Why Evergreen Content Beats Flagship Content and Cornerstone Content

This article is part one of a two-part series on evergreen content. This article is about boats and rocks. See also part two, about trees and forests.

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This photo contains a lot of evergreen content.

We can all agree that evergreen content is a must-have for most types of blogs and websites. I’m not going to explain what evergreen content is; if you’re here, you should know, and here’s a refresher↝ if you’re new.

Well, I’m here to tell you that not only is it great, but it’s better than “flagship content” and “cornerstone content” alike.

Yes, in the digital marketing realm, those terms all mean the same thing. What I’m saying is – the term “evergreen” is a lot better to describe the concept than “flagship” or “cornerstone“. And now you’re going to read why.

What The Heck Is A Flagship Though?

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Ahoy!

The original usage of the term flagship is, obviously, naval. The flagship was at first whatever ship the fleet admiral was on. It was sort of like how whatever plane the president is on is Air Force One, even if it’s a fighter jet.

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We will not go quietly into the second page of Google!

However, the admiral has needs – bigger quarters, a meeting room big enough to hold all the fleet’s captains, and a prestigious ship to strike courage into the hearts of his or her sailors. So the flagship ended up being one particular ship that was made with this in mind, that the admiral always sailed on.

With the passage of time, the term flagship ended up getting roped into other areas. Now, a brand will have a “flagship product“, such as Apple’s iPhone or Ferrari’s most expensive Ferrari. Retail chains will have “flagship stores“, such as Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue paradise.

You can see how it relates to the original term – it’s one big impressive thing with all the trimmings and special features, meant to inspire all the others to greatness.

Sometimes flagship products are also called “halo products” relating to the halo effect in marketing. This term reached its peak relevance when video game company Bungie made the Halo game its halo game.

So Why Is “Flagship Content” A Bad Term?

It’s actually not a bad term, but it shouldn’t mean what it does mean today. With flagship, there’s just one. There’s only one flagship. There’s just one flagship location of a company. It’s singular in nature and by definition.

Therefore, I assert we should change our definition of flagship content. On your blog, you’ll have one piece of flagship content. One page – one unique URL. And that page will be the best damn page you can make. It’s the page your other pages want to be. It’s a page that would make an English naval admiral stroke his or her beard and give an admiring grunt of satisfaction.

If someone says, “link me to your best post,” you’re like, yeah, bruh, this one – it’s my flagship content.

And hey, you can get some value out of this new definition. It makes you think – how can I make this post perfect? What can I continue to add to this post? How can I update it to include more value to my readers? How can I make it so that when my competitors look at this post, they regret even trying to compete with me and run up the white flag?

Your flagship post is going to be evergreen content, just by nature. So we can expand this metaphor by saying that the ship is built from pine tree lumber, and y’know, pine trees are evergreen. I’m skeptical on the feasibility of this, but not all metaphors can be perfect.

Now that I’ve convinced you on flagships, let’s talk about cornerstones.

What The Heck Is A Cornerstone Though?

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A lot of stones form corners, but there’s only one cornerstone.

A cornerstone, historically, is the first brick set down on the ground, that all other stones will be set in reference to. You can sorta say that the cornerstone is what determines the position of the building.

Over time, a bunch of ceremonies sprung up around cornerstones…

  • Sometimes they’d be hollow and folks would put charms and amulets in them to protect the building.
  • Sometimes that hollow space would be used as a time capsule, though how they’d get the stuff out later, I have no idea.
  • Sometimes, for churches, a bishop would have to bless the cornerstone with a prayer and a cross or some holy water.
  • Sometimes they’d use a special hammer to pound it in.
  • Sometimes, the job of laying cornerstones is delegated to the freemasons, who etch clues into the rock for Nicholas Cage to later discover.
  • Sometimes, in ancient Japan, they apparently burned women to death at the cornerstone to protect the building against future attacks. Holy shit, ancient Japan.

Anyway, the cornerstone got even more ceremonial, and often is just a prominent stone that contains the date the building was made and the architect’s name, that sort of thing.

Finally, “cornerstone” made it into our lexicon to mean “the most important thing” or “the foundation”. So trust is the cornerstone of a relationship, research is the cornerstone of science, etc.

So Why Is “Cornerstone Content” A Bad Term?

I think you can see why “cornerstone content” is a dumb phrase. It’s singular again, just like flagship, but it’s less meaningful. You don’t gain anything out of the metaphor. It could mean your first post. Or maybe your about page. Or if you have a guest post from a bishop or a freemason, it’s definitely that post.

I do not recommend setting a woman on fire while making a post, as that has not been shown to have any correlation with SERP position [citation needed].

Maybe if you have one post that every other post you make will inexorably refer back to, it could be that post? If you’re writing about aspects of some advanced science, your cornerstone post could be the one that describes the basics to beginners. Maybe it’s your “New? Start Here” page. But I think having a special name for these kinds of things is totally unnecessary.

That’s why you should stop using “cornerstone content” entirely. Right now. Just stop. Swear to me.

And Evergreen Is Better, Huh?

Yeah, “evergreen content” is way better. First, it’s not singular; as you may have noticed, there is more than one evergreen tree. More importantly, though, if we continue with the metaphor, it gives us even more guidance on what we should do. (This will be expounded upon in the next article in this series.)

It’s like how a good theory in science doesn’t only explain what’s observed, but also makes predictions. It’s exactly like that. A good metaphor must both relate one situation to a more abstract one, as well as provide further clarity into the abstract. If it doesn’t, what’s the damn point?

Plus, evergreen makes you think of trees more often. Trees are great and support life on Earth, so it’s nice for us to think of them a little more.

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Thanks, trees! We love you.

In this post, I’ve shown you why “flagship content” should be redefined, and why “cornerstone content” should be put to rest. I’ve only hinted at what the benefits of the phrase “evergreen content” are – that’s for part two. Leave a comment here, then go read part two.




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