Why Content Marketing Hubs Need Social Media Spokes

Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures, joins the Content Pros Podcast this week to discuss the big meaty pieces of hub content that are central to a successful content marketing strategy, as well as the social media spokes that send your hub content out to your audience.

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Simplifying Content Marketing

Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures, a search, social, and content marketing agency that helps clients increase traffic, leads, and new business from the web. Arnie authored the book “Accelerate!” about four years ago, encouraging marketers to embrace content marketing, and he is excited to see that content marketing is finally starting to stick.

“We’re starting to see this wide embrace of what I keep calling ‘true’ or ‘real’ content marketing, as opposed to just branded and traditional marketing.”

This past January, Arnie co-authored a free book called “Content Marketing Works” that outlines an eight-step process to creating, implementing, and measuring a successful content marketing program. The book came out of Arnie’s agency work, seeing what mistakes were made, what worked, and what didn’t. One thing he and his team noticed over the years is the tendency of companies to make the launch of a content marketing strategy too complicated. People couldn’t wrap their heads around the seemingly huge list of things to do to get started, so Arnie tries to make it simpler.

Hub and Spoke Content Marketing

Envision creating something of high quality (an ebook, white paper, something bigger) and call that your hub. Then, all of the promotional items around the hub are the spokes (blog posts with CTA, social media posts, anything that builds out to get people access to the hub). Arnie’s team tends to roll one hub out every 90 days, which allows a snowball of evergreen content after a few years, and several spokes to promote new hubs. 

“At LinkedIn, they do a similar thing. They talk about the hub as treating it like it’s a product. Launch this hub piece of content just the way you would a software product or anything else, any other product, and then market the heck out of that for some period of time and keep coming back to it. Then roll out another and then another and then another.”

For a lot of people the blog platform tends to be where hubs are published, but as social media changes and native content becomes important for engagement, it will change things for brands. For example, Facebook is part of Arnie’s spoke strategy because he’s viewing the hub as a piece of content, not as a platform. But you could decide that a certain channel is your “hub” in that it’s your main focus for a platform. “We’re still all really learning our way through this,” he says.

The hub and spoke model is the simplest way Arnie explains content marketing to his clients. But ultimately, no matter what process you follow or name of your content marketing model, it all comes down to producing valuable content for your audience. Not only that, but having the patience to allow it to accumulate over time, rather than expecting an instant win.

“Keep producing useful, consistent content, as if you’re stepping up to the plate and taking the pitches. Some of the content you produce, you’re going to strike out. But others, you’ll keep hitting a single and a single and a single and eventually over the course of a year maybe you’ve got 100, 200, 300 new pieces of content out there, all supporting one or two of these hubs, and it’s just a snowball effect.”

What did you want to be when you grew up?

“I remember being a young kid just thinking I wanted to be a businessman. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I thought being a businessman sounded cool. Either that, or I wanted to work in the airlines, because I was always fascinated by airplanes.”

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