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What Is Cornerstone Content and 4 Strategies to Use It Effectively

The term “cornerstone content” is often thrown around casually in the digital marketing space, but what is cornerstone content? 🤷‍♂️

In a nutshell, you can think of it as that one piece of foundational content that can help drive traffic to your website and keep readers coming back.

👉 Below, we’ll answer all of your questions about cornerstone content:

Let’s begin.

What is cornerstone content?

When you create a new website, the thought of developing the right content for it can get overwhelming. What should you be focusing on?

Building backlinks? Landing pages? Advertising your products?

While the above are all important elements of a website, there’s one type of content that your website cannot go without – cornerstone content.

But what is cornerstone content?

Themeisle describes cornerstone content as “a meticulously crafted, comprehensive piece of content that covers a core topic or theme related to your website’s niche. These cornerstone pieces serve as the foundation of your content strategy.” [1]

Cornerstone content isn’t necessarily about selling products or services – at least not directly. The main focus of this type of content is to help attract relevant traffic to your website and establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche.

It’s also important to note that since the purpose of cornerstone content is to bring in steady traffic and establish yourself as an authority figure, it’s best to make it freely accessible to your readers.

This means that it shouldn’t be behind a registration form or a paywall. Converting your visitors isn’t the main focus with this. The primary goal is to let your audience know that you can be their go-to resource within your niche.

If you do have something to offer that requires a purchase (or you plan on offering something in the future), then your cornerstone content will help build trust with potential buyers. Since you’ll already have given them so much valuable information for free, they’ll be more likely and willing to pay you. Think of cornerstone content like a premium product that you’re giving away for free.

What are the benefits of cornerstone content?

Now that we’ve answered what is cornerstone content, the next question to ask is what are the benefits of cornerstone content?

👉 There are many advantages to creating cornerstone content:

  • It can help attract website traffic and raise brand awareness, which makes it a great addition to any top-of-the-funnel marketing or sales strategy.
  • You can establish authority in your industry, create a great first impression, and be a go-to resource for your audience.
  • Other relevant articles on your website can be linked to from your cornerstone content. This is a great way to keep your audience engaged and discover more about what you have to offer.
  • It’s also possible to do the above in reverse, by adding relevant links from your other articles back to your cornerstone content. This is a great way to let search engines (especially Google) know that you’re interested in ranking for these topics.

All of these benefits are a great way to start building a solid brand within your niche.

Different types of cornerstone content

Now that you understand what is cornerstone content, it’s time to create it. But before you get started, you need to first ask yourself – if someone were to come across my website for the first time, what would I like them to read? What would leave them with a good first impression?

Depending on your answer, this might mean that you need to create a long-form article, a detailed tutorial, a “how-to” guide, or a case study.

Here’s a closer look at what makes each of these a great option for cornerstone content.

Long-form articles or blog posts ✍️

Long-form articles or blog posts can be great cornerstone content because they allow you to:

  • Showcase your expertise
  • Build relationships with your audience
  • Internally link to other relevant articles

They offer detailed explanations, valuable insights, and expert advice. They’re not the every day “quick tips” type of articles. Instead, they provide the ultimate solutions to your readers’ problems.

But how long should they be?

Depending on who you ask, the ideal length of a long-form article or blog post will differ. However, Semrush states that typically, long-form content will exceed 1,200 words [2]. Of course, some articles (like the one you’re reading right now) are much longer.

Studies have also shown that Google likes long articles. In fact, the average length of articles on Google’s first page is 1,447 words [3]. So, with the right keyword and overall SEO strategy, you can rank higher and drive lots of traffic to your website with long-form articles.

Ultimate guides and tutorials 📙

DomainWheel blog post that can be an example of what is cornerstone content.

This is another form of long-form content, but ultimate guides and tutorials are special because they allow you to guide your readers along a learning journey.

Whether it’s a guide on starting a new website or how to start a business blog, they provide a step-by-step approach to mastering a specific skill or topic.

If you would like to create an ultimate guide as one of your pieces of cornerstone content, it should be on a topic very important to your audience. Your audience will search for it online and hopefully find it in their search results pages.

Case studies ✏️

Case studies are real-life success stories of people using your product or service and getting what they need from it. They showcase examples of how your products or services have worked wonders for others.

For example, imagine your website is all about fitness. A case study or success story detailing how a regular person transformed their health with your workout program can be your cornerstone content. It’s real evidence that what you offer actually works.

In addition, case studies can help to build trust. When potential customers see how others have benefited from your products or services, it helps them trust your brand more. This makes them great options for cornerstone content.

Now that we’ve answered the questions of what is cornerstone content, what are the benefits, and what types of cornerstone content you can create, it’s time to take a closer look at strategies you can use to create effective cornerstone content.

Four key strategies for crafting excellent cornerstone content

  1. Use SEO
  2. Make it both engaging and informative
  3. Balance evergreen and trending topics
  4. Promote it

1. Use SEO 🎯

Mangools/KWFinder, a keyword research tool.

Earlier, we mentioned the importance of ensuring your cornerstone piece has internal links to other relevant content. We also highlighted that you can build links from other articles back to your cornerstone content.

In addition, you’ll need to:

Have a solid keyword strategy

Ideally, your cornerstone content should target your most competitive keywords, and other articles on your website can include longer-tail, lower hanging fruit keywords.

There are multiple online tools that you can use to ensure that you’re targeting the right keywords. Some of the most popular include:

Focus on user experience

This means making your cornerstone content easy to read, understand, and navigate. You can use headings, bullet points, and engaging visuals to keep readers hooked.

Include meta tags and descriptions

Craft compelling meta titles and descriptions that include your target keywords.

2. Make it both engaging and informative 🚀

So far, we’ve spoken extensively about ensuring that your cornerstone content is informative, has the right keywords, is detailed, and lots more.

But we must also highlight the importance of ensuring the content is engaging. At the end of the day, no matter how informative and detailed a tutorial or guide can be, if it’s not entertaining, no one will read it, and you won’t make that great first impression we spoke about earlier.

So, how exactly do you create engaging cornerstone content?

👉 There are different ways to connect with and engage your audience. You can:

  • Tell a story. We all love a good and relatable story. So, why not weave narratives and personal experiences into your cornerstone content? For example, if your website is about personal development, your cornerstone piece on “Overcoming Adversity” could include inspiring stories of people who faced and conquered challenges.
  • Use visuals. By visuals, we mean images, infographics, videos, or even memes. Visuals not only make your content more appealing but also help in conveying complex ideas more easily. For example, if you have a cooking website, a cornerstone article on “Mastering French Cuisine” could include images of the dishes you’re discussing.
  • Simplify complex concepts and ideas. Regardless of your topic, it’s essential to always remember who your readers are. How knowledgeable are they on the topic you’re discussing? Ask yourself: Is it necessary to use industry jargon, or can I explain this concept in a simpler way?

HubSpot describes evergreen content as content that “discusses topics that will stay relevant and valuable for a longer period of time with only minor updates related to data or dates.” [4]

In other words, evergreen content focuses on topics that typically address timeless issues and fundamental concepts in a niche. They offer value and continue attracting traffic and engagement long after publication.

However, what about trending topics? Topics that reflect the latest developments, interests, or cultural moments? These are sure to generate significant attention as well.

It’s essential to strike a balance to create content that accommodates evergreen and trending topics. One practical approach is to build the content around evergreen topics while incorporating timely references or updates that reflect the current trends.

Regular updates and timely revisions can help maintain the content’s relevance and longevity.

4. Promote it 📢

As an online content creator, marketing your content is just as important as creating it. You want people to see it, read it, and know that you’re a go-to resource for relevant content in your niche.

You can promote your cornerstone content through your social media channels to help get people’s eyes on it. You can also let your email subscribers know about it and leave a link to it in your newsletter.

In addition, you can share your cornerstone content through your guest posts, webinars, podcasts, and any other channels that will help get more eyes on it.

A person opening a large scroll as a symbolic representation of cornerstone content.

What is cornerstone content: final thoughts

So, what is cornerstone content? 🤷‍♂️

In short, cornerstone content is a great way to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry and maintain steady traffic on a valuable topic in your niche. This content can come in the form of long-form articles, blog posts, ultimate guides, or success stories.

To be successful, cornerstone content needs to be engaging and informative. Balancing evergreen content with trending topics can help you achieve this.

This journey doesn’t end with creation. Social media, email marketing, webinars, and podcasts can help to ensure that your content doesn’t go unnoticed.

While it does take a lot of work to create the right cornerstone content and market it, considering the incredible benefits we mentioned above, it is worth it.

If you’re building a new website and would like to learn about other essential components, you can read more from our beginner’s website building guide.