Everyone wants to build their own brand, be it a company or an individual. The easiest way to get started on building a brand is to begin content marketing. Content marketing is the act of providing prospective clients with valuable and useful content while marketing your product/service. Made up of several nuts and bolts, one of the most effective content marketing hacks is to create cornerstone content. If you are just starting out with building traffic for your webpage and gaining an audience for your business, creating cornerstone content should be at the top of your to-do list.
What is Cornerstone Content?
Cornerstone content is the foundational content around which you build your website. Essentially, it serves as the primary content for your website and is the kind of content for which you want to be known for. Creating cornerstone content is an integral SEO practice that you must be aware of. It not only helps architecture content on your page, making your page easy to crawl for search engines and readable for visitors, but it also contains the keywords for which you wish to rank.
Cornerstone content also helps with link-building. In other words, cornerstone content is the content pillar of your website, from which other types of content branches out. So you can use your cornerstone content to link to other related content on your website and vice versa. Cornerstone content is also known as evergreen content because it usually contains content that is relevant to your audience and to you, as a business. Cornerstone content best practices mandate that you revisit these from time to time and update them so as to keep them ranking on SERPs.
Benefits of cornerstone content
Cornerstone content is a collection of informational articles whose topics are researched thoroughly before they are written. Their goal is to help the author establish themselves as experts in the topic of discussion. As with other forms of content marketing, the aim is not a short-term sale but to build a long-term and loyal client base.
Cornerstone content enables you to gain authority and influence, and build your reputation as a subject-matter expert. While not intended to elicit direct sales, your cornerstone content should obviously be tied to your business mission and objectives. It should succeed in leaving a positive first impression on your website visitors, so they feel interested in learning more about your business.
Why is cornerstone content important to SEO?
Cornerstone content is a tried and tested SEO practice. Besides helping build your authority in the industry among your peers, it contributes to forming your brand authority in SERPs. As mentioned above, it is crucial for link-building. When you create a content cluster based on a single cornerstone content article, it links to other related articles on your website, which in turn links back to it. By linking multiple pieces of content to one content piece, you convey to Google that you want to be ranked for that particular topic of discussion. You also convey your wish to rank for the keyword groups you’ve used in your cornerstone article.
Creating cornerstone content lets you conduct intentional keyword research and come up with a focused content strategy. A clear actionable content strategy can work wonders for your business ROI. What’s more? Marketers find it exceptionally challenging to rank for popular keywords. However, creating cornerstone content has proved to be a worthy exercise when ranking for even the trickiest keywords!
As with any SEO practice, cornerstone content will not yield overnight results. However, it will bring in measurable gains over time. You will be arming your website with targeted keywords which will help build your authority for search engines. Additionally, you will also be able to earn your audience’s trust once you have won over their confidence.
How to create cornerstone content?
Once you’ve understood what cornerstone content is, how it benefits SEO, and impacts your overall content marketing initiatives – it is time to start creating your own cornerstone content. Before you begin, remember that cornerstone content is only meant to serve as an attractive top-of-the-funnel for your prospects. The goal of cornerstone content is not to convert instantaneously. Instead, it is to establish your authority in the industry and provide free value to your potential customer, so they can return to you with a conversion mindset.
Besides these, cornerstone content is also advantageous for marketers looking to build brand awareness, draw relevant audiences to their website and help out with link-building for SEO.
Steps to creating cornerstone content
1. Pick your preferred topic
Ask yourself, what topic is relevant in your industry and which subject do you want to establish yourself in as an expert to benefit your business in the long term? Doing this will help you come up with the topic of your cornerstone content. Other questions to ask yourself when brainstorming to decide on the topic of your cornerstone content are – What are my customer’s pain points and can I use my content to address these? What is a subject of interest for my prospective customer base which my competitors haven’t explored? What subjects am I an expert in? The best-performing cornerstone content is one that is relevant. So don’t try to hurry while strategizing for cornerstone content ideas. Take your time and invest it in some necessary market and user research. Find out content gaps on the internet. In other words, identify popular keywords and check user satisfaction with the content being ranked by search engines for these keywords.
2. Choose your content format
Once you’ve narrowed down and picked the topic of your cornerstone content, it is time to choose the format in which you will present this content. Several content formats are available and it is important to pick the right one. Your content might be great but selecting an incompatible format for it could hamper how your audience or search engines perceive it. Do you want your cornerstone content to be in the form of a lengthy how-to guide, a short video series, a free tool, or a colorful infographic? You decide.
3. Conduct comprehensive keyword research
After you’ve decided on both your cornerstone content topic and format, it is time to identify the keywords you will be using for it. Always conduct keyword research before creating any kind of content on the internet. If your objective is to gain an audience for your content, this is a necessary exercise you mustn’t ignore. Use keywords that register significant search volume. High keyword search volume directly translates to high user interest. A sizable number of people are searching for these keywords and you should find ways to cater to the bandwagon. After all, using these keywords in your content peices gives you the opportunity to get discovered by the hordes of people running searches for the same keywords.
4. Plan your content operations
Assess whether you have the in-house strength to meet your content requirements or whether you will need to outsource to contractors. If you are a small business owner with a limited employee base running operations, you might want to outsource your content operations to an agency. Trying to do everything on your own has never worked out for anyone and hiring contractual workers to create your cornerstone content could help you use your resources wisely. Content is the heart and soul of any marketing operation nowadays and it is wise to plan out your organization’s content strategy beforehand. If you have a fully functional marketing team, it makes no sense to not create your cornerstone content in-house. Additionally, of course, you can create some of the content and outsource the rest of it.
5. Fix a content calendar
Pre-plan your cornerstone content creation. Any content takes time to create and requires basic project management skills. Fixing up a cornerstone content calendar will help you get the job done in a more focused manner. Figure out whether your cornerstone content will need external stakeholders like designers and developers to step in and assist. If the answer is yes, keep their timelines in mind while planning the launch of your cornerstone content.
6. Inventory your resources
Assess the resources you will need for creating your cornerstone content for easy and convenient allocation later on. Estimate the cost for every content piece you aim to produce and then settle on a budget. The kind of content you plan to create will largely influence your overhead costs. Expenses you can expect to incur while creating cornerstone content are freelance writer charges, design and development costs, and a promotional budget. Social media promotion is a great way to put out your cornerstone content to the world at little to no cost, so learn how to do it optimally!
7. Craft your cornerstone content
The topic and format you pick for your cornerstone content will determine how you go about this process. However, there are certain common grounds you will want to touch upon while creating your cornerstone content irrespective. Content quality ought to be your primary touch base. Never compromise on the quality of the content you will be going live with for your cornerstone content. Hire an expert freelance writer if it helps, but make sure your cornerstone content is well-researched, grammatically sound, and value-laden. Revise, review and test it before launching it. Content quality also encompasses factors such as ease of navigation, visual appeal, and mobile optimization. Don’t forget to pepper in keywords naturally into your content and make sure your cornerstone content answers your audience’s pain points. Use this content to appeal to and empathize with your prospective customers and build a relationship with them instead of making a direct sales pitch.
8. Optimize the content
Creating compelling and value-oriented cornerstone content is not enough. Your content needs to be easily discoverable by your prospects. In order to achieve this easy discoverability, you need to optimize it for organic search and enable convenient shareability across social media platforms. Content optimization can have different goals and agendas. How content optimization looks for social is not how it looks for search. Optimizing your content to push your audience to take action is another ball game altogether.
In order to optimize your content for SEO, you need to pay close attention to content architecture. Ideally, if you have already implemented information architecture on your website, you will gain easy SEO results. Enlist the help of keywords as well, use your primary keyword in the title of your content piece and in the URL and weave in the rest seamlessly into the body.
Make sure you come up with a catchy headline for your cornerstone content. If your cornerstone content is in the form of a long article, break it down into sections to make it more readable for your audience. When optimizing your cornerstone content for SEO, make it mobile-first. Most people consume content on their mobiles now instead of laptops, so it will benefit you to provide a good mobile experience. Use alt text for images and subtitles for videos. Beside on-page SEO, devote time to make the content ready for off-page SEO too. Sprinkle it with a healthy mix of internal and external links to help it rank high.
One of the major objectives behind sharing content on social media is to gain virality. Shareability is the simplest metric for optimized content on social media. When optimizing your cornerstone content for social media, make sure you add social share buttons to have it shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Several plug-ins offer this feature and will save you the effort it will require to reach out to developers in order to create from scratch.
Keep in mind not only who will be consuming this content but also who you want it to be shared by. Tag influencers to your content or reference them so they might share this with their follower base too. Create individually optimized thumbnails for your cornerstone content to be shared across the different social platforms.
As repeated plenty of times before, your cornerstone content is not intended for conversion. So instead of expecting it to disappoint you, approach it as a valuable top-of-the-funnel. While it may not bring you sales, you can still use it to elicit desired user action. For eg, think of an exit banner campaign that asks your website visitors whether they’d like to sign up for company updates. In addition, always cookie them so you can use the gathered insights to retarget them.
9. Promote your cornerstone content
Once you’ve published your cornerstone content, promote it! It would be a waste of your effort if you failed to promote the content you’ve created. New content takes time to show up on organic search so try other means like including them in your marketing emails and promoting them on social media. Research how your peers are doing it, and then double down and do some targeted outreach.
Time to Build Your Cornerstone Content
Cornerstone content is a valuable content marketing technique frequently leveraged by SEO companies and professionals to help boost your website’s overall search engine performance. It is the mainstay of any SEO agency or digital marketer’s search marketing strategy. Be patient with the output of your cornerstone content once you’ve released it. Give it time to gain the attention it deserves. If you’ve promoted it actively using the marketing channels available to you, this is where most of the visitors will be coming in from. Within months, it should bring in considerable organic traffic too. Keep revisiting it to maintain its relevance and evergreen quality. Slowly but steadily, you are sure to realize why implementing cornerstone content into your website was the best thing you could have done to build for your brand a reliable user base in the digital market!
Now that you know what power cornerstone content holds, it is time to generate your own. Make sure to keep all the aforementioned points in mind to generate the best cornerstone content for your website to yield the best results. It always helps to have assistance from established professionals who have a firm grasp on SEO services like Infidigit. Contact us today to learn more.
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