The same Hub and Spoke Model that transformed the transportation business is currently the standard model for content marketing. The only problem is that it’s not transforming content marketing.
The model assumes that people will see your content in popular online channels (the spokes). If the content is compelling, relevant and entertaining, the model predicts that they’ll click over to your website (the hub). Overwhelmingly, getting people to stay on your website (converting them into leads) is challenging for even the most sophisticated content marketers, including larger brands, brands that spend a lot of money, small brands with great content, hot brands, and interesting brands. The leads that come directly from popular media channels are consistently disappointing, which is why we need a new way to think about content marketing models.
Picture a honeysuckle vine sprouting from the ground and then meandering up the side of an old A-frame house. Dozens of sweet, colorful flowers burst from the vine every few inches while honeybees dance in the air, impatiently searching for the perfect place to land.
This is the Honeysuckle Model. Unlike the Hub and Spoke Model, which predicts that leads will move directly from the spokes to the hub, the Honeysuckle Model assumes that people will consume content from a variety of online media channels and stay there. Your content is the flower. The vines lead to a variety of media outlets. And the bees are your potential consumers who will come back again and again for sweet nectar from the flower.
When a person is prepared to take action (sign up for a subscription, search for contact information, or buy from the website), they’ll find a repository of all your compelling content on your website. Think of it as the root of the honeysuckle vine. The Honeysuckle Model does not assume a direct correlation between great content and clicks attributed to media outlets, because consumers visit your site with different mindsets. Some may have never heard of you. Others might be considering you versus the competition. Still others are ready to buy. They are at different stages of the customer conversion process.
Sure. A small number will come directly to your website and convert. Some will sign up for a subscription over time. The vast majority will need a lot more time (and quality content) before they make a purchase. Think of the Honeysuckle Model as a way to create broad awareness and influence consideration—not measure leads from online media outlets in terms of direct sales.
Bees are instinctively drawn to flowers like people are drawn to stellar content. Stretch your vines into as many channels as makes strategic sense. And if the bees find your content sweet, they’ll convert. Maybe not today. But they’ll convert.