Cornerstone content, massive value posts, pillar articles, long-form content – Call them whatever you want! The fact is that it’s these kinds of monstrous pieces of content that’s going to get you and your blog noticed in 2019.
In this post, you’ll learn how to create cornerstone content that will mesmerize your readers, get folks talking about your blog in every corner of the blogosphere, and help you to skyrocket the growth of your email list.
When crafted with care, Massive Value Posts (I call them cornerstone content, personally) have the ability to pull in huge amounts of traffic, readers, comments, social media shares, and even backlinks to your blog.
Think of one, single, in-depth, article that you recently read and perhaps even linked to from your own blog.
Now think of how many websites and blogs out there in your niche that have done exactly the same thing.
Great content demands attention and folks will link to any piece of content they feel that provides HUGE value.
You see, by creating cornerstone content for your own blog, you can reap so many benefits and rewards:
- Social shares
- Customers, even.
The nuts and bolts of a delicately crafted cornerstone content
If for any reason you are still confused as to what a piece of cornerstone content is, let me explain using clear context.
A piece of cornerstone content, or often referred to as a pillar article, is simply a page or post on your blog that covers a specific topic in great, great depth.
By great depth, I mean cornerstone content covers literally everything there is to possibly know about a topic.
These massive value posts (MVPs) are lengthy too. They’re not your average 800 or even 1,000-word blog posts, they’re huge! Try 2,000 words or more!
Heck, I’ve seen some cornerstone articles to be in excess of 5,000 words in length.
But all that said, it’s not the word count that matters in a piece of cornerstone content, it’s how much value it provides.
A 2,000-word blog post that’s filled with obvious and generic crap doesn’t count as a cornerstone article.
Remember, value, value, value.
What goes into a piece of cornerstone content
I must stress that we’re talking about content, so that doesn’t just mean contextual or blog posts. A cornerstone article can be made up of many pieces of multimedia.
Here are some of the things that make up a cornerstone blog post.
- Photos, images, infographics, screenshots, charts, and graphs.
- Statistics, facts, and other relevant data.
- Videos and slide presentations.
- Podcasts and other audio content.
- Excerpts and inspirational quotes.
- Links to relevant articles, tools, resources, etc.
- Input from thought leaders and influencers.
- Content upgrades.
- User-generated content in the form of blog comments too.
So, if you truly want to create an epic blog post that will blow everything else out of the water, create a cornerstone content for your blog. Create a blog post that aims to solve a single problem for your readers, and tackle it from every possible angle.
How much time does it take to create these massive value blog articles?
I’m sure you’re all fired up now to go and write a BIG blog post and get it published, but just hold fire a little longer.
If you’re thinking of putting together a few of these mega-articles for your blog, I think you need to know something important first:
Cornerstone content takes time, energy, and an incredible amount of research and resources to put together properly.
You just can’t sit down at your computer and decide that you’re going to bash out a massive blog post in an hour or two.
It might be possible, I don’t know how fast you are able to type and do your research and everything else but know that these kinds of posts take time to put together properly.
How long exactly?
You’re looking at days or even a few weeks.
If you know nothing about the topic you want to create your cornerstone article for, then research and learning are going to take you some time.
Then there’s gathering important data, collecting statistics, finding case-studies, embedding videos and customizing graphics, and so on.
And all of this is before you’ve even written a single sentence for your post.
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.
But, if you’re ready to start creating some truly epic ‘traffic magnetic’ content for your blog, then read on my friend.
What is the best format for creating your cornerstone content articles
While 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 will not require updating as often as standard blog posts.
“Static pages” are great for creating evergreen content, while “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 take a quick 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 that your readers might be experiencing.
- Google loves 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 (December 2018), this cornerstone article you’re reading right now is ranking at number 7 on page 1 of Google! Against some pretty tough competition too. (See image below).
- They can attract a ton of traffic, drive 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 value the importance of 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.
In fact, 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 piece of cornerstone content. His post to date has attracted nearly 30k shares on social media!
Many of the articles we publish here on Magnet4Blogging are over 1,500 words in length, some, like this one, are well over 3,000 words long.
But again, it’s not all about bulking up the word count that counts, it’s about providing incredible value.
Some examples of cornerstone content articles on Magnet4Blogging
Here are some examples of cornerstone content titles published on this 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
- The Complete Guide To Creating A Lifestyle Blog
Blog interviews and expert roundup posts also make for great MVPs.
For a resource roundup post, for example, you could collect links to 50 best articles on the web on a particular topic and title it something like:
“50 Groundbreaking Blog Posts That Profoundly 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, how valuable they can be to your blog and the reasons for creating them.
Let’s move on.
10 Steps for creating cornerstone content for your blog
Let’s now take a look at the steps required for creating an epic piece of cornerstone article that’s going to blast your blog with traffic, send swathes of comments and backlinks to your blog, and flood the social network sites with your post shares.
Well, not quite that dramatic, but close enough.
#01: Know your audience and know your audience ‘well…’
I know that this might sound like obvious 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 and wants, then you’ll know exactly what your readers will respond to content wise.
If you’re just starting out and trying to build a community for your blog, ensure you’re doing everything you can to learn what your readers are looking for from your content.
Learn as much as you can. 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. Do whatever it takes.
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.
While I don’t usually promote the subject of “creating content for search engines”, in order for your content to get found in Google and other search engines, it’s wise to do a little keyword research first.
After all, people use search engines to find solutions to their problems, right?
So ensure your keyword research takes 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 most 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 on all sides, 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 sentence.
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 views and perspectives. Add something new to the subject matter, something that hasn’t been discussed 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 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, adding 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 ideas flowing. 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. Avoid drinking Vodka while you write your post if possible 😉
- Avoid too many distractions, listen to some ambient music if that’s your kinda thing! I love listening to ambient electronic space music whilst I’m writing my blog posts. It really helps me to go into deep thought about my topic.
- 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 contextual words, they’re made up of other types of content as discussed earlier.
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, so make them interesting and relevant.
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?
#07 Be resourceful with your outbound 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 relevant 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.
#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 extra value and resources you’ve added in the form of 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 that you’ll end up making more changes than you imagined 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 at first, 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 pillar 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, but don’t over stress with it.
#10 Hit publish and promote like crazy
With your proofreading and final edits behind you.
With your post optimized for search engines.
Only then should you hit that ‘Publish’ button’, or you might want to schedule your post and sleep on it for one more 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 best 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.
Once again, I wish you all the best – Now go and create some truly amazing cornerstone content for your blog.