Content marketing is…. a vague term. For some people, it means blogging, for others it means hiring freelancers to write short-form content for their website, and for others? It’s a way of life. I’m not going to brag and say it’s a way of life here, but it is, and we’re all jazzed about it.
You should be, too.
HOWEVER, like all marketing disciplines, your best-laid plans will go astray without a solid strategy behind it. At Envision we like to ask “Why?” Not in the screaming into the void, existential way but in the “Why are we doing this particular thing?” kind of way. It’s how we ensure that the strategies we’re putting together have a purpose and that things aren’t being done just to be done.
With that being said, if your content marketing strategy is just blogging then, sit on down and make some time to journey with us now through the concept of Topic Cluster Methodology. We’re going to talk about WHAT it is, WHY it is important, and HOW you can implement it for your own business.
What is a Topic Cluster?
Essentially, a topic cluster is a way to build out one broad subject into more specific topics. All of this content goes into creating a pillar page which is the main page from which your topic stem. Does that make sense? If not, here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re a landscaping company and you want to increase your search rankings to be more competitive. You’d want to create a pillar page populated with content that briefly goes over several sub-topics that fall under your core phrase. In this instance, your core phrase would be “landscaping.” You’ll want to create some subtopics that make sense for this. Some examples of sub-topics:
- Outdoor lighting
- Water features
- Stone paths
- Lawn Care
You pillar page should be LONG—don’t be afraid for it to be several times longer than your other website pages. The point is to create useful and optimized content for the Google bots to crawl.
From the pillar page, you’ve created, you would create a subset of other pages, each one focusing more specifically on the subtopics that were only briefly discussed in the pillar page; for example, a page on hardscaping. This allows you to link all of the pages of content that you create on your subtopics with your pillar page as well as with one another. This is called internal linking—it allows users to navigate different pages of your site without using the main navigation.
Example: Your page on Hardscaping could link to your page on stone paths. This is an internal link—a link that sends a user from one piece of content on your site to another piece of content on your site.
Why is Topic Cluster Methodology Important?
Topic Cluster methodology is important because the internet is crowded. According to The Manifest, 53% of businesses use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy and that number is growing. It’s not just B2C—it’s B2B, too. Content is how you educate, enlighten, convert—it’s how your customers interact with your brand.
Content fuels your SEO rankings, as well. If your site has excellent SEO, more people see it. The more people see it, the more chances you have to convert! We won’t say its free money, because you have to put work into it but NOT putting work into is leaving revenue on the table.
Here are 4 reasons topic cluster methodology is important:
- It improves your site structure which makes search engines and users happy.
- Enhances the user experience and makes it easy for readers to navigate from page to page within a relevant subject, which search engines tend to reward with higher rankings.
- Increasing your organic rankings means more people can find your business—mean you have that much more opportunity to make money.
- It allows you to fully educate your customers about your expertise and authority, as well as the services you provide. Spend less time hovering at the top of the funnel and more time getting those conversions!
Your quality score goes up and so does your rankings. This matter because it makes it easier for people to find you. And guess what? It’s all organic (pssst: unpaid)!
How Do I Implement a Topic Cluster Strategy?
Now that you know the What and the Why—it’s time to talk about the How.
- Choose the right topic. Not only should the topic be relevant to your business, but it should be broad enough that it can be split into numerous sub-topics. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the topic you choose has enough search volume to be worth your time and effort since you will be creating a lot of content for that cluster.
- Do your keyword research. Even though topic clusters focus on broad topics, you’ll still need to do extensive keyword research. This allows you to figure out exactly what your audience is asking about the topic, which in turn will give you some direction as to what to focus your content on.
- Don’t forget to use visual elements. After you create your pillar page, you’ll want to focus on writing content based on the subject’s sub-topics. However, you should consider implementing visual content. Supplement different pages using photographs or charts. Some of your sub-topic pages can simply be infographics as long as they relate back to your pillar page.
- Promote your content. First of all, you’ll want to link to all of your sub-topic pages from your pillar page and vice versa. Then, promote the links to different pages on social media and make sure each page has social share buttons. Finally, consider publishing some of these pages on other sites to bring in more traffic that will then bounce around your cluster content.
It sounds like hard work because it is. If you’re looking to skip steps and go from nothing to 200 leads a month, you’ll be waiting forever for the conversion fairy to come to visit you! Make sure you know how many leads you’ll need to make your efforts worthwhile (pssst: we have a free tool for that). If you get stuck—reach out! Our content nerds are always ready to geek out on your site and give the insight and help you need to get your business a lean, mean conversion machine!