When it comes to digital presence, publishers often aim at a moving target. The expectations for online offerings change rapidly. Remember? It wasn’t that long ago that many publishers slapped a PDF on their website and called it good. Now, this outdated style will have website visitors laughing (at you, not with you).
Just ask Andrew Shackelford, a sales representative with Walsworth, an experienced business development and marketing leader. He defines a content hub as “an online brand presence that leverages the value of content to achieve organizational marketing goals.”It doesn’t hold all the extras of a website ̶ content hubs are focused specifically on end use. Everything on your content hub should be relevant to that audience.
The most important part of a content hub is good content – you won’t be successful without it. This is especially true for niche publishers. “It’s all about content, because you’re a publisher,” Shackelford said. “You are the undisputed expert of that content.”
As a good example, check out Bee Culture magazine. They use timely content to keep their brand in the forefront of the reader’s mind – delivered via email and their website. And they have reason to take pride in their website; a redesign helped them meet circulation goals after only one quarter.
Constantly coming up with new content can be exhausting. It’s OK for publishers to disaggregate and combine existing material, as Don Peschke explained at the 10th annual Niche Media conference. The August Home Publishing founder explained that everything you’ve created has “nuggets” of information. You can pull these pieces out of the original content and share them on your content hub. Over time, you’ll collect an enormous amount of this information. It can be combined in new ways to create something completely different.
A publisher’s content hub has two sides to that content.The first is what is available to the public. This can be curated and commented, custom or user-submitted via options such as ratings and polls.
The second is members-only. Here is where you can provide archived information and paid content. Obviously, putting information behind a paywall can cause engagement to drop. Still, it’s frequently a good idea to have something reserved for members. “You don’t want to give away all of your content for free,” Shackelford said. But you still need something to draw in readers in the first place. “Give just enough of it away.”
If you provide a lot of specific knowledge, drawn from experts, put it behind a paywall. Perhaps you could consider creating premium memberships. If it’s something readers could easily find elsewhere for free, leave it out in the open.
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More about Sarah: Sarah Scott is a content writer for Walsworth, specializing in blog posts, eBooks and case studies for the web. She’s been writing most of her life, and previously worked as a radio journalist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
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