On another note, we recently went through this same process with an entire site redesign. The executive team demanded we cut out over 75% of the pages on our site because they were useless to the visitor. It's been 60 days since the launch of the new site and I've been able to still increase rankings, long-tail keywords, and even organic traffic. It took a little bit of a "cowboy" mentality to get some simple things done (like using 301's instead of blocking the old content with robots.txt!). I predicted we would lose a lot of our long tail keywords...but we haven't....yet!
Take the 10 pillar topics you came up with in Step 1 and create a web page for each one that outlines the topic at a high level -- using the long-tail keywords you came up with for each cluster in Step 2. A pillar page on SEO, for example, can describe SEO in brief sections that introduce keyword research, image optimization, SEO strategy, and other subtopics as they are identified. Think of each pillar page as a table of contents, where you're briefing your readers on subtopics you'll elaborate on in blog posts.
This post and the Skycraper technique changed my mind about how I approach SEO, I’m not a marketing expert and I haven’t ranked sites that monetize really well, I’m just a guy trying to get some projects moving on and I’m not even in the marketing business so I just wanted to say that the way you write makes the information accesible, even if you’re not a native english speaker as myself.