What is cornerstone content?
The term cornerstone content was first coined by Brian Clark. In his 2007 Copyblogger article How to Create Cornerstone Content That Google Loves, he states:
“A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.”
Cornerstone content is content that provides essential information for visitors so that they can make an informed decision about whether to buy from you. Another way of looking at it is foundational content around which your business and the rest of your website is built.
Some examples of cornerstone content might be:
- A frequently asked questions page.
- A beginners’ guide on a particular topic.
- A tutorial video on some aspect of your product or service.
- A mission statement about your company.
- A ‘start here’ page.
- A landing page for a particular topic with links to relevant articles.
At Wildheart we would classify the following pages of our site as cornerstone content pages:
As you can see, these are the pages that contain the essential information that helps our visitors understand what we do and how we can help.
Why is cornerstone content so important for your business?
Cornerstone content plays a crucial role in your content marketing strategy, whether you’re a seasoned blogger or you’ve just launched a brand new website.
The idea is that you’re creating essential content that’s integral to your business. You can then share and recycle this content over time, linking back to it from your email marketing and social media activity, cross-referencing it from your blog posts, and creating internal links from elsewhere on your site.
Your cornerstone content needs to be in-depth, compelling and integral to your business. As Brian Clark states,
“The first goal of cornerstone content is usefulness and relevancy to the website visitor, no matter how they arrive. The second goal is to make that content so compelling and comprehensive that people are willing—no, make that excited—to link to it.”
So, cornerstone content:
- First and foremost educates and inspires your website visitors.
- Establishes a clear picture of the specific problems you solve for your customers.
- Pulls together all your content on a specific topic in a central place.
- Creates authority by demonstrating your knowledge around a particular topic.
- Helps you rank higher in search engines for certain keywords.
- Attracts more readers to your site.
- Increases your email subscribers.
- Helps you get more links to your website.
- Allows you to highlight your most important archived content.
What’s the difference between cornerstone and evergreen content?
You may have heard these terms being used to describe the same type of content; indeed, many people do use these terms interchangeably. At Wildheart we believe there’s a subtle but important difference. If you’re not sure what we mean by evergreen content, read this post first: What is evergreen content and why should you create it?
OK, so here’s our explanation of the difference between evergreen and cornerstone content:
Cornerstone content provides essential information for visitors to make informed decisions about engaging with your business. All your website content should be built around and should lead visitors to your cornerstone content. The question you should ask yourself is: “Are we giving the right information with the right amount of detail for people to take the next step with us?”
Evergreen content is timeless content that becomes more valuable to your current and future audience over time. It may well include cornerstone content, but in the case of the Wildheart website this isn’t likely, as our cornerstone content is very focused on our packages. Our evergreen content typically consists of blog posts that provide valuable information on topics that are relevant to our existing and future audience.
How to create cornerstone content
Remember: the purpose of cornerstone content is to provide potential customers with the essential information they need to do business with you. In Wildheart’s case, our job is to make it clear to our website visitors what problems we solve and how we do this (with our content marketing packages).
The most important thing is to speak with empathy about how you understand the pain your customer feels: at Wildheart we understand how frustrating it feels when you don’t get the results you need from your content marketing. That’s why we’ve designed packages that dissolve your marketing headaches.
Start by looking at your existing content with new eyes and ask yourself:
- Are we identifying with how our customers feel about their problem?
- Are we using the same words our customers use?
- Is all the essential information clearly presented?
- Is it simply and logically organised?
- Is there a clear next step that we can measure?
Then, if your website is relatively new or you’re new to blogging, a good way to create cornerstone content is to start from scratch and write a series of blogs. This could be a course guiding your readers through a relevant learning process, or a series of informative articles with the goal of encouraging them to buy, sign up or book a consultation at the end of the course.
This is a great way to kickstart your new blog, or even to give your existing blog a boost because it keeps your customers at the forefront of your mind.
If you’re already creating regular, high quality content on your site then there’s actually a faster way to creating a cornerstone content page…
5 steps to creating cornerstone content
- Decide what keyword or phrase you’d like to focus on and do some research to ensure it’s relevant and makes sense.
- Take a look through your existing posts and select a handful that are grouped around this topic.
- You should already be using blog categories, which will make this task easier. If you’re not, read our post How to organise your blog categories first.
- Then create a new landing page with links to these related posts. If you have an established WordPress blog you can also turn your blog category pages into great landing pages!
- You’ll want to make sure your page has an awesome title (check out How to write killer headlines for your blog), with a relevant introduction, and is search engine friendly. So make sure you use your keyword frequently and consistently throughout the page – in your title, in your introduction, and in your SEO data.
The key(words) to cornerstone content
After providing essential information about your business, the secondary goal of cornerstone content is to attract more visitors to your site. Your keywords are important here because they are the key to attracting more links and helping your site appear higher in search engine rankings.
Sites don’t rank, only pages rank
Remember that you don’t optimise your website for keywords, you optimise individual pages. So choose a unique keyword or phrase that’s relevant for each cornerstone content page and make sure you optimise this page – and only this page – for that keyword.
How Wildheart can help
You can now see how important it is to be creating awesome content, whether in the form of blog posts, web pages, or other content on your site.
We get that not everyone feels confident about creating awesome content, though, so why not let us help you? Our free upcoming killer content email course will provide you with all the tools and resources you need to start creating awesome content for your website.
Simply complete your details below and you’ll be the first to know when the course is launched.