Knowing how to create cornerstone content may be one of the most vital components of your marketing strategy in 2020. If your website is an amusement park, then your cornerstone content is its main attraction. Without it, there’s less incentive for visitors to come to your site and learn about your company’s products or services.
Going back to the amusement park analogy, don't forget that people go there for the roller coaster rides and free shows. Buying food and souvenirs come after the visitor has experienced everything the park has to offer. The same goes for your website visitors. Before they even consider your products or services, they’ll be focused on consuming your free content. Once you’ve established yourself as an expert by learning how to create cornerstone content, prospects will trust you and eventually look for other ways you may be able to help them out.
Did you know your first-time visitors will decide within 15 seconds if your website has what they need or not? That’s 15 seconds to show you have the information they need to solve their problems. Knowing that, wouldn’t it make sense to have your most important and high-quality content (cornerstone content) visible and easy to access on your website?
You may be wondering, What exactly is cornerstone content? Cornerstone content is the informative pages and articles on your blog that are the heart of your website. The value of cornerstone content is indisputable. Generally, these are helpful and informative articles on a single topic that include links to related articles on your site. This is the content you want your first-time visitors to engage with first, so they learn not only the information they are seeking, but about your brand and what your business has to offer them.
When a business learns how to create cornerstone content, they often choose the cornerstone content to promote and boost on Facebook. But why? The reason is because cornerstone content makes for a great first impression for your brand, since it's so valuable, informative and well-written.
If you don’t know how to create cornerstone content, it’s never too late to learn. If you don’t learn, it could cost you the opportunity to rank higher in search engines and feed your sales funnel.
The first, most obvious benefit of having cornerstone content on your website is its heavy influence on your SEO. If done right, your cornerstone content can raise your ranking in the search engine, making it easier for your targeted audience to find your website. Why? Because Google loves high-quality, informative, cornerstone content.
The second benefit is that your focused content and keywords will generate more relevant traffic to your website, and thus, feed your sales funnel.
Finally, your cornerstone content can give your readers a positive impression of your brand and establish you as an authority in your chosen area of expertise. Assuming your content is well-written, interesting, and delivers high-quality information, people will be more likely to buy from you when they receive valuable content for free. R.L Adams, the founder and curator of the blog Wanderlust Worker, observed, “A customer who receives something for free is always more willing to buy something from you as opposed to someone who has not.”
If you’re going to learn how to create cornerstone content, then you’ll need to know its characteristics. First, you need to remember when creating cornerstone content, it’s meant to teach your readers, not sell your products or services. When your readers receive information they find helpful and valuable, they’ll be more likely to develop trust in your brand and look to your company for future resources. They’ll also be more likely to share it with others, which strengthens your brand’s authority. However, make sure your content is engaging as much as it is informative.
Cornerstone content should be comprehensive and be backed by credible research and statistics. Your readers will not want to jump between multiple sources to find the answers to their questions. They will choose the website that has the most complete information and predicts their questions before they ask them. They will also be looking for content they can consider reliable and trustworthy. When anyone can publish information online, can you blame them?
Your chosen cornerstone content also needs to be evergreen. Information like trending news and the latest fads are not evergreen as they have a time stamp on them, and would not be ideal for building authority.
It’s also important to note that your content is not limited to text. You can also use videos and podcasts to get your message across to your visitors.
On a similar note, your cornerstone content does not have to be limited to the pages of your website. It can be in the form of an ebook, PDF, or other forms of downloadable content, such as an instructional how-to-guide.
Picking the right cornerstone content is a crucial step to gaining traction with your target audience. Your content needs to be relevant to your business and to your audience’s needs. For this reason, you’ll need to ask yourself some tough questions.
What topics do you want to establish yourself as an authority figure on?
What keywords do you want your website to rank for?
What problems are your target audience looking for solutions to?
What are the questions your audience is desperately seeking answers for, but aren’t getting anywhere else?
To answer these questions with confidence, you’ll want to research your market, and of course, your competition.
Do you want to know the fastest way to find out what your target audience has questions on? The answer is simple. Ask your customers directly what questions and problems they need help with. Who would know better what they need than your customers themselves? You could email your subscribers a survey or send them a request for a quick phone interview. By cutting straight to the source, you will save time and ensure you have accurate information.
Getting familiar with the competition and what they’re doing can help you discover what needs aren’t being met. You’ll also see what others in your field are doing and improve upon it. This can set you apart from your competitors and give your visitors another reason to consume your content over another’s.
As you research keywords, be sure to look for keywords related to your chosen topic that have a high search volume. What phrase or question could your customers search for that would lead them straight to your website?
Now that you’ve researched your market, take all the questions your customers want to know the answers to, and answer them as thoroughly as possible within the content. This is your chance to demonstrate how you are uniquely equipped to solve your target audience’s problems. However, avoid attempting to sell your products and services at this stage. Your goal is to simultaneously educate and entertain your reader for an excellent first impression.
To establish yourself as a credible resource, make sure all your content is backed up by research studies and statistics. Your brand and authority could be negatively impacted by incomplete and inaccurate information. Knowing this, wouldn’t it make sense to establish yourself as reliable, trustworthy, and an expert in your field? It’ll give your visitors a reason to keep coming back.
Don’t forget to add a call-to-action at the end of your cornerstone content. What action do you want your visitor to take after reading your cornerstone content? You could ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, check out a related article on the same topic, or invite them to download a free e-book. Whatever your call-to-action is, it should be simple and come across as conversational to your reader.
The more content your target audience consumes, the more familiar they will become with your brand and the more they will begin to trust you as an authority in your chosen field.
Again it’s important to note that customers who benefit from your free content will feel the need to buy your products and services later on. This phenomenon was noted in a 2005 study by Randy Garner, Post-It Note Persuasion: A Sticky Influence, in which customers feel a need to return favors. It’s a concept many online marketers use to their advantage today in their marketing strategy.
Well-written and informative cornerstone content with the right keywords and links can bring in a steady traffic flow of visitors to your site. For this reason, it’s important to know how to create cornerstone content that can rank high in a search engine.
Google loves websites to have a lot of relevant content. You can let Google know which article is the main attraction of your site by linking all relevant content to your cornerstone article. Make sure your cornerstone article has a short-tail keyword and all your related posts and content have long-tail keywords.
You can also achieve a higher search engine ranking by:
Updating your content regularly
Linking your content to high authority domain sites
Increasing your content’s readability by breaking up the text with headlines and images.
Putting an index at the top of your cornerstone article
Be sure to optimize your content for SEO. If neglected, you may not be ranked high enough to get the results you desire, even if your content is well-written and designed to impress.
Cornerstone content is all about quality, value, and length. It can be incredibly time-consuming to create cornerstone content. It can also be time-consuming to come up with the right topics to write cornerstone content around. If you find you don’t have time to do this yourself, you have a couple of options to consider.
If you’re well-established and have a lot of content on your website, you may be able to rewrite your published posts into cornerstone content by expanding on your articles and linking them together. Find out what your highest ranked content is to learn what your readers find most helpful on your website. You can discover what your top-performing content is with ease by using sites like Moz and BuzzSumo. They can generate a list of your most viewed content and rank a list of tracked keywords.
As an alternative, you can simply enter your website’s URL into Google’s search engine, followed by a “:” and the keyword you want to be known for. Google will list all the content that it recognizes as relevant to your specified keyword. Your Google search would look something like this: copywriters.com: keyword.
You can also use tools like the Yoast SEO plugin to determine whether an article could be considered cornerstone content or not.
In the end, you may not have the time or desire to write (or rewrite) the content yourself. If you have a team of in-house writers, you may be able to assign someone the task of creating cornerstone content, but when projects and deadlines stack up, outsourcing work can be a solution to saving time and energy for you and your team for other high-priority tasks. The difficulty with outsourcing is the challenge of finding talented freelance writers who have the skills to write great copy. If hiring a freelance copywriter is your decision, looking at platforms that specialize in copywriting and vet their writers like Copywriters.com could save you time and money.
Here’s a quick recap on how to create cornerstone content. First, address all of your target audience’s burning questions and offer a solution to their problems. Next, ensure the content is interesting, has accurate information and is backed by research. Your goal is to establish your brand as a trustworthy resource that customers want to return to again and again. Finally, optimize your content with SEO by using keywords and linking your cornerstone article to all related content.
Now that you know how to create well-written and engaging cornerstone content, you can reap these three benefits for your business:
Rank high in search engines
Bring in relevant site visitors to feed your sales funnel
Build authority and trust
All that’s between you and securing these benefits is creating your cornerstone content.
Do you want help writing your cornerstone content? Request a quick consultation to discover how you can hire a skilled copywriter today who specializes in creating cornerstone content.
Julie Lawson is a copywriter on a mission to inspire people to take action and improve their lives, one call-to-action at a time. She wants to set people a journey for success, and she does this by writing compelling emails and ad campaigns that connect with her readers' on a personal level. When she isn't writing copy, you can find her nose-deep in a book or writing stories.Hire Julie