This Simple Illustration Explains the Difference Between a Cornerstone Content Page and a Blog Post

structure your content with this simple technique

In January, we launched a Copyblogger Content Challenge mini course. It was designed to help you understand, build, and improve cornerstone content pages.

The response was immense: Almost 4,000 people signed up and in just a couple days the forum was bristling with people posting questions, comments, and replies. We were throwing back the jitter juice morning, noon, and night to stay on top of all the activity.

Now, one of the original reasons for launching this program was to teach the importance of cornerstone content pages.

And one of the most common questions that popped up on day two of this mini course was: what’s the difference between a cornerstone content page and a blog post?

Great question, and fortunately, it’s pretty easy to answer with a simple illustration. But we need to deal with another issue first.
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What Is a Content Marketer?

become a content craftsman

Long ago, copywriting legend John Carlton told me that the best copywriters didn’t just master their own discipline; they also mastered related disciplines — like marketing, SEO, and negotiations.

This is true for content marketers, as well.

A content marketer is a master of many disciplines. But what exactly does that mean? What sort of disciplines and skills are we talking about? And what types of knowledge and experience are necessary to be a content marketer?

I’ll answer those questions and more, but before I do, I’ll first loosely define the term “content marketer.”

Then, I’ll tell you how I uncovered a successful content marketer’s five essential skills.
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Can You Spot the Expert? Test Your Knowledge of Google’s Content Quality Standards

the best way to get search engines to EAT (and serve) your content

Want to hear something scary? No, not scary like Five Nights at Freddy’s. More like disturbing. Alarming. Even depressing.

I used to write articles about:

  • How to protect yourself from necrotizing fasciitis
  • How to escape from an airplane safety slide
  • How to tell if you’ve been poisoned by sushi
  • Whether runners could benefit from platelet-rich plasma surgery
  • How much alcohol you should drink
  • Why the rate of concussions is higher among women

Now, what makes this admission scary is that I’m not a surgeon. And I’m not a nurse practitioner, physical therapist, or chiropractor.

In fact, I’ve never had any medical training in my life — nor have I ever slid down an airplane safety slide!

Horrified yet? Well, just wait. Because medical advice was not the only thing I used to freely dispense as a web writer.

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6 Marks of Effective Content: ‘The Lego Movie’ Edition

how to snap together effective content marketing

Shortly after the release of The Lego Movie (2014), more than one professional marketer went on record to say that it was the best piece of content marketing they’d seen in a long time.

Well, I finally saw the movie, and I don’t buy that claim. Why?

To be honest, I have a hunch it won’t pass a simple test — a test I’m calling “The Six Marks of Effective Content.”

And what exactly are those six marks? They are:

  1. A headline that instantly commands attention
  2. An opening that hooks your audience
  3. An element of education, inspiration, or entertainment
  4. A persuasive story
  5. A single, focused moral
  6. A well-crafted call to action

Seems easy enough to pass, but before we dive in, do me a favor if you have seen the movie: Think through how you would grade the movie based on these six marks. And then let’s see how we compare at the end. Cool?
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What Is a Content Library? Plus Answers to 9 More Questions about This Innovative Lead Gen Approach

how to create a content library

In May 2013, a small company with fewer than 40 unusual employees made a historic lead generation move that resulted in stunning lead generation results. (I stress “unusual” in a good way.)

The company with those odd employees, of course, was Copyblogger Media (now known as Rainmaker Digital). The story of what happened follows.

The historic move:

Up until that point, Copyblogger had been offering an email newsletter to attract and capture email subscribers. Pretty standard in the online business world.

We wanted to up the ante.

So we launched My.Copyblogger.com — a free membership site, where people sign up to access (at the time) 15 free ebooks and a 20-part email course.

Think of a content library as a password-protected source of premium content that you can access once you register with your email address.

That’s essentially what a “content library” looks like. But how did it perform? Let’s look at the results to see.
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10 Ways to Build Authority as an Online Writer

surprising ways to build authority with your content

Picture the set of a late-night talk show, circa 1983.

Allen Ginsberg is fat, bearded, and sitting in the interview chair. Long hair grows in unruly patches from the side of his otherwise bald head. His eyebrows sprout from his forehead like wild hawthorn in bloom.

He’s wearing a tie-dye t-shirt with a hole in it. His fingers are stained from nicotine resin.

Ginsberg, a former marketing researcher, wanted to talk about the generation gap, and what he said about the challenges youth had to face actually made a lot of sense.

But although he certainly looked the part of “legendary poet,” this audience didn’t take him seriously. He simply didn’t appear to be a credible expert who they could know, like, and trust.

What was missing?
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