Find Your Core
Cornerstone content is core information your prospects need in order to buy from you. It’s often described as in-depth content, and it supports the main areas of your business’ services or products. Using ourselves as an example, a piece of cornerstone content is a recent AdWords ebook we created. Fixing, creating and managing AdWords account is a service we offer. Our ebook contains advice related to running SEM as well as how to solve the many problems we solve for our clients.
You probably know what the core of your business is. But if you’re struggling to define it, look at your main keywords. These are the seeds from which your cornerstone content will grow. You should build content around these keywords — as the detailed, in-depth content that captures the “pain” your client experiences with a particular problem and what you do to resolve it. When done well, you refer to cornerstone content on both related static web pages as well as blog posts.
When you’re creating your first piece of cornerstone content, build something that’s timeless. Obviously, business practices and technology change. Even if the specific features of your product(s) may evolve, your core offering probably won’t. For example, when we wrote our recent AdWords eBook we saw how much PPC has changed over the years. Interfaces evolve. Features were removed. We understand that what’s good advice now may not be useful by mid-2017. However, by reviewing at previously written articles on the subject, we picked out the principles behind any tactical advice. That’s what I mean by evergreen.
Inform and Educate
A sales brochure is not cornerstone content. Put yourself in the position of the customer. Gone are the days where prospects are willing to wade through promotional claims. To keep a reader’s attention, it has to provide real value.
Ask yourself “would reading this be useful to the customer, even if they never purchase anything from us?” If the answer to that question is “no,” then it’s time for a revision. Take out overt company- or product-centric information and morph it into customer-focused and problem-solving content. The more useful the info, the more likely your cornerstone content will be read and shared.
Google rewards websites that publish pages/posts with in-depth information. For example, our ebook is 21 pages and contains 3,600 words that styled with images and other design elements. This is long enough for you to fully explain what you want to talk about, but also not long enough to put off anyone who opens the page. If you want to go into more detail we suggest you structure the page like a Wikipedia page, with minimized sections, or further information on separate pages. You should also update the page periodically. Google likes pages that are newer or have new content on, so don’t be afraid to add sections, or more detail when you think it’s needed.
If you’re going to add a call to action (you should) we suggest you think about where the reader is likely to be in your funnel. If we go back to the smoothie example, perhaps your reader is someone looking to lose weight, thinking about eating more healthily and trying to learn more about their diet. The call to action should be at a level that fits with that reader. If your call to action is a macronutrient calculator explaining exactly how many grams of protein they should eat per day, it might be too much too soon. Tailor your CTAs to the level of knowledge you think your average reader will have.
One more thing before we go. Remember that you can have more than one piece of cornerstone content. It really depends upon your business and the range of services you offer. Just keep the information focused, timeless and detailed.
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