If you’re looking to lower the boom on the web with overwhelming force, you should add a content hub to your website. This marketing tool — essentially, a behemoth of helpful material — creates lots of free value for your existing audience and consistently brings new visitors to you. Here’s what you need to know to get started:
A content hub? What’s that?
Just as the term “hub” implies, a content hub is a centralized place where you collect and distribute lots of content. It’s not, however, just a place to dump material. Instead, a content hub should be tightly focused around a well-defined theme. Check out this example from Airbnb.
A content hub has advantages over a website or blog. A website might have scattered content about many subjects, but a content hub curates content for a specific purpose. And a blog might force readers (more or less) to read content in chronological order, but a content hub can organize material in a format that makes sense in terms of what readers are looking for.
When you’re creating a content hub, your mission should be simple: You’re setting out to create the biggest, baddest resource anywhere on a specific topic. Your hub will be the last word on the subject. Normal blog posts might be forgotten within days, but your hub will live on because it’s the authoritative word anyone can find anywhere.
What kind of content do you include in a content hub?
So you want to create a content hub. Now, fill it with anything that will help your reader acquire the information they’re looking for.
Don’t feel constrained to one type of content. Let your imagination run wild: include videos, e-books, blog posts, white papers, user-generated content, social media posts, curated content, or whatever else you can think of. Of course, try to avoid sending visitors to outbound links; the more you host content on your hub, the better. H&M does this to perfection with H&M Magazine, featuring includes various types of content, like articles, videos, and tutorials.
Why content hubs are awesome
Content hubs can be highly attractive web assets that sell for you again and again. Here are a few reasons why:
They build your authority. When you’re in a court of law and the judge tells you to do something… you do it. Why? Because the judge has authority. Authority isn’t just reserved for the stuffy halls of courtrooms, though — it can be built anywhere. In marketing, authority is a halo effect that creates trust and gets users to do what you ultimately want them to do: buy your stuff!
Quicksprout (created by top-notch marketer Neil Patel) uses their content hub The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing to demonstrate authority in their niche.
Content hubs create authority because they teach. Teaching builds trust because those who learn from you see you as a knowledgeable source. And if you help people with the information you provide, those people will quickly perceive your product as something that can help them. The reasoning is if you can help visitors so much for free, your product must be amazing.
They bring you loads of traffic. Mount Rushmore gets a lot of visitors, right? It sure does, and that’s because it’s a destination. It’s a sight to behold. That’s how you want to think about your content hub. You want to make it so great that people can’t help but be impressed and want to talk about it. This is what you might call buzz. Buzz is rarely created about unimportant things, but it’s inexhaustible for things that are magnificent (like Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO).
What you really want from buzz is traffic — the incredible rush of visitors that can turn into leads and customers. That’s exactly what an authoritative content hub gives you.
Content hubs are more likely to generate natural links. Getting links from other websites is how you improve your rankings in search engines. People are much more likely to link to something done on a grand scale (e.g., your content hub) than something more ephemeral (e.g., a blog post).
Content hubs are shareable. According to Jonah Berger, author of the bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On, we’re much more likely to share something if it makes us look good. In the same vein, content hubs are eminently shareable partly because those who share them tend to look smart and authoritative.
Content hubs bring you recurring web traffic. Think of your content hub like a book. You can go to your local bookstore and see the same bestselling tome on the shelves each week — as opposed to a magazine that rapidly exhausts its shelf life. Content hubs generally hold information that remains relevant long-term (though they should definitely be updated periodically). This means they’ll keep attracting visitors long after they’re published.
Content hubs convert visitors into leads. The ultimate goal of any business is to create sales — and to do that, they need customers. That, of course, is why leads are so important. Luckily, great content hubs convert traffic into leads like gangbusters.
If you’re looking at a content hub, you’ll probably see a form on it whose aim is to bring a visitor down a marketing funnel (typically by capturing contact info). Content hubs, if well done, tend to be proficient at capturing leads because they offer a wealth of value. If visitors can clearly see from your hub that you have a lot of useful information to offer, they’ll be happy to opt in to hear more from you.
Want to learn more about staying top-of-mind with your target audience? Download our free guide The Complete Guide to Visual Commerce. It features strategies that top brands like Lilly Pulitzer and Urban Outfitters are doing to overcome today’s biggest marketing challenges.