Why you need to write – and highlight – cornerstone content

One of the most respected authors in the world of web writing calls it “Cornerstone Content“. It’s the sort of material which gets sometimes quite unlikely companies excellent positions in the Google results. And it’s possible that you might be sitting on all the material you need to create such a page on your website.

The writer above, Brian Clark, says: “A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.” So what he is suggesting is that you write pages to definitively answer the most fundamental questions which prospects might ask of you.

For sure, this could be “Why are your blue widgets so special?” or “What makes your company the one I should do business with?” But most importantly, your cornerstone articles should give them some advice, for free, which they will find useful and which will inspire them to investigate your blue widgets and start a relationship with your company.

A cornerstone article should be in-depth, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be long. It could link to resources already on your website, such as technical articles or case studies. The pages which Google loves are those which have a decent amount of content, but also cite other articles. Above all, the article should set out to impress readers by teaching them something and demonstrating your authority and experience.

The idea for the article is critical, but its headline can make or break it. You need to anticipate the reader’s question, and provide the answer. That’s why headlines like “10 ways in which Blue Widgets can save you money” work so well. The reader has heard that Blue Widgets can save them money; the obvious question they’re asking will be “How?”

And don’t hide the article away. I despair of websites which start with a two- or three-column design, and then struggle to find anything useful to put in those second or third columns (sidebars). Here’s your chance to actually use them: create promotional panels for your cornerstone content and make sure every website visitor, wherever they arrive, gets to see it.

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