Last week, we wrote about the advantages of a content hub over a traditional, chronologically ordered blog. This week, we’re going to look at what your content hub needs. Learn from brands such as Intel, IBM, and Mint to see how you can make your content hub better.
1. Visually engaging
Users need to be hooked in right away. This means that there needs to be a visually compelling interface with strong visuals to pull users into specific areas or pieces of content.
First Round’s blog is clean with big visuals leading in.
Town Square, Square’s content hub, is driven by a largely visual interface.
Dell’s “Power More” content hub starts off with a big, engaging visual, similar to the style of First Round.
2. Provide context
People get to content in a variety of ways, so it’s easy for people to land on content hubs without knowing anything about the organization responsible for the content. It’s a good idea to let people know about the organization or, at least the purpose of the blog/content hub.
As a large enterprise, Intel could have many different content areas spanning various topics. Although the Intel brand is recognizable, it helps to know what this specific content hub is focused on. “Intel iQ is a tech culture magazine that brings you deeper into the lives of the people and technologies they are using to change the world.”
“Town Square” – Square’s Business Resource Center, tells people they can expect to find “tips, advice, news – your central resource to help you start, run, and grow your business.”
3. Use navigation and categories to increase findability and discovery
Providing a good user experience means making it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. It also means helping facilitate discovery.
Mint Life, the content hub for the popular financial management mobile app, lets users browse categories to quickly find what’s of interest to them.
Town Square first serves up content, but then allows users who scroll down to the bottom (who haven’t clicked on anything yet) to find content based on a category of interest. Square even provides little descriptions to help users to know what to expect.
Dell’s Power More content hub gives users a number of ways to access content, but one of the ways they aid users in finding relevant content is by giving them the ability to self-select from content related to solutions or technology for the enterprise.
4. Show what’s popular
People are attracted to “what’s popular” content, because they want to know what other people find interesting. They also don’t want to miss out on anything that everyone else knows. It’s a good way to surface content that’s likely to resonate with many people and quickly engage users.
CMO.com, Adobe’s content marketing hub targeted to marketing professionals, shows popular articles with a helpful color gradient to easily draw your eye to what’s most popular.
Dell’s “Power More” provides users with the most read and most shared content, showing data to back it up.
5. An easy way to search
Users should be able to search for something if they’re looking for something very specific or aren’t able to find what they’re looking for through the navigation and main content area.
Intuit’s Quickbooks Small Business Resource Center starts off with a search box as the primary CTA and most visually commanding part of the page. This priority to helping answer users’ questions aligns with their brand’s value proposition to be a resource to small businesses.
6. Email CTAs
Don’t let readers leave without signing up for email. It’s a good idea to provide a clear, compelling CTA for users to stay connected via email so you can further engage people after the first visit. Email provides the opportunity to nurture relationships, stay top-of-mind, and deliver exclusive offers.
This email CTA from Intuit’s Quickbooks Small Business Resource Center does a good job of telling you what you will get when you sign up. They also provide alternative options to let users stay connected in the way best suited for their needs, allowing for an RSS subscription or to “Follow on Feedly” for people who use the popular content aggregation service.
7. Showcase content in different formats
Instead of simply providing a list of articles or a page with all of one kind of format, mix up the way you showcase content.
Adroll’s blog gives people a mix of image-driven ways to access posts as well as a featured post with a introductory text to provide users with an idea of what to expect.
Cisco’s “the network” also provides a mix of visual content and content with more copy to accompany it.
8. Incorporate social media
Whether you incorporate social feeds or use your content hub to provide a CTA to connect on social media, it’s a good idea to integrate social media into your content experience.
First Round breaks up content sections with bold, yet simple CTAs to connect on various social channels.