What is Cornerstone Content?
Studies show that your customers can’t get enough good content. They want to absorb it any way that they can.
Responding to customer demand for more information online, customer-conscious businesses are investing time and resources into content marketing. Frequently, content marketing strategy can get out of hand with holes in content (questions content neglects to answer) or lack of organization (making content more difficult to find). Additionally, content marketing, when done poorly, can get stale due to businesses running out of topics to make engagement-worthy.
One solution is careful planning by way of cornerstone content. It is more challenging for businesses, but the challenge brings a healthy level of maturation to their customer engagement.
Cornerstone content can also be known as Flagship content. For the purposes of this blog, the term “flagship content” is interchangeable with “cornerstone content.”
Cornerstone Content Definition
When a business or writer produces a long, exhaustive article addresses all the issues for a specific set of problems, he/she has created cornerstone content. Often, cornerstone content exists as a downloadable resource in addition to an online blog/article.
Content marketers often create cornerstone content for each stage of the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Sale/Decision. Frequently, that means that business websites possess one cornerstone article for each stage.
From there, content marketers can develop topic clusters from each cornerstone article. Each topic in a topic cluster can become its own shorter, specific blog post linked back to the cornerstone article.
When incorporating social media and omni-channel marketing (that is, various marketing mediums including audio, visual, and video content), content marketers use each article and topic cluster to guide their social media management. Individual posts, podcasts, and videos highlight a specific topic from a topic cluster and then link back to the cornerstone content.
Cornerstone Content in Practice
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), a cornerstone article puts all the key information in one place online. It adds significant SEO value to the business website (when done well). And it also entices potential customers to the website for long visits/sessions (again, when done well).
Often the challenge for content marketers is learning how to produce this content in way that is digestible for readers. If the content is too technical, it is irrelevant to readers and will result in little to no perceptible impact from an SEO perspective.
To combat this, businesses and content marketers need to develop greater emotional intelligence to feel what their customers feel. The goal is to understand the problems potential customers have the amount of pain they endure as a result of those problems.
Another way that businesses and content marketers give the cornerstone content greater impact is by making it a downloadable resource. Readers can choose to absorb the information in one online session. Or they can download it to their computer/device to refer back to later.
What Makes Cornerstone Content Different than Pillar Content?
Some content marketers interchange these two. But if we want to understand the nuance, the simplest way to understand is that one lends itself to being an exhaustive guide (cornerstone) and the other lends itself to an overview (pillar).
As a result, a cornerstone article will frequently be a bit longer than a pillar article. Most cornerstone articles are around 2500 words or more. But you can write a good pillar article in less than 1000 words.
In conclusion, getting the root of the problems your customers face is not an easy task. Content marketing gets to the root more intuitively, as it is more flexible and content-directed by potential customers. Businesses that properly incorporate effective content marketing are better equipped with the emotional intelligence to do business in the 21st Century.
For a better understanding of cornerstone content, HubSpot’s Content Marketing Certification is free. Content marketers and business owners should seriously consider taking the course. It may or may not be feasible for you to create your own content marketing strategy. However, the course will significantly improve your understanding of website marketing, even if you have to hire experts to build your content marketing machine.