With more than a billion unique visitors every month, YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. With that in mind, you’d be silly not to use the video streaming platform to advertise your brand.
But, like all digital marketing campaigns, it’s not as easy as simply creating a video and watching the results pour in. That’s why, back in 2014, YouTube introduced their three-pronged content strategy, ‘Hero, Hub, Hygiene’, to outline the different types of video your brand should be creating if you want to grow your organic viewership.
This blog post walks you through the three H’s to help you create a strong content strategy to increase awareness of your brand and engage your target audience.
Hero content grabs attention. This content should be the central part of your campaign, as it’s designed to attract a huge volume of viewers. Hero content is often used to drive sales or build brand awareness around a big event, such as a new product launch or Black Friday.
Effectively, a hero video is a large-scale production intended to reach the masses. You want your hero content to make a big splash, so you’ll need to invest a lot of time and resource into the creation of this video.
Hero content often works best as part of a multi-channel campaign, as this allows you to reach more potential customers; the more they see of your ad, the more likely they are to sit up and take notice of your brand. This means incorporating an earned media and PR element into your overall strategy alongside paid media, across both online and offline channels.
Your hero content should have a strong, lasting impact on your target audience. When done well, hero content on YouTube should even convince those outside of your target audience that they should be buying your products or engaging with your brand.
One fine example of effective hero content is the much-awaited John Lewis Christmas ad. This annual television spectacle is memorable, shareable, appeals to all age groups and evokes strong emotions from viewers, including those who possibly don’t ordinarily shop at the store.
While hero content is designed to attract the masses, there’s no guarantee that the viewers who watched your content felt invested enough to come back. The purpose of hub content is to engage your audience and give them a reason to keep watching. This is often done by scheduling videos at regular intervals and aligning the content with the interests of your audience. The reason to keep watching could come in the form of a cliffhanger, or a feeling of familiarity through a compelling story.
When it comes to hub content, the objective is to get people to take an action, be it sharing your video, adding a comment or subscribing to your channel. This content should also increase brand awareness and deepen your audience’s relationship with your brand.
An important thing to note here is that hub content is geared towards those who already know about your brand, so that you can nurture that relationship and demonstrate your value to those customers.
Hub content should always be pushed toward your target audience and capture their interests. Think about what your ideal customer cares about. What do they talk about with their friends? What stimulates their thoughts? Questions like this should form the basis of your hub strategy.
The finished result could take many different forms, such as:
- Tutorial videos
- The announcement of product launches
- Behind-the-scenes sneak peek videos that show insight into what it’s like at your business HQ
You might also hear this one referred to as ‘help content’. Its purpose is to educate those looking for answers to specific questions related to your industry. For example, if your audience is searching for ‘how to use glitter nail polish' and you work in the hair and beauty industry, then your video should be answering that query.
This video content should draw in new visitors, which means it needs to be shareable and pushed out through social channels. It shouldn’t be a promotional piece; rather, it should be informative and genuinely useful to your audience.
Hygiene content also needs to be optimised for search so that it answers your users’ questions. This means paying close attention to your meta data, video title and thumbnail to ensure they all match the relevant search queries and can easily be indexed by search engines.
Instructional videos can also help to build up brand awareness and establish your business as an industry leader.
The main challenge with video advertising is that standing out in such a crowded environment is hard work. With more than 400 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every second, getting your videos noticed may seem like a mammoth task. But the opportunities for a well-executed content strategy are enormous, and though the ‘hero, hub, hygiene’ method can’t absolutely guarantee you success, it can be a powerful way to create an engaged and loyal audience.