What is a Content Hub?
A content hub is a collection of structured content that can pull from a variety of different sources or a single source to be organized in a modular, reusable way that can be distributed throughout a project. One of the most important elements of a content hub is being the source of truth for how information is connected throughout one or several digital projects. Creating a content hub, using a content hub solution, such as with a headless CMS, can be essential to harnessing the power of legacy databases while making the wide breadth of information stored there usable to teams aiming to create modern, digital products.
In simpler terms, a content hub is a central place to store all of the information that is normally siloed in a plethora of systems, both old and new. This information often goes unused due to the extra steps required to extract the data from systems across the tech stack or results in countless duplications of content affecting the efficiency of teams. Content hub solutions, like GraphCMS, can programmatically populate fields using data from other systems easily and can create meaningful connections between pieces of data that are normally housed in separate systems.
In addition to serving as a way to connect systems, content hubs should be seen as a single place to store all of the data which is relevant to a project or dataset. This information when organized as structured content creates a modular, reusable wealth of data that can be used to build a variety of end products using a singular repository of information. In creating a structured content hub, the information that teams need is available as they need it in a form that is manageable. While creating a structured content hub does require an initial time investment, it pays off in the long run. Thoughtful content modeling that is intended to be future-proof and flexible brings the team value when trying to iterate content, create new projects using similar information, or optimize the team’s workflows. Teams that aim to scale their businesses through a wider digital product offering will find this approach particularly helpful because the initial investment creates a content repository of modular content which can be repurposed however the teams see fit.
Benefits of a Content Hub?
Structured content hubs provide teams with benefits that range from cutting production timelines, to eliminating content silos. Here we will take an in-depth look at just some of the many benefits of structured content hubs.
Extending the lifespan of legacy systems
Content hubs extend the lifespan of legacy systems which are rich with information gathered over the years but have legacy workflows that make it difficult to gather information from. By connecting these systems programmatically, teams are not only able to ensure that the information that is available in the content hub is as detailed as possible but also create a repository of the most accurate and up to date information.
The content hub becomes the single source of truth for the data. If there are changes that need to be made to the content, it can be added to the CMS and shared across platforms.
Shorten Project Timelines while Broadening Project Possibilities
As previously stated, adopting a structured content hub requires initial resources to connect the relevant databases, model content flexibly, and import any existing content to the system. However, after this initial investment has been made, teams are able to work quickly. All of the content is housed in the CMS in a modular way which is reusable throughout the project.
When building a website, information such as value propositions or customer quotes can be modeled so that they are reusable throughout the project. If another end product is created using the same content hub, this sort of modular information will rapidly increase the ability for teams to work quickly to get the first iteration of the new end product off the ground. Using a single content repository, project timelines are able to be condensed and teams have more opportunity to think creatively about how this data can be most effectively communicated.
Structured Content means Reusable content
Implementing a structured content approach requires teams to think more modularly and build content that is flexible. Instead of creating content for the sole purpose of being displayed in a single frontend, much of the content can be broken down into smaller elements that can be used throughout the project. Content that can be reused throughout a project has several benefits. The first being that editors can create the content once and then use it throughout the project by creating relations between two models. The second is as teams iterate content, they only need to make changes in a single model and it will be reflected throughout the project.
Both of these benefits save time, remove tiresome repetitive work, and help ensure that typos or mistakes either do not occur or are rectified quickly. In practice, this could mean content teams create, edit, enrich, and update their content for several destinations from a single hub, and all their frontends (websites, apps, shops, etc.) can query this content to render in native, adjusted styles.
Building flexible projects using relations
Projects must be flexible to fit our expectations of modern development workflows. As teams experiment and refine their projects, a structured content hub enables them to create projects quickly using a mixture of preexisting content that lives in other digital services, content that serves as the cornerstone for several projects, and manually created content that exists specifically for this context.
This mixture of types of content and how it is fed into the CMS is a core tenet of a structured content hub. Teams will refine messaging and go through several iterations of how the content is most effectively displayed which can be easily adapted in the CMS. When taking the write once, publish everywhere approach, teams can work quickly and know that if changes must be made later, it is easy to do.
Structured content hubs scale to meet your needs
Content hubs easily scale to meet the current and future needs of your team. There are two straightforward approaches to scaling a content hub. The first, for companies that are migrating away from a previous tech stack, is where companies start by adding a large dataset to their content hub. This dataset can pull from existing databases or other methods of storing content and organize it in the CMS. Once this large pool of content exists in the CMS, it is easy to quickly create and iterate content pieces using this initial pool. While this approach does require an initial time investment, it makes it easier to spin up new projects and content with a good starting base.
The second strategy for creating a scalable content hub is starting with a small set of data which will help get the project off the ground. Once there is an indication that the project is a success, the team can invest more time to build out the content models for the project. For headless CMSs, pricing is often structured so that teams can start with a smaller plan, and upgrade as their project grows. This approach is particularly good for startups, scale-ups, or companies that are just trying to dip their toes in the water with a new approach to content management.
Strategies to create an effective content hub
To create a structured content hub, there are several approaches depending on where the project is in its lifespan as well as what kind of information needs to be included in the dataset.
If the project is a new venture and the goal is to start small and add in more content or systems as relevant, then it is best to start with the content modeling. Structured content modeling requires initial time investment and sometimes a shift in thinking from the team; however, can prove to be a worthy investment. The essential thing to consider is that content should be modular and reusable. This means in many instances to allow the relations to other pieces of content to provide the context for the content models. For example, there may be separate author and customer quote models that when combined together form the beginnings of a case study page but separately can be used in other parts of the project as well.
For a more in-depth guide on content modeling to help you get started, check out “What is Content Modeling?”
If teams are working with existing datasets, a key benefit of creating a structured content hub is the ability to easily connect existing backend systems together to enrich content. Legacy systems are powerful and often a treasure trove of information; however, they can in many instances turn into content silos. Content silos refer to the phenomenon where data exists in certain systems but it is not able to be easily transferred to another system. By connecting several existing backends using a headless CMS, projects have access to powerful content to build a new project.
In addition to existing systems that can be connected together, as projects scale and teams require more functionality to suit their specific use case, other best of breed services can be added to bolster functionality without weighing down the system. Teams can pick and choose the services that they need for their custom tech stack and connect them easily via the powerful headless CMS API.
Creating a Content Hub with GraphCMS
GraphCMS is a great option for creating a structured content hub due to its unmatched power and flexibility. The content modeling possibilities using GraphCMS make it easy to create modular schemas. Content hubs created using GraphCMS range from streaming services, to digital magazines. These compile data from existing systems as well as content that is entered manually.
GraphCMS’ GraphQL mutations make it possible to programmatically add, edit the content that is being pushed to the CMS in order to ensure the information is in its most current form. These GraphQL mutations make it even easier to connect various systems and ensure that it is organized and available for use in the current project. By pulling content from multiple backends, it ensures that not only the other systems remain relevant, but also extending the content’s lifespan. Reusing existing content ensures that the initial time investment is fully appreciated as well as avoids creating double work for the content editors.
The GraphCMS schema builder and GraphQL mutations are just a couple of the ways that GraphCMS helps teams build structured content hubs to unlock the possibilities of content that can be stored using GraphCMS. The highly flexible nature of projects that are common with GraphCMS is nearly impossible with many other solutions. Teams are able to customize the tech stack that works well for them and their use case without being weighed down by unnecessary functionality, and the hefty price tag that comes with that. GraphCMS gives teams all the tools they need to build powerfully structured content hubs that are suitable for a plethora of different types of projects, helping companies scale quickly and make the most out of their existing content.
For a more in-depth look at some of the case studies which take a deep dive in companies that have used GraphCMS to create a content hub, check them out here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Content Hub?
A content hub is a central source of content for your content needs, metadata, assets, marketing initiatives, and other enriched content. For example, it can host all the content needed to power a website, a web app, or a media-rich application.
What services should a Content Hub provide?
A Content Hub should offer Digital Asset Management (DAM), Content Management System (CMS), Marketing Resource Management, and ideally, the ability to connect, or federate other services via API to enrich that content.
Do I need a Content Hub?
Most businesses benefit from using a content hub, allowing them to break down content silos and fragmented content. When choosing a content hub, make sure it can easily integrate with other platforms and APIs.
What is a Federated Content Hub?
A Federated Content Hub is one where a single service (like GraphCMS) can programmatically consume, enrich, deliver, and optimize content coming from multiple services, APIs, and users. This unifies all the data in a single hub, and serves it across multiple platforms from a single source, or in the case of GraphCMS, a single endpoint. A Federated Content Hub allows you to have one main command center for all your content, regardless of how many services or users need to interact with that content.
Is a Headless CMS a Content Hub?
If a Headless CMS allows you to programmatically create content from several sources (such as users, APIs, backends, and other services) then it is a Content Hub. In the case of GraphCMS you can achieve this via webhooks, UI Extensions, Remote Fields (Content Federation), GraphQL Mutations, as well as manual content management.