What you’ll learn:
- Why the B2B content pyramid model is essential to an effective campaign.
- What are the components of a content pyramid?
- The benefits using this model provide for nearly any B2B marketer.
The “content pyramid” model has been around, seemingly, for almost as long as the notion of the “sales funnel.” Unlike the sales funnel, which is a much too deterministic (and optimistic) model, a B2B content pyramid makes perfect sense – and is absolutely applicable to real-world challenges.
In fact, we’d say it ought to be a mandatory part of your content strategy.
Much too often – and usually to our surprise – we’ve encountered B2B content marketing clients who seem to think that each primary content asset exists in its own little universe. They give surprisingly little thought to extending a white paper or blog post’s content that, even though they’ve invested sizable time and budget in creating it.
How would they re-purpose and re-leverage that original content? As an infographic, a video, a podcast, as social posts or the basis of a webinar or PR campaign.
This is why great original content often doesn’t get its due: Because it hasn’t been made visible across other channels and formats. But this is how you really amortize that initial content investment. You drive greater visibility of your thought leadership position and sustain engagement with that asset – or others that complement it.
What’s the point of the B2B content pyramid?
The foundation of the B2B content pyramid is, ironically, its capstone. This is your pillar content asset, such as a long-form blog post or an in-depth white paper that provides comprehensive information and insight about a certain topic.
Pillar content establishes your expertise and bona fides and is the source from which all other content in the pyramid matriculates.
This is why another evocative analogy often used in modeling content creation and distribution strategies is content waterfall.
What are its layers?
Once we’ve set our capstone of pillar content, the next layer in our B2B content pyramid is cluster content. Cluster content consists of shorter, related pieces that link back to your pillar content, and may re-use or sample some of it.
These could be blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, or even excerpts within your website’s pages that dig down into specific facets of your pillar content.
Cluster content helps to establish topical authority and boosts your SEO by signaling to search engines that your website is an authoritative source about the topic.
The next layer down is the link-building layer. Here, we focus on attracting high-quality backlinks from other reputable websites. Guest blogging, creating shareable content, and collaborating with industry experts are effective strategies for building a strong link-building layer.
These backlinks not only drive traffic to your website but also enhance your credibility in the eyes of search engines. Google is now pretty hardcore about content being useful and authoritative in order to get ranked. So it’s invaluable to be up to speed on methods for link building.
The final layer of the B2B content pyramid is the social media layer. This includes promoting your content on various social media platforms to increase its reach and engagement. Sharing snippets, quotes, or visuals from your pillar and cluster content can pique audience interest and drive traffic back to your website.
Decreasing effort, increasing visibility
There’s a declining amount of effort needed to create content assets as you move down the pyramid. That’s because you did all the heavy lifting when you created your capstone/pillar content.
Since you’re re-purposing existing content as you move down the pyramid, there’s less effort and expense involved in content creation.
However, you’re getting greater awareness because of how you’re distributing content snippets and samples across a bigger digital footprint than you’ve previously been able to unify in a single program (another reason why the “pyramid” model really fits!).
The benefits of a B2B content pyramid
Following this B2B content pyramid model provides several benefits to your enterprise.
- To start with, you’re adopting a more holistic and organized approach to your content strategy.
- By leveraging a framework that connects all your content assets, you create a seamless user experience and make it easier for your audience to navigate through your content, especially if you want them to reach your capstone assets.
- You’ll also be reducing content development costs and the stress and strain you put on your content team.
- A B2B content pyramid is especially valuable for a startup or small B2B enterprise because it helps them use scant resources efficiently.
- A content pyramid helps to improve your search rankings. By interlinking your cluster content with your pillar content and attracting high-quality backlinks, you signal to Google or other search engines that your website is a valuable resource. This boosts your visibility and increases your chances of higher placement in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- A B2B content pyramid model enables you to efficiently repurpose your existing content. By breaking down your pillar content into smaller chunks or sub-assets for cluster content and creating shareable snippets for social media, you’re extending the lifespan and reach of your content.
Tips on pyramid-building
Now that we understand how a B2B content pyramid works and what we can get out of it? Let’s explore some actionable tips for building one:
- Define your target audience and their pain points: Knowing who you’re serving with your content – and “serving” is the right word since your content campaigns should be all about providing real value – and the challenges they face are central to developing pillar and cluster content that resonates with them.
- Conduct keyword research: Identify target keywords that align with your target audience’s needs and search intent. Strategically incorporate these keywords across your pillar and cluster content for improved SEO. But don’t make the mistake of only using SEO as a determining factor in strategizing content; that can be a fatal mistake.
- Pursue internal alignment: You’d be shocked how many content programs aren’t aligned with sales, product marketing, or even businesswide goals. Make sure you’re working hand-in-hand with other teams and stakeholders to maximize the impact of your content calendar.
- Develop a content calendar: Plan and schedule your pillar and cluster content in advance. And by that, I mean well in advance: Six months, minimum (you can always adjust it later!). This ensures good lead time for content development, a consistent flow of it, and enables you to interlink relevant assets effectively.
- Optimize your pillar content: Make sure your pillar content is well-researched, comprehensive, and showcases your expertise. Plug in relevant keywords, use clear formatting, and include visuals to enhance readability and engagement.
- Promote your content strategically: Utilize social media platforms, PPC, email marketing, influencer collaborations and other promotional tactics to amplify content reach.
If your content pyramid isn’t producing results, then you need to revise your strategy. First, you need a way to measure those results, and for that we can look to another pyramid model, courtesy of Joe Palizzi of Content Marketing Institute fame.
Content marketing measurement can seem complex and even arbitrary at first glance since it seems like different content marketers might have different KPIs in mind.
But as Palizzi points out, you can rest assured there are company leaders who will want to see quantified results that demonstrate returns. The success indicators you use to populate this pyramid will help you define what content and tactics are working best so you can optimize around them. So learn more about how it works.
It’s that easy, is it?
Implementing a B2B content pyramid model does making things easier – often a lot easier – for a marketer who wants to maximize the efficiency and impact of their content campaigns.
On the other hand, you need to put work into proper planning of the entire pyramid, from capstone content on down through every link-building and social media element. That can demand a lot of coordination and work, but if you reach out to the right experts for help? In time, it’ll become a well-oiled machine that generates MQLs and sales.