Consumers are more in tune with advertising practices and old fashioned sales hooks than ever before. As today’s digitally literate consumers become increasingly cynical with bombarded advertising they also become increasingly adept at filtering it out. Breaking through this wall of thin content requires content that has seek out value; in other words content that your target audience is already interested in (whether they know it or not).
This isn’t an easy thing to pull off though. What’s required is nothing less than a consistent stream of high quality content that has some kind of intrinsic informational or entertainment value for your audience, in exchange for their attention and ultimately loyalty. This content doesn’t all have to be big budget brand film. In fact that strategy is doomed to only get you so far. What’s needed is a structured approach to video content marketing.
I introduce to you, the help, hub, hero methodology.
An Introduction to Help Hub Hero Content
Throwing money at your video marketing without a solid understanding of how different types of content play to different crowds and different stages of the marketing funnel, will only ever get you so far. What’s needed is a segmented approach.
Although there are many models that subscribe to this principle, we’ve found that marketing video can typically be organised into one of three groups:
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- Hero – big hitting content which tends to demand a higher budget and aims for maximum brand exposure.
- Help – highly discoverable and extremely valuable content designed to address known issues or commonly asked questions.
- Hub – created with a specific audience in mind, demonstrating an understanding of their needs and tastes.
While it can be tempting to allocate more value to hero content, as it will naturally attract the most attention, help and hub content are equally essential components in creating momentum within a comprehensive video content strategy that provides value beyond merely boosting brand awareness.
Hero content should be that rare content with higher production values that demands to be watched and be memorable enough to encourage conversation, media attention and social shares. This might coincide with a product launch or new marketing drive, but it should avoid overtly self-promotional messages, instead utilising the positive and powerful effects of emotional storytelling.
Volvo’s iconic Jean Claude Van Damme commercial, Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull supersonic freefall, and the annual emerging British tradition that is the John Lewis Christmas TV Commercial are all prime examples of successful and memorable hero content. They each keep their brand image at the forefront throughout, focusing on creating a lasting impression that prompts an emotional response.
Nationwide’s ‘Lost Scarf’ campaign, which we helped produce, is another example of hero content successfully utilising the power of emotional storytelling. Here, the decision was made not to unveil the brand until more than half of the story had been told, allowing the narrative to captivate audiences, ultimately humanising the company, whilst deftly communicating their core values and beliefs.
Hero content should include a call to action, but without slipping into a sales pitch or overloading audiences with too much information. A clear, brief direction to another piece of content or towards social platforms is enough to ensure your brand benefits from the wide distribution and exposure that hero content garners.
Understanding your audience and what they want to see from you is a key component in the successful creation of meaningful hub content. Created directly for those who have already engaged with your brand at some level, this is your opportunity to nurture those relationships and build loyalty by demonstrating the value of your brand.
Your hub content should be designed to interest people who already know who you are, perhaps after being introduced to your brand through your hero content. Providing you are offering something valuable and tailored to the needs of your audience, hub content arguably has the most potential to encourage people to subscribe to your content and follow your social feeds.
Thoughtful content designed to inform or inspire can take many different forms including, tutorials, product launches, and glimpses behind the scenes of your business. A lot of hub content can be described as magazine style content, focusing in on areas of interest that your industry is related to or serves. Like print magazine content, regularity is a key feature here if you are to retain and build audiences.
Prime examples of good hub content are the Waitrose TV YouTube channel, which provides a variety of food and cookery related content (from time-lapse footage of ripening produce to creative recipes using Waitrose groceries) and Volvo TV, which has some great parodies of the previously mentioned Van Damme vid.
As your opportunity to establish your brand as an authority in your niche, your help content should be created for a wide audience, including those who have never encountered your brand before. Rather than focusing on promoting your brand however, help content should instead address issues, solve problems, or shed light on important developments within your industry.
With increasing numbers turning to YouTube to learn how to do something new, creating instructional content can quickly attract significant audiences and promote brand awareness at the same time. Competition around this kind of content is fierce though, with many established YouTubers having huge followings and dominating YouTube’s search results. It’s important then that your YouTube help content is well optimised, useful and easily discoverable content will build an engaged and loyal subscriber base that will consistently turn to your business above others for information.
Both the Nike Football YouTube channel and Gillette’s shaving tips are prime examples of thoughtful help content. Both address frequently asked questions, while cleverly incorporating product demonstrations without any overt sales pitch.
Over 400 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every second, and although the platform has over one billion users, standing out in a noisy environment can be difficult. Despite this, the opportunities for well executed content strategies are huge and although the adoption of a considered help hub hero approach won’t guarantee success, it can act as a powerful methodology and the first step in creating a loyal and engaged audience.