The schmickest | Top 5 B2B content hubs

We’ve already listed the schmickest B2C content hubs. Now it’s B2B’s turn. Proving that business-orientated marketing can be just as creative as its consumer counterpart, here are five leading B2B content hub examples.

Across departments and industries, workers are constantly in need of relevant, useful and engaging material to help them make the right purchasing decisions to move their business forward. Content hubs can work wonderfully in answering these questions and earning brand trust. Centralised repositories stocked with a brand’s digital assets – from articles, to white papers, to podcasts, to ebooks – these hubs target and engage audiences, providing them with valuable, information-driven resources at each touchpoint of their buyer journey.

Drawing from five different B2B industries, here are five of the schmickest.

1. Adobe’s CMO

b2b content hub - CMO

Adobe’s content hub is exactly what it says on the tin: “Digital marketing insights, expertise and inspiration – for and by marketing leaders”.

The website is not the slickest or the most modern but the content never fails on relevance to its tech-head audience. In among multimedia features, opinion pieces and interviews, the Adobe Digital Insights category is an interesting one when it comes to thinking laterally to target audiences. Aimed at senior marketing and ecommerce executives, it provides insights backed by research into “select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Marketing Cloud”. Existing customer activity is subsequently pooled and leveraged in a way that benefits the whole, providing Adobe to give real-time data and analysis across the digital landscape.

2. American Express’ OPEN Forum

b2b content hub - amex

American Express’ (AmEx) OPEN Forum is an obvious pick here but to leave it out of this list would be beyond the pale.

Launched in 2007, the Forum sets a high, diamond-encrusted bar for what content marketing can achieve. A program built to help small business owners overcome challenges and achieve growth, it hosts a stack of resources and information across categories – from Growth Planning, to Managing Money, to Getting Customers, to Building Your Team. Content is distributed across a broad range of social media channels, with follower numbers in the millions.

A major catalyst to the Forum’s success is its locally focused, community appeal. Businesses have the chance to submit their own stories on how they chased and captured the entrepreneurial ‘American Dream’, which are told through original and sponsored content like the slightly gimmicky ‘This Changes Things’ and ‘Next Big Step’ video series, which tells how a butcher, a shoe-maker and a wok shop expanded their business (with a little bit of help from the investment giant).

As you’d expect from a site with the word ‘forum’ in its title, users also get to pitch questions to AmEx. Questions which pass through the filters of ‘previously asked’ are posted with brand responses across social media, so that the company’s broad audience can identify with and learn from the shared concerns of their peers.

The site is getting big into video, with an impressive cut of content in the moving image form. If that wasn’t enough, have also just launched a new mobile app – a networking tool to help business owners connect with each other and discover nearby events.

3. AHRI’s HRMonline

b2b content hub - hrmonline

(Full disclosure: AHRI is a Mahlab client.)

What is loneliness doing to the Australian worker? Is it just us, or are office birthday celebrations kind of awkward? Can you microchip employees? And why the hell do sexual misconduct issues keep emerging at Channel 7?

HRMOnline asks these kinds of questions daily, and many more besides. A microsite hosted by the Australian HR Institute (AHRI), the hub provides insight, commentary, resources and invigorating discussion on matters relevant to those whose job it is to keep an organisation’s team healthy, happy and productive.

The tiled, image-rich website design entices user click-throughs, but comes second place to the copywriting behind the sometimes audacious yet always clear story titles. ‘How to avoid a sh*tstorm’, an article on the blurry line between healthy swearing and foul-mouthed abusive at work, is a personal favourite.

As with the AmEx example above (and various other brands besides) AHRI has also met audience’s building hunger for video, with a site category devoted to the interview-based HRM TV. The featured interview subjects aren’t singularly your standard HR manager either. In August, AHRI sat down with the autobiographer of Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin, the artistic director of the Queensland ballet. The focus? How to build a high-performing team.

4. Slack’s Several people are typing

b2b content hub - slack

While there’s many a content hub housed on-site or on a branded microsite, some brands have sought out their audiences in more open, collaborative spaces.

Online publishing platform Medium houses a gamut of different writing, from amateur essays to prestige publications. It’s clean look, custom tools, multimedia functionality, and community networking opportunities also makes it an appealing place for some content marketers wanting to host a hub.

Slack is one such company. Co-founded by the same guy who gave us Flickr, Slack presents itself as the new way modern workers can share resources, communicate and (speaking for Mahlab’s employee base) GIFs of dogs. Since they made their debut in 2013, the company has built up a motherload of impressive clients, from Harvard University to Airbnb to the LA Times.

‘Several people are typing’ was an early way for the company founders to have conversations with customers while their product was just catching on. (We also have got to say it: how great is the blog’s name?) The team mixes up the odd company announcement/boast (they’ve just snagged Oracle as a client) with genuinely insightful articles on the nature, meaning and politics of work – from workplace ostracism, to the story of a retiree intern. There’s even an article helping non-coders build their own custom Slack app.

Best of all, the prose is lucid, the tone conversational, and the reader is left feeling like the writer has wasted their time.

5. Deloitte Insights

b2b content hub Deloitte

Deloitte is an unequivocal master of content hub panache. The global firm’s rigorous research has enabled companies of every stripe to get a better grasp on the world they operate in, the audiences they sell to and the changing environment we all must contend with.

Deloitte Insights (formerly Deloitte University Press) pools this cutting-edge research and supplements it with articles, podcasts, videos, webcasts, infographics and ‘interactives’ (such as dashboards and charts). With clients hailing from no less than 18 industries, building an intuitively segmented website was no doubt crucial for the development team. Readers can choose whether to access information by industry, media form or topic, with other web sections devoted to learning resources, ‘special focus’ areas and the company’s digital magazine, Deloitte Review.

Perhaps what most warms the cockles of our hearts, however, is the design aesthetic that Deloitte has landed on. The team has broken out of the unoriginal and often soul-crushing stock image solution, instead filling its site with uniquely stylised, colour-rich artwork from premier international artists.

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About Kate Prendergast: Kate Prendergast is a Content Producer at Mahlab. She strategically smashes out insights and case studies for the company website, and does her insuperable best to make the most of free pens, coffee and calamari at marketing conferences. In her down time, she reads Nabakov, watches BoJack Horseman and Werner Herzog, and creates mildly disturbing art under the alias Tenderhooks. She has renounced all social media except – to her overwhelming horror – LinkedIn. Redemptively, her network remains small.

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