What Are Content Hubs? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Taking a trip to Chelsea Market in New York’s Meat-packing district offers any number of options for lunch and shopping. You can choose between ramen, ice cream, or a grilled cheese bagel when you take a break from browsing the boutiques.

And while each of the independent shops and restaurants might not be in everyone’s interest, as a whole, the arrangement allows for an enjoyable day out. Much like malls throughout America, it’s a hub for shopping and entertainment.

Now, take that idea and apply it to your content. Instead of having pieces of content scattered throughout a site, bringing them into cohesive content hubs allows you to create an organized home for articles, eBooks, videos, and infographics on a similar subject matter.

Research on content points to a sobering trend — just over one-third of what is produced is actually used. But content hubs can help to drastically improve that outcome.

Let’s flesh out what content hubs are and how they can boost your content program performance.

What Are Content Hubs?

Put formally, a content hub is a curated collection of branded content on a specific topic or subject. Less formally, it’s a home for a variety of resources — a single tent where articles, white papers, infographics, videos and any other content on a single topic lives.

For example, an electronics retailer might feature air fryer advice pieces and buying guides on one page. Or a food company might publish a content hub with resources related to its brand of pasta sauce — recipes, nutritional guides, and articles about the founder.

Still wondering why you need a content hub? Simple: Content hubs establish credibility and clout. Used properly, a brand can become the definitive launchpad for information on a subject.

Instead of quality content being lost in the caverns of a site, using a content hub gives it a longer life and enhances its impact when used in a strategic and organized way.

Types of Content Hubs

If you’re curious about how to create a content hub, rest assured that you have quite a few options. There is more than one way to build a content hub and work towards ranking higher in SEO performance.

The most popular configuration is the hub-and-spoke model, which is designed to maximize reach and effectiveness. Think of a bicycle wheel — the hub is the center and the pieces of content branch off of it. Content is organized and optimized with a ‘parent’ page linking out to different elements of content. An example is Insteading’s guide to tiny houses, which works to establish the site’s authority on the subject.

What Are Content Hubs? This is a graphic of the classic hub and spoke modelAnother option is the content library model, a much more organized structure that shows content by category or subgroup with links to the pages. Blogs, case studies and articles are categorized by pillar or topic. ThinkwithGoogle is a great example of a content library that drives engagement.

What Are Content Hubs? This image is a graphic of a content library

Finally, there are other less popular content hub models that aren’t used as much for content marketing — topic gateways like Drift’s guide to chatbots, content databases such as Muscle and Strength’s workout database, and topic matrixes like this one from the Mayo Clinic. With different goals in mind, these options are more useful for sites such as news providers or real estate agents. However, it is important to be aware of them to avoid confusion.

How to Build a Content Hub

Your content hub’s design and style will largely depend on your brand guidelines and existing web presence. Even though it’s a separate destination of sorts, it should still resemble the rest of your site. Spend most of your time deciding on the topic and what content should be included. For example:

  1. Pick a theme using the pillars of your content strategy and their sub-topics.
  2. Decide what to promote. Do an audit of ALL content, no matter how old, and look at its performance. Feature content that performs best.
  3. Build a web page for the hub. This way, both the bots and the audience can find all your organized content in a prominent spot on the site.
  4. Create content at scale. Keep the hub updated with fresh and renewed content.
  5. Integrate blogs and social media channels to automate updates and save time. Adding socials and blogs keeps everything fresh constantly.
  6. Promote it. Have a launch and work on a promotion plan so that new content gets found.

Want Content Hub Examples? Learn from Advance Auto Parts

The Ultimate Guide to Vehicle and Maintenance and Repair from Advance Auto Parts covers a broad topic in excellent detail and is a good example of the hub and spoke model in action. It is well-researched, informative, easily digestible, and includes a number of formats.

Benefits of a Content Hub

If your website were a bookstore, the front tables that feature new releases would be your content hubs. Making content attractive and accessible will ensure that you get the full value from articles, eBooks, infographics, videos, and other forms of content. Using content hubs correctly can bring a series of positive results:

  • Better search visibility. The more accessible the content on your site, the easier it is for the robotic search ‘spiders’ that index results to find and rank you higher.
  • More customer engagement. In the hub-and-spoke method, users will be drawn in by the topic and then find their specific interests in the spokes.
  • Improved analytics. Higher reader engagement means you’ll be able to better understand what they are looking for and respond to that.

How to Measure the Success of Your Content Hub

Unsurprisingly, the best outcomes from content hubs are improved SEO and increased unique visitors. Even a small change in ranking can show that you are going in the right direction and encourage you to focus more on a specific topic.

Other metrics to keep an eye on include returning visitors, increased internal traffic, and engagement like newsletter sign-ups.

Finally, look at the number of stories a person reads, how they share them and how much time they spend on them to determine whether you should fine-tune the model.

In Conclusion

By bringing similar types of content under the banner of a content hub, users and bots will be able to easily navigate through them, maximizing search potential and bringing people back time and again. User experience is improved and the content marketing team’s efforts will be maximized.

Whether it is a hub and spoke model or a content library hub, Contently is here to help you reach your content marketing goals. Our freelancers are ready to help your brand craft quality content at scale in a variety of different formats.

Ask The Content Strategist: FAQS about Content Hubs

How can businesses determine which content is relevant to their objectives?

Use a strategic approach, first by defining your objectives and understanding the demographics you are aiming at. Each piece of new content should align and an audit of existing content be used to ensure everything published is also on message. Analytics tools can be used to track success.

What challenges might businesses face when learning how to create a content hub and then actually implementing it?

It can be challenging to ensure everything is organized properly so that it is searchable and navigable by the user. Quality content creation and integrating the content hub with existing systems may also present difficulties.

What are the potential drawbacks or limitations of using content hubs?

Users may be used to another way of engaging with your content, so build awareness with promotions. And, as the hub grows, audit and manage the site content so it continues to be navigable.

What are some best practices for organizing and categorizing content within a content hub?

Understand your audience’s needs and preferences. Then, draw up a classification system for content relevant to both the audience and the business needs. Put in place a user-friendly navigation system and use a hierarchical structure with broader categories at the top.

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