Cornerstone content is just that, the cornerstones in which your content is structured.
Or to put it another way, if your basic blog is your foundation, Cornerstone content is the pillars that hold everything up/together. Which is probably why it’s also called Pillar Content.
But what does that really mean?
Have you ever come across a really good site and got there because you found a huge article that had a ton of information? An article that links off to other articles and keeps you wanting more and more? That’s a cornerstone piece. It’s a large article centered around a specific topic, the core of that topic. They use that as a hub, to then link off to their other pieces of content that go into greater detail.
How genius is that? I mean, you’re not only going to provide your readers with really great, meaty information, but you’re exposing them to other articles that you’ve written that they will most likely be interested in.
I can think of a few sites that do this really, really well. I’ve spent 30 minutes just digging into different things because the content was so focused around my interest. Here are a few more reasons:
When I first started blogging, there was no such thing as cornerstone content. Today is a totally different story.
Today, it is an essential part of your blog and one that I often see bloggers ignore. It takes time to set up cornerstone content the right way, but when you do, it pays off big time.
What does Cornerstone Content Do?
It does a number of things for you including:
1. Brings new visitors to your site, and keeps them wanting more.
2. It’s a great way to generate inbound links.
3. It’s key to getting more sign up for your email list.
4. This type of content is an amazing way to highlight archived content.
5. Gives you so many ways to highlight products and/or services again and again.
Who should create Cornerstone Content?
You, you, and you! Cornerstone content isn’t just for a specific type of blog or niche. Literally, every blogger should be creating this stuff. It is one of the best things you can do for your blog and it’s so often overlooked.
Think about it. You’re writing blog post after blog post and you’re getting nowhere. You get readers sure, but they often leave and never come back. It could be for a number of reasons, but if you give them a reason to come back in the first place, you never have to worry about the reasons they don’t come back again.
When should you create Cornerstone Content?
Now. Whether you’ve been blogging for a while, or you’re just starting your blog. It should be the FIRST thing you write. That’s exactly how I started this blog. While my Mommy Blogs It focuses on blogging as a whole, there are 5 main categories that I wanted to focus on: Starting a Blog, Blog Promotion, Blog Content, SEO for Bloggers and Blog Design & Functionality.
Keywords are the biggest unseen reason that you’ll write cornerstone content.
You’re writing this content because you want it to rank in search engines because you WANT people to find you. (And love your stuff.)
So once you decide on the main focus areas of your blog You’re going to outline a piece of cornerstone content for each focus area.
Headline + SEO Title
You probably already know that this is a big one since you want to rank in search engines for your cornerstone content piece. Did you know that you can have 2 different titles for one blog post and that you should? You have one title that everyone sees, the one you promote and that shows on your blog. The other title is the one that search engines see. The title that is search engine friendly.
Why is this important?
Sometimes what appeals to search engines won’t appeal to readers (or potential readers) in the same way. You never want to be deceptive, but you want to make sure that you’re using titles that are catchy to your readers and titles that contain your keywords in your SEO title.
So the body text of cornerstone content defies pretty much everything you’ve ever been told about writing online. While you’ve probably heard time and time again that each article you publish should be short, simple, digestible content, the content for your cornerstone pieces should be long and meaty.
A good length is over 1000 words, but realistically, you’re looking at about 2000-3000 words. You want to make sure that you cover all the general points that you need to cover while providing information that your readers need.
Which brings us to:
Subheads are great for a couple of reasons.
They break up your long content and make it easier to read.
They do some extra SEO work behind the scenes.
Subheads help tell Google and other search engines more about the content you’re writing. It’s a great way for some on-page SEO. Essentially, you’ve told search engines what you’re article is about with the SEO title, and keywords, but you’re further verifying to search engines what it’s about when you’re using subheads.
Note: Make sure you only use H1 for your title, all other subheads should be H2 or higher (H3, H4…), based on importance.
Media is a big part of cornerstone content. You want to make sure that each piece is visually appealing and keeps the reader wanting more. Think of it as a story, a picture book. Where you can add anything you want. Images, video, quotes and even audio.
Bullet Points + Lists
So bullet points and lists do a number of things. Including:
– They break up the content
– For readers who scan content, they draw their attention.
– They give you a different way to point out vital elements you want to get across.
(I suppose this is technically a list within a list… listception?)
Give readers a breakdown of what you’ve gone over. This can be a shorter section, but make sure that you cover all the key points. (Note, see our “Key Takeaways” section for an example!)
Call to Action
And finally, ask your readers to do something. Ask them to take action. Whether it’s a question or an email opt-in, make sure that you include something to allow them to engage with you.
Bonus Tip: Cornerstone content is always Evergreen Content.
What is that? Evergreen content is content that is ALWAYS relevant. It doesn’t have a specific time period it’s good for. It’s just amazing, basic information that never goes away. You may have to tweak it from time to time, but the core of the content is always relevant.
Example: Let’s pretend you’re a fashion blogger. A great Cornerstone content piece could be “Wardrobe essentials for the young professional.” And inside it you’ve shared some essentials that every young professional needs. You’ll explain the who, what, where, why and how. From that piece, every time you have another piece like “Fall fashion finds for 2017” you can go and update the original Cornerstone content piece to link to your new post.