The return on investment on an awesome blog can be mind-blowing.
Think of entrepreneurs like Michelle Schroeder, Ramit Sethi, Tim Sykes, Steve Pavlina, Jon Morrow and Brian Clark, who’ve built multi-million-dollar businesses off of their blogs.
Their achievement is a testament to the fact that a blog can be one of the most lucrative digital assets you could own.
The secret to their success is simple: compelling content is the Holy Grail of blogging.
These A-list blogs are rare. Most of the other blogs we stumble upon are just okay or downright mediocre.
These are blogs we often drive by – we check stuff out and quickly move on. The layout is not aesthetically alluring, and the articles are filled with flimsy, half-baked content that’s not engaging.
But when we do find blogs we love, we linger on them because of the abundance of lucid, in-depth, compelling content on offer. One of the reasons they’re magnetic is their foundational blog content.
In this article, we’ll explore what foundational blog content means, its benefits, types, and how you can create it, so that you can quickly turn your blog from average to awesome.
Unraveling Foundational Blog Content
If I were to ask you, “What’s the most important part of any building?” I’m positive the answer would be the foundation.
Foundational blog content (also known as pillar, flagship, or cornerstone content) is evergreen content that encapsulates a blog’s essence. The concept underscores the fact that not all content is created equal. If you analyzed the content that’s most frequently visited, the majority of it would be foundational content.
Cornerstone articles are the pillar of your blog.
If you were to give a five-minute pitch on what your blog is about, what you’d say represents its foundational content – what defines the nature and scope of the blog.
Essential, basic, and indispensable are keywords that define foundational blog content. As the name implies, foundational blog content is content on which you’ll build the rest of your articles and resources.
When well-crafted, foundational blog content can help your site easily rank high in the search engines, gain traction and attract a tsunami of consistent traffic.
As a rule, this kind of content is never gated or behind a paywall. That’ll defeat the purpose.
Creating this kind of content is a smart SEO strategy because the goal is not just to create content, or even to rank high, but to craft content that speaks to the reader’s concerns.
With this goal in mind, it’s smart to focus on the outcomes or results you’re trying to achieve, not just the format. Focus on crafting content that reflects exactly what your readers expected.
Why You Should Create Foundational Blog Content
The benefits of creating foundational blog content include:
- Search engine ranking
- Lead-generation machine
- High return on investment
- High payoff when (and if) you sell
Over time, as you produce many blog posts, it may be difficult for visitors to access the content they’re looking for. This is partly due to the nature of a blog itself – how content gradually disappears from our view, in chronological order.
Foundational blog content is one of the antidotes to the above. In an organized and accessible form, you produce a “landing page” which grants visitors access to your most vital content. You know that users have a very short attention span, so they don’t have the patience to wade through acres of content before finding what they’re looking for.
Foundational blog content is a way of organizing your blog to make the most useful and in-depth content easy to access.
2. Search Engine Ranking
Algorithms are highly effective, but they’re unable to decipher content the way a human being would. You need to help them.
When you organize your content, it’s vital that you use a cornerstone or pillar strategy, such that all the content relating to a topic or theme is connected through internal links and presented via a “landing page.”
Remember that Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant content for searchers. This strategy makes it easier for Google’s bots to read, understand, and rank your articles.
3. Lead-Generation Machine
Generating leads is one of the challenges all entrepreneurs face. Creating compelling cornerstone content can make this a cinch. If you approach it strategically, you can decide in advance the kind of leads you’re trying to attract and create content that’s specific to their needs.
Assume you’d like to provide SEO and inbound marketing services for small businesses. You know that most are probably not hip to what both entails, but they need both services.
Instead of creating blog posts based on inspiration, you can survey some small business owners about their challenges and then write a series of hyperlinked, lucid, and highly informative guides about how SEO and inbound marketing can explode their sales.
The content will continue to generate qualified leads for you for years to come.
4. High Return on Investment
Creating foundational blog content is a lot of work. This is because you’re creating a hub – a “one-stop store” of in-depth content. But the return on your investment is high because it’s evergreen content that will still be relevant for years from now. It will only require minimal revision and updates.
You’re not concerned with “flavor of the month” topics. Users will be coming to your site in droves and recommend it to others because it will naturally assume an “authority status.”
Naturally, when you monetize the content, earnings will follow a similar pattern. The high quality of the content will ensure that you attract traffic on a consistent basis and that the content is shared with many. Backlinks will abound, too. The more the people your content can reach, the more the visitors, leads, and money you’ll make.
5. High Payoff When (and if) You Sell
Some smart entrepreneurs see their blogs as businesses they’re building for an eventual sale in the future. If you also belong to this club, or if you decide to join it in the future, then it’d be smart to create foundational blog content. It’ll increase your site’s value and make it more attractive to buyers.
Smart buyers prefer a blog that’s been built with a strategic approach to one that’s all over the map.
I’ve shared the reasons you ought to create foundational blog content. Now, I’ll dive into the “how.”
The Six Steps to Creating Compelling Foundational Blog Content
These are the six steps to creating foundational blog content:
- Leverage an editorial calendar
- Know your buyer persona
- Perform keyword research
- Choose relevant topics
- Write killer content
- Update content regularly
1. Leverage an Editorial Calendar
Content creation is hard work, but it becomes a tad easier when you spend a good chunk of your time planning out what you’ll be writing about.
Once you have a written and well-thought-out plan, you’ll no longer suffer from writer’s block, and you’ll be able to drill down and focus on gems that’ll enrich your users.
With a good plan in place, not only you already know what to write about, but you also know the themes that are related and are able to schedule them in an order that’ll make them more accessible to users.
2. Know Your Buyer Persona
Once you’ve defined your buyer persona, you’ll know the dreams, desires, problems, and concerns of this segment of the market so well that crafting content that speaks to their needs and wants will be your signpost.
Instead of guessing, you could emulate websites that are already serving a similar segment, or you could conduct short surveys and polls through which you’ll gradually have a robust understanding of the psychographics and other vital details relating to your buyer persona. Checking your analytics software can also provide invaluable info about your audience.
The aim is to know your users so deeply that when they read your content, they feel you “get” them.
Once you’ve performed your research, all you need is empathy to craft content that resonates with them.
3. Perform Keyword Research
You need to perform keyword research first if you want your content to be found easily and to rank high. In addition to this, keywords are powerful because they reflect your buyer personas’ language and intent – it’s what they’re using for their search queries.
Keyword research will help you decipher what’s on their minds. You can then craft in-depth and captivating content that educates and entertains them. You want your content to be the most authoritative on the themes relating to these keywords.
4. Choose Relevant Topics
Keywords should serve the topics you’ll be writing about. So, you need to choose topic clusters that your foundational content will be based on. The way people search for information is changing and is more and more focused on topics rather than just keywords.
Of course, both are related. But what your readers are seeking relates to certain topics – how to run effective Facebook advertising campaigns, for example.
“Facebook advertising” may be one of the keywords, but to do justice to the query in a cornerstone content way, you’d have to craft in-depth content on a cluster of topics that speak to the topic “how to run a successful campaign.”
5. Write Killer Content
Determine the best format to use for each piece of foundational content you intend to produce – whether it’s audio, video, or an infographic – and give it your best. The aim is to create content that users can’t wait to share.
6. Update Content Regularly
Even though it’s evergreen content, you’ll need to be pruning it now and then. Digital business is highly dynamic, so there could be a few things you need to update in your content to make it fresh and more appealing. Make sure you check it and update it regularly.
And with that, we come to the finale.
We have explored what foundational blog content is, its benefits, and how to create it. It’s a superb content marketing strategy and a way to earn SEO juice.
Creating foundational blog content is one of the smartest steps you can take as a blogger or as anyone who uses a blog as an income generator. It takes hard work upfront, but as you’ve seen, the return on investment can be awesome.
You’re making things easier for your readers when you employ foundational content. This will ensure that they keep coming to your blog on a regular basis.