What’s arguably the best way to grow brand awareness online? Content marketing. What’s typically the no. 1 reason marketers don’t use content to its fullest? Lack of time.
It’s a constant conundrum content marketers face: Consistent, quality content increases SEO and builds brand awareness, but few can find the time to do it right.
Fortunately, one of this year’s SEO buzzwords has the power to help marketers reach content goals while preserving time.
I’m Talking About Content Hubs, One of My Favorite Buzzwords of 2014
By Andy Crestodina’s definition, a content hub is "a set of content (usually web pages) organized around a specific topic (usually a central page)." It spans all types of content, from e-books to videos and infographics to articles.
You simply choose a theme (typically the keyword or phrase you’re trying to rank for) and select supporting content that adds to that overarching subject. For example, your theme could be “B2B content marketing,” with supporting content like an infographic of best B2B content curation tools and a blog post with tips on how to use social media in B2B content strategies.
I could go on about my love for content hubs all day, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on the blog’s role in content hubs. As I noted above, once you select a main theme, you’ll need supporting content to share new, helpful angles on the primary subject.
That’s where spin-off blog posts – unique content that supports an overarching subject – come into play. Spin-off posts offer readers a new angle on a topic, such as "10 best tools for B2B content marketers" if you’re writing under that B2B content marketing theme.
And they save you, the writer, time while increasing SEO for your thematic keyword.
So, Are You Ready to Create Some Spin-off Blog Posts to Complement Your Content Hub?
Here are seven types you can add to your content toolkit as you refine — or launch — your blog in 2015.
1. The Case Study
Once you’ve selected your main, overarching theme, find a case study that demonstrates how a brand or person has successfully used this in real life.
This is a perfect time for businesses to highlight their successes via case study – as long as it’s not overly promotional.
Example: Let’s continue with the B2B content marketing theme. For this spin-off post, find – or use your own – case study on how B2B brands have used content marketing to meet business goals successfully. Don’t have a firsthand example? You can look to award websites for the best of the best, too.
2. The List of Bests
Best lists are — wait for it — the best, especially if you’re in a time crunch. There are countless options in this category, including best tools, best tips, best resources, etc.
Example: In addition to the "10 Best Tools" I mentioned previously, you could create a "15 Best Blogs for B2B Content Marketers" post. This is valuable for readers, and it’s a good way to network with other bloggers in your industry, particularly if you’re looking for places to guest post and build exposure.
3. The Step-by-Step
Like best lists, step-by-step posts are helpful for readers because you walk them through how to implement a business practice from start to finish. The step-by-step post can follow the "listicle" style, with step one, step two, etc.
Example: Following our B2B content marketing theme, you could create a "How B2B Brands can Begin Content Marketing in Five Easy Steps."
4. The Pop Culture Tie-in
Adding trending pop culture to your posts is a great way to increase SEO, as long as it’s in good taste. Use Google Trends to follow what’s popular for the week, and brainstorm how one of those topics could fit into your theme.
Example: Let’s say The Office announces it’s going to have a reunion season (my dream come true). You could create a post during the few days surrounding the announcement buzz, such as: "The Office and B2B Content Marketing: Why Michael Scott was a Content Whiz" or "10 Things The Office can Teach B2B Content Marketers."
5. The Change Chat
As we head into 2015, industry leaders far and wide are making predictions about what changes are on the horizon. And fortunately, this tactic doesn’t have to end Dec. 31. You can predict changes for spring 2015, what’s going to be "hot" during the summertime, etc.
Example: Perhaps you missed the boat on 2015 predictions. Instead, try "Why B2B Content Marketing Will Look Entirely Different by Summer" or "Five Ways B2B Content Marketing Will Change with this Spring’s New Technologies."
6. The Influencer Tips
Yes, you want to be the expert on your blog, but it doesn’t hurt to bring some other industry experts to the table. For this spin-off post, find a handful of industry experts and share their advice or opinions on a trend. Your readers will enjoy seeing some new faces, and you’ll benefit traffic-wise because those contributors will (hopefully) share on social.
Example: For our theme, you could find multiple marketers in the B2B space and ask them to comment on a certain topic. So, your post could be: "How to Pitch B2B Content Marketing to the C-Suite — and Win" with comments from industry pros on how they sold content marketing to executives. If you use this spin-off tactic, make sure to include links the contributors' blogs and social media handles.
7. The Guest Post
Similar to numbers two and six, the guest post is a good way to build relationships with other industry pros and bloggers. It also provides your readers with a fresh perspective on your theme, and takes the writing and brainstorming time off your plate (hear, hear!). To make sure your guest posts are valuable, set some guidelines ahead of time and confirm the post’s angle and direction so you know it’s the right fit.
Example: In some cases, you could just ask the writers what they want to write about related to B2B content marketing. This could bring about an entirely new topic you hadn’t even considered. In other instances, you can plan the post topic ahead of time, then reach out to a writer who has valuable experience in that arena.
Yes, these spin-off posts are a great way to save time and increase SEO, but they’re not an excuse for laziness. While spin-off posts all follow a similar content-hub theme, each post needs to add an entirely new, unique perspective. If you give readers multiple versions of the same post, they’ll catch on. They’ll leave. And they may never come back.
But give them everything they need to know about a particular topic with helpful takeaways, and you better believe they’ll come back again and again.