Cornerstone content, massive value posts, pillar articles, call them whatever you want! The fact is, it’s those kinds of blog posts that get’s you and your blog noticed. In this post, you’ll learn how to create cornerstone content that will rock your readers and explode your blog growth!
When crafted with great care, Massive Value Posts (I call them cornerstone content) have the ability to pull in huge amounts of traffic, comments, social media shares, and even backlinks to your blog.
Think of one single great article that you’ve found, read and linked to from your own blog recently.
Now think of how many other websites and blogs out there that have done exactly the same thing to that one single article.
You see, by creating lots of useful cornerstone content for your blog too, you can reap the benefits of attracting lots of traffic, social shares, engagement, and backlinks.
Well, at least you’ll have more chances of getting noticed if not.
If you want to cultivate an authoritative blog, it’s simple, just create more cornerstone content, period.
The nuts and bolts of a cornerstone content
So, just to be clear about what cornerstone content articles are, just in case you’re still a little bit confused.
Cornerstone content, or often known as a pillar article, is simply a page or post on your blog.
It is a post or page that aims to provide readers with an incredible amount of value.
These massive value posts (MVPs) aren’t just made up of 5 or 6 paragraphs of texts either. The mix includes an array of content mediums.
The ingredients that go into creating a great piece of cornerstone content includes the use of –
- Photos, images, infographics, screenshots, charts, and graphs.
- Statistics and other relevant data.
- Videos and slide presentations.
- Excerpts and inspirational quotes.
- Links to relevant articles, tools, resources, etc.
- Content upgrades and much more.
If you truly want to create an epic blog post that aims to “solve a single problem“, and from every possible angle for your readers, then start creating more cornerstone content for your blog.
What else can be said about MVPs/cornerstone content articles?
If you’re thinking of putting together a few of these articles for your blog, you need to know this first:
Cornerstone articles are NOT your average 600 or 800, or even 1,000-word blog posts.
Cornerstone content articles can be anywhere from 2,000 words up to 10,000 words in length.Cornerstone content articles can be anywhere from 2,000 words up to 10,000 words in length. Click To Tweet
If that sounds like too much hard work for you, then close this page entirely and forget about it altogether.
Continue on your way creating mediocre content like every other blogger out there is doing.
If you’re ready to start creating some truly epic ‘traffic magnetic’ content for your blog, then read on my friend.
This very post you’re reading right now could be considered as a small MVP.
With a word count of over 3,000 words, I hope that it will provide you with all the information you need, to create epic cornerstone content for your blog too.
That being said, remember that it’s not all about the word count, it’s about creating content that delivers incredible value for your readers.
Like I said earlier, cornerstone content is articles that contain all the pieces of information a reader could possibly want to read about, or learn about, and on any subject matter that fits your niche.
Post formats for your cornerstone content articles
Whilst using the “post” format is great for creating cornerstone blog articles, some bloggers prefer to dedicate the “static page” (WordPress) for creating their flagship content.
The reason for this is because cornerstone content doesn’t really require updating as often as standard blog posts.
Static pages are also great for creating evergreen content. Whilst posts are great for creating time-sensitive content.
That being said, I prefer to use “post” formats as opposed to “static Pages” for all my massive value posts.
What’s the benefit of creating cornerstone content?
Before we dive into the steps for creating epic cornerstone content from scratch, let’s first take a look at some of the benefits of creating these kinds of articles for your blog.
- They provide incredible value, resource, and problem-solving solutions for the reader.
- Google loves these kinds of blog posts, so your cornerstone content articles should rank very well in search engines. In fact, at the time of updating this post, this very cornerstone article is ranking at number 2 on page 1 of Google right now! (See image below).
- They can attract a ton of traffic, new readers, and boost blog engagement.
- People are more compelled to share cornerstone content on social media.
- They can attract backlinks naturally from other authority blogs; For instance, bloggers and influencers in your network mentioning your cornerstone content posts in their weekly or monthly roundup posts, etc.
- They can help boost your blog’s credibility and help you stamp your authority.
- The more MVP’s or cornerstone content you create for your blog, the more chances you’ll have at crushing your competitors flat… It’s that simple.
Bloggers who love creating cornerstone content
One authority blogger who’s truly amazing at creating epic cornerstone content is, of course, Neil Patel from NeilPatel.com.
Pat Flynn is also known for his massive value posts too, as so are bloggers like Ashley Faulkes from Madlemmings.
Just check out Ashley’s post titled Over 100 Online Business Ideas To Make Your Millions In 2017.
Ashley’s post is a fine example of a cornerstone content on steroids. His post attracted nearly 30k social media shares!
Many of the articles I write and publish here on Magnet4Blogging are over 1,500 words in length.
They are detailed and aim to provide lots of value to my readers.
Not all of them are cornerstone content articles, though, but I do try and provide as much value as I possibly can with each post I publish.
So, I’m not saying that every single post you put out has to be 10k words in length, but I believe it is good to have a healthy mix of both cornerstone content posts, with some “high-quality” filler posts (Filler posts: Your average 400 to 600-word blog posts, like this one).
Some examples of cornerstone content article titles
OK so here are some examples of cornerstone content titles:
- How To Write Online Reviews That Convert Into Profitable Affiliate Sales
- The Complete Beginners Guide To Starting A WordPress Blog
- 25 Must-Follow Blogs To Make You A Smarter Blogger
- 23 Professional Bloggers Share Their Best Methods For Driving Traffic To New Blog Posts
- 13 Pro Bloggers Share Their Number One Website Conversion Optimization Tip
Blog interviews and expert roundup posts also make for great MVPs.
For a resource roundup post, for example, you could collect links to 100 best articles on the web on a particular topic and title it something like, “100 Groundbreaking Blog Posts That Changed My Life”.
The possibilities are endless with cornerstone content articles.
Right, so I think you get the idea of what cornerstone content posts are, and how powerful and useful they can be when created properly. Let’s move on.
10 Steps To Creating Epic Cornerstone Content For Your Blog
Let’s now dive in and take a look at the steps required for creating an epic piece of cornerstone article that’s going to explode your blog with traffic, send swathes of backlinks and comments to your blog, and flood the social network sites with your post shares.
Oh, wait, before we do anything… Just remember this:
It takes time and effort to put a cornerstone article together…
You cannot and should not expect to write a cornerstone content article quickly, let’s be realistic here.
You need to be prepared to put in a lot of hard work, and a good number of hours too.
You are not going to write a cornerstone article in an hour, I don’t care how fast you can type.
The longest and most detailed post on this blog is my first year of blogging progress report, which took me 1 whole week to complete. It’s almost 4,000 words long by the way.
My list of 25 awesome bloggers to follow also took me roughly a week to complete, writing for 2 hours each day. That post is almost 4,000 words in length too.
My expert roundup post is over 3,000 words in length and that took an entire month to put together, mainly because of waiting around for responses from other bloggers and influencers!
This post is 3,200 words in length and took me 5 whole days to originally write, edit and format.
You get my point here, right?
These types of posts are works of art that take time to craft carefully, so don’t even try and rush it.
Now, let’s finally, finally begin.
Hooray!Read the ultimate guide to creating cornerstone content that matters in 2017Click To Tweet
#01 Know your audience and know your audience ‘well…’
This sounds like generic advice I know, but you seriously have to know who you are writing for to make your pillar posts work well.
If you have a loyal following for your blog already, and you understand your readers needs very well, then you’ll know exactly what your readers will respond to content wise.
If you’re just starting out perhaps and you’re trying to build an audience for your blog, ensure you’re doing everything you can to connect with your readers.
Learn as much as you can about them. Learn about their goals and aspirations. Ask them questions, invite them for a chat even.
Right, so let me share with you some things you should be doing to help you learn more about your awesome readers.
You should be…
- Responding to every single comment left on your posts without fail…
- Responding to every single email you receive from your readers or new blog visitors.
- Reaching out to your first time blog commenters and new subscribers to welcome them to your blog personally. Remind them that you’re there to help them in any way you can. Let them know that if they have a concern or problem they need help with, you’re ready, willing and able to help them best you can.
- Asking your audience questions, getting their feedback and honest opinions on particular subjects or topics you’ve written about, or want to write about in the future. Let them be part of your decision making too; For instance, if you’re about to change the design of your blog, ask them for their thoughts first.
- Using call-to-actions at the end of every single blog post to promote engagement.
- Rewarding your readers for their loyalty and support.
If you feel that you’re in tune with your audience and understand their needs relatively well, you can begin putting ideas down on paper for your cornerstone content.
#02 Do keyword research
The next step is to do a little keyword research, however, this isn’t always crucial and I’ll explain why next.
Whilst I don’t usually promote the topic of “writing for search engines”, as you may know, if you really want to write cornerstone content that gets found on Google, however, you’ve got to do a little keyword research.
Your keyword research should take into consideration what your audience is looking for from your blog, as a solution to whatever problem they might be experiencing.
Use Google Analytics, Google WebMaster Tools and a keyword research tool like Long Tail Pro to help you find, research and determine which keywords or phrases are going to be relevant to your cornerstone content.
There’s a great comprehensive guide on CopyBlogger that teaches you how to do keyword research properly if you’re interested in reading it.
#03 Research the topic thoroughly
Your cornerstone content needs to be valuable and informative, that’s definitely agreed, right? But at the same time, it also needs to be factually correct.
If you’re providing theories or making claims in your teachings, ensure you back them up with real facts and some evidence at least.
You can do this by researching the topic you want to write about thoroughly.
Learn everything there is to possibly know about the topic before you start writing a single line.
Source relevant statistics to use in your content as well. Check out this post to help you find and use relevant data and statistics in your blog posts.
In addition, don’t just add to the noise of what has already been said. This is in fact very critical.
Share your own thoughts and opinions, perspectives and views. Add something new to the subject matter, something that hasn’t been talked about before.
#04 Write your cornerstone post
As I said at the beginning of this post, writing cornerstone articles takes time and a serious amount of effort.
We’re talking about hours, maybe even days or weeks depending on how deep you go with your topic.
Don’t be in such a hurry to finish writing your cornerstone posts either, just so that you can get something out on your blog to promote.
Here are some extra tips for writing long-form blog posts.
- Time block your writing time and don’t let anything get in the way of that time. Guard it with your life!
- Organize the structure of your cornerstone content properly. This includes your headline, sub-headers, intros, paragraphs, closing chapter, conclusion etc, all before writing.
- Take frequent breaks in between writing to keep your mind fresh and focused. As a rule, I write for 50 minutes, then rest for 10. Set a timer by your side. I use the Focus Keeper app on my iPhone to keep tabs on my productivity and break times.
- Don’t edit anything, just focus on writing first, regardless of how long it takes you.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid too many distractions, listen to ambient music if that’s your thing! I love listening to ambient space music whilst I’m writing my blog posts.
- Write when you’re feeling the most refreshed and alert, avoid writing when you’re mentally or even physically drained.
#05 Diversify your content
Like I already mentioned, massive value posts aren’t just made up of blocks of simple linear content, they’re made up of other types of media content.
So, make use of quality relevant images, colorful and informative infographics, graphs and charts, quotes, videos, podcasts, PDF’s and even some slide presentations.
Images help to break up your content and give your readers some new perspective to focus on.
Screen captures and infographics can be powerful too. These can help your readers explore deeper into your content and visualize what it is you’re trying to teach them.
Graphics also helps you to support your points and theories, so as do video and audio content.
#06 Get insights from other experts
OK, this one is a ‘big one’.
As well as sharing your own insights, ideas, techniques, theories and so on, consider bringing in the fresh minds and perspectives of other experts.
This is a great way to not only add even more value to your cornerstone posts but to also boost your cornerstone content authority and credibility!
Get in touch with a few bloggers maybe with a lot of authority and credibility in your particular niche, or on a specific topic.
It shouldn’t be too hard if you have good relationships with other bloggers.
If not, then use something like NinjaOutreach or LinkedIn to help you find and connect with top influencers.
Get them to answer a few questions to put into your cornerstone post. Maybe a few useful quotes, or how about doing a mini interview even?
#07 Be resourceful with your external links
Carefully link out to other relevant and valuable content resources, not just to other content on your own blog, but also to content on other authority sites and fellow blogs.
You’ll notice that I’ve already mentioned several other articles outside of this blog. This is because my aim is to provide additional value to what you’re already learning about here.
Pick sites that have a lot of weight in authority and credibility.
For example, I tend to link out to sites like CopyBlogger, QuickSprout, Search Engine Land, Social Media Examiner and so forth quite a lot.
As well as linking to top-level authority blogs, I also like to link back to sites maintained by bloggers that I’ve connected with and have a good relationship with.
Because those blogs offer a lot of value too.
#08 Edit and proofread, again and again…
Once you’ve written your cornerstone content post, and you’re happy with the way it is structured and organized…
Once you’re happy with all the additional value you’ve added in the form of external links, videos, images and so forth…
Once everything is done and dusted… it’s time to start editing the raw stuff and polishing up your cornerstone article.
Editing is refining your post, making it not just good, but super epic for your readers to read, interact with, and take action upon.
This can take just as much time as writing the post itself.
Here’s a little tip which I’ve probably mentioned a million times on this blog already:
Don’t edit your post straight after you’ve written it.
Take a break, take a very long break actually.
Heck, why not even take a day or two? Then come back to it and start editing and proofreading, I guarantee you’ll end up making more changes than you thought.
Read it again and again until you’re 1000% satisfied that your cornerstone article reads and sounds not only great but convincing too!
Then take another break… Maybe sleep on it for one more night. Go back to it the next day and make your final edit.
In addition, and if possible, get someone else to proofread it out loud for you. Ask them to provide some ‘productive criticism’. That’s if you can take it 🙂
Tip: If you’re too quick to get your post published without proofreading it properly, I guarantee you that you’ll lose sleep over it, trust me I know… I’ve done this many times, published a post, then gone back to it to change some of it because I simply wasn’t 100% happy with it.
#09 Get your cornerstone content optimized for search!
Once everything is in place and you’re 1110% happy with your piece of cornerstone content, search engine optimize the post or page the best you can.
I use WordPress SEO by Yoast for this website for my on-page SEO, but whatever SEO plugin or solution you use, make good use of it.
#10 Hit publish and promote it like tomorrow’s not going to come around
With your proofreading and final edits behind you.
With your post optimized for search engine visibility (without overdoing it).
Only then should you hit the ‘Publish’ button’, or you might want to schedule your post.
Once your cornerstone content is live for the world to see, you can start the onslaught of promoting it to the masses.
You’ll find this post useful because 23 smart pro bloggers share their methods for promoting new blog posts, make sure you check it out.
In addition, you can grab my FREE new blog post marketing checklist and cheat sheet by clicking the link below.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through this post, and you’ll hopefully be motivated to start writing more cornerstone content articles for your blog.
I want to wish you the very best of luck, and if you need further help or have any questions, please get in touch with me, that’s what I’m here for, TO HELP YOU.
Again, I wish you all the best – Now go and create some truly amazing cornerstone content for your blog.
Regards – Fabrizio Van Marciano.