A content hub is a curated collection of branded content on a specific topic or subject. It houses articles, videos, infographics, and other forms of content that let users take a deep dive into a specific area in which the brand is an authority or expert.
Content hubs are not:
- A means to sell your products or services
- Part of your sales funnel
However, when done correctly, they're a powerful way to establish your brand's authority, grow its presence, and increase your overall sales or conversion rate.
What a content hub looks like online
A content hub is typically smaller than a website but bigger than a blog. It'll often constitute its own section on a website. Content hubs are also topic-specific and highly curated. Marketers usually won't find every single piece of content a brand has ever produced.
Consider our optimization glossary versus our blog. The former is a specific, curated collection of content around optimization concepts. The latter houses everything from insights to company news.
Content hubs can take many forms and can include a wide variety of media. You may see them presented as:
- Help centers or knowledge bases
- Digital magazines
- Streaming channels
- Blogs (occasionally)
If you've ever found yourself going down a rabbit hole on a website about a certain topic, you've stumbled into a content hub. Some examples of content hubs around the web include:
- Medium's various publications
- Red Bull's Red Bulletin
- Better Money Habits by Bank of America
- Airbnb's Locations Guide
The anatomy of a content hub
Just like content hubs can take a variety of different forms, they're laid out in different ways. It's rare that you'll see content hubs with the newest articles on the first page -- unlike news sites or blogs.
That because the purpose of a content hub is to allow your readers to explore a topic in full. Therefore, the most common structure you'll find for a content hub is called the "hub and spoke" -- as in like a wheel.
With the hub and spoke, you'll identify several topics, then sub-topics that go within them. For example, if your main topic is shoes, then some spokes within the "shoes" category might include:
- Athletic shoes
- Work shoes
- Dress shoes
- Casual shoes
Each sub-category, or spoke, could have further sub-spokes. Under dress shoes, you might find topics such as heels or leather shoes. (These, in turn, can lead to more current articles or the beginning of your sales funnel. However, the purpose of a content hub isn't to sell but educate.)
On your main page, you'll present your hubs with evergreen content that provides an overview of the topic. Within that content, you'll link to more specific sub-topics. The whole structure of your content hub is searchable, so people can jump to the specific sub-topic they want, but you're trying to build a rabbit hole that keeps readers on your site.
The benefits of a content hub
When done correctly, a content hub is one of the most powerful ways to establish your brand online. It can:
- Increase brand visibility online. Your content will generate organic traffic from your content showing up in the search results.
- Improve brand engagement. Users will have more opportunities to interact with your brand and form a positive attachment.
- Generate more leads or sales. Content hubs require content strategy and marketing to work. This approach to content can generate three times more leads than other forms of digital marketing. Using an ecommerce platform can also help increase sales directly.
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors. It's getting harder to differentiate online, but content remains a tried-and-true way to do so. Plus, it allows you to better demonstrate your expertise, thereby proving that your products or services can be trusted.
How to build a content hub
A content hub is a great addition to your web presence if there's a topic in which you're truly an expert. Here are the steps you need to take to create one.
1. Develop a content strategy
A content strategy aligns your business and brand goals with your content. It seeks to solve problems that your company or your customers face with content.
It's also the backbone of your content hub.
Your content strategy should:
- Identify the hubs of your content hub. You don't need to figure out individual articles just yet, but you should have a solid understanding of why you're writing what you are.
- Lay out a schedule. It should determine what you publish and when, plus a plan for maintaining content that's already there.
- How you're going to distribute your content. Will you rely on SEO? Will you blast new contents in a weekly digest to your mailing list? There's no one right or wrong way to do this, depending on your goals.
2. Choose an appropriate CMS and DAM
You'll need a powerful content management system to keep your hub organized. There are both free options and proprietary options available. (Here's more about them.)
While you're at it, consider if a Digital Asset Manager (DAM) is right for you, too. Content management is typically built into them, and they make it a lot easier for the team to keep track of creatives like images, video and documents.
3. Create and publish content
It's now time to create the content! You can do this yourself, or you can outsource the creation. Some 80 percent of companies do.
Pro-tip: You'll be tempted to start with this step, but don't. Doing the above steps first will help your creation phase stay focused and streamlined.
4. Boost your visibility with distribution strategies
Content strategy refers to the planning of your content, but content marketing involves the actual creation, publication, and distribution of your content.
Some examples of content distribution strategies include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media funnels
- Newsletters or other direct-to-fans
5. Track your hub's performance
Content isn't a set-it-and-forget-it thing. Tracking your content's views, engagements, and which pieces lead to conversions can help you identify well-performing pieces, and pieces that need help. Tracking metrics are an important part of any great content workflow.
A DXP platform can help with this, as can free tools like Google Analytics.
Likewise, pay attention to how your competitors respond as your content hub expands. Are they building their own in response? It means you struck gold and now can focus on producing even more high-quality work.