Building a Next-Generation Content Marketing Strategy
If you’re yearning for stability and predictability, SEO is not your game. Just when you think you’ve got a firm grasp on the essence of Google’s algorithm, the search behemoth reformulates its methodology, and we’re all left scrambling to understand the new normal. It sounds annoying, but the evolution of SEO is deeply necessary. People don’t think the way they did a decade ago and as the world finds new ways to search, we have to rapidly alter our approach to SEO to keep the symbiosis intact.
Building a next-generation content strategy is how we find our digital marketing footing on otherwise shaky ground, and the best way to gain traction is through a hub-and-spoke content marketing model.
The Brilliance of a Hub and Spoke Content Model
The hub-and-spoke model centers around a single piece of high-value content. This pillar post is the biggest, brightest star in your content universe. It’s comprehensive and interesting, and it encapsulates whatever concept, product or service is driving your funnel. You might be describing how to stock a gluten-free pantry, detailing the ins and outs of launching a startup or illustrating the finer points of a CrossFit workout. Whatever is relevant to your audience and your brand is what your pillar post should be about. The goal? To create something so fascinating, so authoritative and so thorough that it hoists your authority sky high.
Pillar posts take time to create and all that investment demands a hefty ROI. That’s where the spokes come in. Your next step is to generate a heap of content that has value in its own right but also exists to direct readers back to the hub, which is your pillar post. Those spokes are published weeks or even months after the pillar first sees the light of day. You’re constantly circling back to home base and using the supporting posts to bring more and more people with you.
Hub and Spoke in Practice
Topic clusters are the launch pad for every hub and spoke model. You’ll pick a core topic (the hub or pillar post) and then list out some subtopics that act as the spokes. Each core topic should be chosen with three criteria in mind: its relevance to your site, whether the main keyword has a significant monthly search volume and if writing about this topic furthers your brand’s agenda.
Say your pillar post is “How to Become a Michelin-starred Chef.” Your spoke posts would be related but less comprehensive:
- The Top 10 Celebrity Chefs Every Cook Should Know
- How to Choose a Culinary School
- Mastering the Art of Sous Vide
- Cooking with Seasonal Vegetables
- The Best Knives for Professionals
- The History of the Michelin Guide
…and so on.
The people who find themselves engrossed by your spoke posts are likely to be interested in the pillar, too.
Do all your spokes have to be blogs? Absolutely not. Spokes might include emails, social media posts, video, influencer marketing, etc. The key is to be broad without trying to be everything to everyone because that never works. Create your spoke, include a call to action and let the internet work its magic.
Prepping for Your Content Marketing Plan
Ready to get started? Not so fast.
One of the main objectives of the hub-and-spoke model is that it keeps you from committing random acts of digital marketing. Instead of sporadic one-off posts, everything you share has meaning and purpose, beginning with a pillar post that targets your key demographic. How do you know whether you’re writing in the right voice? You need a buyer persona.
- A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer that’s fictitious but based in fact. You’ll use data culled from market research to formulate an idea of who these people are, what their lives are like and what might influence their buyer’s journey. Every answer to the questions “Who are we talking to?” and “Why should they care” lies in your buyer persona.
The other big must-do task you need to tackle before launching your hub and spoke is keyword research.
- Keyword research is the art of identifying high-volume, highly relevant words or phrases the ideal consumer would search for in order to find your content. You don’t want to keyword stuff or dilute your impact by incorporating too many phrases, but you can use complementary keywords (“content marketing” and “digital marketing” for instance) in your hub and spokes.
Sound confusing? It’s a lot of information, but the more you learn about SEO-driven content the brighter your brand’s future becomes. Browse through our blog to see how the hub and spoke content model can fuel your growth marketing funnel.