Gini Dietrich

The Wheel and Spoke Model of Content Marketing

By: Gini Dietrich | August 11, 2016 | 

The Wheel and Spoke Model of Content MarketingWhen Joe Thornley, Martin Waxman, and I were recording Inside PR earlier this week (for next week’s airing), we had an interesting conversation about the wheel and spoke model for content.

You see, I’ve always been a big proponent of using content to drive people back to something you own, such as your website or blog.

Use the social media networks to distribute and amplify said content, but always bring fans and followers back to a place where you can track leads, convert customers, and measure effectiveness.

And my feeling on that has not changed, but I do think there is some clarity needed around the topic.

In a recent blog post, Martin describes hearing the BuzzFeed Canada social media editor, Elamin Abdelmahmoud, speak at Social Media Week Toronto.

He said:

About 75 percent of the content BuzzFeed produces is not published on


So here you have a giant digital media outlet, where people around the globe go to see funny cat videos and read (sometimes) interesting political news, and a majority of their content is published elsewhere.

And this sparked a debate between my podcast co-hosts and me.

What Are Your Goals?

In my mind, BuzzFeed is using the wheel and spoke model perfectly.

They create content that achieves one of their goals, which I imagine are:

  1. Brand awareness;
  2. Thought leadership; or
  3. Lead generation.

That content is then “housed” in places such as Snapchat, Instagram stories, Facebook livestreaming, Facebook Instant Articles, Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, or Twitter.

I imagine they also have executives who have columns in some of the major publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., and Huffington Post.

And, while that content doesn’t begin in their wheel (on their website), it does drive every visitor back to it.

They’re using every channel available to them as a spoke that eventually brings people back to their wheel.

Our Wheel and Spoke Model

We have a similar model—though I’d venture to guess it’s more like 50 percent of our content isn’t housed here on Spin Sucks.

I just started doing Gin and Topics on Instagram stories last week (they’re goofy, but I’m learning…so come hang out with me!).

We have a YouTube channel, though everything we publish there is embedded here in some fashion.

We have Facebook Instant Articles, I publish on LinkedIn Pulse and Medium twice a week, and we have our first love, Twitter, as always.

We are syndicated on Ragan, PRDaily, and CommProBiz (and currently working on a few more).

And I have columns in OPENForum, Huffington Post, PRSay, StartUp Nation, AllBusiness, and Cision.

We’re also working on getting four more monthly columns for me.

In some cases, the content is exclusive and, in others, it’s repurposed.

But, in every case, there is something in each piece of content that brings people back here.

Once here, there are lots of ways we engage with a new visitor, including through blog comments.

Capture Your Visitors to Achieve Your Goals

But the most important thing we do to welcome a new visitor?

We have an email campaign that delivers daily for two weeks.

It describes all of the things we discuss frequently (PESO model, metrics, PR is more than media relations, integration, leadership) so new readers can get caught up quickly.

And that email campaign is what converts a random reader who came from one of our spokes to a subscriber, engaged community member, and (eventually) a client or online course student.

So, you can see that, while we have two blog posts here every day, it’s just a portion of the content we’re constantly delivering.

If I were to re-describe—or what Martin describes as giving it a tire change—the wheel and spoke model, I would say it’s a wheel, spoke, spoke, wheel model.

In some cases, the content lives in the wheel and, in others, it lives in the spokes.

But it all eventually comes back to the wheel.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Just cost you like looking at hot guys, Gini, doesn’t mean we all have to hear about Bufffeed all the time.

  • Corina Manea

    No matter on how many social channels your company is, your blog and website should be at the center of all.

    Trends come and go. New platforms appear all the time, some successful, others not so much. Yet your blog and website will live for as long as you’re in business and maintain and invest in them.

    It’s like receiving your guests in a rented room versus your own house.

    • Martin had a great analogy—he said the website/blog is like the flagship store…and the social networks are like the stores in the malls, where people congregate. You need to be in both places, but you don’t make as much moony when you rent the space from the mall (though you may get more visitors).

      • Laura Petrolino

        Ohhh…I love that analogy. And the mall stores allow you to customize your message a bit so they fit the individual demographic who frequents them a bit better.

        For example, most grocery store chains carry the same basic lines of products, but will add additional local products, or customize the types of products, brands, seasonality…..based on the individual location. Social media allows you to do the same. Customized content distribution—but all with one foundation.

    • You’re supposed to be on VACATION!!!

      • Corina Manea

        Nope! I’m back! And thank God I am. Did you see what they did while I was gone!!

      • She only had a week. I’m not THAT nice.

  • The problem with syndication is the terms and conditions (as found out during the recent brouha over Business2Community selling content “belonging” to others. Personally, I thought it was crying over spilled milk, as you agree to hand over rights when you syndicate.

    Of course, some don;t get this…

    RE. the hub and spoke, it just needs to make sense, and you need a solid strategy to manage and convert. It’s all well and good getting eyeballs elsewhere, but if you don’t drive significant numbers back to your home, it’s wasted effort (especially if you’re expected to interact elsewhere where your content is published).

    • Amen!

      On a different note, I haven’t stopped thinking about the direction from the CEO to clear off people’s desks so they’d get that they’d been laid off. WHO DOES THAT?!?!

      • Corina Manea


      • Well, I think we both know the type of person that would do that. Wonder where he is now…? 😉

  • Minor point here, but wouldn’t this model be more aptly named Hub and Spoke model?

    • Ha, I didn’t even notice the “wheel and spoke”, I automatically referred to hub and spoke in my reply. Go figure. 🙂

    • I went back and forth about it, but landed on wheel and spoke for SEO purpose.

      • Ha! You’re going to confuse my students who read Spin Sucks! I’m with Danny on this one. 🙂

        • LOOK, PEOPLE! At 5:10 this morning, while I was writing this post, I had a major distraction. “Come in my room and read to me.” “Has it been five minutes yet?” “Is it time to read books yet?” So to say I hastily looked up the phrases for SEO is putting it mildly. I had princess books to read!

          • Man, Kelly is demanding in the morning, isn’t he?

          • Between him and JB…

          • A hub is termed a wheel depending on the time of day? That would be a great future blog.

  • Wow. This subject is really in your wheel house, G. Hubba-hubba!

  • Preaching to the converted here.

  • Woah, that’s a lot of content!
    Question: when you repurpose content from different sites, how much (or how little?) do you change the content before reposting?

    • I’d say about 90 percent of what I write for someone else is exclusive…and then I’ll run it here four to six weeks later. I always adjust it to fit this audience (first person versus third, for instance).

  • Saving this one! Thanks Gini 🙂