Why You Need a Digital Content Hub
Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.
If you’ve spent any time in marketing circles, you’re probably familiar with the old adage “content is king”. However, success isn’t based solely on how much you can post. If you want a marketing strategy that fully engages your users, you’ll also need to present the most intuitive browsing experience possible. That’s where a digital content hub comes in.
A digital content hub centralizes your work and organizes it through an easy-to-understand layout. It does so for a variety of content formats, ranging from podcasts to blog posts and videos. By presenting a simple way to find and interact with content that is both diverse and relevant, you help your visitors get the most value possible out of your website. Let’s take a closer look at what digital content hubs are, why you need a digital content hub, and how you can get started building one of your own.
What is a digital content hub?
In a word: content centralization. A digital content hub provides your users with a way to easily access every piece of work your site has to offer. So in theory, your visitors could start on your hub, then use it to seamlessly browse your content library. Without any roadblocks or hard-to-find information, you’ll be able to keep them on your site longer, build more trust, and encourage more engagement.
“Wait, isn’t that just a blog?” Well, not quite. Blogs may offer centralization but often stop there in terms of organization. They tend to be purely chronological, meaning the newest content is prioritized and there isn’t much organization beyond that timeline. This can lead to high-quality content getting buried under the new stuff, meaning it won’t reach its full potential. Users will also have to hunt for the information they need, which can scare away even the most interested visitors.
That’s why digital content hubs are so essential: they provide a landscape of engagement options in a neatly organized way. They help maximize your content’s marketing potential while also making it easier for your potential customers to navigate.
There’s nothing wrong with a chronological layout. You don’t have to avoid it completely – just make sure you also use other ways to organize your content.
Before we move on, it’s essential to recognize the difference between a digital content hub and a content hub. While digital content hubs refer to an intuitive presentation of marketing material, content hubs refer more to backend organization. They centralize your content so that you can create, store, and send it wherever you want, whenever you want. It makes for a faster, more secure, more efficient system. That way, you can maintain a balanced and detailed content landscape as your work grows. We highly recommend that you pair these two approaches to content organization so that both you and your frontend users can reap the benefits.
Digital content hub examples
Not every digital content hub looks the same. In fact, there’s a huge variety of categories they could fall into. Some even land in a gray area in between variations! To help you get a better idea of what your digital content hub could look like, here are just a few examples of digital content hub styles you may want to consider.
Hub and spoke
Picture a wheel, and how the center is connected to the outside rim. That’s your content model for hub and spoke: one main area that relates to subsections that are distinct yet still connected. It typically starts visitors off on a launchpad that can then send them wherever they need to go using neat categories. One example of this is Vrbo’s vacation guide:
Users start on the main page with a quick introductory paragraph and a few recent pieces of content. Then, they can scroll down to find a variety of engagement options. In this particular image, users can select the exact type of rental they’d like to see more about.
Keep in mind that hub and spoke digital content hubs are usually fairly static. There can be new pieces of content and updates to the original pieces, but the typically broad subcategories are often better suited to housing evergreen creations. That way, the categories themselves can stay fairly established and provide a consistent content experience. If you want to place a lot of focus on intelligent content that is unlikely to become obsolete, hub and spoke might be the format for you.
Content libraries are kind of like reference manuals. They’re carefully organized in categories like the hub and spoke format. The difference is that instead of a few significant topics, they’re often broken down into countless subcategories that focus on hyper-specific pieces of content. This makes it easier for visitors to find quick answers to questions and gain familiarity with particular elements of your work. A helpful example of this format can be found in Trulia’s home buying guide:
You’ll notice that most of this content is presented in the ‘how-to’ format. Guides like these are particularly well-suited for content libraries because they’re straightforward and closely focused on specific goals. With just a few clicks, your users can find everything they need to know about the niche subtopic they’re searching for.
Speaking of guides, let’s take a look at what a gateway digital content hub looks like. Rather than a collection of mini-guides like a content library, a gateway is basically an ultimate guide to a single topic. Take a look at the Whole Foods Christmas guide to get a better idea of what we’re talking about:
From finding replacement ingredients to choosing the right tools and making the perfect main dish, users don’t have to leave this site to find whatever they need. It offers centralized access to all of your content. Thanks to having all of this content immediately available at their fingertips, gateway digital content hubs are also very successful at establishing your brand’s expertise on the topic.
Why you need a digital content hub
So, what do all of these digital content hub types have in common? Simple: they offer well-organized access to everything users might want. Unified by a single main idea, digital content hubs make browsing easier. All those different formats show how the exact approach to this will vary, but at the end of the day, they all serve the same goal. So don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm a little bit – as long as you’re focusing on accessible organization, you’ll be able to support a content strategy that makes both you and your users happy.
Convenience is key! Try not to make any of your content more than three clicks away from the main page.
There are countless benefits that you can reap from this strategy. For one thing, happier users are more engaged users. If people can interact with your site effortlessly, they’re probably going to spend more time on it. They’re also likely to return to your page whenever they’re looking for more information. This more consistent, engaged user base contributes directly to your likelihood of conversions.
You’re also looking at an efficient way to build brand identity. Providing direct, helpful content establishes you as a trusted expert in the field. This can then transfer to trust in your brand as a whole, funneling down eventually into trust in whatever services or products you’re offering.
However, digital content hubs aren’t only for your users. They can also make your life much easier! Organizing your content means that you’ll also be able to find it quickly and easily. It’ll also give you an idea of which topics could use more content and which ones your audience is most interested in.
How to get started with a digital content hub
Regardless of the type of hub you’re trying to build, there are a few first steps that you can start with. First, decide on your main categories of content. This may be one big category if you’re using the hub and spoke, or a few significant smaller ones if you’re working with a content library. This is also a good place to start if you have existing content. They can act as the pillars on which you’ll build the rest of your work. However, if they’re too niche, you can always work them into your infrastructure later on.
You should also try to anticipate your hub’s growth potential at this stage. You don’t want categories that are too broad to be helpful, but getting too specific also means you’ll have to constantly alter the structure of your site. This can lead to lost SEO if you need to change URLs or confusion for your visitors. Keeping this in mind can also help you build more effective content lifecycles.
Speaking of SEO, best practices are specifically important to maximizing the effectiveness of your digital content hub. Make sure you’re following through with steps like:
Conducting keyword research during and after your initial organization efforts
Linking to both external sources as well as related internal pages
Including relevant content titles, descriptions, and metadata
The centralization of content is helpful here, too. The parent/child relationships between your pages mean that SEO scores of one will compliment the other.
You should also consider centralization when building your tech stack. The key to a good digital content hub is organization. As such, choose tools that offer content centralization for your editors too. This will make it far easier to build and manage an intuitive site. Key elements like universal changes and cross-device compatibility can also help you avoid disjointed content silos.
Digital content hubs are an essential part of any modern marketing strategy. Not only do they provide the optimal experience for your users, but they can also foster a positive brand image and help you reach more potential customers. With the help of this high-quality organization, both your content team and your visitors will be able to get the most out of your website.
A centralized frontend requires a centralized backend. If you want to seamlessly share and edit content across multiple platforms, a headless system like Storyblok is essential. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn more about how Storyblok can help you share your content with the world.