Writers Roundtable: How to Write Pillar Content

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This is a podcast episode titled, Writers Roundtable: How to Write Pillar Content. The summary for this episode is: <p>Now that we’ve introduced our revolutionary Pillar-Based Marketing strategy, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and put the digital pen to paper—that’s why we’re focusing our Writers Roundtable series on pillar pages and topics. In part 1, Andrew Gold and Clare Sheehan, Content Manager and Senior Content Manager at DemandJump, share how to get started with your pillar page and strategy—and what else you need to know before diving into researching and writing.</p><p><strong>Quotes</strong></p><p>“What helps me set up a pillar page is by asking, ‘What is my motivation for writing this piece? What are the pain points? What does my customer care about? What are they feeling?’ Getting the imagery and the empathy into the introduction on the page first really sets the scene for the whole blog.” - Andrew Gold, Content Manager, DemandJump </p><p>“When doing the research process, we're looking at articles and trying to find authoritative sources on a topic. It's really beneficial to read as much of the content that the competitors have pushed out relating to the topic as possible just to see what they're saying, and how it differs from messaging that we learned about in our kickoff call with the customer.” - Clare Sheehan, Senior Content Manager, DemandJump</p><p><strong>Key Takeaways</strong></p><ul><li>The pillar page is the main piece of content and should cover a broad range of information and sub-topics relating to your central subject.</li><li>The best method to map out your pillar strategy is by first breaking down the pillar page topic, sub-pillar topics, and supporting keywords. </li><li>Engage readers by placing yourself in their shoes in order to provide solutions to their pain points vs. selling a product.</li></ul><p><strong>Time</strong> <strong>Stamps</strong>:</p><p>* (3:09) What is a topic cluster or pillar page? </p><p>* (4:11) What goes into the process of creating a pillar page?</p><p>* (10:32) How to balance sales with storytelling</p><p>* (13:03) Where to begin research on your pillar page topic</p><p>* (22:30) What motivates you to be a writer?</p><p>* (25:57) Lightning Round! </p><p>* (30:00) Drew & Ryan’s takeaways </p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Sponsor</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/">DemandJump</a>. Tired of wasting time creating content that doesn’t rank? With DemandJump you know the exact content to create to increase 1st-page rankings and drive outcomes. Get started for free today at <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/">DemandJump.com</a>.</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Links</strong></p><ul><li>Connect with Ryan on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-m-brock/">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Connect with Drew on <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/drewdetzler/">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.demandjump.com/">DemandJump</a>’s marketing tools</li><li>Become a Pillar Based Marketing expert at <a href="https://university.demandjump.com/">DemandJump University</a></li></ul>
What does a topic cluster look like?
00:17 MIN
The process for selecting a content pillar topic
01:09 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to Page One Or Bust, your ultimate guide to ranking on page one of search engines. We've introduced our revolutionary, pillar based marketing strategy to help you achieve page one rankings. Now, it's time to roll up your sleeves and put the digital pen to paper. In part one of our Writer's Round Table series, we're talking to two season content managers about the writing process for pillar pages and pillar strategy. Andrew Gold and Clare Sheehan join Drew and Ryan this episode to share advice on getting started, where to begin researching, and much more. But before we get into it, here's a brief word from today's sponsor. Page One Or Bust is brought to you by Demand Jump. Get insights, drive outcomes with Demand Jump. Get started creating content that ranks at Demand Jump. com today. And now, here are your co- host, Drew Detzler and Ryan Brock.

Drew Detzler: Welcome to Page One Or Bust. This is your co- host, Drew Detzler, VP of Marketing at Demand Jump. As always, I'm joined by my co- host here, the Chief Content Officer at Demand Jump, Ryan Brock.

Ryan Brock: Yo.

Drew Detzler: If you've been following along, you've heard us talk to marketing leaders about times that they've used content writing to drive page one rankings and search results. Today we're kicking off a brand new three part series on the writing of that content. Ryan, tell our listeners what we have in store for them.

Ryan Brock: We're going to be answering the questions you might be answering yourself. What is content? What is writing? Not just in general, but specifically around this whole pillar based marketing thing we've been talking about this entire time on this podcast. The methodologies for taking the data that we can understand about search behavior, and to actually produce content that mimics the network and creates that really awesome user experience that we know works to get you on page one, there's a methodology there. It's really buttoned up and it's stuff that our writers at Demand Jump experience every single day. Today we're talking to Claire Sheehan, Senior Content Manager at Demand Jump, and Andrew Gold, Content Manager at Demand Jump, about how to write pillar content. What goes into that whole experience of learning how to be human and answer real questions in content that's going to rank on page one really quickly? Andrew, how you doing today?

Andrew Gold: I'm doing great, Ryan. I appreciate you guys having us on today. I'm looking forward to it.

Ryan Brock: I'm excited you're here. Claire, how's life?

Claire Sheehan: It's great. Even better now that I'm here. Super excited to get into this.

Ryan Brock: Now, you are here for real treat today. This is the first time we've ever recorded an episode of this show when I've not been wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

Drew Detzler: Does that make it more formal or less formal that you're not wearing a Hawaiian shirt?

Ryan Brock: Meta. It's like, by breaking the uniform, we've become casual, even though I'm wearing something much more buttoned up. Claire, you're under a heated blanket.

Claire Sheehan: Yeah, because I turned off my AC and heat to save some money, so under heated a heated blanket right now.

Ryan Brock: You are setting up our conversation with a writer well right now. That is such a writer thing to say. I love it.

Drew Detzler: So we're going to jump into some questions here about your day- to- day, and how you go about creating this content, and specifically, pillar pages in content clusters.

Ryan Brock: What is a topic cluster or pillar page, and why are we using those terms interchangeably? Are they interchangeable? I'd love to hear what you guys have to say.

Claire Sheehan: I think essentially, they are interchangeable. Ryan, correct me if I'm wrong, but topic clusters were the original term used in the inception and the idea of pillar based marketing, but a pillar page itself as a part and core center of a topic cluster, and it's a central authoritative article and an overall pillar strategy that's built around different types of topics. So yeah, they're kind of the same. They intertwine, basically.

Andrew Gold: I was going to say, I don't know that I have much to add to that. The topic cluster is kind of all of these branches off of this tree, which is like your pillar page. So we have this main piece that we're trying to get to, and in order to adequately and comprehensively address that, we kind of have to go through all of these little branches and winding roads to get the full comprehensive picture of the cluster.

Ryan Brock: All right, so let's start with the very core of that then, with your pillar page. Tell me more about that. When you get an assignment that says, you're going to write a pillar page now, what does that mean for your week? What's going to go into the process there? Claire, mind sharing your thoughts there?

Claire Sheehan: When it comes to the writing process, I always think of the pillar page as the high level discussion of the topic that we want the customer to rank for. Each section of the pillar page should kind of relate to other parts of the strategy because the pillar page is the central authoritative article inside the strategy. And then tangentially, all of the other supporting pillars and the blogs that link to that pillar page kind of relate to the core questions being asked and answered in the pillar. So when I'm writing, I tend to look at the overall strategy, and that helps inform the keywords that I choose, so all of the content flows together and is accurately answering all of the tie level questions that the customer's ideal audience is searching for. And then it also helps set up the rest of the content that other writers are working on. They're researching to see how it all fits together. We put down those first few pieces and then the rest, it gets informed that way.

Ryan Brock: Andrew, I would like to play a fun game with your brain where I'm going to ask you to expand on something Claire said, which is, so you've got your pillar topic and your pillar page at the center. You have these other keywords and questions you're answering with other articles, but then Claire just mentioned the keyword selection. So let me ask, is it that you're really targeting one keyword on a pillar page, or are you choosing other keywords to use on that page? What purpose do those other keywords serve for you in your process?

Andrew Gold: I think it's a little combination of both. Your goal, obviously, for the pillar page, is to get the key phrase or word that is the title of your pillar to rank. That's what our customers want. They want to be known for this major, overarching topic. But in order to do that, then we have to go through and pick other keywords that are related and that will help fill in all the gaps and context around the central topic. Our recommendation is 18 to 20 keywords, and those should really be the broad questions that we think our audience is asking. For example, if we have a pillar about tractors for sale, we want to know what are used tractors, what are new tractors, what are the best ones for a farmer? What are the best ones for just a homeowner? We want to know all of this context around the pillar, so that we can answer any of the questions that any audience member who's coming to this pillar page might have, and provide helpful information as opposed to random nonsense that we think matters. We want to have these informed decisions and these informed questions that we can write about instead.

Ryan Brock: Oh yeah, Drew, I'm sure you've been there, right? Where you see that you got to write an article, you give an assignment to a writer, the answer they give, while technically an answer to the question at hand, is in no way the answer that's needed for the audience. I've been there myself a million times.

Drew Detzler: Yeah, exactly. It happens all the time, where you give it to a writer and the context is missing for what we're actually looking for and we know our audience is looking for.

Claire Sheehan: And I guess to speak to that a little bit, we already kind of danced around the topic, but just adapting keywords for the target audience is so crucial. Like what Drew was just saying, since keywords are so general, it doesn't mean your writing should be. So for example, if one of your keywords is, what is marketing? If you're writing for a company like Demand Jump, chances are, the audience knows the answer to that question already. So when you have that high value keyword, you can still use it, but instead, you can turn that section into a broader discussion of the current state of marketing and how to provide future facing insight. And then that way, you're still using that high value keyword while creating more engaging text for the reader.

Ryan Brock: And this is so critical because we've talked on this show a little bit about these best practices, but what we believe, what this show's opinion is, on the best way to get to page one, is to stop thinking about individual keywords or lists of individual keywords, but a network, a three- dimensional graph of behavior that follows that hub and spokes or topic cluster or, Andrew said tree. I think all of those are good metaphors visually, I like to say spiderweb. But the idea that it's a sort of two- dimensional, three- dimensional, spatial thing, where someone's first question they ask might find them at the very fringe outer border of that spiderweb. But then as they click deeper or they ask more broad questions, they're going to move around and find their way to the center of the hub. And our job is to build as much of that spider web as possible. So now that we think that way, it becomes a lot easier to really view keyword research, in my opinion. I guess, Andrew, I'd be interested in your opinion on this. It makes keyword research a lot more about informing your creative choices than it does checking boxes.

Andrew Gold: Yeah, definitely. And I think we talk a lot about getting keywords that can seem difficult to use or that can seem not super related when you think about the topic at hand, but then you dig a little deeper, as you know, you start doing some of the actual contextual research, and you see that these keywords are all quite related. And so yeah, picking the ones that are going to not just check the boxes, like you mentioned, Ryan, and get five to seven keywords in a blog, but actually are going to be helpful, and can lend us the creativity and the structure to say, " Okay, here's the main topic, but here are the things that are actually important to write about," I think is one of the most impactful choices that we as writers get to make on a daily basis when we're getting our assignments and moving forward throughout the week.

Drew Detzler: One of the examples that I like to use is around CRM. Pretend you're Salesforce or HubSpot or a leading CRM. They want to rank for CRM. In that example, that's the hub. And I believe Claire's example earlier of the three- dimensional aspect of these clusters and these trees, someone may come in and have no idea what a CRM is and be searching, what is CRM?

Ryan Brock: And still end up being a good customer at the end of the day. Just because they don't know doesn't mean they're not eventually going to buy.

Drew Detzler: Exactly. Exactly right. And that's where the context comes in. Someone may be way further ahead in the buying process or in the knowledge process and be searching on a completely different level around, what is the best CRM with analytics integrations? Whatever it may be. So understanding that and understanding what keywords are important can really inform the context and where that piece falls within the cluster.

Ryan Brock: Claire, I'm looking at your face and I feel like you got something to add there.

Claire Sheehan: I guess I was thinking, you have to be careful when you're doing that as the writer because oftentimes, you don't want to come in with a sales pitch. You should just come in with solution first. So instead of positioning the customer as the end all, be all hero of the story, they're more a guide to the reader to say, hey, here's how we can help you. That gives the recognition they need without turning all the content into the sales pitch, but it still directly relates to the target audience because Demand Jump has identified those questions they're searching that gives us direct insight into the pain points they're experiencing.

Andrew Gold: I would add to that, how much do you want to lead the customer defining the answer to their question versus how much do you want to smack them over the head and say, " We are the answer to your question." There's kind of a balance between those two, but I think to Claire's point, the educational side of it and the appealing to humans is what the majority of our customers and our clients want, and then being able to say, these features address these pain points, this might not be the perfect answer to your problem, but we at least understand where you're coming from and how you can start to solve these pain points.

Claire Sheehan: And I want to be clear to our audience, I believe that it is possible to both be sales- y and to be human at the same time in the right circumstance. I'm thinking about some work Andrew, Claire and I did for a company that, SaaS company, that developed sort of new category of sales forecasting technology, all machine learning driven and AI driven. We've actually had their founder, Steven Messer on this show previously, Collective Eye. And so we look in their topic network and sure enough, there's topics like, how do I build a sales forecasting in Excel? And they were really, really great about knowing that we probably need to answer that question if we want to build this whole network. It's all about the structure. And in that case, I remember I wrote one of those articles and I went very, very salesy with it, not salesy so much as I was... My intro was basically, a lot of sales organizations are still using Excel to do this. If you're doing that, you shouldn't feel bad. It's all over the place, but this is not what you should be doing in 2022. There are better ways, there are better tools. So here's the deal, we're going to tell you exactly how to do what you asked, and we're going to give you a full article on that, but if you want to skip right to the point where we can solve your problems and save you a lot of stress and time and effort, click this button here and we're going to drop you down to the part of this article where we tell you about the alternative. In my mind, being really upfront about that was the way of addressing the keyword, building the structure, providing value, and still saying, but the honest human in me says that you're wasting your time if you want to do what you're trying to figure out.

Drew Detzler: All right, Andrew, Claire, we know what we want our pillar page topic cluster to be about. Let's say it's CRM. How do we go about researching that topic, selecting keywords, and planning that?

Andrew Gold: Well, I think it starts obviously with talking to our client and establishing first and foremost, where are they at in the market already? Are they expert on this topic? Are they trying to become an expert? Are they talking to people on a different level? So you want to understand where they're coming from, because that's going to set the tone for the whole cluster of content. And then after that, for me personally, it's a lot of Googling to see what exists around this context, what exists from other subject matter experts? Do we use this to inform what we're saying? Do we try and say something different? Figuring all of that out with just what exists already before we even start writing. And then the next step really is getting into the keyword research. You figure out what keywords you want to use, how we're going to structure this, what questions really matter. What questions are going to be my my H2s? Am I going to spend five, 600 words addressing? Which ones are going to be more of your FAQs, a hundred word answers as you go throughout this? And then after that, it's seeking out answers to those questions and putting them into our own words. So I think there's a difference between regurgitating what Google has to say, and actually understanding it, becoming fake experts on our own, and then churning it out in the form of a blog or a sub pillar or a pillar page. And you start to feel like you're actually an expert because they'll ask you these questions and have comments and you'll say, " Well, actually, this is how it really works," or things like that. So that happened to my shop this week. We had a conversation about the engineering of diesel engines, and I was like, " Actually, no, this is literally how they work. So this comment that you made is a great piece of feedback, but the facts just disagree with it." And two weeks ago, I wouldn't have been able to have that conversation. So for me, I think that's really the process is figuring out what we want to say and then becoming the expert on whatever it is that you end up wanting to say.

Ryan Brock: Yeah, I like to say not fake expert, but temporary expert. I guarantee you, in a year, you're not going to remember how the workings of a diesel engine because you're going to be moved onto so many other topics. But right now, you know what you're talking about.

Claire Sheehan: Bounce off of that, when we're doing the research process and we're looking at all of the articles and we're trying to find authoritative sources on a topic, it's really beneficial for all of us to read as much of the content that the customer's competitors have pushed out relating to the topic as possible, just to see what they're saying, how it differs from messaging that we learned about in our kickoff call with the customer. And sometimes they'll even go ahead and look at the competitor's social media and see if they posted blogs, have they gotten any engagement on the stuff they've been writing? What kind of engagement was it? Were people, industry experts, disagreeing? All of that stuff is super valuable. Taking a deep dive into what the competition is doing. For instance, in a lot of newer companies, there's some debate about what they're doing. If the solution hasn't been already accepted and adopted by most of their industry, it can be good to see the ways their competitors are approaching the topic to see if they're getting any pushback. And then you can preemptively address that pushback in the content, so the customer that you're writing for won't receive that feedback when their audience gets to their content.

Drew Detzler: That's great.

Ryan Brock: I want to give this clip to every customer we ever get that's like, " How could you be an expert? How could you write this content if you don't know this?" I don't think a lot of people would even imagine that the writers of this kind of content are getting so in depth on everything. And Claire, I got to ask real quick, does that ever happen? Have you ever seen a competitor's social media profile where it's like, actually, you're wrong about this? Because that would be the most amazing thing I've ever heard.

Claire Sheehan: Yeah, yeah. I've seen that happen a couple of times. Not necessarily, Oh, you're wrong, but I disagree. And then I went ahead and copied that comment and said, " Some people disagree for X reasons, here's why that's not right." And the customer ended up linking it, so I was glad.

Ryan Brock: That delights me.

Drew Detzler: So I'm learning that there really is no shortcut to the research aspect of this. As a writer, you are doing a diesel engine cram session. And like Ryan said, you are a temporary expert.

Andrew Gold: I would add to that, we had a pillar several months ago about one of the most incredibly niche topics that you could imagine, which would be our five gallon buckets. And we had writers literally in forums and becoming a part of this community. There was drama.

Ryan Brock: The five gallon bucket community?

Andrew Gold: Yeah. There's drama, there's entry, there's stress like tension. So you definitely do, when you're getting in the weeds, you are fully invested. Sometimes your research will take you places that you absolutely had no intention of going.

Drew Detzler: This has the potential to be an entire podcast spinoff aimed at the five gallon bucket community.

Ryan Brock: Or any community. Because that's the thing. One of the things I like to talk about, especially with people who I'm just introducing the concept of pillar based marketing to is, you can put every executive, every subject matter expert, every person you have at your company knows your subject matter inside and out in a room, and work for days on trying to figure out what are the top 10 most important questions people ask on the internet about what you have? And you're never going to get it right. You're never going to be able to figure it out. So that's so amazing to me is, even the level of research you guys are talking about is only really possible because you are getting a real finger on the pulse of, what are the people who care about this actually talking about? Because if you didn't have that language that they're using, how would you even know to ask some really weird questions that I know pop up in our platform from time to time?

Andrew Gold: Like you said, Ryan, this is something that I, as a writer, we as strategists and probably even the leadership teams on these companies are not expecting customers to be asking or talking about. So yeah, the ability to get that immediate insight definitely saves time and make sure we're going in the right direction. Yeah,

Drew Detzler: Absolutely does. Okay, so you have done your cram session around diesel engines, five gallon buckets, CRM. You are a temporary expert on that topic. You've used a tool to organize and gather keyword information. In our case, it's Demand Jump, but there's other tools out there. Now it's time to start writing, putting digital pen to digital paper, which terrifies me. How do you guys do that? The idea of having a blank sheet and just having a handful of keywords in the top that I want to write about terrifies me. How do you guys go about starting that process?

Claire Sheehan: I think we always begin with research. And the concept of a blank page can be terrifying, but once you start doing research, I think your comfort level increases greatly because you're like, okay, I found these really good sources, these really good statistics, and you start creating a repository. One thing that I like to do is to put in little objectives. In every single section that I create, I create an objective for the introduction, whether it's like illustrating how crazy explosive this new SaaS market industry has been. Plugging why, how we got to this point, why we're talking about the topic using statistics, and then I'll do that for every section. So as each H2 that you use for the keywords becomes more granular, you can create a little objective that allows you to guide your writing and get more specific as the pillar page goes on.

Ryan Brock: Keywords is H2s. Can one of you speak to that? What are you talking about there?

Claire Sheehan: Usually we'll pull long tail keywords that are opting times questions whenever possible, and we'll use those as little subject headings for each section in the pillar. So the title will be the header for the introduction, and then the next H2 will speak about what was lightly mentioned in the introduction. And then each section should hopefully flow together nicely until you reach the conclusion, which is usually some sort of call to action.

Andrew Gold: This is actually a great segue because it is... So we mentioned now we have the set up, we have the research, we have the keywords, and then you have this blank page. So my process is a little bit more chaotic than some other people on our team because some people have this exact, this is how I do it every single time. For me, it depends on the piece that I'm writing, but I usually have an approach of one of two ways. Entering through the introduction, which is kind of frowned upon. In the professional writing industry, people who recommend you wait to save the introduction for last. But I think it helps me set up, what is my motivation for writing this piece? What are the pain points? What does my customer care about? What are they feeling? So for me, getting the imagery and the empathy of the introduction on the page first really sets the scene for the whole blog. So we have customer X who is doing this right now, feeling this, and they're trying to produce a blog and they don't know how to write any of it, so what are the tips? Really, what's going on in their head? So I'll either try and start there, or if I'm not feeling very inspired or creative at the moment, with the keywords that we have, that does provide the context to say, okay, I know at some point in this article, I'm going to write a paragraph about the keyword, what is the best CRM in 2022? That's going to be my H2, and I know at some point, I'm going to spend time addressing that, so I'll just start writing different sections. And then you end up with 800 words on the page. You don't know how it's going to be laid out yet, but you have something there that now you can rework, you can go back and write an intro or a call to action. You can figure out, oh, I was redundant in this section from this section to this section. So starting with the keywords and just filling out piece by piece can be a really helpful step, especially on days where maybe you're not feeling as creative or as much inflow.

Ryan Brock: That's awesome. I think it's important that we talk about these things so that people understand how human that process is. So in light of that, I want to ask a slightly bigger question. What being a writer means to each one of you? And not just in general, but specifically when it comes to what you're doing day- to- day here, writing this pillar based marketing content, what does it mean to you, that's what you're doing every day? What do you derive from that part of your identity?

Claire Sheehan: I have to remove myself from our customer, the Demand Jump customer and try and reorient myself with their ideal customer. So instead of when I'm writing, I try not to think about what the customer wants. Obviously, I do to some level because I'm writing something for them, but I try and approach the topic from, okay, I don't want to write something that the customer wants to read. I want to write something that their customer wants to read. And that can get really helpful when it's like, okay, I don't want this content to be completely sales driven. It does for a pillar page, it doesn't need to be a 3000 word long sales pitch. No one's going to read that, it's not going to be effective. So looking at the keywords and doing that research really helps you understand where their audience is coming from. I think it helps you become more empathetic as a writer, especially when we've done our nonprofit writing for the charities that we choose to write for every quarter. That's a great way to approach it where it's like, what problem are these organizations solving, and how does their audience feel about it? And then that gives you a good anchor for how to approach answering a lot of those keyword, high value questions. And then, I don't know, I guess being a writer just about being empathetic and conveying information in a way that is designed to help people, and looking at it from that broad perspective usually helps me create better content.

Andrew Gold: Yeah, I would agree a hundred percent. As a writer, you're primarily here to write a story or tell a story. And the benefit of what we get to write about oftentimes is that, not only is it a story, but it also lends itself to helping people with big or small issues. I think you enjoyed the storytelling process and helping your reader get from point A, which is some area of struggle to point Z, which is, hey, we can finally get through this together, and we've gone on this journey together as the writer and the reader. And I think a good limus test is, as Claire said, would you read this? If I was not getting paid to read or write about this, can I still write this in a way that is interesting enough?

Drew Detzler: Exactly. I love that, Andrew and Claire. And I love that perspective because from the marketing leader's perspective, it is so hard to pull away from throwing a, try it free, buy now, get a demo CTA underneath every paragraph. It's so hard to pull away from of trying to sell, being on the hook for revenue. It's tough to step away from that. But that's not what this channel's for. That's not what search is for. That's not what the end user wants. And writing that story and telling a story is something that someone actually wants to read and is actually helpful, is the best way to succeed in that channel.

Ryan Brock: It's really easy to forget that you can have all the data in the world, but if you are not being thoughtful and really trying to solve pain and write something of value, you're not going to get to page one. You're just not, ever. And I think that sums us up pretty well. So Drew, I think it's time for you to lead us through the lightning round, my friend.

Drew Detzler: All right, let's do it. The last thing you searched.

Claire Sheehan: Oh gosh.

Ryan Brock: You can lie. It's encouraged.

Claire Sheehan: Let's double check. It's encouraged? Okay. Well, I'll go with something that, the last most interesting thing that I searched. The last thing I searched was how Vincent van Gogh actually died, and the debate in the art history community and whether or not it was actually suicide or if he was accidentally shot by one of the little village boys, and he pretended it was suicide to cover for them. So that was a pretty interesting Google rabbit hole.

Ryan Brock: Fascinating.

Andrew Gold: Wow.

Ryan Brock: Drew and I were just talk thinking about Vincent van Gogh. That's a story for another time. We were talking extensively about him.

Andrew Gold: Yeah, mine's not nearly as exciting as that. Recently got into my first fantasy football league in six years, so I was seeing who's going to be injured this weekend and who's not? And as a Colts fan, just looking for any side of good news out of Indianapolis, but I don't think it's coming anytime soon.

Ryan Brock: Oops.

Drew Detzler: Oh, it's not. It is not. Oh, I love that. All right. What is a writing myth that has been busted in your career?

Claire Sheehan: One of the writing myths that was busted for me as I've became a professional writer was learning that it was taught to me that only writers with problems need feedback. So if you get feedback, you're bad at what you do. Good writers don't necessarily write effortlessly all the time. There's struggle involved, there are learning curves, especially when you're learning about several new topics every week. And oftentimes, those topics are very dense, like diesel engine parts. So I think that was one myth that just completely got busted for me was like, oh, you are a good writer even if there are feedback and questions about your writing, and that only makes you better.

Ryan Brock: Cool.

Andrew Gold: Yeah, mine's quite similar, actually. I think there's a difference between being a good writer and just writing often or writing prolifically. The good and the best writers are also writing prolifically, but there's an intent to improve or receive that feedback. And especially in this role, there's so much variety with what we write, that I think that's really become quite obvious that the more you can challenge yourself as a writer, the more you're going to grow.

Drew Detzler: All right. Who is your favorite writer? Ryan Brock, because he gave me a job.

Ryan Brock: I'll pay you on the way out.

Claire Sheehan: I don't want to say favorite because that's doing an injustice to all my other favorites. But I think the writer that impacted me the most was definitely Kurt Vonnegut. I went through a phase in, I think, from middle school to high school where I just read prolifically in middle school constantly. And then once I got into high school, I stopped, and one of my teachers was like, " All right, just pick a book that you want to read. I don't care. Just pick a book and write about it, basically." And I picked Slaughterhouse Five, and that book just, I don't know. It tore my heart out, it was funny, it was sad. It was a great insight into war and all of that stuff, and it just really reinvigorated my interest in reading and in writing, and I don't think I would have this job without having read that book. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite.

Andrew Gold: Yeah. I have to be fully honest that I do always go back to the professors and the teachers that really got me into writing and into English as a topic and things like that. The unfortunate answer for me, which is also kind of a cop out, would have to be Shakespeare, because seeing the passion that some of my teachers have for just the English language and the command that he had over it, and the lessons we would do around it, I didn't even know if I was interested, but the passion around that topic really was like, yeah, I'll buy in. This is awesome. I love this guy. Straight up, Dead Poets Society kind of teachers like Mr. Keating, Robin Williams performances. Those are the things that always come to mind when I think about how I got to where I'm at.

Drew Detzler: Not a cop out at all.

Ryan Brock: Well, thanks so much, Andrew and Claire for joining us today. Really great just taking some time out of all the data and the marketing talk and just having some real conversations about pros. I think it's been refreshing.

Drew Detzler: I totally agree.

Andrew Gold: Cool. Thanks for having us.

Claire Sheehan: Thank you for having me. It was super fun.

Ryan Brock: All right, Drew, what do you think as a marketer, not a writer? What were your big takeaways here?

Drew Detzler: Yeah, I mentioned it, but the different perspective, I really enjoyed. For me, I want to drive revenue, so I want to pitch our product at all times. But understanding that that's not what search is for, and writers truly understand that, and they're not as tied to revenue as I am. They can actually create a good story and give people what they want. It's really helpful, and I really enjoyed that.

Ryan Brock: But my takeaway, like I've said, I said about a few things in this conversation is, they're not mutually exclusive. You know better than anybody that the moment that someone's reading your article, especially if it's answering a long tail question at the top of the funnel, is not the moment they're going to buy from you necessarily, but it's going to lead to the moment where they buy from you. So you've seen it, I've seen it. The revenue comes eventually, but the first job is to just be of value to someone. Right?

Drew Detzler: Exactly. Exactly. Be of value, answer the questions they're asking, and the moment you stop selling, you start selling. When it comes to search.

Ryan Brock: Boom, stamp it, quote it, put it on a book. That was a great episode of page one or bust. And if you liked what you heard today, we're going to continue this series with part two. Coming up next, we're going to be talking to a couple of writers who have been at this game for many, many years and have some great thoughts to share with us. So we're going to take a look at how you pick your content topic and how you even start with this whole pillar based marketing thing. And we're excited to have you join us for that next time.

Drew Detzler: Looking forward to it, Ryan. And that's it for this episode of Page One or Bust. We'll see y'all next time.

Ryan Brock: Peace.

Speaker 1: Page one or Bust is brought to you by Demand Jump. Know the exact content to create to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with Demand Jump Get started for free today at Demand Jump. com.


Now that we’ve introduced our revolutionary Pillar-Based Marketing strategy, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and put the digital pen to paper—that’s why we’re focusing our Writers Roundtable series on pillar pages and topics. In part 1, Andrew Gold and Clare Sheehan, Content Manager and Senior Content Manager at DemandJump, share how to get started with your pillar page and strategy—and what else you need to know before diving into researching and writing.

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We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at PageOne@DemandJump.com.