Brands like Pepsi, GE, IBM, Intel, Xerox successfully build not just blogs, but the entire media and content hubs. Today we have decided to talk about those, who has achieved in this sphere the greatest success.

 

What is content hub

Content Hubs in a first approximation represent an expanded concept of blogging, but with a much greater focus on the content centralization. In order to do this, branded content, external (curated) content, posts from social networks, your community content, videos, various documents and reports, forms for lead generation, and many other things are combined in a single platform.

Thus, with a use of a single tool, brand has full control over all content, combined within a single concept, theme and context.

 

Benefits of hubs

PrismaContentHub

Due to the centralization of media-hubs have several advantages compared with the strategy of separate channels. They can be divided into several main levels.

  1. The authority and trust

One of the goals of any company is to generate credibility. In this sense, content marketing can be very effective. But the problem is that through a single channel, you are often unable to provide sufficiently strong and continuous exposure. Hubs bring together all your (and not only) expertise, creating a much more trustworthy and complete image.

 

  1. Search engine visibility and traffic

It is not secret that the key parameters of search engine promotion are social signals. By bringing in one place whole content you generate a far greater social response to a specific page that has a significant effect on the search engines. In addition, using complex of content types, you cover a vast semantic core.

  1. Involvement

How good you can be at creating high-quality content, there is always the chance that you can lose sight of these or other topics. That is despite the fact that you can have 5-6 authors, who will issue up to 20 materials per week, it is likely that you will be still not  interesting enough for readers, because the entire media process is on your side and is solely your perspective. Hub concept allows to expand significantly given potential by incorporating external content, insights of opinion leaders, posts from social networks, and many other things.

  1. Lead generation

Blogs can be quite effective for the purpose of lead generation. But they may not be. Why? Because, if the user does not like your content, he can just walk away and you will lose the lead. In the case of hubs, this probability is less due to more content and the likelihood of not only involving lead, but keeping him within the funnel.

In addition, in hubs’ interface it is more convenient to incorporate various instruments of  forms and lead generation. In this case, they do not look so annoying, as in blogs as they are more “diluted” with valuable information.

  1. Control

Abundance of organic channels generally leads to two serious problems. The first is the increase in costs, the second – blurring of content plans’ burdens. For example, one brand can be blogging in one style, and social pages in another. Incidentally, this sometimes occurs because part of the work is produced In-House, and part is given to outsourcing.

The task of hubs is not only to centralize your content, but also its challenges. That is here everything is in a frame of single plan and common goals. This provides better control and return on your marketing efforts.

 

  1. Research and insights

To analyze one channel is easier than 10. This is a simple fact. Combining their organic channels into a single platform, it is much easier for you to build metrics to assess their achievement %, and then make changes to your hub.

In the case of separate channels it may take considerably more time. And the accuracy is also lower.

 

From blogs to hubs

Content Marketing Institute report states that blogging is one of the leading strategies in content marketing along with social networking. Unfortunately, almost all experts point out that in recent years the use of blogs as a separate channel of lead generation gives less effect due to increased competition and a gradual increase in the cost of the creation of a single publication.

Therefore, media hubs look like a logical step of evolution from small sites where brands make their first experiments to a full-fledged media that represent the intersection of insights and research not only of business but also of other market players.

 

Hubs in the B2B and B2C

At first glance it may seem that hubs are largely the prerogative of B2B brands, for which a key objective is to demonstrate its thought leadership. And it’s better to show it through the very real knowledge libraries.

However, this is not true. This strategy can be also successfully used in B2C. However, here will be their own differences, namely, a greater focus on:

  • User-Generated Content;
  • Visual content;
  • Integration with social platforms and campaigns on Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter and others.
Requirements for the establishment of hubs

Despite a number of advantages, hubs have some restrictions for their use. Some of them we have listed below:

  • You must be mature enough. Practice shows that to create a hub, without having a long experience of blogging is almost impossible. Content plan of Hub is always more complex and larger in scale and in most cases represents an enlarged version of your blog, in addition to various additional channels;
  • You must be large enough. To create a hub you need a lot of content. No, A LOT OF content. Of course, some companies, for example,, Triblio, are trying to dispense with a small amount of their own posts, supplemented by curated news. However, to be honest, it seems to be a hub only superficially. However, you are unlikely to get the big insight from reading this site;
  • You need a bigger budget. This item can be divided into two main sections. First – it is about technology spendings. For example, you will need a contractor for Content Curation, or you will have to implement your own decisions. Second – you will have big expenses as on creators, and also on editors, who will be required to monitor and verify not only your own content, but also the external one. That automatically means a significant amount of work.

However, if you have time and money, hubs, of course, are paying off. And a number of companies such as B2B and B2C have visually demonstrated that such concept of content aggregation will only grow in popularity.

 

15 Success Cases

Digitalist by SAP

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In its marketing story SAP conducted more than one hundred experiments. Thus, their first corporate blog evolved into Business Innovation platform. And now into the independent media Digitalist. All this time, SAP conducted a series of A / B tests, trying to find the best option in terms of retaining the attention of readers and their conversion into customers.


Think with Google by Google

think-with-google

It would be difficult to imagine that such giant as Google, does not follow the trends in the media and content marketing. Therefore, the appearance of hub Think with Google looks like quite a logical step. However, taking into account their ability in Data Mining, it is a bit strange to see such a simple implementation. Because the corporation could have easily implemented a fairly complex hub with a plurality of external sources, including audio, video, visual and textual content.

Let’s see how this platform will be developed further.


Open Forum by American Express

American-Express-Open-Forum

Open Forum – is a classic example where a large B2C brand is realizing a content-platform, not only to increase the involvement of the audience, but also to reduce the load on your support service. Because within hub, users and customers can find any information they are interested in.


Insights by NewsCred

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We have already talked about how NewsCred, which have implemented by themselves more than one hub for third-party brands, finally decided to make it for themselves. In our opinion, the current implementation appears to be quite controversial. On the one hand, the amount of content has increased. It has become easier to keep track of what is happening with the company, including conferences and events. On the other hand, the quality has not fundamentally changed, not to say that has sunk. Therefore, among the content-marketing blogs, Insights is difficult to be called our loved one.


Real Business by Xerox

xerox

Like SAP, Xerox experimented a lot with content marketing. Previously, they had already run HealthBizDecoded – media-platform dedicated to healthcare. Real Business – is a step more in B2B segment. As part of this hub, brand demonstrates general principles behind their business approach, implemented through multiple levels of content.


Content Loop by CapGemini

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Capgemini – is a big brand in the field of technology and innovation consulting. It is necessary to say that in the content marketing industry it has always enjoyed great popularity. To say more, a significant number of cases, including the White-Papers, Ebooks, and many other formats, have come from the sphere of consulting and information business.

This Hub Capgemini were developing in collaboration with NewsCred. You may see that they are actively using the tape of curated content and are also adding expert content from Linkedin.


Small Biz Ahead by Hartford

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Hartford is another excellent example not only of how consulting companies do hubs, but also how NewsCred embeds their licensed content. In general, this area left a good impression. However, the lack of their own content and integration with social networks can play not a best role in terms of organic traffic.


Reports by General Electric

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General Electric in the past 5 years seriously immersed in marketing content, launching one media area after another. For example, Reports – it’s an interesting hub, dedicated to technology and innovation, many of which intersect directly with what makes GE.


Technologist by General Electric

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The second GE platform is a Technologist. The hub is made on the basis of the well-known platform Tumblr, and, to our sorrow, seriously hampers. In general, Technologist looks like a simplified version of the Reports, which is more focused on the individual cases and areas of application of different technologies.

In our opinion, GE has to work more to make Technologist more comfortable.


IQ by Intel

Intel-Content-Hub

Unlike GE, Intel made their site much more user-friendly. Not sure if it was developed by NewsCred, but as for their format, they are much closer to what they are doing.


Voices by IBM

IBM-Content-Hub

At its core, the hub IBM looks a bit like blogs and forums of Hewlett Packard, but with more focus on the content curation and the use of expert opinion. However, they should do well in diversifying its platform.


HRpost by HelloWallet

HelloWallet-Content-Hub

However, not only consulting and technology companies do hubs. In front of us there is a brand in the field of recruitment, which has implemented a very successful platform, where it shares useful content about the future of HR-industry.

Among the large advantages it is necessary to highlight the implementation of elements of the community (Contributors), a combination of various types – from blog to infographics. In general, HelloWallet looks like a full-fledged media media-platform.


Curve by Getty Images

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It is necessary to say, that we were impressed by Getty Images. Their business is located at the junction of the B2B and the B2C, thus creating their hub, they sought to meet the needs of two segments. From our point of view, they succeeded.

Curve – is a multilingual media platform, which represents a library of videos, articles and images, thus creating an interesting combination of visual and textual content. Thus, they not only make reference to their business, but also generate organic traffic from many different regions of the world (including multilanguage).


Design School by Canva

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If you do not know, Canva – is fairly well-known design-startup from Australia, whose evangelist is none other than Guy Kawasaki.

Guy is known not only as a marketer and entrepreneur, but also as a big fan of content-marketing and social networking. On this occasion, he even wrote a whole book that became a bestseller on Amazon. It is not surprising that doing promotion for Canva, he devoted considerable attention to the aspect of creation of complex libraries of content that bring together all the important information to the user in a single location.

Content Hub Canva is called Design School and is a complex of all that will help you to become a good designer – from useful articles and lessons to inspiring examples.


Pulse by Pepsi

Pepsi-Content-Hub

Pulse – is a great example of the hubs in B2C. This area has two main branches:

In the frame of this hub, all that plays a role in B2C, is connected: a visual and video content, community content. In our opinion, this strategy can be used by many consumer brands.

 

Future of content hubs

We would like to highlight four main trends in the development of content hubs:

  • The popularity of media hubs like among B2B, and also among B2C brands continue to grow;
  • In the hubs will visual content formats will be actively used – video, audio, images. There may be various forms of integration with existing platforms. For example, YouTube or Periscope;
  • Starting this year, the minimized forms of hubs will be created also by representatives of  SMB, that is small and medium business. In our opinion, it is not always necessary to have many resources in order to create content-hubs. For example, you can combine your blog with social network line, build in curated content and add the form to download regular reports. This can already be quite effective combination to increase audience engagement and enhance traffic inflow;
  • Finally, in the case of most major brands we can expect the integration with complex technologies of interaction with the content, including VR.
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