In a world where so many blog posts and articles are freely available online, quality content has never been more important. People search for answers to problems with smartphones, tablets and watches. They expect answers within seconds, not minutes. On top of that, they need quality answers from online authorities. That’s why the idea of an authority content plan, for websites and businesses, is growing ever so popular.
It always pays to have plans in place. Planning for authority content, however, means you are more than filling content space. You are taking your first step towards becoming an authority online. But what exactly does ‘authority’ mean in this context?
What Does it Mean to Become an ‘Authority’?
The word ‘authority’ conjures up a variety of thoughts and ideas. It means a leading voice or personality. It also refers to someone who is to be trusted in their given field or specialism. Essentially, becoming an authority means establishing yourself as a leading name in what you do. This kind of journey often takes years of hard work, especially when it comes to cementing a solid reputation.
However, building an online authority is slightly different. Becoming an authority online takes foresight, research, and plenty of content planning. Growing into authority status isn’t possible through posting passionate blog posts every few weeks. To become a topic or industry authority, you need to cement yourself as a name, a resource, that people turn to, and to link to.
Authority content, or cornerstone content, as Yoast refers to it, is that which people can use and return to again and again. It answers questions quickly, clearly, and encourages wider reading. It’s backed up by both years of experience and extensive research. You can’t set up authority content without undertaking a little bit of both.
Becoming an authority means that others in your industry will link to you. It means publishing original, thoughtful content. It’s also about scaling the heights of Google – not just for the keywords you choose – but, for the value, you offer to readers. Does your content provide new thoughts and ideas? If it is in any way derivative, you are going about things very slowly indeed.
The Benefits of Becoming an Authority Online
If the benefits of becoming an online authority aren’t immediately apparent, it means more visitors and interest for you. Creating authority content will not only show your grasp of and passion for a given subject; it will ensure that it can be shared and linked to for years to come. Great authority content is that which is evergreen. By evergreen, we mean that it’s never likely to get old, or tied down to a specific season, year, or period of history.
Online, there is no quicker way to build yourself up as a leading name in what you do. While reputation-building will take years of fantastic service and hard work, you can start to craft your public image with a few well-chosen cornerstone articles.
Becoming an online authority means that you, not your competitors, will be the first name people think of when it comes to your industry or specialism. You may provide an excellent service, but when you provide fantastic resources alongside, you’ll become more than just a leading brand. You’ll become a valid authority.
It’s so important that your content is well-researched, and that it gets to the point. As mentioned, people will search online, looking for answers delivered quickly. One or two ‘about us’ or ‘services’ pages aren’t going to cut it. You’ll need to show the world that you not only care about your industry but that you know plenty about it.
Thinking About Your Plan – The First Steps
So, let’s consider getting started with brainstorming an authority content plan. Yoast defines cornerstone content as that which is crucial to your site and your readers. It’s content which not only introduces topics but which also helps readers to understand them at more than a base level. Authority content such as ‘how-to’ or ‘ultimate’ guides are extremely popular online.
It’s, therefore, a good idea to think of topics that your customers and visitors want to read about. For example, if you run a men’s tailors, you may wish to write cornerstone content on how to measure for a suit. You could write another article on types of shirts, or material used in tailoring.
Modern content needs to give genuine value to readers and visitors. You will have to establish yourself as more than just a seller of products and a provider of services. You will need to dive deeper into your realm and to reach out to help your customers. Authorities do more than sell products. They actively go out of their way to help and encourage the people who reach out to them.
People are more likely to trust and to return to brands who offer straightforward advice and support. Consumers want answers, but also want to solve their own problems. Cornerstone and authority text will serve this purpose perfectly. You’ll be empowering your readers, and by backing up your content with hard data and research, you’ll show that you know what you are talking about.
Building Your Authority Content Plan
Actually creating your content plan is very exciting. Map out ideas and concepts that drive your visitors to reach out to you. If you were visiting your website, what guides and resources would you find useful to read? Think about building yourself into a repository for knowledge, not just an online store or service provider.
It’s a good idea to think about five to seven different topics to use as authority benchmarks. These will be longer-form pieces, ideally of 1500 – 2000 words, and will present ideas and concepts to your readers in simple language. ‘How-to’ guides, again, make for perfect cornerstone articles. Try and map out a few areas of interest which impact your visitors.
These articles will act as anchors for any future content you write. Additional blog posts, for example, will link back to your main five to seven pieces and will help Google to understand which content is most crucial to your site. Internal linking will also help your visitors find their way around to your most helpful resources.
The aim of this base content is to cover as much ground as you can. It’s here where you will show your research and your knowledge. These pieces will be those that people read when they first visit you. They are the crucial set-pieces of your whole authority content plan.
Planning Blog Content from Cornerstone Articles
But what happens once your authority text is written and published? To help refresh readers’ interests, you’ll need to post regular content which links back to each piece. Are there concepts and thoughts in this content which can be expanded upon?
Ideally, you should look to plan for five or six blog posts per cornerstone, at least initially. They can then be published sporadically, but regularly, to re-establish your base content as valuable. What’s more, the golden rule of blogging is to blog often – but to offer genuine value to your readers.
For example, let’s go back to the idea of a men’s tailor. You’ve written a guide to measuring for a suit – fantastic – but how do you expand on that in future blog posts? Think about what goes through the minds of your customers when they buy suits. You could offer tips on the material they choose. You could explain why it’s so important to measure correctly, and when.
However, crucially, you shouldn’t repeat ideas wholesale. Your blog posts need to work separately from your authority pieces and need to stand on their own two feet. Therefore, think carefully about which ideas you’d like to expand on. Is there anything you can hold back for blog posts? Try not to go in too deep with your initial articles; at least be sure to cover the main ground and save a little room for expanded knowledge later on.
Building a Content Strategy That Works
Content plans are recommended for all websites. A website or blog without a plan has no sense of direction or idea of how it is appealing to its visitors. While it seems like even the best bloggers write from the seat of their pants, most have actually planned their content meticulously.
Whether you hire content writing services or take on your website’s text on your own, an authority plan ensures that you have the best possible shot at building up a readership. By creating a handful of cornerstone articles, and splintering five or six blog posts away from them, you will have a compact, comprehensive repository for people to refer back to time and again.
If you require support with your article planning, it may be worthwhile contacting an expert who can help you. Do take a look at our further guides for more information, or reach out to PremierProse with any queries you may have about starting an authority content plan.