“I’ve made my first attempt at a pillar page and it’s already showing positive results… after four days!”

Looking back through some legacy open-source resources and publications about the core work of the organisation, buried on the current website as downloads, I decided to focus on songwriting. The publishing rights allowed for the content to be reproduced as I intended and it was a great opportunity to revisit an older resource and be reminded of the wealth of content already created. But analytics showed it was not being found by visitors to the site.

Once reproduced as a web page, I added the original document as a download and linked to as much existing content on the website as possible creating ‘a free guide to songwriting’.

Hands typing on a latptop from above with flowers and tea

So why songwriting?

  • It’s a topic that is relevant to our core audience of music teachers, no matter which age group they work with.
  • It links out to some key areas in music education, such as music as a form of expression, creative education, composing and improvising.
  • It is unbelievably relevant for a generation of students who are obsessed with their own playlists, love listening to songs and therefore is a natural choice for teachers as a project.
  • It is relevant to GCSE exam syllabuses and coursework.
  • Teachers often choose songwriting as a way to get their classes into composing and creating music as it’s a musical genre their students are usually pretty familiar with. But teachers aren’t always songwriters themselves and sometimes struggle with ideas for getting started and how to plan for songwriting in their lessons.
  • Songwriting features as one of the core workshop sessions.
  • A free e-book has already been created for songwriting and used as an incentive to subscribe to the mailing list.

There are also two key sales objectives that are underpinning much of the current communications focus and these became the central calls to action within the pillar page.

  1. Forthcoming open workshops need delegates to be able to find and book onto them.
  2. Growing the mailing list is key to encourage new subscribers to make the most of some really strong email marketing campaigns that are coming up.

So on to the cluster content...

I recycle many of the blog posts as content for social media and the weekly ‘featured blog’ for the front page of the website. So with each post about songwriting, I have also included a secondary focus in the copy that will give me an opportunity to use the posts again and again.

Each cluster post has been added as a hyper-linked button to the pillar page as they are created and I add hyperlinks to the pillar page in the blog posts as much as possible. The word ‘songwriting’ always appears in the title of each cluster post.

New structure pillar page content cluster topics

The blog posts I have written so far are:

1) Songwriting with younger children

  • References to a core approach for younger children which will be part of forthcoming workshops.
  • References to a new partnership with an organisation who has developed an app for younger children (they then shared the post through their channels).

2) Setting up songwriting workshops outside lesson

  • This includes a free download of another legacy publication.
  • Links into a current news story about Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice saying they were grateful for their school music department for the opportunity to use their space and instruments to start their first bands.

3) Songwriting with backing tracks

  • Free backing tracks are included in the free e-book available when people subscribe.
  • Opportunity to draw on examples from a recent workshop in China to let people know about the organisation’s work in Asia where the next workshops will take place.

4) 5 ‘feel good’ quotes about songwriting

  • Teachers can print these for their classroom walls.
  • These can be sent out on social media with hashtags such as #feelgoodfriday and #wellbeingwednesday.

What we've got coming up

  • Hip hop, rap and writing lyrics for songwriting (linking to our work with partners who have some great free resources for this).
  • Writing protest songs, songwriting as part of social and political events and cross curricular links.

So far, in just four days, traffic to the website has increased by over 200%. I’m really happy and impressed with this increase and it makes me realise that creating a pillar page to help Google categorise and sift through our content is such a better model than having all these scrambled, unanchored blog posts on the internet, as we had before – and many businesses have.

In order to turn this engagement into a better SEO ranking, the next step will be to encourage some of the teachers who engage with the programme to embed the links into their blog posts and make better use of analytics to understand how visitors are using the pages. We need to monitor which are the most effective links to encourage more clicks across the site.

It’s an exciting time for us and our content, and I really hope that other organisations follow our lead – it really was an easy step to do and the traffic increase was testament to its efficacy: the proof is in the pudding!

Anna Gower, Music Education Consultant

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