Unless you are completely new to the world of digital, you’ve probably heard that content marketing is big deal. In an online world that’s only getting more competitive, driving users to your site with unique and genuinely useful content could arguably be the single most important digital marketing investment a company can make. So, the solution is simple right? Get a blog and start publishing those posts. Easy to say, perhaps a bit harder to do.
Reality Check: Do You Have Time for Blogging?
Blogs are great, let’s be clear about that. It’s your website’s own personal media outlet. A place for you to broadcast expertise, share insights and promote yourself in a way that’s going to draw your audience in. It’s also a pretty large time commitment.
Although old articles should (if done well) keep pulling in visitors long after their publication dates, there is an expectation from users that a blog will be consistently adding new content. I used the term “media outlet” earlier for a reason, these organisations need to stay current and your blog does too. A blog that hasn’t posted anything for months may have some good past articles that are working hard, but the impression that a neglected blog as a whole might give to users is one of a neglected site, and maybe an inactive company. How often you need to post varies depending on audience, and I won’t go in to that here, but posting should always be consistent and regular.
These requirements aren’t all that onerous for sites with some good marketing resources behind them, but if you don’t have that there is a compromise to be made here. Run an infrequent or sporadic blog that sees sustained periods of inactivity or skip the blog entirely and miss out on some important content marketing opportunities. Well, something is better than nothing even with the downsides, there is no doubt about that, but surely there must be another option…
All Hail the Content Hub
With a world of advice out there focussing on what you should be doing with your blog (I’ve even written about the subject myself at Unwritten Digital) you could understandably start to think that blogging is the only way forward, not true! Blogging may be the most prolific form of content marketing but it’s far from the only approach. Introducing the content hub.
The move to a content hub is a strategy that’s been growing in popularity as companies jostle for position as thought and market leaders. In practice the content put out within the hub can be very similar to that of a blog feed, but the structure and positioning is somewhat different. Fundamentally, a content hub is a destination when website visitors can find a collection of content centred around a related topic. This could be written content, video, downloadable PDFs – anything that might provide some value to those seeking information on the subject covered.
Structurally, this information will often be delivered differently to a blog. Rather than a continuous feed, information will be laid out in a way that’s easy to navigate and understand. Most crucially of all, this content doesn’t need to be presented as date stamped articles that look like they may have been delivered ad-hoc over a long period. Information can be neatly laid out, often with company branding, and can have far more flexibility with on-page formatting and links back to other areas of site. So, with a little bit of planning, those choppy blog posts start to look like a carefully curated collection of high value content pieces that’s going to look current and relevant to users for months or even years to come.
Tailored to fit
Although the humble blog has a well-defined structure, adding a content hub to your site offers some broader options.
If you’re looking for a simple solution, working within an existing site structure, then one basic approach can be to create a dedicated page full of links to informative articles. This example from TYM has gathered together content that should be relevant for a long time but, being so niche and often technical, has taken time to compile and would have quickly got lost on a news feed.
Not Just an Alternative
I’ve spoken quite a bit about the content hub being an alternative to the blog but being stretched for time isn’t the only reason to consider one. It can also be used to effectively manage and target a large amount of content too.
Headhunter and recruiter Ascent Professional Services produce plenty of articles, but used a content hub inspired approach to break them out into Career Advice and Recruitment Advice pages with searches, filters and introductions all of their own. These dedicated pages give Ascent the opportunity to target to very distinct audiences and deliver them just the articles and videos that are relevant to them.
Taking A Second Look
Whether you have a content plan ready to put in to action, or a few articles on an existing blog that’s not doing all that much for you, try taking a second look at your content assets and resources. You may find a content hub is the perfect fit.