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In this season we have occasionally touched up our own podcast workflow. For those of you who follow us, you realize that we often talk about “podcasting as a content strategy”. So as we approach the end of season 1 of our Podcast Growth Show, I thought it was time to zoom out for a big picture episode.

Basically, this episode is our blueprint to go from podcast content strategy to execution.

Web Audio Player:

From Podcasting Strategy to Execution Blueprint

From Podcasting Strategy to Execution
From Podcasting Strategy to Execution Blueprint, Click for expanded detail

So I’d like to reveal our overall podcast workflow, all the way from strategy to execution. And in this episode I’ll reveal all our little secret tips, tricks, tools and gear we use to save massive amount of time along the way.

Strategy Segment

For both new and existing podcasts, it is good to start with the end in mind, to have clarity about your audience, as well as confidence that the value proposition for your listeners, as well as the reason why you are doing a podcast is clear.

Planning Segment

A lot of people just want to get started and hit the record button already. But unless you already have a dozen or so episodes under your belt, you will discover that there is a lot of planning involved. Especially if podcasting as content strategy is something even remotely on your horizon. I talk to new podcasters all the time, and some get lost in the planning stage. Let’s discover how having a planning framework helps us retain clarity.

Execution Segment

I’d like to go into how we approach podcast production ourselves. This is only one of many possible ways, and in no way am I suggesting you should adopt our methods. There is a lot involved, and it can sound scary. We tolerate an amount of complexity because it produces results for us. And complexity doesn’t mean things can’t be automated, simplified or even outsourced. Both complexity and simplicity can co-exist. For us, it’s the results that count.

Promotion Segment

This entire season has been about how to promote a podcast. So we may already have covered some of the methods we use to promote each episode. I’ll keep that segment short.

Season Strategy

Podcast seasons can help organize our podcast workflow
Podcast seasons can help organize our podcast content strategy

We like the concept of seasons, as it provides some amount of flexibility when thinking about the overall goals for your podcast as business content strategy.

Advantage of Seasons

Do we have a solo show or an interview based show? Do we have a co-host? Does our podcast have a theme? Would we like to try a different episode structure? Are we afraid your audience is getting bored with our content? What if we want to change up? Or are we suffering from “podfading” and just plain tired and need a break?

All of these can be addressed by organizing our podcast into separate seasons:

  • They allow us to take a sabbatical from your own show if we need a break
  • They enable us to develop focused themes for each season
  • We can switch the format of the show, including who is hosting, guesting or if it’s a solo show
  • And all of that with no surprises for our listeners, as we announce the end of the current or start of the next seasons
  • Each season is a good excuse for a podcast re-launch and much needed promotional activities

Value Proposition Design

I know a lot of podcasters who just barrel on producing episode after episode without ever pausing, re-thinking, changing direction or taking stock. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the audience is with us on this.

Other podcasters plan each season carefully, and conceptualize exactly what they want to cover, who their guests will be, and most importantly what experience they want to create for their audience. Either way:

Periodically revisiting the value proposition of our podcast is an excellent habit.

But just how we do that? We have developed a process for developing a podcast’s branding and value proposition. This Value Proposition Design (VPD) process is driven by over a hundred trigger questions designed to achieve clarity about our audience. To be more specific, clarity about what our listening audience is experiencing, what problems we help them solve or wrestle with, and what goals and transformation we help them achieve.

Not only that, there are also over 100 trigger questions to get us to think about how well our podcast topics match up to our audience desires, needs, tasks and expectations.

We have online forms for these trigger questions, and the answers we produce during this process are worth their weight in gold: They become a rich source of podcast themes, episode topics, SEO keywords, episode titles.

Think of your podcast as a product – with a market fit

This clarity is what you can when going through the VPD process.

Focus on Overall Goals

It is also important to keep focused on our podcast goals, and to periodically revisit these.

Perhaps we started out just wanting to have fun and get our message out to the world, but now we are finding ourselves wanting to build a list, or speak on stages, or to use your podcast as a vehicle to help promote a book. These are significant shifts in goals, and require significant adjustments to the way we utilize and market our podcast.

Strategy Planning Session 3 Month

Of course none of this has to do with the week to week podcast workflow of producing episodes in the middle of a season.

I’m just pointing all of this out as an important baseline activity that we try to do every 3 months or so. And to point out 3 things:

  1. If you are about to launch a podcast, take the time to go through the VPD process to achieve clarity and a product market fit for your show
  2. If you already started to podcast without any of this in mind, it’s not too late to start and revisit once in a while
  3. If you have a podcast based on seasons, revisit your goals and value proposition for each seasons

Podcast Episode SEO Research

SEO for Podcasts

Why do we do SEO research for something audio based?

SEO = Developing A Business Asset With Positive ROI

Our own podcast website gets 65% of subscribers from SEO search. 50% of my new clients come from search. Our podcast is less than 2 months old at the time of this recording, and has yielded 4 new clients and many more prospects. Not from iTunes discoverability, not referrals. So our entire podcast workflow is based on solid SEO research.

You may think that this is all overkill. And again, I will point out that this is just the process we follow because it works for us and our results speak for themselves. BTW, we have a whole course on podcast SEO.

For Our Podcast, 80% Planning and 20% Execution is Normal

Topical Research

So the assumption is that we do have clarity about our goals and value proposition for the audience. At this point, we want to identify potential SEO opportunities and turn these into topics for our season long episode plan.

The goal is to be able to rank for our show notes pages.

And there are 2 important pitfalls that we avoid by doing some quick SEO research:

  1. If we target impossibly difficult keywords, we will never rank on page one in Google, and thus we will never get search result traffic or new listeners
  2. If we target obscure keywords that no one ever searches for, we may rank on page one of the search results, but no one will ever visit our podcast from that.

SEO Keyword Opportunities

I myself may have a bit of an unfair advantage, because Polymash started life in part as an SEO agency. So we have access to some enterprise level SEO tools.

But the good news for podcasters is that there are affordable and even free tools out there to do the same thing.

So here is a quick demo (at 13:50 ) of how we identify high opportunity keywords using Mangool’s SEO suite, particularly the KWFinder utility. This is a central part of our podcast workflow, and KWFinder is by far my favorite and simple to use SEO keyword research tool. We have coached a ton of podcasters to use it to good effect.

Disclosure: This free sign up is an affiliate link

It gets better: This keyword research tool is only on part of an entire SEO suite to quickly add the following capabilities to your podcast planning:

  • KWFinder: Our favorite keyword research utility for podcasters.
  • SERP Watcher: Allows us to track progress as you start ranking for your desired keywords
  • SERP Checker: Provides deep insights into Google search results, and allows us to judge which keywords to target and which to stay away from

Converting Podcast SEO Keywords into Episode Ideas

So in the podcast workflow, once we have identified a list of keywords with potential, it is time to take these keywords and base our episode plan on these.

In our Google Sheets planning template we have developed a formula to address the following SEO issue:

Each site has something called Domain Authority and Alexa Rank, which indicates how likely the site’s content will rank on Google. This means every site needs to target keywords that are commensurate with their Domain Authority and Alexa Rank.

For old, established and popular sites it is easier to rank for more difficult keywords.

But new site owners with low DA and Alexa rank need to choose key-phrases they can actually rank for.

The formula we have developed matches the domain authority of any site with the keyword difficulty to target on KW Finder. This is all about prioritizing high opportunity topics, from high opportunity keywords.

Google Sheets to Organize Output

We have developed a Google Sheets template to help map this out.

Episode Topic Identification

Identifying topics for each podcast season
Identifying topics for each podcast season

Here is the process we follow to identify episode themes and topics based on our Podcast SEO research.

SEO Based Topics

As I mentioned earlier, we base our podcast episodes on our prior SEO research. By the time we are mid-season, we usually have a range of potential topics for a season to choose from, and hundreds of potential SEO keywords to choose from as well.

Initial Titles

Initially we develop working titles for each episode before we even incorporate relevant SEO keywords from our list. But at some point it is important to design episode titles with relevant keywords that fits the topic, and that are commensurate with the ranking power of our site as well.

Episode Title Optimization

The exact wording of our episode titles is more important than many podcasters realize. You can have a great episode, but if the title is not compelling, click worthy, interesting or thought provoking, people will never click through.

Sure, your existing subscribers may listen. But this is about attracting new listeners and subscribers. Just think about where your episode titles appear, and what role they play in your podcast workflow and the way people consume podcasts.

  • People may see your episode title on their iPhone or listening device of choice. Will they be interested enough to tap and listen?
  • People may come across your show notes and episodes as a result of a Google search. But will your episode title be compelling enough for them click through?
  • Your episodes titles may appear on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Will it arouse people’s curiosity?

So what makes a click-worthy episode title?

CoSchedule Headline Optimizer

There are a bunch of tools out there that help, for example the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. CoSchedule is a well know the social media scheduling platform we use, and they have developed a wonderful tool for designing highly converting titles for blog posts as well as for podcast episodes.

The tool is free, and you can try it out here. Their recommendations are based on a ton of research, word usage and title patterns proven to be successful on social media. Their algorithm checks for the presence of unusual words, power words, emotional words and the structure and length of each title.

Of course, fair warning: Don’t become a slave to such a tool.

Making Title Optimization Part of our Podcast Workflow

But my point is more about following this thinking process and formulating a range of potential titles. I guarantee you this: If you formulate only a single title for each episode, it will never be as good as if you formulate 7+ titles to choose from. So it is making this discipline part of our podcast workflow that makes all the difference.

Google Sheets to Organize Output

For us to stay organized and to collaborate on SEO research as well as podcast topic and title planning, we again use our trusty Google sheet template to stay organized.

Episode Recording Preparation

Episode Recording And Script Preparation
Episode Recording And Script Preparation

OK so we’ve finally gotten closer to actually recording an episode.

Pre Recording Notes

Our own podcast’s current season is a solo recording effort.

Using StoryChief For Script Development Ahead Of Time

If you’ve listened to our previous episode “How To: Easy Podcast Distribution And Content Syndication [S1E08]“, you would have learned about the StoryChief app we use to distribute our show notes to more than 16+ platforms.

Podcast Syndication With StoryChief

But we also use StoryChief to develop our solo episode scripts. This saves us a lot of time later, after the recording process. And because this season is video based, the podcast workflow to incorporate video is by nature a bit harder.

If you are interested in giving StoryChief a try, they offer a free account:

Our podcast workflow utilizes Story Chief
Disclosure: This free sign up is an affiliate link, if you choose to upgrade the account later

Beyond this it’s 5 stories for 10$/month, 10 stories for 20$/month, 15 for 30, 20 for 40, 25 for 50 up until 30 for 60$; and 20% discount if you pay yearly.

Episode Specific Template Google Docs

Google docs are great for collaboration with clients, and we have designed our template to work for preparing, ID3 tagging, and creating show notes.

Episode Metadata

Our episode preparation template on Google docs that works for solo, interview or co-host driven formats. We also use this for our own podcast, but that is for capturing titles, descriptions, video metadata, ID3 tag information, embed codes for the episodes once everything is done.

Episode Video Data

This season combines an audio podcast with a video tutorials, demos and more. Because we cross publish each episode to our YouTube Channel as well, it is important to formulate the YouTube tags, description and links for each episode, and again our template allows for this.

Our Podcast Workflow Process for Video + Audio Recording

Podcast production workflow containing audio as well as video
Podcast production workflow containing audio as well as video

Finally, after all this planning, we are ready to record something.

ScreenFlow Video Templates For Youtube Channels

I use a somewhat unusual setup for podcast + video recording. You may have heard of desktop screen recorders like Techsmith’s Camtasia and Telestream ScreenFlow? These are screen recorders that also use your webcam. Many people use them for creating courseware or evergreen webinar content. We’ve used both extensively here at Polymash. But for our podcast workflow a clear winner emerged:

ScreenFlow launched an innovation this year that I had been looking for a long time.

It automates the production process with the ability to configure recording templates. These templates then place your video into a template with a pre-existing intro, outro, lower thirds, resizing and repositioning the webcam image as a picture in picture on the screen.

ScreenFlow templates save us an amazing amount of time for our YouTube channel

If you click play on the video above, you can see the effect. After the initial setup of my YouTube channel, I do nothing more to produce these videos, other than to press the record button. Clever, no?

If you are relatively new to podcast, and video is not something you are considerding right off the bat, here is our review of several new and highly innovative podcast recording software

TelePrompter Secrets

You might also have noticed that in my opening sequences I talk directly to the camera. Hopefully I come across as fluent in these videos, but what you may not realize is that I’m assisted by a mini teleprompter attached to my webcam.

  • My scripts live on an iPad on my desk, which I can speed up or slow down as I record. It’s a strictly one man operation.
  • The actual teleprompting screen is driven by my iPhone, and all of this allows me to look directly into the camera as I record my episodes.

If you are curious about this setup, below is an (affiliate) link to this amazingly small and affordable teleprompting device.

Meet our unique mini teleprompter

Big part of our podcast workflow: The ability to record smooth video
Big part of our podcast workflow: The ability to record smooth video

We use a compact, versatile, and easy to use teleprompter that helps us quickly deliver polished show notes to our listeners.  Until now, teleprompters have been clunky, expensive, and difficult to operate–and many required film studios or a production team.  This teleprompter changes all of that.

It’s a simple tool that helps us nail smooth delivery using just a smartphone and our desktop computer, DSLR, or webcam.

Our video production workflow is so much easier using a mini teleprompter
Our video production workflow is so much easier using a mini teleprompter

Podcast Quality Audio While Recording Video

One issue with doing a video podcast, especially one where one stands or moves around, is audio quality.

While sitting I can use my microphone and arm easily, but if I’m standing or moving around I like to use a wireless mic. This is also true for general video production or conducting on-camera interviews. I really did a lot of research before investing in this piece of kit.

What we use is what I feel is the most affordable and yet high quality pair of wireless lavalier microphones on the market. I think the quality is as good as the famous Sennheisers, but the price is 1/2. The system is called the COMICA CVM-WM300(A). There is also an optional interview mic to take this setup on the road and conduct amazing mobile podcasts and or video interviews.

Again, if you’d like to check it out, below is an (affiliate) link.

Lavalier systems can be useful add ons to podcast and video recording workflows
Lavalier systems can be useful add ons to podcast and video recording workflows

Live Audio through Loopback and Audio Hijack

We produce our client podcasts using a professional audio editing platform called Adobe Audition.

One of my favorite things is when podcast clients comment on how amazing they sound on the podcasts we produce for them.

This is in part because as a former audio engineer and record producer I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get that professional “broadcast” sound. (Let me know in the comments if I should do a special episode on that, happy to share!)

But it is also because Adobe Audition comes with some professional and sophisticated tools to help us shape a warm and inviting sound profile for each podcast host of guest.

So far, so good. But when recording video as well as an audio podcast, things become more complicated. And time consuming.

We would have to extract the audio tracks from video to import them into Adobe Audition to achieve the same custom broadcast ready sound, and then re-import them into the video. Too much work…

Luckily, I’m both lazy and smart:

Loopback interface for routing audio on my desktop
Loopback interface for routing audio on my desktop

So we’ve come up with a shortcut to get broadcast quality video sound, using 2 apps by a company called Rogue Amoeba:

  1. Loopback to create virtual audio devices to take the sound from apps and audio input devices, then pass it to any audio processing software.
  2. Audio Hijack, which functions like a real-time, virtual mixing console with EQ, compression and noise gating built in.

These 2 apps allow me to apply sound profiles in real time. Ordinarily this is done with a mixing console or in post-production, but this happens live. So the final video has that “broadcast” ready sound as it is being recorded.

Our Audio Hijack setup to produce real time optimized audio
Our Audio Hijack setup to produce real time optimized audio

The other advantage is that I can create profiles to attempt to make my lavaliers sound the same or similar to my Heil PR40 mic. (I can hear audiophiles groaning now). But at least I can get similar sound quality.

Audio Extraction and .mp3 Files From Video

Our podcast workflow includes several conversion tasks
Our podcast workflow includes several conversion tasks

So now that we have the video portion of our podcast recorded, it’s time to extract the audio from the video and to export and upload it to our podcasts’ .mp3 file

Video to Audio Conversion

We use the Wondershare Video Converter app to extract a high quality audio file from the video.

Loudness Standards, Noise Removal, Voice Leveling

A swiss company called Auphonic has developed a brilliant set of audio automation tools every podcaster should check out. We use Auphonic desktop app to automate the following steps:

  1. Establish a noise profile
  2. Applying Noise reduction from that noise profile
  3. Speech Volume Leveling
  4. Industry standard loudness standards for broadcast ready files at -16LUF
  5. Export to .mp3 formatted output file

This automation saves us at least 20 minutes per episode.

Audio Export to Libsyn

So now we finally have the .mp3 file to upload and release on our podcast hosting software Libsyn. First we apply the episodes title, descriptions and other podcast metadata to the .mp3 file. Then we upload to Libsyn and schedule the episode to go live at the desired time.

Video Export to YouTube

Remember we are using Screenflow to record our video content. It has the built in ability to export each video to our Youtube channel, including custom thumbnails, tags, descriptions and links. So the video portion of our podcast was already uploaded and scheduled on YouTube in a previous step.

Multi Channel Show Notes Syndication

Sign Up For Free, Disclosure: The above affiliate link, if you choose to upgrade the account later
Sign Up For Free, Disclosure: The above affiliate link, if you choose to upgrade the account later

I will keep this short, since syndication and distribution of show notes was the topic of an entire episode, episode 8. Suffice it to say this:

A critical step in our podcast workflow is to distribute and syndicate our show notes to as many platforms as possible.

After all, our podcast’s audio files are being syndicated to be available in iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play.

Content syndication with StoryChief is to show notes what RSS feeds are to your podcast audio.

Finalize Episode Show Notes on StoryChief

Because we prepare our episode scripts in StoryChief, by the time we record our episode the show notes are 90% written already.

Embed YouTube Video Player

So all that’s left is to embed the episode video into StoryChief.

Embed Libsyn Audio Player

We love StoryChief as a content syndication in part because it is podcast ready. We easily embed the Libsyn player widget into our episode to allow site visitors to choose their modality: Read, Listen or Watch.

Embed Lead Generation Widgets

Another reason we love StoryChief is that it allows for embedding various lead generation and email capture widgets. So if our episode has a “Lead Magnet” like a bonus guide, mind-map or check-list, we embedding it right in the StoryChief show notes.

Publish to 16+ Channels

At the end of the day, our show notes are scheduled to go live and to trickle out to an ever growing list of platforms, communities and blogs and “Ambassador Networks”

1/2 Year Evergreen Social Boost Campaign

Saving time in our podcast workflow involves creating evergreen social campaigns
Saving time in our podcast workflow involves creating evergreen social campaigns

In an upcoming episode I am planning to go into detail about how we create a 1/2 year long automated campaign to promote each episode on social media. Over the years we have tried and used a ton of different platforms for this.

The one I think is most innovative is called CoSchedule. It allows us to design a social campaign on autopilot.

I am lazy, but engagement cannot be automated

I answer every RT, question or DM related to our podcast episodes. But that does not mean I want to spend a lot of time on social media crafting individual tweets and social shares for our episodes.

CoSchedule has a clever automation concept called “social helpers”. These are content snippets that help to produce a varied social feed, with different hashtags, images, messages. It shares our episode show notes content, but does not repeat the same tweet or image all the time.

Again, it’s the sort of one time up-front effort that takes some time to set up initially, but then saves a ton of time for each episode. If you are interested in seeing this in more detail, let me know in the comments.

Conclusion

Again – this episode was just the process we follow because it is producing results for us. I do not recommend it to everyone, and the fact that we are producing video alongside the audio portion complicates things a bit.

If you are a new podcaster or a business considering podcasting as a content strategy, you may well think all of this is overkill.

But keep in mind that the lion share of the work goes into the initial planning, the setting up of templates and designing and implementing the various automation steps. And this is a one time only effort. And the routine production can be done by other people.

If you’d like to chat and explore possibilities for your own podcast workflow, feel free to book a time with me.


FREE 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

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Podcasting Resources Guide

Where can we send your guide?


Podcast Content Syndication – Beyond Podcast Directories

Podcast directories aren't enough for podcast distribution. In this episode we will learn why. We will also learn how to automatically and widely syndicate episode show notes content for quick traffic and SEO rank wins. This is the primary marketing approach we are taking for our podcasts.

Episode 8: Easy Content Syndication and Podcast Distribution For Multiple Channels

Overview & Episode Content

  1. What is Content Syndication? (01:10)
  2. What Are the Benefits For Podcasters & Bloggers? (01:45)
  3. How does this work, and how can I automate it? (04:20)
  4. SCREENCAST: The StoryChief platform we use for this (07:45)
  5. DEMO: Our podcast distribution and syndication process (12:25)
  6. COMPARISON: StoryChief's free, basic and pro plans compared (21:45)
  7. CASE STUDY: Results we have seen
  8. Invitation to join our ambassador network

What is Content Syndication?

Content distribution and syndication for podcasters
Content syndication for podcasters

Here is a definition from Search Engine Watch:

Content syndication is the process of pushing your blogpost, article, video or any piece of web-based content out to other third-parties who will then re-publish it on their own sites.

So this applies to podcasts as well. We want to create Brand Awareness for our podcasts by publishing our show notes stories on multiple websites, communities, social media and email channels.

What Are The Benefits?

Podcast Distribution & Show Notes Syndication Benefits
Podcast Distribution & Show Notes Syndication Benefits

Question: Why should podcasters care about content syndication?

Aren't we already doing a form of this when distributing our episodes to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play?

  • Answer: Yes indeed we are.
  • However, we are only publishing audio content on iTunes.
  • And we ought to do the same with episode show notes.

Multi Channel Presence

Content syndication is to our podcast show notes what podcast directories are to our audio files. A way to distribute our content widely. And a way to establish presence on multiple content and social platforms.

Traffic and Discoverability

This results in greater traffic and discoverability. When your episodes go live, you probably already share your show notes post on Facebook, and perhaps on Twitter. But have you thought about publishing your episode show notes as articles on Medium? (I get a lot of traffic from doing this) Or on Blogger?

The idea we are about to explore involves distribution of your show notes to as many platforms as possible.

And the benefits of this extend far beyond traffic alone.

SEO Backlinks

My backlinks from high domain authority sites have increased by 231% in 2 months of launching my podcast. This is largely resulting from the podcast distribution and syndication method we are covering here. (There are some graphics and figures at the end of these show notes)

For those of you unfamiliar with SEO, increased backlinks mean increased rank in the Google search engines, and this means better placement in the search results. I have some concrete examples of this later on, but some of my podcast episodes and blog posts are ranking on page 1 or 2 of the Google search results within 2-3 weeks after publishing. And my site does not have a particularly high ranking Domain Authority.

How Does This Work, And How Can I Automate It?

Automating Podcast Content Syndication
Podcast Content Syndication Automation

You could of course distribute your show notes to a bunch of different platforms manually. Generally this involves re-posting your episode article via copy paste, or sharing your own episode show notes URL on social media. And that's perfectly fine, but it is a lot of work, and there are pitfalls:

  • The manual approach is super time consuming
  • Each platform has slightly different rules, layouts and features
  • The more platforms you want to distribute to, the more manual work it becomes
  • If you are not careful or SEO savvy, then your podcast episodes will rank on 3rd party sites instead of on your own. We've written extensively about how to prevent this, and talked about Digital Sharecropping in Episode 7 "5 Reasons NOT to Promote a Podcast on Facebook [S1E07]"

So doing this manually is a bit foolish. And there are some great content syndication platforms out there. But there is one particular platform that is great for podcast distribution of show notes. And it addresses all the above concerns.

The platform is by a Belgian company called StoryChief, and I'd like to tell you about how we use it, and how it has revolutionized our podcast content syndication process.

Why StoryChief?

We use StoryChief for Podcast Show Notes Content Syndication
  • Podcasting Ready
  • Blogging Optimized
  • Content Calendar
  • SEO Ready With Canonical Tags
  • Lead capture integration
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Suitable for advanced marketers
  • Provides ready-made blog
  • Built-In Coaching for SEO and Readability
  • Flexible open platform with lots of embeds, integrations
  • Collaboration & Approval Workflows
  • Outsourcing Ready

StoryChief Podcast Distribution & Syndication (7:45)

podcast distribution and syndication
StoryChief podcast distribution and syndication map

Here is a quick summary of where StoryChief can distribute your podcast show notes.

Publish to multiple websites you own (7:55)

With StoryChief you create a layer above all your web sites, which simplifies the show notes production processes. After your show notes are finished in StoryChief, just publish it to your podcast's websites with one click. The layout will automatically be adjusted to defined branding of your website.

I especially like that on WordPress, any images you include are automatically imported into your social media library. And if you use Yoast SEO plugin, as most of us do, the SEO settings you define in your article will transfer over to your WordPress site, such as your SEO keywords or meta description.

Publish to your personal blog you get with StoryChief (9:30)

Don't have a blog website yet? You can use the free blog you get with StoryChief. It's auto generated when you start an account. Personally I don't use it or drive traffic to it, but I still publish each show note article there because I get a back link.

Create Social Media posts which link to the article (9:55)

Create Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin post to promote your story. The links will go to your primary website.

Publish to the new AMP channels (10:25)

Improve click through rate by 70% by boosting loading times on mobile devices. Publish your stories to Facebook and Google as AMP version.

Promote stories through your ambassadors and influencers (10:40)

Increase reach by 1000% by sharing your brand stories through the personal social channels of your colleagues, friends and influencers. My invitation to join our own Ambassador network is below and also at the bottom of this post.

Embed stories in automated newsletters (12:00)

Easily setup news digests by integrating your favorite mailing tools with StoryChief.

Publish to communities (12:10)

Increase reach and brand awareness by publishing to Medium.com, blogger.com communities.

Content Syndication Demo (12:25)

Content Syndication Demo

As you know, this is a both a podcast audio as well as video series, and in this next segment I will doing a video demo. So for those of you listening to this, I'll do my best to describe what's going on:

Podcast Distribution and Syndication Destinations (12:45)

Let's take a look at the integrations that are possible when using StoryChief. Let's go and start with the available channels that are possible to be configured. As I mentioned, StoryChief comes with its built in blog, and we can have a quick look at that so that you can see what that looks like. Here is my Polymash Podcast Growth System blog that I've set up as part of the StoryChief. As I said, I don't really use it, but I do get backlinks from it, and so that's useful.

Publish to Blogs, Website and CMS Destinations (13:10)

My primary place where I publish is WordPress. You can also hook up an API to basically publish to almost any website out there. Some of my marketing buddies out there will be using HubSpot or Magento, that's another famous CMS that's out there. So you can see you there are a whole range of choices. Another good one that's maybe worth pointing out is Shopify. I'm not sure whether that applies to you as a podcaster, but it could.

Content Hubs (13:50)

Content hubs are next, this is where you would configure Medium. Most of the time you have a personal account on Medium, but I also run a publication called Podcasting Strategy Launch and Marketing on Medium. So those are two different places that I typically syndicate this content. Let's go back to content hubs: I've also set that up the Podcast Growth Show on Blogger. As I mentioned, it's owned by Google. And finally I create an RSS feed. There are many purposes for that, that I won't go into any details.

Social Media Destinations (14:30)

On Facebook, both Facebook pages as well as Facebook groups are promoted, Twitter and Linkedin.

Ambassador Networks (14:40)

Here are the referral or the ambassador networks that we talked about a little bit earlier. I have to have them configured at the moment, one for podcasting and one for just general digital strategy. But you can easily see how, if your podcast is about multiple topics, you could easily use it for that. If you have multiple seasons, you could possibly set it up to where your podcast season one has an ambassador list that's different from season two. So this is kind of up to you to decide.

Press Releases (15:05)

Press releases, if you are big enough to warrant occasional press releases, and you have an episode on which you're talking about an event or something that are really not worthy, that would lend itself to a press release, that's a great option to have.

Email Marketing (15:25)

Email marketing, it comes built in with MailChimp. It comes built in with campaign monitor. But we'll go in a minute, we will look at what the integration strategy is. And because you can hook it up to Zapier quite easily, it basically you gain access to almost any marketing automation platform that's out there for capturing leads.

Lead Generation (15:40 & 16:30)

On the Lead Capture site, there are many ways in which you can capture a lead inside your story. So if you're mentioning something in the podcast that's a worthy add on, or you're asking people to sign up for something, or even if you don't have this built into your website. We use Thrive Marketing Automation tools to help with this. But even if you don't have anything like that, StoryChief helps you by providing it.

Mobile Platforms (15:50)

Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles is what's available right now, and that can be quite helpful. I'm still in the process of starting to utilize these.

Other Integrations (16:30)

All right, so here we are in the integration screen, where you set up, and by the way this stuff don't let it overwhelm you. These are one time set up activities. I'm just trying to point out the rich distribution potential that you get on this platform, and most of it is a matter of a one time effort, and then it is as simple as actually just clicking to publish at the end of this.

The web hook is the way that you connect at Zapier, and as I mentioned, that just opens up a whole world of other integration platforms.

Content Calendars (17:00)

StoryChief comes with a built in content calendar. But it also integrates to external content calendars. You can have everything that's gonna go live, including on social media, you can integrate that into your Google Calendar, or into your Upper Calendar or into your Outlook Calendar. So I love that part.

Podcast Syndication Ready Editor Embeds (17:15)

Editor Embeds is where it gets interesting, especially for podcasters. Because what I want to highlight is that StoryChief supports Anchor, Pippa, SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Libsyn as well. StoryChief are working aggressively on adding other audio platforms to be directly supported. I'm sure Blueberry isn't far away.

Story Chief Editor embeds that are podcast syndication ready
Podcast distribution ready

Right now, there isn't a native integration with Blueberry at the moment. But, I think that if that's something that you need, let me know. I would reach out to them. I was the one who initiated getting Libsyn on board. I suggested that on their public roadmap, and they've been very responsive in implementing some of the features that we as podcasters were pitching to them.

A Quick Overview of the StoryChief Editing Environment (18:09)

I thought we'd have a quick look at the actual Editor itself. It's broken down into sort of a number of interesting components.

Editing could not be easier (18:17)

Those of you that have you ever written on Medium, the StoryChief editor works very much like that. You just basically get a screen that is as easy as pie to just start typing something in. As you're typing it, you can turn text into headings, into quotes. You can add links, you can even comment back and forth with your team. And this ability to comment is a wonderful collaboration strategy, where you can manage multiple writers, or you could outsource your Show Notes production.

SEO coaching (19:04)

I've mentioned the SEO coaching components before. Here the show notes that I'm actually preparing for this very episode that you're listening to right now. It's in an earlier stage than what you would see on my site, but I thought I'd share with you what this looks like. StoryChief provides an SEO sidebar that actually tells you what to do, and walks you through a number of steps to optimize your show notes for SEO.

Readability Coaching (19:38)

And it also has a area here a way you can get a score on the readability of your posts. So keeping it simple, adding headings, breaking it up, not having too many long sentences, and a flesh reading score. Which is sort of like how complex is the grammar that you're using, and getting a good score of that is an SEO factor now. Google actually uses this as a rank indication signal. I don't know how much weight it carries, but it carries some. Besides it just makes for a better reading experience to have your show notes be very easy and scannable.

The approach that we take is, is that our headings by themselves allow you to scan through an episode and very quickly see what's going on. People do scan a lot these days. So that's how it's organized.

Tabs for staying organized and to simplify the UI (20:30 )

The editing environment is split into wizard-like tabs. This is where you progress from writing, to a summary, to determining your audience, to actually publishing.

And after you write, you basically go to the summary area where you can manage the episode settings and Metadata. This is also where you put a cover image, where you add an excerpt for your WordPress blog, where you apply categories and tags. So this is all baked into StoryChief and it all translates over to any other platform that you publish to. These settings are going to trickle down into WordPress, they are going to trickle down into Drupal and Joomla, and they will be honored on as many platforms as they can be honored in.

Defining your audience (21:15)

The last part of the publishing process is that you select your audience, and this is where you can schedule your shotes notes to go live at some future date.

The best part of that is, at the end of the day when you click that publish button and you see it going live …

The 16 destinations we publish to (21:40)

As you can see here, I'm currently doing my podcast distribution and syndication to 16 destinations. Facebook pages, Facebook channels, my Medium personal profile, my Medium publication, my WordPress Blogs, my Linkedin profiles and so forth. Some people that I've seen have to up to 20 or 30 channels that they've configured. I think it's a great feeling when you then actually click the publish button and you see it go live everywhere.

StoryChief Free Version, Basic and Pro Versions

Try it for free, but the basic version costs only $10

So when I first thought I saw this, I thought it was super-exciting, because it just saves us so much time and it was a no-brainer for me to try to integrate this into our workflow.

Sign Up for Free To Try This For Your Podcast or Blog

I'd encourage you to try this for your own blog or podcast.

If you'd like to sign up for the free version, below is a link. Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link and if you ever upgrade I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. But I hope to have earned your trust with this site, blog and podcast – I have been putting significant work into this in order to provide next level thinking about podcast growth.

StoryChief Free Account Link
Get started for free and set up your account

Get started for free, but the basic plan is only $8 a month (when paid yearly)

It's 5 episodes (or stories) for 10$/month, 10 episodes for 20$/month, 15 for 30, 20 for 40, 25 for 50 up until 30 for 60$; and 20% discount if you pay yearly.

But the paid version is extremely reasonably priced for what it does. Then some of the more sophisticated integrations that we've talked about, are available in the Pro Plan. But I think that podcasters will get a lot of use and time savings, even out of the basic version and I think it's totally affordable to do it.

Feature comparison

As I mentioned, there is a free version that you can get, and then there's a Basic, Pro and Enterprise versions. I'll skip the enterprise one, but here's a feature comparison.

Free version for evaluating the platform

You can see that what you're getting with the free version is quite a lot. You had five stories a month, you could really get a feel for the platform and start utilizing it even with the free version.

Why the Basic version is right for podcasters

With the basic version, you actually get that ambassador network and some of the more, from my perspective, useful features that we've talked a little bit about.

The basic version is actually quite feature rich. For example, you do get the content calendar version history. You get a content approval and rejection, which are the collaboration features, to where you can assign shown notes to someone and communicate back with them.

Here's everything you get with the $8 a month basic plan:

  • 5-30 Stories a month
  • Unlimited Users and Collaborators
  • 50 Ambassadors/Press/Influencers
  • Free Blog
  • Publish to your own Website
  • Collaboration/Reviewer Comments
  • Share Story on Social Media
  • Publish to Medium.com and Blogger
  • SEO Assistant
  • API Access
  • Export to Word/PDF/Zip
  • Content Calendar
  • Version History
  • Content Approval/Rejection
  • Newsletters/Emailing
  • Lead Generation Forms (Teamleader CRM, Hubspot CRM)
  • Custom Domain for your
  • StoryChief Blog
  • Editorial Briefs
  • Access to Talent Pool (only available in Benelux)
  • Feeds and AMPs (Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, RSS, MailChimp)
  • Version History
  • PRO Channels (e.g Hubspot)
  • PRO Integrations (e.g Salesforce, Calendar Sync, …)
  • Zapier Integrations
  • Publish to Messengers (soon)

You get that integration into email letters, lead generation forms. You get that custom domain and editorial briefs and a number of other benefits that is appear integration. All of that is included in the baseline version for only $10 a month, or $8 when paid yearly. So I just think this is a smashingly good deal.

Results We Are Seeing

podcast syndication and distribution results
Backlinks to my podcast and site have increased by 229% (Source: KWFinder)

Even though we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what we can do with this tool, I hope you do see the value of distributing your show notes as widely, and to as many different networks as you can, just like you're doing with your podcast audio.

We've certainly had great results from it. Several of my episodes actually resulting in a good amount of traffic. I mean, I'm ranking for keywords that have sort of like 500 visits a month. Click here for the examples from RANK Tracker.

But if I can be on page one for that, I'm happy. I don't expect to be ranking for something that has 25,000 searches a month. That's a bit too competitive for me. I talked about that a lot in our SEO courses, how to basically match your podcasts website with the kind of keyboards and that you can actually rank for. Something that's commensurate with your site. As I mentioned, we'll be going into that in a future episode.

Keyword rank index increase from content syndication
Rank index increases (source: SERPWatcher)

In terms of business benefit, I've landed several clients as a direct result of Google search from the above process. Results that featured my syndicated content. Plus, several people have contacted me to collaborate and to help them with their own podcast content strategy and show launches, something I love doing…

So I hope that you found this inspiring. Please visit PodcastGrowShow.com, get your free sign up link for StoryChief.

Can you see yourself doing this and getting similar results?

Try this out yourself and see what you think, and let me know in the comments what you're thinking, and what your process is and how you could integrate that. I'm hoping that you could see yourself doing this. Scroll up for the link to the free StoryChief sign up.

Invitation To Join Our Ambassador Network

One last thing I almost forgot is the ambassador network. If you'd like to join my ambassador network, I would hugely appreciate it. If we have complimentary topics and our content is in sync from an SEO, or Inbound Marketing or podcasting perspective, maybe there's a way that we could work together and support each other.

So here is a signup form where you could join my ambassador networks. I would love to have you be part of that, and I would love to be able to support you in any way that I can.

How does Google determine content quality?
How does Google determine content quality? Guest Post by Alijaz Fajmut

Time and time again you'll have heard that, if you want to rank higher on Google, you need to produce quality content. But what exactly is content quality?

And why does it matter? Because that's what Google wants. And because Google is the world’s biggest search engine that's probably responsible for most of your traffic, you kinda have to give it what it wants.

Indeed, when Google goes down, overall worldwide web traffic plunges dramatically by around 40%. And when Google updates their algorithm, everyone pays attention. And Google recently updated their algorithm to focus on content quality. Check out the below graphic to see what I mean:

Content Quality trend as indicated by search volume on Google
Content Quality trend as indicated by search volume on Google. Source: KWFinder

This means that marketers need to do as Google says and produce more high-quality content. But what does that mean and how can you create top-notch content? This article will show you how Google measures content quality, and what you can do about it.

Content Quality Means Google Values Expertise

Imagine if you were running an affiliate website on the camera niche.

You've got your affiliate products all sorted and you've written a few blog posts at 500 words each. So far, so good.

The thing is that you're not an expert at cameras — in fact, you know nothing about them. The only reason you're driving any traffic in the first place is that of your decent marketing skills (and perhaps a PPC campaign). Because you have no real knowledge of cameras, your blog articles suck and your conversions are down.

Not just this, but your bounce rate is through the roof. And a high bounce rate is an indicator of poor content quality. People have found you out and know that you're not an expert on cameras.

Bounce Rate is an indicator of content quality

The real problem is that Google has also found you out, and as a consequence, your ranking has dropped. Not cool.

What Google wants is experts producing content they know inside out. This improves the user experience, ensuring that the right content is matching up with the right search queries. The site visitor is able to resolve their problems satisfactorily and everyone is happy. Including Google, who's algorithm measures engagement with content as a content quality factor.

Link to Other Websites

If you've used data or any kind of facts and figures in your articles, great. This gives you more credibility in the eyes of your readers.

To establish more credibility with Google — which is of equal importance — you need to reference any source where you got your data from. This is in keeping with co-citation best practices, and it shows that you're keen to be a part of the Google family.

Get other, authoritative websites to link back to you, too. This is called a backlink and it gives your website and articles a seal of approval because it shows that what you're offering is of a high content quality.

Quality content and link strategy
Internal and External Link Strategy influence the way Google ranks the quality of your content

To secure more backlinks you can launch a guest blogging campaign. This is when you pitch a blog idea to a related website in your niche, write a solid blog post and publish it with a link back to your site.

As well as that, just focus on content that you know is offering lots of value. The more value you offer, the more share-worthy and link-worthy your content will be. And, don't forget an internal linking strategy to other articles on your own site, something we refer to as cornerstone content.

Produce Long Form Content

Research has been done into whether short-form content performs better than long-form content.

And the answer is that long-form content is considered by Google to be of higher quality, and therefore ranks better.

Long form content is considered to be of a higher quality because a 2,000-word blog post naturally has more opportunities to offer more value to the reader than a much shorter 500-word blog post. A longer blog post also has more opportunities for backlinks, useful data and it can go deeper into the problems experienced by your audience.

Why Content Length Matters to Google
Why Content Length Matters to Google

Long form content is also considered to be more share-worthy and this further increases its quality status with Google.

Creating long-form content can take time, of course, but don't forget that you can repurpose it so that you get as much juice as possible out of it. If a lengthy blog post performs well, repurpose it for a video that a different audience gets the same value out of it.

And if you're stuck for ideas on what to write about in the first place, use the skyscraper technique. This is when you take an existing piece of content on a particular niche and improve it with more value, data, actionable advice and so on.

Make Old Content Relevant

Google wants to see fresh content from you, which means you should strive to publish new content as much as you can.

Of course, freshness itself doesn't indicate content quality. Moreover, you shouldn't post new content just for the sake of newness. What you can instead do is go back to your old content and make it more relevant.

content relevance and quality
Making Old Content Relevant In A New Context

For example, let's say I wrote an article in 2016 on car tax. It was a really good article that people enjoyed. It was informative and educational.

However, since we're now in 2019 and the rules on car tax have changed, it's also now old and irrelevant — and that means it's lost the quality piece of content it was.

Instead of rewriting the article from scratch, I can make the necessary tweaks that make it relevant again. It will be fresh, and it will have the quality that Google is looking for.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing and Duplicate Content

As you can see, content quality is all about improving the user experience so that they get the best answers possible. Google wants to offer people more bang for the buck, so to speak.

To this end, Google uses a search filter called Panda to look for, and then penalize, poor quality content that's obviously just trying to drive as much traffic as possible without actually offering any value.

To make sure that you don't fall fool of Panda, avoid Keyword stuffing and duplicate content. Avoid doorway pages too, and don't take part in link schemes. All of these things will result in penalties and your ranking will plummet.

Conclusion

As long as you focus on creating in-depth, long-form content rich in links and data, and which offers lots of value to the reader, you'll be well on your way to success on Google.

Guest Post by Alijaz Fajmut

Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of Nightwatch— a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out the Nightwatch blog and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut

Introduction

Getting traffic to your website can be a brutal process, especially if you don’t know where to turn.  And paid traffic from Facebook or Google Ads stops as soon as you finish paying. So in addition to a paid strategy, it’s essential to make your site and your content search engine friendly so that you can gradually increase your rank and discoverability.

Cornerstone content is a crucial element to help make this happen.

If you are familiar with basic SEO concepts:

Then read on, because one of the most effective ways to boost your site rank and traffic is to use cornerstone content.

Once you understand how cornerstone content can be applied to your website, you will notice improvements and clarity in the way Google algorithms index and rank your content, and the chance of your articles appearing on page one of search results increases. It takes a bit of time to kick in, but SEO activities are seldom a “quick fix”, and more often an investment in a long-term and ever-green approach.

This article will explore what to include with your cornerstone content, and how you can use it to boost traffic and link your existing content to it strategically.

If you are pretty new to SEO:

Some people think of SEO as a confusing and complex set of technical tricks for people to discover your content on search engines. The reality for many businesses and blogs is that there is a lot of competition out there for popular search keywords and that their site does not have the overall search engine authority to help them rank their articles anywhere near the top page of search results.

However, with a little work and patience, an investment in understanding how search engines work is well worth it. If you are new to the topic, please check out our completely free course on SEO, a resource designed to provide easy to follow steps and recipes to increase your site’s visibility and rank.

The course is geared towards podcasters, but everything in it also applies to blogs or business sites following a content strategy.

What is Cornerstone Content?

Cornerstone content is made up of your hero content, such as pages and blog articles on your website.  These should be your most compelling and essential pieces.

They should answer your site visitors most significant questions, explain your business approach and topic of interest in great details, and in general be content you are most proud of.

The articles should reflect your business, communicate the mission, and provide well-written explanations.

How does Cornerstone Content Work?

Cornerstone ContentCornerstone content relies on an internal link building approach. Most other articles on your site should repeatedly link to your cornerstone content by way of explaining important and repeating concepts on your site.

These multiple links then create a roadmap for search engines to recognize that these cornerstone articles are the most important pages your site has to offer, and this will increase the rank of these pages on Google and other search engines.

Cornerstone Content

click to see full size

Google loves well-organized content, and this overall linking strategy creates a spider web of internal links Google loves.

We’ve illustrated this spider web of links to your cornerstone content in the main graphic for this post, click on this small thumbnail to see the full-size version.

Using Categories to Select Your Cornerstone Topics

If you are already running a site with well-organized content, the likelihood is that categories help organize it.

One approach to cornerstone content is to create a hero “cornerstone content” post for each category. All the other articles in the category should then refer to and link to this post.

Of course, some people have way too many categories on their site, and from my perspective, this is a mistake. In my opinion, a handful of categories are more effective than dozens. Perhaps focusing on launching your cornerstone content is a good opportunity to clean up your categories and tag structure. There are easy methods for category cleanup out there to help do this.

Importance of Keywords

When you’re deciding on your cornerstone content, you need to consider the keywords you want to rank for carefully.

In our aforementioned SEO course, we provide many tools, tips, and tricks on how to conduct keyword research that is effective for your site.

Do not fall into the trap of trying to rank for keywords your site has no chance of ever achieving a page 1 result for – your keywords need to be commensurate with your current site rank, and this can be different from site to site. (We have a formula for that in the course)

For this reason, I like using the term “key phrase” better than “keyword”, which implies a single word. Often the key phrase will be a combination of two or more words that people are actually searching for on Google.

So you are looking for key phrases that are low in competition (The concept of keyword difficulty), but relatively high in search traffic.

In any case, you should make these keywords unique, and use them only once on your site – for your cornerstone article. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that repeatedly optimizing pages for the same keyword is helpful: it will only dilute the importance the Google algorithm assigns to the page.

Blog articles or pages?

There is often some amount of debate among SEO experts if cornerstone content should consist of blog articles or of pages on your site. Many marketers recommend setting up cornerstone content as pages. I agree, but there is no technical SEO advantage to creating pages over posts, they are ranked the same.

The benefit is that pages have over posts are

  • In most themes, pages do not display dates, and it is good for your cornerstone content to appear timeless
  • Pages can be organized in menu structures, making them easy to find

But there are ways to get around this, on some WordPress themes you can suppress the display of dates on blog posts.

SEO Trick

This brings me to another SEO trick: from time to time it is good to update your cornerstone content to keep it fresh. Personally what I do is to put a “Last updated XX/XX/XXX” at the very beginning of the post, and I have seen Google increase the post rank after doing this. So this is a “trick” to get a small additional boost for cornerstone content created some time ago.

As far as making cornerstone content easy to find, for me, most traffic is coming from search and social media.

This means people are likely to land on my blog, and not focusing on navigating my menu structures. So what I have done is to position cornerstone articles prominently and permanently on the top of my blog page, in a “sticky” manner. Besides, you can easily include blog articles in your menu structure if that helps.

So in my case cornerstone content is easily left as blog entries instead of converting these articles to pages.

Article Quality as Well as Length Matters

The goal of cornerstone content is to serve your site visitor, not just to increase your rank.

It goes without saying that your cornerstone articles should be of great quality, communicate your value proposition, are easy to read, have lots of images, and be SEO optimized with all the tips and techniques we teach in our free SEO course for podcasters and bloggers.

But how do you define quality? Spare a thought as to what would make a really useful resource for your audience and topic, one that people would love to share on social media, are likely to bookmark or revisit as a reference from time to time. If you can manage to make your page or post so compelling that people bookmark and share, then you will have won half the battle.

So a 300-word quickie article will not cut it, and the likelihood is that your site visitors would be more impressed and bookmark a 5000-word manifesto. Which brings us to length.

You SEO veterans out there will be aware that article length matters to Google. Google attributes more importance to articles over 300 words in length. Another inflection point occurs at 700 words, and then again at 2000 words.

So when it comes to cornerstone content, longer articles still are even better, but they should definitely be over 2000 words.

cornerstone content rankingWe’ve seen cases where we ranked a client’s page to be #1 on Google within a week, using a specifically designed and optimized long-form article for the search term desired.

Google “customer experience podcast” for example, and you should see our client’s article in position #1: What we did is to create an article to summarize the experience and insights for the first 50 episodes of her podcast. We SEO optimized the article, and her fans and listeners loved it and shared the article widely, and within a few weeks, her post ranked on the top for the desired search term.

Writing Clearly: A Confession And Three Tips

Cornerstone content should be written clearly. I have a confession to make, I seem to have a hard time doing this. There are tools out there to provide a “readability score”, and I tend to get a failing grade quite often. English is not my first language, but that’s just an excuse. So if you are like me and tend to express yourself with complexity, here are some tips  and tools to help:

  1. Keep your paragraphs super short
  2. Break up content with frequent headings
  3. The Hemingway App is a wonderful online tool that evaluates your writing in real time and then starts marking your content progressive shades of red as it gets too complex. It will keep you writing with Hemingway-esque brevity. And punish you for using too many adverbs:)
  4. Grammarly is another writing tool that is useful for both advanced spell chack and grammar suggestions, however it does little in terms of simplification.

Some Cornerstone Content Ideas For Inspiration

I am sure you can come up with a ton of ideas for your blog, site or topic, but here are some cornerstone content ideas for you to consider and to help get you started.

A Definitive Resource Guide

A collection of curated external and internal links, resources, sites, video, podcasts, books etc. Describe each resource and do not just provide a list of links, but go into detail about why they are useful and in what scenario they lend value.

A Manifesto Post

A detailed explanation of your worldview, philosophy, approach to your topics, summarizing your truths and then going into detail explaining your position. These can be controversial in nature, which adds to the shareability.

A Research Results Post

Conducting your own primary research around a topic in your niche is one of the best ways to build blog content that gets attention. Go into details, include graphics and references.

Tutorial Post

Create a multi-part tutorial on a topic you know your audience would love, but which also represents your site’s topic well.

Crowd Sourced Influencer Post

Bring multiple influencers together to answer a single question in short form. When you get 10 influencers to give you 300 words each on a single topic – you’ve got a powerful blog post.

Podcast Episodes Roundup

If you have a podcast summarize the insights and best resources gathered in your last 50 episodes.

Internal Site Linking To Cornerstone Content

cornerstone-content-incoming-linksOnce you have created a piece of cornerstone content, it is time to identify all the other articles on your site that should link to it. One approach would be to go into a list of every article within your chosen category or to use a list of related tags.

However, there is a more effective method to identify content that Google already thinks is related: Using Google Internal Site Search.

Go to Google and search for your keyword or key phrase in the following format: (for multiple words making up a key phrase, place these in quotes as in my own example below)

site:mysite.com keyword

So on my site, for example, this is what it would look like for a piece of cornerstone content about podcast production

site:polymash.com "podcast production"

This will result in a list of articles Google already thinks are relevant to the topic. The last step is to modify each of these articles to link to your cornerstone content article from within the text.

It is important to note that links in the sidebar of through a footer widget do not carry as much weight as links from within these posts themselves, so find a paragraph with some text from where it makes sense to link to your cornerstone content article.

External Links to Related Content

Don’t think that cornerstone content should link only to your internal articles. Providing links to other authority sites is helpful to the reader, and establishes other resources to consider on your general topic.

However, I have one caveat: I usually provide external links near the bottom of my articles, because I want to encourage people to read my article first before jumping off somewhere else. This also helps reduce my bounce rate in the process, another SEO ranking factor.

Case in point: Here are some great external articles on Cornerstone Content:

  • Copyblogger: Cornerstone Content Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]
  • Yoast: Using cornerstone content to make your site rank
  • Rank Tree: What is Cornerstone Content?

The Landing Page Approach

Another useful way of thinking about structuring cornerstone content posts is to take a landing page approach.

This means removing menus, distracting sidebars, and adding a table of contents near the top. Of course, you still want to enable your visitor to find menus and navigation for the rest of your site, but this menu can occur on the bottom of your page (Also sometimes referred to “Upside Down Home Page”, one of the inbound design patterns we often talk about.)

Summary

Cornerstone content should attract visitors to easily find core information about you, your topic, service or industry. When done right, it will serve your visitors and help put your other content into context, while at the same time helping you rank for more difficult and competitive keywords.

Using these simple tips and tricks will ensure your cornerstone content is ready to go.

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