How To Create “Cornerstone Content” that Gives New Website Visitors a Stellar First Impression
by Cheryl Binnie

Often when I work with clients on their content marketing, they want a whole slew of ideas for what to write.

But the thing I want them to have, first and foremost, is their cornerstone content.

“What’s that?” you ask?

In short, it’s the most important content on your website. 

It’s the content that you send people to when you want to give them a stellar introduction to you and your work.

It could live in the form of a webpage, a blog article, or a video (if it’s a video, it should live on your website and have a written version accompanying it). 

Basically, it needs to be something that you can link to and send people to, over and over again.

(In historical building construction, the cornerstone was often the first stone laid. It served as a reference of alignment for all the other stones. So think of this as the content that lays the foundation for the rest of your content.)

Your cornerstone content will also link to other pages, articles, programs, or resources. So if someone arrives there and likes what they’re reading, you’ve already lined up even more of your content for them to keep reading or watching.

Okay, so how do you decide what to use for your cornerstone content?

1. Do a brainstorm on the biggest problems and questions your ideal clients have when they first come to you.

Now, look back over that list and make sure everything you’ve come up with matches your target market’s awareness level before they’ve started working with you. 

For example, someone might realize they need to focus on self-love after they’ve had a session with you. But, if everyone is fully consumed with the idea of finding their True Love Romantic Partner when they first start talking to you, that’s the awareness level you need to match at the start of your content, because they won’t even start reading it otherwise. 

Hook them in by talking about the thing they’re already thinking about… and then, within the cornerstone content, you can start to introduce the real solutions – which should match up with what you teach or sell.

Pro Tip: Make sure your copy talks about the things your target market is already thinking or worrying about – and that you’re using their words and phrases to talk about those things. For more help with this, get instant access to my FREE mini-course, Copy that Resonates: How to find the exact words that attract your ideal clients + get them excited to work with you Click here to get Copy that Resonates

2. Look at your own Core Message – is there an opinion, lesson, or mindset/paradigm shift you want your ideal client to learn or experience? 

If you’re unclear on your message, check out my article, How to Connect with Your Ideal Clients by Crafting a Memorable Message

3. Map out the pillars of your message, methodology, system, or program. 

Your cornerstone content should introduce each of those pillars, ideally as the solutions to the problems and questions you brainstormed above. 

You can have one or a few main articles that give a robust introduction or overview of the whole thing, and that also link out to other articles or pages that go more in-depth on each of those pillars. 

(Note that I refer to these as pillars, not stages or steps. It’s okay if your methodology does go in chronological order, but most of us have programs where each “step” could happen in any order, or all at the same time. In that case, I like to think of them as pillars, all working together.)

4. Look at everything you’ve gathered – the problems and questions, your message, and your pillars. Write your cornerstone content to cover those things.

To get started, choose the BIGGEST problem or question your ideal clients have when they first come to you.

Outline an article that helps them with that problem by introducing your message and your pillars as the solution(s).

A good flow is:

  1. Establish the problem or question.
  2. Reassure them that they’re not alone or it’s not their fault.
  3. Introduce your solution. (For a cornerstone content piece, this will almost always be your Core Message or Point of View.)
  4. Give us your pillars! (Write them as you would the content points or teaching points in any article!)

While you write your article, here are a few things to keep in mind…

Cornerstone content should…

  • Be “the best of the best” of your content. This is the content that you will share on social media the most often, which means it will likely be the first (longer) impression many people have of you. You want it to WOW them. (Because, let’s be honest: we all know that our latest article is sometimes not our greatest work. Sometimes, we just need to get a newsletter out, and our best effort that week isn’t quite what we’d like it to be.)
  • Be well-written, with a good flow from each point to the next (flow, meaning: in an order that makes sense to the reader’s mind, and with transitional phrases that pull the reader from each point to the following one).
  • Link out to more of your content! Include hyperlinks to other articles, videos, or pages on your website (you can link to outside content and resources, too, but the main point is to send your reader down a rabbit hole with your content).
  • Be formatted in a way that makes it easy to read – with short paragraphs, lots of subheads to indicate new sections, bolded lines, and the occasional bullet list to draw people back in if (when) they start skimming.
  • Have good keywords and phrases for SEO. (Now, please do not write an article solely for the purpose of trying to rank on Google. SEO strategy is a way more complicated beast these days, and it requires a lot more than a bunch of keywords stuffed into your website. The best rule of thumb is write your content the way you would write as a human being to another human being. If the keywords and phrases naturally fit, use them. If not, don’t make it awkward by trying to shove them in there.)
  • Be longer and more informative than most of your other articles. If I click a link you’ve shared on Facebook to come read this article, I don’t want it to be a 500-word fluff piece that feels like a waste of my time. I want you to introduce me to new ideas and concepts, dispel old myths I still believe, and give me a preview of what working with you would be like.

Quick Cheat: Look at your old articles to see if you already have something that could work as your cornerstone content.

There’s a good chance you’ve already written an article that introduces your message and pillars. 

It may need to be spruced up, added to, or updated to match any shifts you’ve made in your business.

But if you already have a piece of content you feel good about and that accomplishes all of the above, start using it as your cornerstone content! 

Bonus: You can repurpose your cornerstone article into content you can use all over the place!

  • Record a video where you teach the same thing as the article.
  • Record a bunch of shorter videos, where you tackle each section of the article separately (or each pillar of your methodology).
  • Create a bunch of social media posts that also tackle each of the sections/pillars individually.
  • Turn it into an email nurture sequence. You can break up the long article into several smaller emails, and even string together multiple articles – to create a mini-series that people receive after joining your email list. (To be clear: you still have the full article somewhere on your website. It lives in both places: on your website and in this email sequence.)
  • Repurpose it into your Signature Talk, or your “most popular topics” when pitching yourself for interviews or podcasts.
  • Check out my article about repurposing your content here for even more ideas!

There you go, m’friend! Have fun playing with this!

Happy writing!

xoxo,

Cheryl

Want more help making sure your content will connect with your ideal clients?


Get instant access to my FREE mini-course, Copy that Resonates: How to find the exact words that attract your ideal clients + get them excited to work with you Click here to get Copy that Resonates