Partly due to higher demand for content and long-term interactive campaigns, brands are taking a stronger in-house approach by leveraging their own tools and data to create content their audiences want to engage with. From Colgate to Equinox to Pfizer, the race for dominant owned content hubs is fierce. And it’s only getting fiercer.
In the realm of blogs and content hubs, competition is limited to topics. It is estimated that a staggering 3 million blog posts are published daily. While intimidating, marketers setting out to build or enhance their content hub need only worry about producing engaging content around topics that relate to and benefit their brand. Keeping this in mind, there is hope for any sized brand to compete for attention against thought leaders in their space.
To begin, keep a focused eye on your direct competition along with content leaders in other industries. What formats are they investing in? What themes do they focus on? How do their content hubs reflect their brand values?
Start building wide and tall. Visualize a mountain while thinking about the ideal content hub. You want a central, tall peak surrounded by a wide base of sub-topics. This is where you’ll want to conduct an official content audit to review what can be repurposed to add value to the hub. Next, think of what types of new content you’d like to invest in. For example, let’s imagine we run a mortgage lending company, MortgageCo. Starting off building our content hub, we may want to outline our content production using the 50/30/20 method.
50% of the content should focus specifically on mortgages, or very closely related topics. For our company, this means producing a repository of content around mortgages - what they are, why they are significant, how to buy them, etc… It also doesn’t hurt if we find a way to integrate how MortgageCo helps customers during their home-buying journey, and why we should be considered a trusted brand. As long as it remains in the context of mortgage focused content, of course.
The second largest slice of the pie, 30% of the content should surround topics that at least tangentially relate to the mortgage buying process. Topics could include financial well-being, home renovation, relationships, travel… These topics don’t directly relate to MortgageCo’s core business, so we should avoid integrating our brand into this content, focusing instead on creating engaging content that is useful for their audience. These first two categories succeed when the brand can highlight personal experiences and stories from customers, employees, and anyone else who has relevant experience with buying a home and securing a mortgage.
Finally, MortgageCo should dig deep into our audience data, devoting 20% of our mountain to content lying off of the beaten path. If we’re targeting a millennial audience, our content could focus on topics ranging from road trips to live music to pop culture. This provides an opportunity to experiment with different formats, such as video (if you’re mostly invested in written content), podcasts, infographics, experiential, and VR and AR. If the tone of the other 70% is mostly educational, the brand may want to play around with more humorous, light, or entertaining content.
As you build your content mountain, stone by stone using the 50/30/20 method, you can begin adding texture to your hub. Use different formats to cater to your audience’s various learning styles, or make use of multiple different writers. Throw some variety in there, stand out.
Speaking of writers, this mountain isn’t going to build itself. To compete at a high level, you need high levels of talent. You’ll want a team of strong writers with experience producing quality content, maintaining a content schedule, and managing websites. You’ll also benefit from investing in someone to oversee strategy with experience driving content marketing activities forward.