Cornerstone content, massive value posts, pillar articles, call them what ever you want! The fact is that it is those kinds of blog posts that gets you and your blog noticed.
When crafted with great care, Massive Value Posts have the ability to pull in huge amounts of traffic, comments, social shares and even backlinks to your blog.
Think about this for a moment, how many times have you linked back to a really great article that you found and read somewhere on another blog?
Now think about how many other blogs will have linked back to that article as well.
You see, by frequently writing and publishing these kinds of monster posts on your own blog, you’re demonstrating to your audience and future audiences, that you’re truly passionate and knowledgable on what ever topic it is you’re writing about.
This can greatly help you to create the foundations for a truly powerful and authoritative blog.
The nuts and bolts of cornerstone content
So just to be clear about what cornerstone content articles are, just in case you’re still lost with this.
Cornerstone articles are blog posts that literally provide your readers with huge amounts of value, resources and more.
These massive value posts aren’t just made up of blocks of texts either. The mix includes photos and graphics, charts and graphs, statistics and other relevant data, infographics, videos and slide presentations, and even content upgrades can be added to cornerstone articles, which makes them even more valuable.
If you truly want to create an epic “problem solving” blog post, creating a massive value post is the way to go!
What else can be said about MVP’s
If you’re thinking of putting together a few of these for your blog, know this first:
These kinds of posts aren’t your average 600 to 800 word blog posts; Cornerstone content articles are anywhere from 1500 words up to 5,000 words in length.
This post you’re reading right now could be considered as a small massive value post. At almost 3,ooo words long, it is hopefully providing you with all the information you need, to create epic cornerstone content for your blog too.
But remember, it’s not about the word count in these posts that matter, it’s about creating content that over delivers on providing value.
Like I said earlier, cornerstone content are 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, as they’re not likely to go updating these as often as they might be updating a standard blog post.
Personally I prefer to use “post” formats as apposed to “static Pages” for all my massive value posts.
Right then let’s crack on with the rest of this post.
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 immense value, resources and problem solving solutions for your readers.
- 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 writing, this very cornerstone post is ranking on page 1 of Google right now! (See image below).
- They can attract a ton of traffic, new readers and engagement.
- People are more compelled to share those awesome cornerstone content on social media, as well as on blog community sites.
- They can attract backlinks naturally from other authority blogs; For instance, bloggers in your network mentioning your cornerstone content posts in their weekly or monthly roundup posts.
- 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.
One example of an authority blogger that loves to produce awesome MVP’s and 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.
Many of the articles that I write and publish here on Magnet4Blogging are over 1500 words in length, in-depth and have a lot of value and resources. 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.
One thing that I do believe in is to have a good healthy mix of both cornerstone content posts, with some “high-quality” filler posts (Filler posts: Your average 600 to 800 word blog posts).
Some examples of cornerstone content article titles
OK so here are some examples of cornerstone content titles that I personally might want to create for my blog:
- 50 Ways To Sky-Rocket Your YouTube Subscribers
- The Complete Beginners Guide To Starting A WordPress Blog
- 25 Top Blogs To Make You A Smarter Blogger
- 23 Top Professional Bloggers Share Their Best Methods For Driving Traffic To New Blog Posts
- How I Exploded Traffic To A Brand New Blog In Just 4 Weeks [Case Study Example]
- 25 Must-Read Blog Posts To Help You Get The Most From Email Marketing (This could be a collection of your own posts, or posts from other authority blogs)
- How I Quadrupled My Email Opt-ins [My Complete Strategy Guide and List Building Case Study]
So from the list above, I’ve given some examples of the following:
- A list pillar post.
- A guide pillar post.
- A resource cornerstone post.
- A tutorial pillar post.
- A strategy case study pillar post.
Blog interviews and roundup posts also make for great cornerstone content posts.
For a roundup post for example, you could compile something like “100 Ground-breaking Blog Posts That Changed My Life”.
You could source links to the posts from external sites and add a few of your own posts in the mix too.
You could also do blogger outreach to connect with authority bloggers and create an expert roundup post.
The possibilities are endless with cornerstone content articles.
OK so I think you get the idea what cornerstone content posts are by now, and how powerful and useful they can be.
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 quality cornerstone blog articles that’s going to explode your blog with traffic, send sways of backlinks and comments to your blog, and flood the social network sites with your post shares.
Before we do anything though… Remember this:
It takes time to put these things together…
You cannot and should not write a cornerstone content article quickly, lets be realistic here.
You need to be prepared to put in a lot of hard work, and a good number of hours.
The longest and most detailed post on my blog is my first year of blogging progress report, which took me almost 2 weeks to complete. It’s almost 5,000 words long by the way.
My list of 25 awesome bloggers to follow took me two whole days to complete, writing for 4 hours each day. That post is almost 4,000 words long.
My expert roundup post is over 3,000 words long and that took an entire month to put together!
You get my point, these posts are works of art that take time to put together.
Now it’s your turn, so let’s begin.
#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.
Recommendation: I do recommend checking out my good friend Adrienne Smith’s course on how to build a blog community here. I took this course myself and it has helped me build my own blog community on Magnet4Blogging.
OK so let me share with you some things you should be doing to help you learn more about your 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 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 action’s 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.
The next step is to do a little keyword research, however this isn’t always critical and I’ll explain why next.
#02 Do keyword research
Whilst I don’t usually promote the subject of “writing for search engines”, if you really want to write cornerstone content that gets found on Google, 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 what ever problems they might be experiencing.
Use Google Analytics, Google WebMaster Tools and keyword research tools to help you identify 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.
In addition, my favourite keyword research tool right now is Long Tail Pro. Have you heard of it? If not check it out here.
#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 of text. Source relevant statistics to use in your content as well. Check out this post to help you find and use relevant data and statistics to use in your blog posts.
In addition, don’t just add to the noise.
This is in fact very critical, don’t regurgitate what’s already been said on another cornerstone post.
Add your own theories, thoughts and opinions, perspectives and views. Add something new to the subject matter.
#04 Write your content
As I said at the beginning of this post, writing cornerstone content articles takes time and a serious amount of effort.
We’re talking about hours maybe even days depending on how much time you have to write, we’re not talking about writing a 3,000 word post just 30 minutes.
Don’t be in such a hurry to finish writing your cornerstone posts too quickly either, just so that you can get something out on your blog in time.
Check out the following post I wrote on how to write great blog content every single time. It has some top tips for writing and editing lengthy blog posts systematically.
In addition here are some extra tips for writing long pillar blog posts.
- Organise the structure of your cornerstone content. Including headline titles, intros, paragraphs, closing chapter, conclusion etc before writing.
- Take frequent breaks in between writing to keep your mind fresh and focused. As a rule I write for 45 minutes, then rest for 15.
- 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 texts, they’re also made up of other types of media content. Make use of quality images, colourful and informative infographics, graphs and charts, quotes, videos, podcasts, PDF’s and even 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 visualise 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 the 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 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 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 to help you find and connect with 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 found on your own blog or blogs, 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, to add as resource to this article.
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.
I do this because I know what ever content I end up linking to on those sites, it’s going to be immensely valuable and resourceful for my readers.
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 good online relationship with. Because more often than not, those blogs also offer a ton of value that not everyone gets to read about.
#08 Edit and proof read, again and again…
Once you’ve written your cornerstone content post, and you’re happy with the way its structured and organised…
Once you’re happy with all the media you’ve added, the bullet points, tips from other experts, the links to valuable resources and so forth…
Once everything is done… it’s time to start editing the raw stuff.
Editing is refining your post, making it not just good, but epic for your readers to read and interact with, and take action upon.
This can take just as much time as writing the post.
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 long break. Heck why not even take a day or two… Come back to it and start proof reading, I guarantee you’ll end up making more changes than you thought.
Read it again and again until you’re satisfied that your cornerstone artcle 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 proof read it out loud for you. Ask them to provide productive criticism.
Tip: If you’re too quick to get your post published without proof reading it properly, you’ll only lose sleep over it, trust me I know… Often I’ve published a post and gone back to it to edit it again because I wasn’t happy with it.
#09 Get your cornerstone content optimised for search!
Once everything is in place and you’re 110% happy with your piece of cornerstone content, search engine optimise the post or page the best you can.
I use WordPress SEO by Yoast for my on-page SEO, but what ever SEO plugin or solution you use, make good use of it.
#10 Hit publish and promote…
With your proof reading and final edits behind you. With your post optimised 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 promoting the life out of it. You’ll find this post useful, where I share my methods for promoting new blog posts.
In addition, you can grab my FREE new blog post marketing check list and cheat sheet by clicking the link below.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading 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 you 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 epic cornerstone content for your blog.