We discuss a holographic soft-wall model developed for the description of mesons and baryons with adjustable quantum numbers n,J,L,S. This approach is based on an action which describes hadrons with broken conformal invariance and which incorporates confinement through the presence of a background dilaton field. Results obtained for heavy-light meson masses and decay constants are consistent with predictions of HQET. In the baryon sector, applications to the baryon masses, nucleon electromagnetic form factors and generalized parton distributions are discussed. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.