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Flagship content – Blogging 101
What is Flagship Content?
Sometimes called cornerstone content, flagship content is the content that your blog is known for. Think about your favorite blogs, do you follow certain blogs because they have good quality content that you can reference and refer to again and again? When you think about a certain topic, do you think of a particular blog that you run off to search for information on? This is ‘flagship content' and is generally based around the blog's niche – for example, cooking, finance, beauty, dog training whatever the case may be.
Why Create Flagship Content?
People like resources that they can easily refer to. People like easy. How many of you have friends that constantly ask questions on social media like, “does anyone know what time the local grocery store opens?” Now they could have easily ‘Googled' it and found out, but instead, they've asked those they trust – their ‘friends' on social media. They don't want to be trawling a search engine they've gone straight to a source they know will give them the quick answer.
This is what you want your blog to become. The trusted resource and reference that provides value and answers in your niche. When more and more people find value in your resource, you become a reference that gets shared. If you become viral (shared repeatedly) you can be elevated to an ‘authority' in your niche.
Like most things worthwhile, this type of content can be hard to create. You need to have a plan and a vision for your blog. That said, the payoff is worth it. Just some of the benefits of good flagship content includes:
- Branding – your blog gets known for quality content. Show people (rather than just ‘telling' them) all the things your resource can do for them through sharing your value and expertise.
- SEO – your flagship content becomes your blog categories and part of your blog navigation. As you continue to create content you link back to your flagship posts. Search engines love this, this anchor content is also statistically more likely to be linked to by others.
- Authority – Search engines love authorities as much as people do. There is tremendous value in being THE source, expert, service or tool everyone wants to use. If you stand out above the crowd you can become the one who gets the attention.
- Visibility – if you are in a crowded niche it can be hard to stand out. Truly original and strong flagship content can help you stand out.
- Value – there are websites you like, then there are websites you love. The most successful website though are the ones that are ‘needed.' Think about it what websites can you not live without? That's what you want to aim for.
- Longevity – now just about anyone can have a post or two that goes viral and brings a ton of traffic for a couple of days. But if you don't have strong content that not only brings in visitors and then keeps them there and more importantly coming back, then the long-term success of your blog is in question. You want to provide content that will create long-term, consistent, quality visitors.
- Marketability – you may be asked from time to time to provide what they call a “portfolio” piece – something that is representative of your blog or your work. Your most recent post may not be the best example. Having great flagship content that you can share helps to showcase your writing and your blog mission.
How Do You Create Flagship Content?
Go back to the beginning. There's a reason you started your blog. Something made you want to start your blog. It's likely you chose a topic you know well and have knowledge and experience in. It's likely that sharing this experience and knowledge was the catalyst for starting your blog in the first place – the trick now is to take that core topic and break it up into bite size pieces that become your flagship content.
The good news is you don't necessarily need to be an ‘expert' in your niche to start blogging. You can simply record the knowledge and lessons you learn along the way. You can be sure that when you have just learned something there is someone out there who is just behind you on the learning curve who would be grateful for your simple explanation and the knowledge you now have to pass along. The only real requirement is that your blog niche addresses a real need.
This is where your research skills need to come into play. What information are people looking for? If you've been blogging for a while look at your own content to start. What posts are bringing you the most traffic? Those topics are the ones you can look at developing. Can you make a series or at the very least some interlinked posts that you can expand on the topic?
Next look at your audience. If you don't have much of an audience yet then borrow someone else's. What kinds of questions are being asked in the comments of blogs that are in your niche? What is being discussed on social media that is relevant to your blog? Participate in discussions that are happening in relevant forums and Facebook Communities. See what people are asking and if you can answer them in a post.
Just a hint too on this point don't just dive into these avenues and ‘steal' ideas and run – actually participate, build relationships with the people in these groups. Be authentic, these ‘are your people' if you build relationships and offer your advice in an authentic way they will become your blog readers, they will start looking at you as a source to refer to.
What does flagship content look like?
I understand that this can be a little confusing so let's lay it out for the visual people. I'm currently working on a new blog about how my family handles healthy living with Pyroluria. So far this is how I've mapped out how I'm going to build my flagship content.
At the center is the overarching topic of ‘healthy living.' Of course, this is a hugely saturated niche so I'm ‘niching' down to healthy living with Pyroluria. From there I know that I need to share my knowledge about Pyroluria, so that will become one of my content cornerstones which I will build my flagship content from. Then I need to address the different aspects of what healthy living means – that's where food/nutrition, low-toxin living, mental health, parenting etc. all come in. These offshoots will become my blog categories and part of my blog navigation on my blog menu.
I will create in-depth, informative generalized content around each of these legs. From each of these offshoot categories will come my general blog posts which in some way I can link back to the core content I build at the beginning.
As one example – I can write an in-depth explanation of what Pyroluria is. From there I can write about the topic of zinc deficiency as this is one of the hallmarks of Pyroluria, in that post I can refer back to the overview content in my original Pyroluria post. Later on, I might write a recipe that is rich in zinc or a post about the best natural sources of zinc. Each of these options can link back to my flagship content on Pyroluria as a condition. The very basic mind map above can branch out almost endlessly once I have the core content created.
Your First 20 Posts
As a rough guideline if you are starting your blog from scratch you want to launch with at least 10-20 posts so that readers have something to look around at when they land on your blog. Ideally, the first 20 posts you write should be the flagship content (cornerstone content) of your website. These are posts that you plan to reference often and need to link back to in future posts.
Using my example from above, if I am writing a blog about healthy home cooking, the cornerstone content may be the different skills a person would need to learn or the equipment they may need. If you are writing about weight training, the cornerstone content may be in-depth tutorials of the different lifts. If your blog is about being a consultant, your cornerstone content may be different types of training or the business systems you need in place.
Writing out the list of these cornerstone pieces before you start writing the posts and it will make the process much easier. If you already have content then you can go and review what is working well and evaluate how to move forward from there.
Where to from here?
Your flagship content should draw in traffic but it is only the jumping off point to the relationship with your audience. It allows you to make a brilliant first impression but you need to follow it up with consistent value. Your flagship content gives you the seeds to grow your resource and each post you add to it provides more and more value. Doing this keeps you in the favor with the search engines and builds your authority.
Have you built your blog around flagship content? Would love to hear how this approach is working for you in the comments below.
Here's to your success,