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What is a Pillar Post?
The term "pillar post" refers to any instructional blog post of significant length that relates to the theme of your blog yet can stand on its own as an article outside of the context of the blog.
In general, pillar posts have a journalistic or analytical tone and aren't very personal. However, one of the beauties of pillar posts is that there is not right or wrong way to write them - they can be straight forward and serious, or full of personality and light-hearted anecdotes. What is important is that they are written with the goal of providing useful information that will be meaningful to both your blog readers and random visitors.
Here are two very different examples of pillar posts:
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Why They Are Important
Pillar posts are important for your blog because they help you cast a wider traffic net. As informational posts, pillar posts will appear in search results when readers type in keywords pertaining to the topic. They will click on your pillar post, gain good information, and more often than not, will look around your site for more information, offering them a chance to become recurring readers.
Pillar posts are also conducive to being cited by other bloggers and webmasters as a resource for their readers, which brings more exposure for your site and a chance for expanded readership.
Pillar posts can also increase your traffic significantly by helping to establish you as an expert in your niche. If you can write two to five pillar posts spread out over a month that are worthwhile and provide readers with easy to understand information on your topic than pretty soon you can garner a reputation beyond your blog for being a go-to-person on your subject, which of course will yield great traffic.
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How to Write a Pillar Post
Pillar posts should address a topic that is related to your blog. So before you sit down to write one, consider what issues are meaningful to you and your readers. For example, if you write a blog about animals, you may want to put together a pillar post on the best house training techniques or teaching animals to respond to commands. If your run a blog about shopping then you could do a pillar post on the best online shopping sites, or the easiest ways to save money shopping. The choices are endless, regardless of your topic. You just need to pick one you feel you can expound on with authority.
Since pillar posts will be longer than your traditional blog posts, consider writing a short outline so you can keep track of the important points. A great format for pillar posts includes one to two introductory paragraphs, explaining the goal of the post along with its importance, followed by a list or sub-sectioned body that includes specific details about your topic, or carefully outlined steps. Wrap the post up with a nice concluding paragraph encouraging readers to look around the site for more info, or contact you directly with questions.
It is good to provide links to other resources at the end of your pillar post, as it will provide readers with more information and help you generate backlinks to the post as a reputable source.
Since pillar posts will hopefully introduce many people to your blog, be sure to edit it carefully for spelling or grammar mistakes - this is supposed to be an informational post, save the smiley faces, "lol"s, and other slang for your more relaxed posts.