In this episode, seasoned content marketing expert Ryan Brock shares his vast experience and knowledge of pillar-based content, providing viewers with a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively implement pillar-based marketing.

Pillar-based marketing isn't just about organizing content; it's a strategic approach that can significantly boost a website's SEO performance, enhance user experience, and drive more targeted traffic.

By focusing on creating comprehensive, authoritative pillar pages linked to related content clusters, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry.

Brock emphasizes the importance of understanding your audience, creating high-quality relevant content, and strategically linking that network of content to form a cohesive, informative experience for users.

Brock expounds at length not just about the theory behind pillar pages and topic clusters, but also the actionable approaches that can lead to growth and success. He delves into the nuances and advanced tactics that can elevate a content marketing strategy from good to great.

Check out the video for more details, and the full podcast (link below the video) for the entire insightful conversation.

Don't miss future episodes: Subscribe to the Marketing Smarts Live Show on YouTube. And to catch up on all previous episodes, check out the full playlist on YouTube.

Episode Details, Guest Information, and Referenced Links

Episode No. 63

Guest's social media profiles:

MarketingProfs resources referenced in the show:

"In B2B News" article referenced in the show:

"From the #mpb2b Community" links referenced in the show:

Transcript: Unleashing the Power of Pillar-Based Marketing, With Ryan Brock

Hello to all my Marketing Smarts Live viewers today. I'm super excited to bring you another episode of the Marketing Smarts Live show.

This week's topic is all about Unleashing the Power of Pillar-Based Marketing.

So, if you're ready to get your learn on, buckle up and let's get ready to rock and roll.

Hey, I'm your boy George B. Thomas, speaker, trainer, catalyst, and host of this here show, the Marketing Smarts Live show, as well as the Marketing Smarts podcast found on your favorite podcast app.

Our guest clips today are brought to you by none other than Ryan Brock.

Ryan Brock, is the founder of the DemandJump-acquired content agency Metonymy Media. Boasting 12 years of experience driving measurable content outcomes for businesses in every industry, Ryan is a seasoned SEO expert.

Now, as chief solution officer at DemandJump, Ryan works with companies worldwide to remove the guesswork from SEO and drive industry-leading organic traffic results through pillar-based marketing methodologies.

Ryan is a co-author of Pillar-Based Marketing: A Data-Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works.

Now, remember the clips of Ryan Brock today are pulled from the full Marketing Smarts podcast episode, and if you want to listen to the full interview with Ryan Brock and myself, make sure to tune into the Marketing Smarts podcast, link to the full show will be in the description below after the live show ends.

Now, in this episode, again, I'm talking with Ryan Brock about Unleashing the Power of Pillar-Based Marketing.

What is this 16-piece strategy you talk about in your book?


Ryan: The reason that we talk about a 16-piece strategy is because we've tested it. In order to create that network effect where Google sees it and it's like that two Spider-Men pointing at each other meme where Google is like you see the same thing we do about how people want to learn about this, that's cool, you need 16 pieces networked together to create that effect.

That's just the minimum. There are some pillars that we've done that are 130 pieces of content over time. A lot of customers that we work with who use pillar-based marketing, use our technology to make it happen, are writing between, on average, 16 and 35 pieces of content for a pillar. It just varies depending on how big the network is. Sometimes you'll analyze a network and you'll get 3,000 terms back, but a lot of that could be junk. A lot of that could be stuff that you don't care about, that you don't want to cover. A lot of it might be really good, but there's only 200 terms in your network, so you really have to buckle down and do the whole thing. It just depends.

One of the ways that this works, and I'm going to speak from a slightly proprietary standpoint because we have to address the question that you just asked in a meaningful way regularly. What we've done at DemandJump to facilitate this strategy is we've created something called a DJ score, which is effectively a score from 0 to 100 where we're measuring... I was talking before about those sub-pillars and how they're connected across a lot of different journeys and a lot of different terms might lead you back to those sub-pillar terms that you're targeting. What we do is we analyze each term that shows in the network and we give it a score 0 to 100, and that represents how connected it is to other terms in the network.

The higher the score, the more load bearing it is when it comes to the pathways people take learning about this. The lower the score, the less it matters. It's actually really easy for me when I'm doing the pillar-based Marketing strategy to look at my dashboard in DemandJump, see this is the priority order of the most connected to the least connected, and if I'm going to start with 16 pieces of content, boom, this is my sub-pillar here, the three or four terms that connect to it directly in the network that are the highest DJ score... It kind of builds itself, honestly, at that point.

You just keep going until you feel like you're driving the kind of traffic you want to, you're beating out your competitors in a way that you're feeling good about, and you've covered all of the terms that seem to make sense to you. But there is a way of analyzing search terms themselves and quantifying whether or not they're worthwhile.


Put the answer to that in the chat pane or let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #mpb2b and, of course, tag me using @georgebthomas.

We'll get back to Ryan Brock and his thoughts on Unleashing the Power of Pillar-Based Marketing, But first, I have to ask...

Are you part of the MarketingProfs community? If not, become part of the MarketingProfs community by heading over to - That's

Now, it's time for one of my favorite sections...

In The B2B News - Where we talk about breaking B2B news or really important tips we find on the Google news tab related to you and your B2B business. This week, the title is...

Pillar-based Marketing – What it is and Top Benefits

Keeping up with trends is essential for maintaining an edge in the quickly changing world of digital marketing. A cutting-edge tactic that has become more popular recently is pillar-based marketing. This strategy has changed how companies create and distribute their content, resulting in higher levels of engagement, better search engine presence, and overall marketing success.

Want to understand Pillar Based Marketing (PBM) Strategy?

To read this article, check out the link below when the live show is over.

So let's get back to Ryan Brock and his Marketing Smarts podcast episode.

How to we get started with this methodology, and who might have a problem implementing this?


Ryan: The smarter your organization is with SEO, the harder it is going to be to accept this methodology. I've found that when I work with career SEOs who are in a position where they need to provide value and prove value, what we ask people to do goes against a lot of what you've learned in SEO. We don't care about keyword density. We don't care about cannibalization.

That's one thing that we get all the time. When somebody sees the strategy that we'll put together around a topic, it will be clear that across a few of the blog posts we're covering the same information. We're doing that because the data tells us we have to and because it's a good user experience to not assume that your readership has read every blog post on your website, because nobody does that. "But you're going to cannibalize this term, they're close enough." We're more concerned about broadening the net and reinforcing the network.

That's just one example of many, and there are many, where we say forget about it. Search volume does not matter. I don't think about estimated search volume at all. I don't think about competition. I don't think about domain authority. I don't build links.

That's another thing we could probably do a whole episode around. We haven't built a single link, ever. We've never done any work to build links around this content that drives this kind of success.


We will get back to Ryan Brock in a few minutes but first it's time for some...

Dope B2B Learnings From The Vault of MarketingProfs Articles

That's right, It's time to dig into the treasure trove of valuable information and pull out two pieces of gold to help you be a better B2B marketer.

Article one this week is: How to Level-Up Your Content Marketing With a Topic-Cluster Plan by Amy Bock

Before we dive into why a topic cluster plan is a must-have for any content marketing strategy, let's start with some current SEO stats that demonstrate the critical role of organic search.

Organic search drives more than 50% of all website traffic. Paid search brings in only 10%, and social accounts for 5%.

The first five search engine results receive almost 68% of all clicks.

Google dominates the search engine market share, controlling almost 87%.

Because organic search is the primary driver of Web traffic to B2B and B2C websites, it's clear that SEO should be a central strategy in your content marketing efforts. And because Google controls close to 90% of market share, the primary SEO focus should be Google.

So, what can you do to ensure you are taking advantage of over 3.5 billion searches every day and not giving away revenue to competitors?

Article two this week is: Generate High-Quality Traffic That Turns Into Leads and Sales

Skyscrapers, pillar pages... they're all the same thing. "Creating a piece of cornerstone content on your site...has a special name because it's kind of impossible to do that with everything you publish," he says. "Pick your battles."

And most of those battles should involve an SEO traffic suite, Google's "People Also Ask" feature, and tools such as Answer the Public.

Want to keep learning more? If so, check the links in the description below after the live show to get access to both amazing MarketingProfs articles.

OK, back to Ryan Brock... Let's dive back into this conversation of Unleashing the Power of Pillar-Based Marketing

How long does it take to see success and what does success look like?


Ryan: Within I'd say at most two weeks of publication of your content, you should start seeing page one rankings happen. That's something that I haven't really touched on. I think I agree that we might want to come back and do a follow up because I'm loving this conversation. We don't care about scheduling, we don't care about calendaring. We don't publish a blog post a week. We'd rather write 16 pieces of content that together are a network, then publish them together as a network.

When I talk about time to value of two, three, four weeks, that's why I'm talking about it that way, because we drop the content as a network, not as individual pieces. That's super important because we want that network to be the thing that is being analyzed by Google and being explored by our readers. After all, it's a lot easier for a network of content around a topic to be considered authoritative versus a single page on a more focused subject to be authoritative. It's a lot harder to measure. If all those pages are part of a network together, it works.

All of that is just a little background to say that you drop that initial pillar, you've done it all right, your website is looking good, you're indexing quickly, you're getting crawled, and then within a few weeks, at most, you're starting to see page one rankings. Over time, there might be some volatility in your rankings data, especially the search experience just looks different from user to user right now. Google is going nuts, everyone is going crazy with all of the changes and everything that is happening with AI.

But you should start seeing it real fast. I have dozens of charts from PBM practitioners who are publishing content and then going from fourth place compared to their competitors in terms of total rankings to first place in the span of just a couple of months.

If you've published content, you've done everything the way that we teach you do it, and in three months you haven't seen any results, something is very wrong. As opposed to the traditional SEO where that's the earliest you can expect to see results.


We're going to get some words of wisdom from Ryan Brock here in a few minutes but right now, it's time to turn the spotlight on you, the MarketingProfs community. Yep, time for...

From The #MPB2B Community

We searched far and wide in the #MPB2B universe to find amazing information and conversation to bring to the masses.

So, first, make sure you are using the hashtag, and second, make sure you have fun and add value to the community.

Then, we'll spotlight you or your crew on the show. This week, it's...

Vahe Habeshian

Director of Publications at MarketingProfs

One in three people don't understand corporate or industry jargon. So skip the jargon and clarify your emails with simple, direct language:

? Synergy

? Work well together

? Make Hay

? Make the most of the opportunity

? Bandwidth

? Time or resources

Longer? Unfortunately, yes.

More clear? Absolutely—which is especially important if you have colleagues or customers around the world.

#mpb2b #b2b #infographic #emailmarketing

But you need to check out the description and click that link to check out the post and read or learn more!

Marketing Smarts viewer, I have to ask... are you going to be next to get the spotlight?

Remember, community, use the hashtag #mpb2b on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and get the light shined on your awesomeness in the next episode or a future episode of the Marketing Smarts Live show!

Pro-tip, it won't hurt if you tag me in your post as well: I'm @georgebthomas on LinkedIn and Twitter.

OK, let's kick it back to Ryan Brock and some words of wisdom around this topic of Unleashing the Power of Pillar-Based Marketing.

Here is what Ryan Brock wanted to leave us with...


Ryan: Passion makes the whole thing work. It sounds so thin, but it's so true. If you are working for an organization, or you yourself are representing some sort of idea, solution, or concept, that is making people's lives easier, that is changing how people work, that is exciting stuff. Even if it's small, even if it's this little thing that you're doing, and you're not saving the world, but you're changing one person's life, or one role's life, that is so cool to me. If you are doing the job of SEO and marketing right, that passion is the fuel that is driving the whole thing forward.

What we've heard from search engines, and what continues to be the case, despite the AI stuff that is rolling out all of the time, is that humanity matters. It really does. If you're trying to game the system, if you're trying to just drive traffic and you don't care how you get it, you don't deserve to be on the top of search engine rankings, you don't deserve to be considered an authority. But if you're really passionate about something and you're willing to not only listen to what other people are saying on a subject, listen first to what people care about, and then you know what you need to tap into to really drive your story that you're passionate about home.

I think pillar-based marketing is just the world's best representation of what that looks like in action in marketing.


Have you enjoyed today's journey? Let us know, use that hashtag #mpb2b on whatever platform you are joining us on.

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image of George B. Thomas

George B. Thomas is a marketer, video Jedi, and HubSpot certified trainer with 25+ years of sales and marketing experience. George is owner and HubSpot Helper at He has a record-breaking 38 HubSpot sales, marketing, service, CRM, and CMS certifications. George harnesses his expertise in graphic design, Web development, video editing, social media marketing, and inbound marketing to partner with, teach, and develop solutions for companies looking to develop their businesses and increase their revenue.

LinkedIn: George B. Thomas

Twitter: @GeorgeBThomas