Do you want to improve traffic and get better organic results for your website? If yes, then you should include cornerstone content in your content marketing strategy.
I’ll show you what it is, why it’s a must for your website, and how to create cornerstone content in this blog post.
- What is Cornerstone Content?
- Is Cornerstone Content Important?
- Examples of Cornerstone Content
- How to publish cornerstone content search engines will love!
- Step 1: Know your audience well.
- Step 2: Choose your content topic and format.
- Step 3: Do extensive keyword research
- Step 4: Plan your content.
- Step 5: Create your content.
- Step 6: Edit and proofread, again and again…
- Step 7: Optimize your cornerstone!
- Step 8: Hit publish and promote like crazy.
- Step 9: Maintain and update your cornerstone articles.
What is Cornerstone Content?
Cornerstone content is a carefully thought-out piece that is created for your potential customers. Its purpose is to provide in-depth value for your audience and provide answers to a particular topic.
Definition of “cornerstone.”
Merriam Webster defined cornerstone as a basic element or foundation. True to its meaning, it will serve as your website’s core and should therefore resonate with your brand and products.
“Hmm. So a cornerstone article sounded exactly like a pillar page and flagship content? Are they all the same?”
Yes. Although there are subtle differences, these three have the same purpose – to provide relevant knowledge to the audience and earn their trust. So if you heard of the two, then you already grasp the concept of cornerstone articles.
Is Cornerstone Content Important?
The short answer is yes! Having a cornerstone article can help you in so many ways. Here are some of its benefits:
It helps you build authority.
Building authority on a particular subject matter is not easy. It takes time, effort, and of course, patience to see results. You need something that will help push your marketing efforts even further – cornerstone content articles do just that as they can provide long-term benefits for your website and business.
It brings more traffic to your site.
Creating a well-written cornerstone post will keep your audience coming back. They might even share it with others.
Also, once Google ranks your content high, it will bring in traffic over a long period.
It improves organic ranking results and SEO.
Google loves high-quality content that provides excellent value, so it will definitely boost your rankings if you have one on your site.
Creating a cornerstone content post can also help with your SEO strategy. It can strengthen internal linking on your site as you need to link relevant blog posts for further information.
Internal links can help your audience access relevant content for that particular topic.
It helps build trust with readers.
If you can show the solution to their problem on your cornerstone article and constantly provide value for them, there’s a higher chance that your website will be their go-to site. And once you earn their trust, there’s a higher chance that they’ll buy your products.
It builds brand awareness and loyalty.
Once your cornerstone article is well-received by others, it can go viral, which means more opportunities for referrals and collaborations.
Examples of Cornerstone Content
To help you understand what cornerstone is, here are some of the best examples:
Investopedia has its financial-term dictionary. Once you click a particular word, they will provide you with a detailed explanation on a new page. On the left side, you’ll also see under which topic is that word used and clickable links on that same topic.
If you’re a digital marketer, I’m sure you’ve encountered Hubspot several times already. They have plenty of cornerstone articles, so it’s easy to pick an example. Their Facebook Marketing article is a complete guide and includes texts, videos, a free downloadable guide, images, and data.
Healthline’s cornerstone content is like the Hubspot one. It consists of clickable internal links throughout the page, video, and data. Like their 2019 Coronavirus article, most of their cornerstone content post has a list of sections above that makes it easier to find subtopics you’d like to read.
How to publish cornerstone content search engines will love!
As we mentioned before, cornerstone articles are in-depth. So it might take days or weeks to create. But don’t worry – you can build it little by little.
Like other great things, creating cornerstone content is consist of series of steps:
Step 1: Know your audience well.
Knowing your audience while creating cornerstone content is essential for two reasons.
First, it will determine what data you need to get valuable insights and share it with your readers.
Second, knowing your audience will help you determine what style and tone of writing to use. For example, if your target customers are CEOs or managers, then your tone should be professional. But if you’re writing for teenagers, you’re expected to write casually and use simple words.
How to Identify Your Audience
Creating a buyer persona can help you understand your prospects better and craft the perfect content for them.
But what is a buyer persona?
Hubspot defined it as a semi-fictional character that represents your target customers based on gathered data and research. They also mentioned that it’s ideal to start with 3-5 buyer personas.
A great way to do it is by creating an avatar that includes information such as name, salary range, geographical location, age, gender, interests, etc.
Having a buyer persona will help you answer the following questions and build the right content: What big problems are my audience facing? Which of their pain points can I solve?
Step 2: Choose your content topic and format.
After identifying your audience, you must choose a topic that will bring them to your site. Selecting the right topic is vital because readers will decide whether to read or ignore your content based on it.
Another thing you need to consider is the format. This is a little broad because it talks about the style, structure, tone, and content type you’ll use.
If you don’t know where to start, you may answer the following questions: “How will I deliver my content to my audience?” “Should I include descriptions, data, or interviews?”, “Is presenting pros and cons a good idea?”, Should I create series of videos, or does giving a PDF copy better?”
Step 3: Do extensive keyword research
When people look for something, they usually use keywords that describe what that topic is all about.
For example, instead of typing, “I want to learn how to bake a cake,” the person might search “how to make birthday cakes at home.”
Adding your target keyword phrase multiple times into your cornerstone article will help you rank higher in SERPs, be visible to your target customers, and increase the amount of traffic to your page.
But this doesn’t mean that you can just add a particular keyword, and your content will automatically be no#1.
Remember that other people are talking about the same topic and using the same keyword as you. In fact, there are over 5.5 million blog posts published on WordPress alone as of the 2nd half of 2021.
So if you’re creating content for a new site, going for the most competitive keywords won’t work as your domain authority is still low.
Step 4: Plan your content.
To create successful cornerstone content, you must have a good outline and gather enough information. Building it on the spot without any preparation will be very difficult as this is long-form content.
Looking at your direct competitors can help you get good ideas on what to write and resources to use. You may also check what subtopics weren’t covered and discuss them on yours.
Step 5: Create your content.
After planning, it’s time to write! Make sure that you follow your outline and maintain the flow all throughout your content.
If you think some points can be expanded, it’ll be better to write separate articles and add them as internal links.
Remember these things when writing:
- Use engaging words and phrases.
- Break down lengthy sentences into short ones.
- Use bullet points or numbers for lists.
- Use the writing style that appeals to your target audience.
- And add other formats in your cornerstone article like infographics, videos, and images to make your post engaging.
Step 6: Edit and proofread, again and again…
Proofreading should be done multiple times because there are always errors that can slip through the cracks even if you think your article has been edited enough.
An article with too many mistakes will not rank well and may turn readers away from your page.
So check your spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and punctuation before posting it. You may use apps like Grammarly for more accurate proofreading and editing.
Reading your post out loud is also an effective way to point out any weird sentences. If you don’t like doing this, you may ask a friend or pay someone to edit your work for you.
Step 7: Optimize your cornerstone!
When optimizing your content, you must think about search engine bots. Your article must be crawlable and comprehensible for them.
Here are some optimization steps you shouldn’t forget:
1. Include your primary keyword multiple times but naturally. You may use similar words to avoid keyword stuffing. Search engines hate that.
2. Improve your internal linking structure by linking all the posts relevant to your cornerstone article for easier navigation and better site structure.
3. Add a meta description. This will be your page’s short summary which can help entice readers to click on it and visit your article.
4. Include your keyword in the meta title for increased visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
5. Make sure that you have optimized all images, videos, and links with keywords too! These things contribute a lot when it comes to ranking.
Step 8: Hit publish and promote like crazy.
The best way to get more people to read your cornerstone content is by promoting it on social media. In particular, the social networks where your audience is hanging out.
You may also try posting it on other sites like Reddit and Quora, as your audience might be lurking around in this platform trying to find answers that your cornerstone content can give.
Step 9: Maintain and update your cornerstone articles.
Even if you’re already getting a great amount of traffic for your content, you must not neglect it. Keep in mind that your audience would want to stay updated. If you can provide that, your readers won’t look for other resources.
Also, keep adding information that will help your audience. For example, you may link new blog posts relevant to the topic.
Creating high-quality cornerstone articles can take time and effort, but if you follow these steps, we’re confident that your success will be just around the corner.
If there’s one thing we hope you’ll take away from this blog post, it would be how much work is involved in making great cornerstone content but how worthwhile the results will be!