By Gail Walls, Senior Funnel Management Strategist
In the digital marketing world, educational or problem-solving content is the fuel that drives buyer engagement. Especially for B2B marketers where the buying cycle spans months or even years, a steady drumbeat of informational content is critical to continue nurturing prospects until they are ready to buy.
As content marketing strategies continue to generate more and more content, a significant concern is how to effectively utilize all the various forms of content that took many hours, dollars and effort to produce. Often, excellent pieces of content are used once and never seen again. In fact, it’s estimated that as much as 65% of content is wasted. (https://marketeer.kapost.com/content-hub-strategy/).
As an example, in-depth content may be created for a specific audience segment, such as middle-of-the funnel leads in an email nurture sequence, but is under-utilized afterwards.
In light of this reality, content marketers are asking what distribution options exist for the various white papers, blog articles, e-books and videos being created.
Enter the content hub.
A content hub is a resource library created around a particular subject. Sometimes referred to as microsites, a content hub may contain a company’s original content, curated content and even social media postings informing the recipient about a specific topic.
A content hub acts as a repository for the relevant, available content a buyer is looking for while doing their product or service investigation. This type of educational content helps move the buyer from the top of the funnel toward the middle and bottom of the funnel prior to contacting a sales representative. Research from Demand Gen Report confirms that 47% of B2B buyers read three to five pieces of content before reaching out to a salesperson.
Brands that create these content hub resource libraries are viewed as thought leaders within their categories and become the “go to” place online where buyers can turn to find significant information time after time. It is important to prospective buyers that they have a trusted resource that will provide them critical information without also trying to sell them.
When a buyer is ready to have a conversation with a sales person, they may very likely turn to the source that provided the key information they have found so valuable.
A content hub may be branded separately from your primary brand; it may carry multiple brands if multiple partners are participating; it may be centered around a single new product launch, a new region or simply a key product or service.
In addition, content hubs can be executed as a link from an existing website or may be created as a standalone URL. The pros and cons of each of these approaches are outlined in a recent blog article from Marketing Insider Group.
- In general, if you are looking to establish “industry authority,” you may want to create your content hub as a separate entity in order to keep problem-solving, educational and informative content away from your more sales-oriented website.
- Additionally, a standalone content hub would allow the flexibility to partner with third parties who are willing to provide in-depth content designed to further assist the end-user’s research. Partnering with third parties will add credibility to your brand as a thought leader within your industry.
- Depending on the amount of available content and the number of vertical market segments needing representation, a stand-alone content hub may be created very quickly and cost effectively.
If you are using a marketing automation platform for your lead nurturing process, your content hub can be built within your MA platform of choice, thereby allowing all links and content downloads to be tracked and measured, adding to your overall buyer engagement lead scoring. It is a tremendous benefit for your leads to be able to maximize their content consumption within your marketing automation environment.
Fundamentally, content hubs have a tremendous amount of flexibility, and can extend the value of your best content, as well as provide a framework for continuing to develop new content.
To explore how a content hub may benefit your marketing efforts, and to see examples of existing content hubs, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.