Hub and Spoke Content: The Flux Capacitor of Inbound Marketing

Hub and Spoke method for content marketing

We all remember the Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future, am I right? That iconic contraption that made time travel possible in the DeLorean.  Without the Flux Capacitor, the DeLorean was just a fancy sports car. I recently learned a new approach for content marketing strategy that (in my mind) is like the Flux Capacitor in Back to the Future. It will make marketing success possible for you. That’s not quite as exciting as time travel but it’s pretty damn exciting.

Flux-Schematic (2)

A few weeks ago I had the honor of attending a week long agency mentoring program at Square 2 Marketing with eight other agency owners.  Square 2 is currently the largest inbound marketing agency on the Hubspot partner platform. They have over six million dollars in yearly revenue and around 58 employees. The whole experience was awesome from beginning to end.  Mike Lieberman and Eric Keiles (the agency owners) were free flowing with information. They shared their knowledge and years of experience with us, and showed us a new way of thinking about content strategy called the “Hub and Spoke” model. Hub and Spoke is not a new concept, but when applied to an inbound marketing strategy, it ties everything together.  This is why I call it the Flux Capacitor of Inbound Marketing.  It’s what makes time travel a successful inbound marketing campaign possible.

The basic idea behind the strategy is this:

You have one main piece of content which is the hub, and you have many spokes that relate to that larger piece of content and support it.  The hub gets launched first and the spokes get launched continuously for 2-3 months following to support the hub. The spokes help drive traffic to the hub, and the hub helps drive conversions to the spokes.

Without a hub, the spokes would just be miscellaneous content floating around not tied to any specific goals. Without the spokes, the hub wouldn’t get enough targeted traffic to be successful. Here is a visual representation of what a Hub and Spoke model might look like:

a flux capacitor (3) The offer is the hub and is located in the center of the flux capacitor.

 

 

The hub is a marketing offer like an e-book, a whitepaper, a webinar, etc- an enticing piece of content that is created for the purpose of getting potential customers to give you their email address.  Of course, once you have their email address the point is to send them other useful information and get them to slowly move down the funnel to want to do business with you. The spokes are the blog posts, emails and social media posts that are meant to capture your clients’ attention and bring them to a page the cross promotes your hub offer.

The spokes should be related to the hub offer and target different marketing personas. The Flux Capacitor magic starts to happen when you think of this Hub and Spoke content model in quarterly phases.  This is like adding plutonium to the DeLorean (except you don’t have to deal with stealing plutonium from the Libyans)! If you launch one hub (with its associated spokes) each quarter you will gain major traction over time.

flux capacitor (4) Repeating the hub and spoke model every quarter will drive the best results.

 

A typical Hub and Spoke might include one really great offer, 36 blog posts (3 per week) surrounding various topics related to the offer, 36+ social media posts for (at least one for each blog you write), an email campaign that promotes the offer to your current subscribers but also emails subscribers every time a new blog post launches, and some outreach to influencers in your industry to interview on your blog and invite to comment on the offer.

Here’s an example Hub and Spoke that we put together for DTC targeting the keywords “starting a small business blog.” Hub Offer: A downloadable blog content calendar template – A spreadsheet based template to help business owners get started with blogging. Spokes: These are examples of what the blogs, emails and social posts surrounding the offer would look like.

  • Blog post – Five Ways a Company Blog Can Increase Your Search Engine Rankings
  • Email – The Best Marketing Blogs on the Internet- and What You Can Learn from Them 
  • Social Post – What’s your favorite marketing blog? Why? 

To sum things up, this approach is obviously not something that is going to get you results overnight, and you’ll likely need to focus your inbound marketing efforts on this hub and spoke model while cutting out the extra stuff that’s not making you money.  But done consistently over the course of a year or two years you’re going to see serious results.  Or as Dr Emmett Brown puts it….