What is “Cornerstone Content”?

By Michael J. Sammut

Cornerstone content is important to a website because it:

  • Drives traffic to your website… which… in turn, makes you money!
  • Improves the functionality and usability of your website… which… in turn, makes you more sales!
  • Makes your website more search-engine friendly… which… in turn, makes you more traffic and more sales!
  • Gives you a competitive advantage over your competitors… which… in turn, makes you more sales!

The concept of cornerstone content was developed by Jay Abraham. He calls it the “Core Idea” of your website. Here’s how he defines core idea: “The ‘core idea’ of a website is what makes it unique. In other words, the combination of elements on the website gives it its special flavor.

For example, a website about wine might have as its core idea the fact that it tells people about different kinds of wine and their relative merits.

A website about golf might be based on the fact that it tells people about golfing techniques and equipment.

A website about the Internet might be based on the fact that it offers information about Internet technology and how it’s used.

You get the idea.

How do I determine what topics to write about?

On the whole, you should try to write about something related to what you are selling or offering. If not, your readers will simply discard your content.  However, you should not limit yourself to only one topic. Write about whatever interests you. Just make sure the topic is related to your business. Remember… it’s the combination of related and interesting that makes your copy powerful and profitable! OK, now for the second most important ingredient… Know Your Audience!

  • Do you know who you are writing to?
  • Do you know what they want?
  • Do you have a good understanding of their buying habits?
  • Do you know their emotional triggers?
  • Do they have a sense of urgency? Do they have a problem that needs solving?

How many words should I have for cornerstone content?

The word length of your cornerstone content is important because it directly relates to the overall authority of that piece of copy. Longer website copy is important because it shows that you put a lot of thought into your website. It shows that you are an expert and it gives your website credibility.

Here’s how long I usually go on my cornerstone pieces of copy: 100-500 words for the headline 1,000-3,000 words for subheads (or sometimes less if the website copy is exceptionally strong) 5,000-10,000 words for body copy As you can see, this means that my typical website copy is between 15,000 and 30,000 words long! How do I decide what goes in my cornerstone content?

There is no right or wrong way to do this. What you should do is ask yourself what would make your website stand out from the crowd. What would make people say, “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like that before!” It could be as simple as making your website more informative.

It could be as complex as creating an entirely unique product or service that nobody else offers. The only limit is your own imagination. Once you know what would make your website stand out, the next step is to determine what is most important about that aspect of your website. What element is critical to the success of your website? Is it the fact that you offer low prices? Is it the quality of your products or services?


Tips for writing a good cornerstone article?

What makes an article “sticky”? How can you make your copy more interesting and easier to read? What special considerations should you take with new or little-known keywords? How can you use bullets to make your copy easier to digest?

  • Read Your Brief One More Time Just to be sure you haven’t missed anything. You know, it’s amazing how much difference good re-reading can make. It’s also important to note here that, as I said earlier, sometimes it’s easier to write down what you already know than to discover what you don’t know.
  • Use long copy. More words mean more credibility. More words also give your site more “juice”.
  • Write in the 3rd person. This “outside” voice gives your writing more life and more impact. It creates a sense of distance between you and your reader. When you write in the 3rd person, you will sound more like this: He said… instead of I said… or She said… instead of I said… or We said… instead of I said… etc.
  • Write in the present tense. Website copy written in the past tense is usually stale and boring. Write in the present tense and your website copy will have more life and be more interesting to read.
  • Write in the subheadings. If you keep your subheads short and to the point, they will add emphasis and energy to the words above them. But don’t go overboard. If you make your subheads too long or too wordy, your visitor will lose interest and read the rest of the copy instead. Keep them just long enough to add needed emphasis… but… not so long that your reader loses interest.

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