Do More With Less Effort
Guest blogging delivers advantages for your content marketing program – credibility from third-party websites, more eyeballs, SEO-helpful backlinks, etc. But the disadvantage is the time it consumes to create that refreshingly unique content. If you work like a machine, you might be able to churn out three to four pieces a week provided you don’t do anything else.
Enter the hub-and-spoke method, a creative marketing strategy to make the most of your efforts. The idea is to create one piece of long-form content for your blog – the hub content. This primary article contains points and takeaways you can elaborate on in other articles – the spoke content. You can use these articles as excellent standalone pieces to submit as posts on sites that accept guest bloggers.
The hub-and-spoke model will save you considerable time because you don’t have to spend a lot of time to come up with fresh ideas to pitch for a guest blog or to research the topic because you’ve already done most of that work in crafting the hub content piece.
How to pick your hub content
For the hub-and-spoke method to work, you first need to find a central topic that deserves to be explained in long form. It should satisfy the following conditions:
- Good organic traffic potential – Use Google Keyword Planner or another tool that monitors traffic by topic, and evaluate what’s been written on a topic. Choose a relevant keyword with less competition but good traffic.
- Four to five points you can elaborate on – Explore your topic through multiple lenses and angles. Your hub content should incorporate multiple elements worthy of further exploration in the form of spoke content.
- Best content on given subject – Given you’ll link to your hub content from your spoke content published on third-party sites, your hub content better be the best on the topic. That way the guest blogging site will want to link to it to help their readers get the best content.
TIP: Review your existing blog content. If you have an article that satisfies the three conditions, you already have a center for your hub-and-spoke model.
How to come up with spoke content
With your hub content in process or finished, you can brainstorm for sub-topics for your spoke articles to submit as guest blog posts. You can do this with one of two methods – branching or feedback.
Let’s look at a recent post published by CMI from Robert Katai – 12 Types of Awesome Visual Content You Can Use in Your Blog Posts. If it were treated as hub content about visual content, the spoke topics are plentiful, including:
Each type of visual discussed in the hub content could be the foundation of a spoke article, which then can be submitted as guest posts to credible third-party sites.
But a single sub-topic isn’t sufficient. Brainstorm for titles on those points. For example, let’s look at memes as a point. Here are three angles (titles) for a spoke article on that subject:
- 10 Ways to Use Memes in Your Blog Posts
- How to Make Your Blogs Funny Using Memes
- How to Choose Relevant Memes for Your Next Viral Article
A link to the hub content would fit naturally into a sentence from one of these guests posts, such as: “Memes are just one of 12 visual content types that can make your blog posts awesome.”
If you want help brainstorming angles on your spoke topics, make use of Answer the Public to learn what kind of questions people have around a keyword. You also can hunt question-and-answer sites like Quora.
For example, if you searched for “gifographics” in Quora, you would see questions and answers that use the word:
Such intel will give you an assist in knowing what the audience may want to know about the topic of your spoke content.
If your blog’s readers provide comments, some of them can be great starting points for more “spoke” articles. For example, check out this comment posted to the previously mentioned CMI post:
Roger’s comment has provided additional points – potential spoke content titles/angles – such as:
- How to Demystify Complex Blogs Using Mind Maps
- Why Mind Maps Are a Compelling Visual Addition to Blog Posts
- 10 Influencers Who Use Mind Maps to Explain Their Ideas Better
With a little bit of brainstorming around a comment, you can come up with many ideas for spoke content.
A lot of marketers fail because they don’t document their process. In my experience, my clarity of thought and efficiency in execution quadrupled when I started documenting my process. Here is how I documented the hub-and-spoke method around our recently created hub content, The Creative Marketing Guide, in a simple spreadsheet.
To help select the most time-effective spoke ideas, rate them in terms of difficulty of additional research required. You can target articles that require minimum research on busy weeks and take up the other ones later.
The key to documenting your hub-and-spoke ideas is to create a tracker that connects all the content in a singular format so you don’t have to start from scratch whenever you tackle a guest blogging submission.
Using the hub-and-spoke method to guest posting, you can improve your efficiency and save hours every week. It’s like the best of both worlds – you’re able to contribute valuable content to other blogs without spending too much time on research and idea development.
What creative hacks do you have to boost efficiency and ease the life of a fellow content marketer? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).
See what guest bloggers (and the CMI team) write about daily to help you improve your content marketing programs. Subscribe to the free newsletter today.
Cover image by SplitShire