There’s a shift happening in the world of content marketing as of late. With more and more companies investing in content, and creating lots of it, the competition is fiercer than ever. It’s not just about creating good content, or even great content.
To stand out, you’ve got to create an entire content experience that caters to your audience’s wants and needs.
If you follow content marketing or social media news, you may have started noticing the mention of content or microcontent hubs—the idea of centralizing all of your content into a one-stop shop for visitors. Full disclosure: at Uberflip, this is what we do, so it’s no surprise we’ve been speaking to the benefits of a content hub for some time.
But we’re not the only ones.
Marcus Sheridan, a.k.a The Sales Lion, recently wrote about how “learning centers” with various forms of content are taking over blogs, as companies realize that people want variety in the way they consume content.
“More and more businesses are developing “Learning Centers”—a place that not only includes blog articles, but the rest of their content as well,” says Marcus. “Great companies and brands understand [the need for variety], and therefore the need to produce content in all of these forms so as to make the greatest connection with their consumer base.”
It doesn’t stop there. Likeable Media CEO and co-founder Carrie Kerpen gave a presentation this past July at the Social Fresh social media conference on the rise of microcontent hubs as a way of taking ownership from Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.
“Why don’t we focus on owning our own content?” Carrie asked. “We feel we need to spend time where the community is (Facebook, Vine, Twitter), instead of thinking through where the content will benefit our business the most.”
No matter the format, having all of your content live in one place is a win-win for your audience and your business. Here’s why:
1. It gives you control
Carrie spoke about owning the medium over the message in her presentation, and she hit the nail on the head. Say you’ve created an awesome video and post it on YouTube. Even though your video content is great, it’s at the mercy of YouTube and all of the distractions that come with it. Not to mention any “recommended videos” that will appear alongside it and may very well be from your competitors.
By pulling that video into a content hub instead, you have complete control over not only how it’s displayed, but what it’s surrounded by — more of your content.
Social media posts themselves count as content too. You’re likely already using social networks for distribution, but why not bring those feeds into your hub as well and give your audience even more reason to stay? If they can check out your Instagram photos or Facebook posts in a central Hub, immersed in your content, and without other people’s posts competing for their attention, all the better.
2. It boosts engagement
I keep talking about having your posts surrounded by more and different types of your own content, but this is so powerful that it deserves emphasis. We talk a lot about engagement paths at Uberflip, that is, creating a route for visitors—through navigation, suggested content, and custom streams targeted to specific audiences—that allows for easy discovery of more content that’s relevant to them.
Having your blog posts, social media feeds, eBooks, videos, etc. live in individual silos is a disservice to your visitors, your customers, and your business. Make things easy for people by having say, a blog post on the benefits of marketing automation beside an eBook on how to best use it. Or simply by allowing them to roam freely throughout all of your content in one place, instead of having to jump back and forth between 15 different URLs. We checked our engagement metrics 3 months after moving our blog to a Hub and they jumped considerably (time on site by 80%, pages-per-visit by 49%, and returning visitors by 21%). It works!
3. It generates more leads
It’s only natural that the above points would translate to more leads. If people are spending more time on your site and discovering more of your content that’s valuable to them, they’re more likely to connect with your company and trust you with their contact information.
And the more pieces of content someone is consuming, the more opportunity you have to place call-to-actions that are contextual and relevant to them. We have a variety of CTAs in our own Hub, ranging from pop-ups that appear over individual pieces to stream-level CTAs, so we can tailor the message and the offer to its placement. They’re then synced with marketing automation, so we can continue to nurture those leads after we’ve collected their information.
At the end of the day, content marketing is all about building relationships with your audience, and you do that by providing value to them. Quality content (be it educational, entertaining, actionable, etc.) delivered in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for a simple but powerful combination that will drive more engagement, more leads and ultimately, more customers.
What do you think about content hubs? Are they something you’d try? Sound off in the comments!