(This article is an 8-minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How the hub-and-spoke model of content works
2. How to create cornerstone content
3. How to apply this model to marketing personas
Everyone has teeth. Everyone has a mouth. So you should promote it to everybody, right? Actually, that's not right. While the services you offer are for everyone, your advertising and marketing should only address to one person. The person who makes the decision to book. If you’re marketing dental practices to women, for example, you should address women in your content.
That’s not a challenging idea to get your head around. But when dental practices start to think about promoting their practice, they get confused. They promote things like dental implants and teeth whitening, because they think that’s what people want to buy.
I can understand that. You want a return on your marketing investment. But just shouting that you’re selling a product doesn’t mean that the right person will come up and buy it.
There is a way you can approach your content. It will also help your practice get better results in Google as well. It’s called a hub-and-spoke model, and it starts with clearly identifying your ideal customer.
The hub-and-spoke model involves creating content that aligns your ideal customer with your key products and services.
The first step involves creating a long, definitive piece of content on a particular product or service.
This long piece of content is the hub of your hub-and-spoke model. It is sometimes called ‘pillar content’ or ‘cornerstone content’—they’re all the same thing, and are just given different names to confuse you.
An example of this may be a long piece of content about dental implants. It may address topics like ‘what are dental implants’ and ‘what are the implants made of’, and as many other product-related questions you can think of.
This single piece of content should be long (upwards of 2000 words) and definitive, or as definitive as possible. You can include videos, links to other articles, and as much other relevant information around dental implants that you can think of.
Once that piece is done, you publish it as a landing page on your website. Add the links to your booking form or contact page as the call-to-action at the end of this particular piece of content.
The second step is to create a series of blog posts that link back to that piece of cornerstone content that are addressed directly to a particular ideal customer.
To do that, you need to first think about your ideal client. The one who makes the decision about booking themselves, and possibly other family members, in to see you. If you’re running a family practice, that ideal client will be a woman aged between 35 and 55.
Just knowing that clients’ ages is not enough. You need to think about where they live, what they do with their time, what their problems are and what motivates them.
That process requires a bit of imagination, but a lot more research. One of the most important parts of the process, though, is forcing yourself to empathise with that person.
Once you understand her, and understand what her problems are, you can start to think about content that addresses those problems.
The individual blog posts you create should deal with the problems your ideal patient faces, that can be solved by your product or service that you address with that original piece of cornerstone content.
You can use your keyword research to decide on the actual topics you want to write about. For example, let’s say you’ve created your piece of cornerstone content around the topic of dental implants. The blog posts you can then create might be around broad topics such as ‘how to fix unsightly teeth’ or ‘do I need dentures’ or ‘emergency dentist broken tooth’.
Or you might want to create some content for people who already know about implants, but aren’t sure about them—something like ‘do dental implants hurt’ or ‘dental implants and insurance’.
It’s possible—in fact, it’s probable—that dental implants aren’t the only thing you would write about in those articles.
But here’s the final trick that gives you the most SEO benefit.
Everytime you mention the words “dental implants” in any one of those blog posts, you create a link that links it back to your piece of cornerstone content on dental implants.
By doing this, you are creating the spokes that point back to your hub.
You are also sending a signal to both your readers and to search engines. You’re saying, “this piece of cornerstone content I’m pointing to is my definitive, complete, expert guide to dental implants”. The search engines will then push it higher up the rankings, making it easier for your target market to find.
Can you do this with everyone? Well, yes. The idea is, you create cornerstone content about your products and services, but blog posts that talk to particular customers (or customer personas).
The reason you may be marketing dental practices to women is just that women are often the decision makers when it comes to family dental care. If your target market is families, it doesn’t follow that you have to address all your content to all members of the family. You primarily want it to be found by the person who is making the booking.
The way to reach them is to use a hub-and-spoke content model.
The hub of this model is a long piece of cornerstone content talking about a particular product or service. The spokes are blog posts that address questions or interests of your particular target market.
One of the solutions you will write about in those spokes will be the product or service in your cornerstone content.
With proper promotion of your blog posts, both readers and search engines will find it a lot easier to understand what you do and why you’re the best dentist for them.