In a 100-page whitepaper, YouTube has suggested dividing content marketing into three complementary types to help your business attract, engage, and retain an audience of potential customers.
Google released “The YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands” (PDF) in 2013 to help companies plan and execute video content marketing strategies on YouTube. Many of the suggestions can be applied to other forms of content, even written content.
One of the most adaptable sections in the YouTube paper describes three types of content that can be used together as part of a comprehensive content plan. These types, called Hygiene, Hub, and Hero, are meant to create a steady pull that attracts folks to your content.
Whether your business posts articles or produces videos, you can apply YouTube’s content types to your content marketing strategy.
YouTube called the first category of content Hygiene. Technically the term, hygiene, describes the practice of maintaining health through cleanliness. So while it does make sense, in a way, to use it to describe content meant to maintain a relationship or maintain your content marketing, other terms might be better.
Perhaps, you could call this content “helpful” or “problem solving,” for even “how-to.” YouTube defines it as content that satisfies “what your is audience actively searching for regarding your brand or industry.” It is the tutorial that describes how to do something. It is the product video that explains how to use an item. It is the buying guide that helps a shopper find the perfect gift for a loved one.
This helpful content should attract an audience year around, and be useful to the folks who do find it.
A couple of examples might help. First, here is a video that describes beekeeping basics. The video was shot at a live class that a multichannel retailer held at one of its stores in 2015. It is how-to content that someone might be searching for on YouTube or Google.
Here is a second video example. The retailer answers a question, “How do I turn my hydrangeas blue?” This is something that a gardener might search for on YouTube or Google.
For examples of written content in this category, check out REI’s Expert Advice section. There are lists, articles, and other how-tos.
According to YouTube, Hub content is “the content you develop on a regular basis to give a fresh perspective on your target’s passion points.”
Hub content is evergreen. Hub articles or videos will attract readers and viewers for months or years. These sorts of posts might describe an historical event, something about your brand, or even how your products are made.
If Hygiene content is about answering questions, Hub content is about telling stories.
One of the best and most recent video examples of Hub content, may be Wild Turkey Bourbon’s Matthew McConaughey Short Film.
This video, which is a six-minute company profile, is again not something that folks would search for on Google the way they might search for a how-to article, but once discovered, it makes a strong impression. Many viewers will share it.
Men’s apparel retailer Mr. Porter has a nice example of Hub content profiling art dealer Hugo Portuondo. While it may not be the case that shoppers will be actively looking for this profile, it is interesting and engaging when they find it.
Mr. Porter regularly publishes this sort of content, which is another earmark of this category. Hub content is often scheduled. Readers and viewers will return to the hub, if you will, to look for a new installment.
Hero content is your Super Bowl, according to YouTube. Hero content is intended for a broad, large audience and you do your best to promote and push it. Hero content may even be a live streaming event like a webinar.
YouTube suggests getting out in front of Hero content and promoting it before the event takes place. One might argue that some product introductions are Hero content. For example, FiberFix used its quirky and, perhaps, insulting product introduction video at trade shows, in ads, and on YouTube.
Putting the 3Hs Together
The three types of content are meant to be complementary. They collectively help your business acquire, engage, and, ultimately, keep your audience of potential customers.
Consider planning helpful, how-to content (Hygiene) regularly throughout the entire year. Perhaps, it will be your company’s goal to answer one or two common questions each week or maybe publish a new how-to article or video each month. This content will attract users looking for helpful information.
Hub content should also be released regularly throughout the year. This content should be published on a schedule, an editorial calendar, if you will. Perhaps, you publish a series of articles on the first Monday of each month, like a monthly magazine. Or you have a weekly video show released every Thursday.
Your aim is to create content that your loyal readers and viewers can return to at scheduled times.
Hero content is something that you only need to produce once or twice a year at most. It is when you try to bring everything together to get your content to work with your other marketing. Your aim is to engage a large new audience, which can then be introduced to your business and your other content.
Consider using each of these types of content in your content marketing strategy.