Content clusters: why you need them
When you’ve got an eBook to promote, you create a landing page for it and drive people to it. Simple.
And when you’ve got a full, content-packed microsite, like Salesforce.com’s Social Success site, you can drive people to each specific piece of content or to the site’s home page. Pretty simple, too.
But there’s got to be something between a content landing page and a full-on microsite or content library.
There is. We call it the Content Cluster and it’s simple idea that solves a sticky challenge: how do you package up and promote a handful of content assets around a specific issue or theme?
What’s a Content Cluster good for?
It’s good for aggregating your content into something bigger than the sum of the parts. It makes it easy for your audiences to discover all the relevant content and get it in one place. It also creates more weight than a single content page, so you hope more people share it and link to it (and that Google may notice and boost your page rank).
How is it different from a content microsite?
A content cluster is just a landing page with several pieces of related content hanging off of it (each with its own lander, too). Where a content microsite needs regular injections of fresh content, a Content Cluster can be standalone forever and may never need updating (though you can, of course, add to it).
As long as the issue is relevant, the Content Cluster will be relevant, too.
What about content duplication with the main resource library?
Geez, these are good questions! You’re a knowledgeable dude. If the content in your cluster has to also live somewhere on your site, you can manage it by telling Google which page is the one to spider. Or you can build your microsite from existing landing pages, with a new navigation (the Cluster Home) – if you can maintain some design consistency.
Got any examples?
As it happens, yes, we do.
Here’s one called Zero Touch Windows that we just did for 1E, a fast-growing company that helps IT departments stop wasting money. The issue in question is the migration of massive application estates from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 (a timely issue as they’re sunsetting XP soon).
It’s a simple, site with a funky little animation to kick it off and give the user a sense of arrival. The Ta-Da factor. Plus a natty navigation device.
Four pieces of content — a new eBook (that we wrote and designed), two existing white papers (we re-designed for the cluster) and a case study (also redesigned). Check out the site itself. It’s more fun.
Got any others?
Okay, one more. This time for our friends at LeasePlan, the world’s biggest (and nicest) vehicle leasing company. The issue here is Telematics (sticking black boxes in your cars and trucks so you can manage them better).
It features a super-sexy video we did with ace animators Sebas and Clim, plus a Slideshare and product PDF. All on a page designed in the look created for the wider content program. Do check it out — especially the video.
So should I be making Content Clusters?
Yes, you should – if it’s the right tactic for your goals. Like if you’ve got a handful of pieces that relate to an issue and you want to boost your clout on that issue. Or want to let prospects choose the content that best meets their purchase stage. Or want to rescue some old content that’s been neglected.
If you’ve seen others out there that you like, do drop the link in the comments below. We’re students of content presentation tricks and love to see how fellow content marketers solve the challenges we’re facing every day.