Building pillar content takes time, thought, and a ton of energy. In the end, you want to make sure you are maximizing the return on your investment with the creation of pillar content. This means properly using the content in several ways. One of the most common questions I get asked is: should I put the pillar on my website or just offer it as an eBook?

This a fair question that actually has a very simple answer: do both. Both are heavyweight Goliaths that deserve your consideration in development.

Consider the purpose of both as you decide on how to finalize your content. There are pros and cons to each type of content distribution method for you to consider.

Key Terms: Pillar, Cluster, Sub-Pillar, Supporting

Pillar and cluster are often used interchangeably because they refer to the grouping of ideas on one topic. It is the body of articles, not just one article. However, for the sake of this blog post, we will further differentiate the “pillar” as being the large body article, usually between 7,000 to 10,000 words long.

Sub-pillars and Supporting articles fit into the cluster and are their own blog articles. Each article in the cluster should be able to link to multiple other articles in the cluster including the pillar article.

Purpose of Pillar Pages

The purpose of the pillar page is to be the introduction class. Blog articles that fall into the sub-pillar and supporting categories are more detailed versions of your introduction class.

If you think about it in terms of college classes, Psychology 101 is going to give an overview and baseline knowledge that is later expanded on in Psychology 201. The introductory class will give an overview of psychology but really isn’t going to get into the nitty-gritty details of neurochemistry.

man with lightbulb as head

  • Psych 101 = Pillar Page
    • Chapter Overviews of:
      • History
      • Clinical
      • BioPsych
      • Behavioral
      • Conducting Research
  • Psych 201 = Sub-pillar Detailing Bio-Psych
    • Detailed Information on:
      • Brain
      • Nervous System
      • Endocrine System
      • Biological Rhythms
      • Trauma and Plasticity
  • Psych 301 = Supporting Topic Further Detailing 201 Topic
    • Trauma and Plasticity
      • What Happens to the Brain After a Stroke

The 101 gave us very basic information that links out to more detailed information from the pillar page to the sub-pillar content (201) and supporting content (301).

Pros of Pillar Content

The benefits of pillar content include:

  • A large body of work on the same topic to get recognized by Google
  • Ability to link to other content in the website to demonstrate overall authority and site branding
  • Hits wide range of search options from general keywords (i.e. studying psychology) to very detailed questions (i.e. What Happens to the Brain After a Stroke)

Cons of Pillar Content

The disadvantages of pillar content include:

  • Time-consuming to create and map out
  • Actual pillar pages are too much for readers to digest
  • Can become repetitive if not strategized properly

Pillar Content and Converting Sales

Pillar content should help a website convert more clicks into sales in a few different ways. The primary goal is to get higher on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) to drive more traffic to the site. More people seeing and reading your work should naturally result in more sales. This isn’t enough. Every page should have a specific call to action (CTA) that directs customers to the right item buy.

In your entire pillar cluster, you can choose to have one continuous CTA or test several depending on the blog page’s focus.

Purpose of eBook

The eBook is usually a lead magnet; the freebie you give website visitors in exchange for a little bit of information about them. Remember that organic traffic is great, but the best marketers want to control their prospects journey with follow-up emails and offers because they know that readers may not return to the website to buy.

The eBook is not directly selling anything in most cases. Content marketers consider the success of an eBook conversion rate by how many downloads and valid emails were obtained. Email is like a marketers digital currency because they know with the right follow-up sequence, they will generate sales.

Image of Book to Download

Converting the Pillar Article to an eBook

It doesn’t take much to convert the pillar article into an eBook. In the most basic sense, you take the content and convert it to a PDF file for download. Make an eBook look more professional with graphic design services that brand the book to your website brand and design pages with images and style continuity. You can hire someone to do this or use one of the many programs available to do so.

Pros and Cons of eBooks

The benefits of eBook include:

  • Easy for readers to download and read in a larger format (if they don’t want to read on a smartphone)
  • Gives website owner something to market outside of the website, driving traffic to a landing page
  • Builds an email list to cultivate the trust factor with over time, leading to more sales

Cons of Pillar Content

The disadvantages of eBooks include:

  • Might lead to high bounce rates of readers not clicking through to internal links
  • Ineffective if not well designed or without solid follow up sequence
  • Requires a sales strategy for conversions on its own

Who Wins With  Pillar Vs eBook?

Whether you convert your existing pillar page into an eBook or modify it in some way to build an email list, you should definitely build both. Good content marketing has its foundation in SEO and organic traffic results. We want the SERPs every single time. But even without the top SERP results or tons of organic traffic, eBook campaigns are effective ways to drive traffic and sales to your website.

Use them in social media channels and develop an email list with the intention to build a long-term relationship with your readers. Remember that there are always two readers you need to satisfy with ALL of your content: the actual human reader and the Google algorithms of SEO. It isn’t enough to focus just on one.algorithm mascot Al Gore-Rhythm