! And it is not the kind of business that you want to be running. It is one where all your time is spent making contents and you do not have time for anything else; much less to have a life? That is not what we are about. So we got to be strategic about that content. Think longer term. You are building up assets.
And so bringing that mentality back into the topic of pillar posts, that is how you want to look at these pillar posts; not getting some crap in your cues, you can kick the ball down the road and then you just kind of keep on moving that hamster wheel… No! You want to think of this initial blog posts so that they will be strong, long term assets for you. Not just tick in the calendar down the road here, okay?
So what are we going to do? How are we going to create these pillar posts?
Find Out What’s “Hot”
The first thing that you want to do is you want to find out what is HOT. What is hot in your market? What are people really looking for? What is getting the rise out of them? So how are we going to determine this is we are going to go out and look at the marketplace. What the hell is going on out there?
Now, there are four major segments that I am going to mention here, in passing on this episode… It is the idea of looking for what people are watching (as in videos), what people are buying, what people are searching for and what people are sharing.
So if you cover those 4 activities; what they are watching, what they are buying, what they share and what they search for… between those 4 different data sets you are going to look for intersections; you are going to find hot topics. You are going to find things that your audience is showing that they are interested in those things.
What Are They Watching?
So looking at these 4 things, how can you determine what people are watching? Well, go to YouTube! Use the YouTube search function and just start typing in primary keywords related to your market. And then watch what starts popping up not only in terms of videos that are getting a lot of views and a lot of activities but the other thing you can do is pay attention to the “suggest” functionality in the search.
Google does the same thing. You start typing in a keyword and you are going to get this little drop-down which pops down with other options like suggested searches because Google is trying to help you out. They are trying to be call. The thing is, those Google suggest options that pop down; they are guessing that you want to search for those things because there are a lot of other people searching for those things. So you can use that little drop-down in the search thing and you can see what other things people are searching for on YouTube.
So do this… start poking around. You might even want to bust out a spreadsheet and start recording some of these keyword phrases popping up in the search suggest form and see what videos pop up, see when it is getting a lot of views and things like that and just kind of compulsive data, take some notes.
What Have They Bought?
In terms of what people have bought… you can go to the Amazon. You probably heard of them. Amazon.com sells an awful lot of things and they are big into the books. The business model I focus on is primarily around the teaching business. It is based around information marketing; selling knowledge, so to speak or consulting or that type of a thing. Now when it comes to information it just so happen that Amazon is a great place to look for that because they have got all these books and all these Kindle books. And you can actually go on there and you can; based on review activity and things like that you can find out what people are buying on Amazon. So start plugging in your primary search terms on Amazon and see what pops up. See what people are buying.
Now there are other things that you can do; we are not going to cover a lot of the tools here right now. One that comes off the top of my head might be ClickBank. Go to the ClickBank marketplace and see what’s coming up, but you get the idea.
What Do They Search For?
Next; talking about what people are searching for. Well, the idea, this is obvious; go to Google. So we have talked in the past when we were covering things like niche research, we talked a little about keyword research and things like that so we are not going to cover that ground, keyword research has been talked about in a lot of places. But you can do keyword research and you can find out what people are searching for. But the other thing is use a search “suggest” field that I just mentioned for YouTube. Google does it. Go and plug some primary keywords into Google and see what is coming up. And then actually run those searches and see what the top results are, see what they are about. See what the activity level is like on those things and get some intelligence about what is going on in your marketplace.
What Do They “Share”?
Now we covered what they are watching, what they are searching for and what they are buying; we also want to know what they are sharing. Because if they are sharing it, that means they are interested. So the best place to go for that is Buzzsumo. And you can plug in keywords here and you are going to get search results that are ranked by how much they are being shared. And that is pretty damn useful information, isn’t it? So you can actually find out what people are sharing along those things. What is buzz worthy because they are throwing it around? Now, again, when it comes to the idea of judging buzz, there are a lot of other tools other than Buzz Sumo.
So those are the Big 4.
Now I want to move forward with the actual pillar post itself. If you have done that stuff that I just said, you are going to have some ideas about what is hot in your marketplace. What are people looking for, what are the hot buttons. Now from there, let us look at creating content which is going to get in front of their faces. That is what you want to happen.
The Pillar Post Mindset
The first thing is look at the mindset of this pillar post. What do you want people to feel when they come to this post that you are going to create? You want them to feel like they had just hit the freakin’ mother load. You want to blow them away with value. As my friend Chris Ducker calls it, you want to drop value bombs. That is what you want to do. You want to just have tons of value there and really blow them away. You want this to be the kind of post that covers that topic so well that it makes the other ones look like crap.
Now how are you going to do this? How the hell are you going to create a post like that without it taking your entire life? I’ll be honest with you… to create a really good pillar post is going to take some time. This is not something that you can whip out in an hour or two. But I am going to give you a little way to help you out. And in fact, this is going to help you with traffic generation as well.
It is the idea of being a curator rather than a creator. You might have heard this term “content curation.” It is the idea of instead of creating unique content yourself; you are actually curating other people’s content. So what you do is you are surfacing the best stuff that already exist in the marketplace. You are not coming in and saying “Well, I am going to re-invent the wheel” there is already this 100 people who created awesome articles in this topic, “Now what the hell am I going to add to it?” You don’t really want to get asking that question yourself; that is not necessary. What you can actually do is be a curator.
So you are going to compile information together from these outside resources and you are going to put them in to a pillar post. And it could be like a big list post; the old list-tickle; 101 Ways to Blah-blah-blah” you can it “The Ultimate Guide to Blah-blah-blah” And of course, just replace “blah-blah-blah” with your primary search phrase, the thing that popped up in that research because you want to rank! Okay?
So you are going to compile all these into this massive resource post. Now here is what you can do. You have all these articles out there that you came across with Google, and with Buzz Sumo, with YouTube; hopefully you are recording those things like what is popping up on the top of those search results. And then you are going to compile those things into this big resource.
Now what you can do is; for each one of these things, you are not just going to copy and paste or something… you are going to use the other person’s blog post and you are going to summarize it and give it your own twist as your unique content it is just that you are not coming out with it all on your own from inside your own nugget. You are getting the inspiration from it from somebody else who did a lot of research, quite frankly, for you. But you are going to give your own twist on it.
Now here is the key… You are going to link to that person. You are not swiping their stuff. You do not want to be that guy. You want to link to them and you want to give them due credit for the cool content that they just made. So you are going to have a nice image for that thing; your custom content which is giving your unique twist on it and then you link to the original source. And you do that for all of these other sources that you found. So if you are going to have 50 ways to blah-blah-blah, then each of those 50 things can be some cool strategy that you found on somebody else’s website. And you do a little ride upon it, you can include images on it because images get shared out of Pinterest and stuff like that and then you link out to the original source. And you are going to do that 50 times or however many times you want to include in this post.
Now when you are doing your research earlier, I hope that you were paying attention to the different keyword phrases that were coming up. And when you kind of got those search suggest things on there I hope you were paying attention to what was popping up because those are different keyword phrases that people are looking for all around the same topic. Here’s what you can do, is that when you have these different parts of your ultimate guide or your big listickle post, you could make a certain point to target those alternative keyword phrases in this other segments of your ultimate guide. So that is how you can do that. This is, quite frankly, how you can rank one blog post from many different keywords phrases all at the same time. You are literally going to bomb that keyword phrase with value by targeting not only the primary keyword phrase but all these alternative keyword phrases that are related to it because you are targeting all these things that popped up in your research that we did. Okay? This could really, really be powerful.
Let Them Know, Get Known
The last part of this is that you hopefully and you should be doing this. You should link out to all the original sources. You do not want to steal the shit; that is not something you want to do. You want to give them real credit for it. Okay? So what you are going to do is you are going to link to them, they are probably going to see the ping back, they might even have an alert set up so they are going to find out that they got linked. What does that do? That lets to know you exist and basically turns you into a bit of a player in that particular market. But then what you are going to do and you are going to reach out and email them. You are going to go to their blog, use their contact form, whatever… and you are going to shoot them an email and let them know that you linked to them; that you really thought that their content was cool and you really want it to include in this post you made.
Do not ask them for anything. Just let them know, be cool; be of value. You are going to find that a certain percentage of them will link back to you. They absolutely will. So that is a way to get on to the radar of people who already have legs in this market that you are looking to go into. Okay? That helps bring traffic into your pillar post and also will help you get backlinks; hopefully will get you some shares and start to get your own metrics up to the point where you are going to start showing up at the top of those search results for those keyword phrases. And you are going to work it; this is something that you are going to come back and you are going to revisit because these are long lasting assets. But you want this pillar post to be strategically picked, targeting the hot buttons and this is stuff that is really going to help launch your blog if you do it right. Okay?
Long Term Asset
So I am going to end off this episode here again, by reminding you: Not that just use your pillar post to kick off your blog. This is not something where you want to say “Well, let me get the first month of content written now, then I’ll give it a little bit of a leeway time to kind of get into a rhythm.” You know, it is this whole mentality that comes with traditional blogging that you had to be posting often, routinely. We do not want to do that! That sucks! That is a lot of work! So think of long term with these pillar posts. Every single blog post you put out should be something that is going to be a long term asset for you and your pillar posts really need to knock it out of the park, okay? These are the ones that you want to be like a major hub for your site. And think it out! Target it. Like go out and use these metrics; these analytics tools that are available to you and use that data to create a data driven pillar post. Not one that you just write something that you think is cool, but data driven. You are creating that pillar post in that way because the data showed you that it is working.
So that is the idea behind creating pillar posts that work.
Coming up in the next episode; Episode 68, we are going to kind of go to a little wrap up of Stage 2 of the 7 Stage process of building up a profitable online business based around your blog. And we will review where we are and where we are heading and just get a bird’s eye view. Okay?
See you in the next episode in a few days! 😉