Cornerstone content, massive value posts, pillar articles, call them whatever you want! The fact is that it’s these monstrous articles are what’s going to get you and your blog noticed. In this post, you’ll learn how to create cornerstone content that will mesmerize your readers and explode the growth and authority of your blog!
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 backlinks to your blog.
Think of one single great, in-depth, article that you found, read and perhaps even linked to from your own blog recently.
Now think of how many other websites and blogs out there in similar niches that have done exactly the same thing to that one single ‘valuable’ article.
You see, by creating lots of useful cornerstone content for your blog, you too can reap the benefits and rewards of attracting lots of traffic, real social shares, comments, engagement, and backlinks.
If not, then at least you’ll have more chances of getting your blog noticed, right?
If you want to cultivate an authoritative blog that stands out, it’s simple, just create more cornerstone content, period.
The nuts and bolts of a powerful cornerstone content
So just to be clear about what cornerstone content articles actually are, just in case you’re still a little bit confused.
A piece of cornerstone content, or often referred to as a pillar article, is simply a page or post on your blog about a specific topic.
The post or page is designed to be comprehensive, meaning to cover literally everything there is to possibly know about a topic.
These massive value posts (MVPs) are lengthy too. They’re not your average 600 or 800 world blog posts, they’re huge, around 2,000 plus words.
Heck, I’ve seen some cornerstone articles to be in excess of 5,000 words and more.
But remember, it’s not all about the length of the article, it’s also about how much value a cornerstone article has to offer.
What cornerstone articles are made of
The mix that goes into a massive value article is pretty diverse. Here’s a list of things you might find in one –
- Photos, images, infographics, screenshots, charts, and graphs.
- Statistics, facts, and other relevant data.
- Videos and slide presentations.
- Excerpts and inspirational quotes.
- Links to relevant articles, tools, resources, etc.
- Input from thought leaders and influencers.
- Content upgrades and much more.
If you truly want to create an epic blog post that really aims to solve a single problem, and from every possible angle you can think of, then start creating more cornerstone content for your blog.
How much time does it take to create these massive value posts?
I’m sure you’re all fired up now to start writing BIG posts for your blog, but just hold fire a little longer.
If you’re thinking of putting together a few of these mega-articles for your blog, you need to know this first:
Cornerstone content takes time, energy, and an incredible amount of research and resources to put together.
You can’t just sit down at your computer and bash out a massive value piece of content in one hour. No freaking way!
You’re looking at days or even a few weeks even.
There’s research and learning about the topic of your choice to be done, gathering important data, statistics, finding case-studies, videos and graphics that are relevant, and so on.
If all of this sounds like too much hard work, then continue on your way to 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.
Best post formats for creating 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.
One of the reasons for this is because most types of cornerstone articles don’t really require updating as often as standard blog posts.
“Static pages” are 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 almost all my massive value posts.
What are the benefits of creating cornerstone content?
Finally, before we dive into the steps for creating epic cornerstone content from for your blog, let’s first take a look at some of the benefits of creating these kinds of articles for your blog or website.
- They provide incredible value, resource, and real solutions to problems for your readers.
- Google love these kinds of blog posts, so your cornerstone content articles should rank reasonably well in the search engines. In fact, at the time of updating this post, this cornerstone article you’re reading right now is ranking at number 2 on page 1 of Google! (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.
- They can help boost your blog’s credibility and authority.
- The more MVP’s or cornerstone content you create for your blog, the more chances you’ll have at literally crushing your competitors flat…
Bloggers who love creating cornerstone content
One blogger who’s truly dedicated to creating epic cornerstone content is, of course, Neil Patel from NeilPatel.com.
Pat Flynn is also renown for providing massive value posts on his blog 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. You really can’t get more epic than that.
Ashley’s post is a fine example of a super-charged cornerstone content. His post to date has attracted nearly 30k shares on social media!
Many of the articles I publish here on Magnet4Blogging are over 1,500 words in length, some like this one, over 3,000 words long.
Again, remember that it’s not all about bulking up the word count, but more about providing incredible value.
Some examples of cornerstone content articles on Magnet4Blogging
Here are some examples of cornerstone content titles published on my blog:
- 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 for creating 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 comments and backlinks to your blog, and flood the social network sites with your post shares.Reading the ultimate guide to creating cornerstone content for your blog in 2018Click To Tweet
#01 Know your audience and know your audience ‘well…’
I know that this might sound like generic advice, but seriously, you really 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 positively understand your reader’s needs, 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. Find out what they love most about your blog and reading your content. Learn about their problems. Ask them questions, invite them for a chat even.
Here’s what you should be doing to learn more about your audience –
- Responding to every single comment left on your blog posts without fail…
- Responding to every single email you receive from your readers or new blog visitors. Especially if you’re being asked a question.
- Responding to messages left for you on social media.
- Reaching out to your first time blog commenters and new subscribers to welcome them personally to your blog. Reminding them that you’re there to help them in any way you can. Let them know that if they have a problem they need help with, you’re ready, willing and able to try and 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 calls-to-action 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 topic 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 subject 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.
After all, people use search engines to find what they’re looking for, right?
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, AdWords Keyword Planner or 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 topic.
There’s a 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 accurate.
If you’re providing theories or making claims in your content, 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, facts, and data that you can 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 on your part.
We’re talking about hours, days, or even weeks, depending on how in-depth you decide to go with your topic.
Don’t be in such a hurry to finish writing your cornerstone post 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.
- Block out your time for writing 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 placing your headline titles in the right places, sub-headers, intros, paragraphs, closing chapter, conclusion etc, all before writing. You can always reorganize them later on.
- Take frequent breaks in between writing to keep your mind fresh and focused. As a rule, I write for 55 minutes, then rest for 5. I do this in blocks of two before taking a longer break. 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, regardless of how long it takes you.
- Drink plenty of water, fruit tea, or whatever else quenches your thirst. Not beer 😉
- Avoid too many distractions, listen to some ambient music if that’s your kinda thing! I love listening to ambient electronic music whilst I’m writing my blog posts. It really helps me.
- Write when you’re feeling the most refreshed and alert, avoid writing when you’re mentally drained.
#05 Diversify your content
This is a pretty big one since it’s what makes a cornerstone content what it is.
Massive value posts aren’t just made up of blocks of simple linear content, they’re made up of other types of content.
Make sure you use at least a few of the following in your content –
- Relevant images.
- Graphs, charts.
- 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 theories, so as video and audio content.
#06 Get insights from other experts
Here’s another 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 credible experts.
This is a fantastic way and opportunity to not only add even more value to your cornerstone posts but to also boost your article’s authority and credibility!
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 linking
Carefully link out to other external relevant content that you think could add value to your cornerstone post.
You’ll notice that I’ve already mentioned several other articles outside of this blog to add even more value to this post and the topic of writing cornerstone content.
Pick sites that have a lot of weight in terms of authority and credibility.
For example, I tend to link out to sites like CopyBlogger, NeilPatel, QuickSprout, HubSpot, Business Insider, and Kissmetrics quite a lot.
As well as linking to top-level authority blogs, I also like to link back to websites managed by bloggers that I have a connection and good relationship within my niche.
#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 and resource you’ve provided in the form of external links, videos, images and so forth…
Once everything is done and dusted nicely… 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, engage 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 already on this blog –
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 you would.
Read it again and again until you’re 1,000% satisfied that your cornerstone article reads and sounds not only great but convincing too!
Make use of tools like Grammarly to help you check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Then take another break… Maybe sleep on it for one more night. Go back to it the next day and make your final edit.
If you want to, get someone else to proofread it out loud for you. I know this can be daunting and awkward, but a family member can never go wrong.
Ask them to provide some real ‘productive criticism’. That’s if you can take it, of course 🙂
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 great 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 engines!
Once everything is in place and you’re 1,110% happy with your piece of cornerstone content, optimize it for search engines the best you can.
I use WordPress SEO by Yoast for Magnet4Blogging, but whatever SEO plugin you use, make good use of it.
#10 Hit publish and promote like crazy
With your proofreading and final edits behind you.
With your post optimized for search engine visibility.
Only then should you hit that ‘Publish’ button’, or you might want to schedule your post and sleep on it for another night.
Once your cornerstone content is live for the whole world to see, you can start the onslaught of promoting it like crazy.
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.
It’s a wrap!
Wow, we’ve come to the end of the post.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, 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 remember, 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 be the best blogger you can be.
Once again, I wish you all the best – Now go and create some truly amazing cornerstone content for your blog.