Content marketing works—but only if done thoughtfully.
If you’ve been doing content marketing for a while now, you’re probably sitting on a large pile of content. But having a bunch of content doesn’t matter if it’s not driving traffic to your website. If this is the conundrum you find yourself in, you could probably use some content hub examples to help you along.
A content hub allows you to be more thoughtful about how you organize and present your content to readers. Some of the biggest brands in the world use content hubs to make sure they’re maximizing content marketing ROI—and we’re going to show you how they do it.
But first, let’s learn a bit more about what content hubs are, and how they can benefit your brand.
What is a Content Hub?
Go to the front page of any major news website and you’ll find the most up-to-date content on whatever the latest piece of news is.
This is NOT how your content hub should be organized. And yet, it’s how so many brands arrange their content. That’s because most blogs automatically display content in chronological order. So whatever the latest piece of content is flies to the top of the page, as if it were breaking news.
Now think about a reader visiting your website. The most recent article you published might not be relevant to them. But that article you published two months ago is exactly what they’re looking for. Too bad they have to click to the fourth page of your blog to find it (which they’re probably not going to do). And just like that you missed out on a potential lead.
A content hub fixes this problem by offering a curated collection of content published by your brand related to a specific topic your brand specializes in, or a customer persona your brand is trying to attract. With a content hub, your reader can quickly find the content they’re looking for, and you can ensure your most high-value pieces of content don’t get lost in the shuffle.
A content hub can be a website, blog, or even a microsite. But it cannot be a page where you pitch your products or services. Only content that is relevant to readers can live on the content hub. Otherwise, the lines between helping and selling become blurred, and you risk losing the reader’s interest.
Benefits of Content Hubs
Content hubs are a way to thoughtfully organize your content in order to drive traffic and leads. But how exactly does that happen? Here are the different ways a content hub can help your brand:
- Authority: By bringing all of your related content under one roof, content hubs cement your position as a thought-leader to your customers. They also afford you the opportunity to build credibility as a trusted brand in the wider marketplace.
- SEO: Having all of your content thoughtfully organized within a content hub makes it easier for search engines to index those pages, which increases your organic search ranking in Google, in turn helping drive traffic to your website.
- Engagement: An easy-to-use hub with information designed to help your readers will generate far more engagement than a product page ever could. As some of our content hub examples will show, good content hubs can even generate a dedicated readership.
- Control: Publishing on third-party outlets like social media doesn’t offer you any control over how readers are interacting with your content. With a content hub, on the other hand, you determine exactly what your reader sees and how they see it.
- Branding: Unlike third-party outlets, you can design every aspect of your content hub to match your brand. Offering an attractive design and great on-page experience can help your content stand out from the competition.
- Lead Generation: Content hubs are a great top-of-funnel marketing strategy. If readers find your content helpful, they’ll likely have no problem handing over their email or signing up for a demo via a lead magnet or call-to-action.
- Measurement: Housing all of your content under one roof also makes it much easier to measure content marketing ROI. By analyzing your content hub metrics, you’ll be able to better determine what content you need to publish in the future.
Content Hub Examples
Now that you know what content hubs are and how they can help, let’s show you a few content hub examples. Hopefully these examples can help get the wheels turning on your own content hub idea.
To build their content hub, Casper Mattresses created a semi-autonomous online magazine called “Woolly.” Here, Casper puts out articles related to sleep habits, health and wellness, and other topics their target audience is likely looking for answers on. Woolly does a good job of putting out quirky, subversive content that aligns well with the Casper brand while also being useful enough to stand on its own.
Furthermore, the Woolly website is sleek and easy to navigate, with the most relevant articles appearing at the top of each page. Woolly’s ability to deliver articles that show they understand their consumers’ lifestyles while also elevating brand awareness for Casper make it a great content hub example.
Unilever’s content hub, titled “All Things Hair,” delivers relevant beauty tips and tricks for all hair types. Recent content includes this ranking of the best dry shampoos and this guide to hair care solutions for baldness. The content hub is broken down into a variety of different categories, including “Haircuts,” “Hairstyles,” “Hair Color,” “Hair Care and Solutions,” “Men,” and “Hair Products.” From there, the content is broken down into subcategories, making it easy to pinpoint the exact information you’re looking for.
If you scroll down the page, you’ll also see some of the latest content published, making the content hub ideal for a targeted search as well as casual reading. For their efforts, “All Things Hair” won a Shorty Award in the fashion, beauty, and luxury category, and serves as another excellent content hub example.
Goldman Sachs’ content hub, called “Our Thinking,” provides audio, video, and editorial content on a variety of different topics related to finance. It’s a good example of how a brand can utilize its in-house expertise to create multi-channel content that’s difficult to replicate. Goldman Sachs’ hub has been so successful that one of its content series' received one million views after Reddit resurfaced it a year later.
Like our other content hub examples, “Our Thinking” is easy to navigate thanks to a menu at the top of the page that features categories and subcategories. Its unique content and multi-channel approach make it a content hub example worth aspiring to.
If you’re prepping for a vacation or curious about a foreign city, head over to Airbnb’s Neighborhoods Guide. The home rental marketplace provides travel guides and neighborhood showcases via its content hub.
The Neighborhoods content hub features a long list of popular cities for travelers. Each city is then broken down by specific neighborhoods within the city, making it easy for travelers to learn about the exact locations they’re visiting. This content hub example works because it speaks directly to the wanderlust of Airbnb customers, and provides them with highly specific recommendations via an intuitive and user-friendly interface.
Etsy's “Etsy Journal” content hub features categorized content on gift ideas, home decor, fashion, and event decorating—all of which ties back to the fact that most of the things you’re reading about can be purchased through the Etsy marketplace.
The Etsy Journal also highlights some of the shops that sell on the Etsy marketplace and curates content that their readers are engaging with the most. The content hub is a clever re-imagining of how Etsy can promote their merchandise while still being useful to readers.
The video software company Wistia has a robust content hub called “Wistia Learn” where they publish content on a wide variety of topics related to their business. The content hub is thoughtfully divided amongst content about the product, tutorials on video marketing and production, and tips and advice about how to run a successful business.
Wistia also makes sure that their long-form guides and downloadable ebooks are readily available. On the right-hand side of the page, they keep a running list of all their recently published articles. This mix of highly relevant content and easy navigation makes “Wistia Learn” another great content hub example.
HP Inc.—the B2C division of HP—launched a content hub called "The Garage" in 2017 as a way to rebuild their brand identity as a B2C organization. However, HP Inc.'s approach has been anything but traditional. Sarah Murry, Deputy Editor of The Garage, says the The Garage aims to produced branded journalism about how technology can bring about positive change.
Murry told Knotch that her team believes "storytelling can transform the way people perceive your brand in a different way than traditional communications." By focusing their content on how technology is changing the world, Murry says HP Inc. is percevied as a company that is thinking about our shared future.
Recent examples of The Garage content include an article on how healthcare professionals are being trained using VR, and how an orchestra is using video chat software to practice together while remaining apart. The Garage also commissions custom imagery on all of their content to bolster the user experience.
This combination of authentic storytelling and high-brow design makes The Garage an enviable content hub.
A smaller business with a content hub we adore is Manifest—a content marketing agency that specializes in branded journalism and performance marketing. Given their expertise, it's no surprise that their content hub—Itch—would be as engaging as it is informative.
The hub uses a minimalist design that utilizes its brand colors and custom imagery to create a delightful viewing experience. There is no navigation menu. Instead, Itch presents every piece of content in a grid-style format with short snippets below headlines that provide a sneak peak into the subject matter of the piece.
The on-page experience utilizes that same minimalist style accompanied by clean page structure, social sharing icons, and recommended articles for additional reading. Overall we'd say Itch is an aspirational content hub for those looking to build something simple yet effective.
Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia features a multi-channel content marketing strategy on their owned content hub—Patagonia Stories. The content hub covers a wide variety of different subjects related to its brand, including hiking, activism, health, culture, mountain biking, and more.
In order to tell their stories, Patagonia creates short films and documentaries alongside their editorial content. Recent films include "Fishpeople," an examination of individuals who have dedicated their life to the sea, and "Unfenced," about a group of individuals fighting to preserve a desert in southern Wyoming.
This investment in high-quality video helps Patagonia be perceived as a lifestyle brand—rather than just a clothing brand. This, combined with their narrative-style editorial content, makes Stories a strong example of how to structure a multi-channel content hub.
Think With Google
Our last content hub example comes from Google. They created their own content hub called “Think With Google” that provides marketers with insights and trends based on the latest Google proprietary data. The site is beautifully structured and curated based on reader recommendations. There’s also an email newsletter you can sign up for, and in-depth guides on how to use Google tools for marketing, all of which makes “Think With Google” an excellent example of a content hub.
How to Create A Content Hub
Feeling inspired by our content hub examples? Let’s learn how you can make your own.
Step 1: Categorize Your Content
A common thread amongst all our content hub examples is that they are broken down into different categories to make them easier to navigate. This is a great place to start.
Now, we’re assuming you already have a few dozen pieces of content to categorize. If not, stop reading right now and go make some content (reading our guide to SEO content is a way to help you get started)!
You’re also going to want to review the content you’ve already created and pick out a few different themes. By way of example, say you run a mortgage company called MortgageCo, and you have a variety of different content related to buying a house.
You decide to break these down into a few categories: How Mortgages Work, Real Estate News, and Home Decor. Now you have your content divided into three separate pillars. This is the foundation of how your content hub will function.
Step 2: Design Your Content Hub
The next step is to leverage your design resources to create a visually appealing content hub. Feel free to take some inspiration from the content hub examples we shared. One common thread amongst all content hubs is that they’re typically presented in a tile-like fashion, with an emphasis on images.
Because of this, it helps to create branded images, rather than stock photography (which is bad for SEO). It’s also smart to have social media icons next to each article, as this tends to promote sharing.
And of course, make sure your content hub aligns with your brand colors and design. This combination of factors make your content hub easy to peruse, and increases the chances that readers will spend more time reading your content.
Other useful features we've seen on content hubs we like include a jumpnav, a page progress bar, and animated imagery.
Step 3: Structure Your Content
When it comes to structuring your content hub, start building wide and tall.
Visualize a mountain. You want a central, tall, peak surrounded by a wide base of sub-topics. This is known as the “hub and spoke” approach. It features 5-10 evergreen “pillar pages” (like the ones we previously mentioned in the MortgageCo example), followed by several dozen “spoke” pages that link back to the evergreen pages, making your content hub easier for search engines to index.
You can organize your pillars by topic, knowledge level (i.e. a basic outline hub page followed by more technical spoke pages), or persona (i.e. different topic categories for marketers, engineers, sales etc.).
From an SEO perspective, your pillar pages should target short-form keywords with lots of search traffic. Your spoke pages should target longer-tail keywords that are easier to rank for.
Step 4: Strategically Publish New Content
Now that you have a beautifully designed content hub with both strategic hub and spoke pages, it’s time to build out your content library. In your content calendar, make sure all the keywords you’re targeting fit neatly as a spoke under a specific hub page. When it comes time to publish that post, make sure it links to the hub page, as well as any relevant spoke pages within that pillar.
And that’s it! Now you have created a content hub that is easy to navigate and sure to rank in search engine results pages.
Build a Better Content Hub
As we said in the beginning, content marketing only works if done thoughtfully.
Creating a content hub using the steps we provided is one of the most thoughtful things you can do, as it amplifies your content and brand voice. Once your content hub is up and running, consider using the Knotch Content Intelligence platform to measure your content marketing ROI. With Knotch, you can view quantitative and qualitative data on your content performance, and receive tailored insights.
We look forward to seeing what kind of creative content hub you build!