What is the Hub and Spoke Model?
Despite the picture above, we aren’t talking about bicycles!
There are lots of theories to drive the effects and benefits of content marketing. One of the most common is the hub and spoke model.
The hub and spoke model in content marketing is formally designed as a model that arranges service delivery assets into a network that consists of an anchored establishment (hub) and an array of services, complemented by secondary establishments (spokes).
In english please?
Essentially, when it comes to content marketing, the hub and spoke model is a way for you to visualize the outreach of your content through various channels.
Those “various channels” are your spokes, while the hub of the model is your landing page or website on which you host your blogs and other content.
Ultimately, the hub and spoke model is a good way to visually organize and determine the paths in which consumers may find and/or pass through various cycles of the conversion process with your brand.
Let me give you an infographic to make my point clear!
With these models, you can visualize the consumer journey as well as the various methods you have to share or promote your content.
In this model, you can think of each spoke as it’s own network. The goal of the model is to drive traffic and awareness back to the hub by utilizing the spokes as outreach channels.
There are essentially 4 Major steps to following this model, in fact, it’s really rather simple!
So today, let’s discuss what we can do to create an effective content marketing strategy by using this model to our advantage!
How to create a hub and spoke model!
Step 1: Create a Hub to drive traffic towards
Without a hub, it all falls apart simply because there is no point in gathering awareness.
Your hub, preferably a blog or other website, is a place for you to concentrate the traffic from your outside “spokes.” It is necessary to have one otherwise you likely wouldn’t have considered this model in the first place!
Particularly, there is one rule for creating a good hub for your business, it needs to be OWNED media.
Owned media are the digital marketing channels or content that a business fully controls, such as a business’s branded website and social media channels.
All in all, you don’t want to leave your hub up to the control of somebody outside of the best interests of the company. Doing so can negatively impact your content, traffic, and overall success due to changes in ownership, platforms, and more.
For example, what If I drive all of my traffic to my youtube site and not to my blog? What happens when youtube is bought or changed and I potentially lose all of my traffic due to things I can’t control?
In the case of the hub and spoke model, the hub needs to be controlled by you or your brand and nobody else.
Not to mention that owned media is simply far more valuable and has more longevity than other types!
Step 2: Develop your distribution channels, funnels, and communities off of the central hub
Now that we have established a base of operations so to speak, let’s work on crafting the necessary spokes to benefit you and your content.
Remember, content is often transformable and re-usable. You can develop multiple spokes off of a single piece of content!
Let’s take a normal blog post, and use it as a script for a video. Then we can take that video, and separate the audio from it to create a podcast!
We can even take still-frames from the video to use as various thumbnails, instagram posts, social media advertisements, and more!
The possibilities are endless.
The point of this step is to use what is on your hub to create communities in your spokes. Your spokes can be anything from landing page, off-site articles, case studies, webinars, and more.
The more spokes you have, the more potential you have for creating great outreach over time, which brings me to step 3!
Step 3: Optimize and Promote Content on the Spokes
To make the most out of your organic and natural outreach, you will want to optimize your content for SEO and use that content to make the most out of your spokes as well.
Optimized content will always be more effective than content that hasn’t been optimized, whether on a hub OR a spoke. This is why it’s so important to have control over the content itself and to put metrics in place that help you gather this information.
On youtube, there are SEO tracker tools to ensure that your videos are optimized, there are similar tools on blogging websites and social media!
After your hub-based content is optimized, you’ll want to promote your content over the spokes that you’ve set up to ensure that your potential outreach is maximized.
Ultimately, posting your content to the various channels that you’ve set up as spokes that evolve around your hub is a great way to increase the amount of outreach over time that you develop.
The more content that you promote, the more you will become findable over time in search engines because you will be appealing to the “numbers game” of search engines and outreach.
Make the best use of the spokes you develop to ensure that you can increase your outreach proactively instead of waiting for SEO and organic traffic (which takes quite a long time to develop).
Step 4: Encourage Backlinks and Editorial Publicity
As you develop and share your content, you will want to take a proactive approach to gather backlinks to your website and editorial publicity around your blog or brand.
Backlinks are considered one of the major defining factors in a business’s domain authority (which greatly affects SEO).
You’ll want to reach out to bloggers and other prominent people within your market niche to see if they will feature your content, or whether you can guest blog for them in order to gather these backlinks.
This type of outreach is not exactly owned media, but instead is called earned media. Earned media is essentially the attention that you gather for posting relevant content to a niche or audience who can then share that content or feature you to their audiences.
Earned media is generally free media that enhances your publicity due to your promoted media or your owned media. The more positive earned media that you have, the better!
This is why it is so important to put out quality content consistently and to promote that content to your “spokes” and other media channels to drive traffic and earn media presence!
Ultimately, the hub and spoke model is a rather simple method to use that aids you in your content marketing journey! Perhaps this is why today’s article isn’t as long as they usually are!
The most important aspect of the hub and spoke model is to 1) own your own media channel (blog/website) and 2) promote your media once it has been established on your website so that you can gather earned media!
Content marketing, although it is a long-game strategy, still requires proactive effort! Gather as much earned media and backlinks as you can and you’ll see your traffic (and even sales, if applicable) grow!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, coming soon: KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.