Have you heard the term “content hub” many times, but you can’t really imagine what it means? I will not only explain the differences between blog, hub page and content hub, but will also show you numerous best practice examples as well as how you can build a target-oriented content hub in five steps.
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A content hub is the home of your content – there you have everything under control.
What is a content hub?
Giving a comprehensive definition of a content hub is actually not that easy. Because: this is where the expert opinions differ. Can a “simple” blog or an editorially maintained magazine as such be called a content hub? Where do we locate video content? And what do we do with other information-oriented formats on your website?
Basically, I don’t necessarily want to define a content hub just as a classic distribution page, but as follows. Among other things, I oriented myself to Ines Eschbacher (Ines Eschbacher: Content Marketing. The Workbook. Step by Step to Successful Content, mitp Verlags GmbH & Co. KG, Frechen, 1st edition 2017, pp. 60-62): A content hub is the home of your content and therefore the basis of your entire content marketing strategy. Regardless of whether it is a website, online magazine or corporate blog – a content hub is that interface on the web that maps your marketing activities as a whole and ultimately supports your customers in their purchase decision.
Blog, Hub Page & Content Hub: What’s that?
Blog, hub page or content hub – you have asked yourself so many times what is that? Since the trio is often used synonymously and from my point of view the boundaries are fluid, it is worth taking a closer look.
But be careful: In most cases, a content hub is also referred to as a “blog”, “magazine” or “portal”. For this reason, it is all the more important to define essential key points in order to be able to differentiate meaningfully.
Blog: A classic blog is part of a company website and is usually arranged in chronological order. The content format either takes up stories about the company ( corporate blogging ) or acts as a guide. The focus is primarily on editorial content that underlines the company’s expert status and is a practical mouthpiece for personal branding, for example.
Hub page: From an SEO perspective, hub pages serve as nodes when building the internal and external link structure (link juice) of a website. An internally strongly linked page (hub page) can pass on its link strength to the pages linked to it. So it serves as a “link force distributor”. Internal hubs of an online shop, for example, represent well thought-out product categories with corresponding sub-pages. Hub pages can also be relevant for blogs or news articles, for example as a summary of the most important topics. One principle: The deeper the user delves into the page structure, the more specific the links should become.
Content Hub: In principle, a content hub is to be regarded as a generic term that represents the entirety of a company’s marketing activities. The format is either integrated as a subpage on a company presence or functions as an independent website on its own domain. The focus is on multimedia content (text, moving images, sound) that are provided and networked with one another. Hub content includes blog articles, white papers, videos, webinars and social media content, for example.
As my best practice examples below will show you, a content hub consists of far more topic and format-specific categories compared to a classic blog and should meaningfully bring together the posts from the different marketing channels.
In my opinion, a content hub combines different content formats and multimedia elements into one large online marketing presence. In addition to editorially maintained content (blog / magazine), you can also find other marketing types such as videos, webinars, podcasts, e-books or white papers on a well-structured content hub.
Hub pages, on the other hand, are particularly relevant in the context of qualitative on-page optimization. Nevertheless, a target-oriented content hub usually consists of thematically arranged distribution pages.
Conclusion: Although the boundaries are fluid, in my opinion a content hub is a generic term and is larger than a blog or a hub page.
What is a content hub for?
According to general understanding, a content hub is used to pick up questions, problems, wishes and needs of the customer and to respond to them as best as possible. In this case, the best possible means: efficient, comprehensive and in the way your customers prefer to consume. So it doesn’t necessarily depend on the format (blog article, infographic, white paper, newsletter, podcast, webinar, video), but on the specific interests of your buyer personas.
By taking your customers by the hand on their customer journey, accompanying them with your content, keeping them on your side and getting them to return, you achieve what I believe to be the most important marketing goal: trust.
Another six unbeatable advantages that you can achieve according to scoop.it with a content hub for your company’s online presence are:
- Authority: If you publish quality content on a regular basis, it strengthens your brand awareness. You gain authority and authenticity in your area.
- Visibility: Visibility and traffic depend not only on the quantity, but above all on the quality of your content. High quality content will spread virally faster, increase your reach and ultimately improve your rankings.
- Commitment: You interact with your users via your content hub and enter into a dialogue with them. For example, you can moderate your articles, i.e. allow comments and respond to them in terms of content. You should also give your users the opportunity to easily share your content on social networks (share buttons).
- Control: Since you create and publish the content on your content hub yourself, you usually always have the entire customer experience in view.
- Leads: In the best case scenario, many potential customers browse your content hub, who you can turn into leads and later into your customers via the newsletter form and by integrating suitable call-to-actions.
- Insights: You should regularly check the collected insights and data from your content hub with appropriate monitoring (Google Analytics). After a certain time you will notice which content works and you can optimize your strategy.
How-to: build a content hub in 5 steps
- First of all, as part of a sophisticated content marketing strategy, you should be clear about the following options: Would you like to integrate your content hub in the form of an extended blog or magazine as a subpage on your company presence? Or should the format work as an independent website on its own domain? Note: A content hub on a decoupled website is usually only worthwhile for particularly strong big players (see Coca-Cola Journey below). This is because a lot of multimedia content must be available and the interests of the target group must be given.
- Think about your target group, or better still, about individual buyer personas : Who are my users or customers and what do they want? What topics related to my product are you interested in? What wishes, needs and problems do you have? If you get stuck at this point, it is best to ask your previous customers directly and get input.
- Which formats would you like to offer your visitors on your content hub? In addition to blog articles, in my opinion – depending on how your buyer personas prefer to consume their content – you should at least also think about video content and social media marketing. Your marketing activities should be presented as a whole on your content hub.
- Next, you should think bigger or more broadly and define meaningful interfaces. For example, if you already have a YouTube channel, you should transfer your videos or tutorials directly to your content hub. So think about where and how you want to make which material available to your users. In the case of YouTube, for example, this would be possible within the framework of a specially created category or by integrating them into blog articles that match thematically. Because this is the only way to guarantee a comprehensive customer experience.
- Once you have defined the first four steps, you can work with a web designer to clarify the implementation. From my point of view, a content hub should always be adapted to the corporate identity of your brand and the existing structure of your website in terms of design and layout . An unwritten law: All your content must always be shareable (traffic), i.e. always be equipped with share buttons.
By the way: even if you have already started an information-oriented online magazine or blog, you can expand it into a content hub and locate your various content there.
Content, content & more content: 3 best practice examples
So that you can get a better picture of a comprehensive and targeted content hub, I have selected three best practice examples.
Spoiler: My last example will show that product and content can be combined on a website to create an extraordinary hybrid.
Design School by Canva
The Canva Learning Center is designed as a comprehensive content hub and culminates in the Design School. There, beginners can learn design from scratch and experienced designers can perfect their skills. The special feature: the content provided is designed for different consumers (students, teachers, entrepreneurs) of the target group.
Well thought-out, the user gets to know the tool better as part of the design school, courses and tutorials offered. Specially designed video content takes the site visitor by the hand and supports him in dealing with the multitude of features and exhausting all creative possibilities.
Conclusion: The marketing strategy hits the mark and combines information content and practicality.
In addition to a classic company website, Coca-Cola also maintains a comprehensive, editorially maintained content hub on another domain: the Coca-Cola Journey. The created hub pages help the user to keep getting lost in the page structure. In doing so, he stumbles upon, finds such as infographics and white papers on the subject of ingredients and consumer information. Sounds boring, but it is presented in an interesting way and seems to be exactly what the target group wants to know.
Another format that I personally find very successful is the series of interviews “Auf ‘ne Coke mit …”. The topics are drawn up editorially and could thus also be published in any daily newspaper. Why the whole thing? This is about reputation, familiar faces and, of course, a positive external image. By the way: to loosen up, the YouTube videos produced especially for this category are also integrated and – if not published on a hub page – find their place.
Conclusion: From my point of view, a real potpourri of topics and content that I have never seen in this form before.
My last example is without a doubt special, but from my point of view it definitely has a right to exist. Because AGROBS – a well-known animal feed manufacturer – offers the visitor to the site (almost) everything the heart desires: themed worlds, experience reports, videos. Everything but one thing: a transaction-oriented online shop.
The user cannot order directly here, but is forwarded to the corresponding shops or the specialist retailer in the vicinity. Therefore, as I see it, the website is a hybrid. A content hub paired with informative product presentation.
The categories “For horses” and “For pets and farm animals” are prepared as hub pages just like in the Otto example above and present the various products in the subcategories in detail and with content-oriented descriptions. So far everything is largely normal.
But: If we take a closer look at the “Knowledge & Advice” category, it becomes clear that the focus here is on user-relevant content. The “Thematic World” acts as a guide, while the same “Experience reports” category is published. There is also a well-developed FAQ area that addresses all questions from a potential customer and answers them comprehensively. And so we are back at the content hub, albeit unconventionally. After all, the first premise of the format is: All questions, desires and needs of the user should be satisfied and answered in the most efficient way.
Another piece of the puzzle that suggests a content hub are the videos by Annica Hansen embedded on a separate subpage (“About Us”) . An influencer who lets users participate in the AGROBS world. Feed-related topics are discussed here, the managing directors provide advice and show their face. The only flaw: the videos could be geared more towards the CI of the feed manufacturer from the foothills of the Alps.
Conclusion: In the case of AGROBS, the entire marketing strategy is holistically mapped on the website. Regardless of whether it is an advisory topic, video content or the categorical reference to trade fair dates (which, by the way, are also shared via Facebook), the user is fully informed here. And that’s exactly what a content hub means. However, since we also find product categories promoting sales on the site, a definition as an unconventional hybrid remains inevitable.
Social media hub: too much of a good thing?
In my blog post I have repeatedly spoken of the need to create a home for all of your content. Whether you place your content in a blog, magazine or a large-scale content hub, of course, always depends on your personal preferences and capacities. In any case, the customer experience should always come first. That means: Your content must respond to the wishes and needs of the user and, in the best case, accompany him through the decision-making process through to the purchase.
By the way: Using the example of travel.me – a hub of the TUI Group – you can get an idea of how individual Facebook posts, Instagram and Twitter content are compiled on a content hub. What do you think about? Please write your opinion in the comments.
If you want to let your users immerse themselves in themed worlds such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Co., contact us at any time and we will work out a comprehensive content marketing strategy for you!