This is part of our series on hub & spoke content marketing. Begin here: Executing The Hub & Spoke Content Marketing Strategy.
As an established business, you’ve probably invested time, money, or resources (or all of the above!) into creating content. Content marketing is such a useful tool for B2B businesses (especially SaaS companies) that 88% are doing it, according to Content Marketing Institute’s Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Survey.
But, like many businesses, you aren’t happy with your results. Sure, leads trickle in over time. Email sign ups are flat. Your traffic is increasing, but not as fast as you’d like. You know that you could meet your revenue goals faster—if only your content would perform better.
You need a way to empower your content. You need to create something that’s different from the thousands of other SaaS blogs; something that’s exceptionally valuable to your readers.
Enter the hub and spoke content marketing strategy. This strategy is a useful one for well-established businesses. Typically, this technique requires more planning and strategy than traditional blogging, but organizations who have already spent resources creating content often already have these elements in place.
You May Already Have the Spokes in Place
The strength of the hub and spoke strategy is its structure. By organizing your content into convenient packages, you give your readers a logical way to consume your content. This structure makes your content more valuable as a whole than each piece is individually.
Established businesses who have already created some content have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the resource hub without investing more time or resources. All you have to do is select your content pieces that make the most sense, and then package them together.
Step 1: Take an inventory of your current content.
Go through your existing content. Look for patterns of information that can be bundled together into a resource. If you wrote several blog posts on a particular topic, each article could serve as a spoke for a hub and spoke content package.
Ideally, these pieces of content should cover the main topic completely. As a group, your articles (the subtopic spokes) should teach the topic comprehensively. If you have enough articles for this, your hub and spoke strategy could be complete in a few minutes. If they don’t, that’s alright too. We’ll address that in a moment.
Step 2: Organize your content.
Order your spoke articles so that they teach the subject from beginning to end. Beginner topics should come first. Advanced topics should come last. Put any fundamental information at the beginning and specifics at the end.
Step 3: Identify the gaps.
Since the articles you are working with weren’t created specifically for a hub and spoke content strategy, there will undoubtedly be gaps of information. Your next step is to identify which subtopics are missing.
For example, let’s say you have several articles on building a customer success team for SaaS businesses. You already have content that defines customer success, explains how it fits into an organization, how to hire team members, etc.
But, you realize that you’re missing an important topic to customer success managers: How customer success and sales are supposed to work together. This is a gap that your hub and spoke strategy needs to fill before it’s finished.
Step 4: Fill in the gaps.
Create any pieces of content that address the missing subtopics. Write articles like you would for any other blog post. Focus on adding as much value as possible.
We recommend that your hub and spoke content strategy have at least eight spoke articles, but there’s no limit. Successful hub and spoke packages can have as many as you like. Including more content is a great way to add more value for the reader. Just remember to stay on topic. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with unnecessary information.
Step 5: Build your hub page.
Your hub landing page is an article itself, but the structure is a bit different than a traditional blog post. The page should begin with a brief introduction of the main topic (about 400-500 words). The title of the hub page should include a short-tail keyword (e.g. “customer success”).
(Note: If you were to create a hub and spoke content package from scratch, the spoke articles should each target a long-tail keyword. That’s the ideal setup. Since you are repurposing existing content, you may not have that luxury. In the future, make sure all of your articles target long-tail keywords for the best SEO value and so they can be used in hub and spoke content packages).
Next, create clearly divided sections for each subtopic on your page. We recommend using clever (but subtle) design to create clean divisions, such a uniquely colored background for each section (just don’t go crazy with outrageous colors).
Within each section, add a subheading for the subtopic. Below the subheading, write 200-300 words describing the subtopic and why it’s important to the reader. At the end of each section, include a link to the appropriate spoke article.
Step 6: Promote!
Promoting your hub is important. You’ll likely see better results when you promote a hub and spoke content package than when you promote a typical article. That’s because this format adds a ton of value for your readers, so they are more likely to share it.
Also, the hub and spoke content strategy has unique SEO value. Google loves the interlinking and the smart keyword usage. Capitalize on that by getting as many backlinks as you can.
You can promote your hub on social media, to your email subscribers, using paid ads, or reaching out to people you know. If you’re brave and don’t mind a bit of rejection, you could cold email influencers who have audiences similar to your own.
You Know Your Customers’ Problems
If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have a keen understanding of your customer—and that strong grasp of your customer and the types of problems they have is the most important marketing strategy you could ever implement.
In order to build a hub and spoke content strategy, you need to identify your customers’ biggest problems. What issues do they complain about the most? What topics do you find yourself frequently teaching? What advice do you give out often?
If you don’t have this knowledge already, you should sit down with your team and build some buyer personas (sometimes called audience personas). This may require some explorations of your analytics and conversations with a few of your customers to get the best information.
Record your customers’ problems and rank them in order of most to least importance (to your customer). You should create your first hub and spoke content package to address the customer’s biggest problem.
Let’s say you are selling a SaaS tool that schedules social media posts. You have identified your customer as someone who needs to automate their social media activities and you know their biggest problem is their inability to create engaging social media content.
In this case, it would make sense to build a hub and spoke content package that teaches your readers how to craft excellent social media content. Throughout the content assets you could gently recommend your own service as a useful tool. (Just don’t push sales too hard. Your goal is to create value, not serve an advertisement.)
As you can imagine, for businesses who already understand their customers well (as well-established businesses do), planning the hub and spoke content marketing strategy is a quick process. You probably have a few ideas in your head already!
As you can see, the hub and spoke content marketing strategy is a unique opportunity for well-established businesses. You’ve already done most of the work or you already have all the information you need to take action quickly.
Creating powerful hub and spoke packages requires lots of planning. We recommend that you check out our content marketing planning tool, the Audience Ops Calendar.