Effective Content Marketing: Hero content
In this series, we’re going to look more closely at the Hero, Hub and Hygiene model that can be used as a strategic framework to create content to. We’ll look at each type of content in more depth, as well as some examples, where you should place it and how to make it work for your business.
Hero content lends itself well to types of content that goes viral. Often, this translates to video content, but it can sometimes be blog or article content as well.
The key for Hero content is to attract an enormous amount of visitors. If you’re aligning your content marketing objectives with your SEO KPIs, you’ll be looking to earn links as well.
For many businesses, hero content will be some of the most expensive content that they will produce. But this doesn’t always ring true.
When should you produce Hero content?
Hero content typically corresponds to the most high-profile events that exist in that space throughout the year. Many retailers will create hero content around Christmas, for example.
There is, however, an argument that there is a space, therefore, for hero content to be created outside of these peak times. This is because there will be less competition outside of these peak times, so your content is more likely to be engaged with.
When creating Hero content, you should think less about the product you’re selling and more about the brand. What kind of values do you want to promote? What do you want the brand to be associated with?
Hero content often relies on storytelling and emotionally driven marketing. It is designed to trigger strong responses from consumers. Traditionally these responses are either happiness, anger or joy.
The best Hero content is not only memorable but also reinforces a strong, positive connection between the viewer and the brand.
Types of Hero content
Hero content is traditionally split into three distinct types – video, whitepaper and research.
There are other types of Hero content as well, but these tend to be incredibly expensive and limited to brands with budgets and resources to get them off the ground.
Video lends itself well to Hero content. As Hero content is typically about storytelling and evoking emotion, video content gives you a real chance to do this.
Video also allows a lot of brands the creativity to create something that could really transform the brand and – dare I use the V word? – go viral.
Going viral was, of course, the thing back in the day. To a lot of c-suite members, it still is. Although, the more educated among us will realise that going viral may attract eyeballs, but not necessarily sales.
Another strength of video content is that it is not limited on the channels that you can promote it. You can host a long-form video on the site, whilst also cutting parts of it for use in Display ads and social media.
For a lot of brands, TV ads or advertising videos will work well for Hero campaigns. This makes sense, as TV ads will already have an enormous reach and audience, and often – as was the case with our work with Mr Green – have increased conversion rates due to brand recall. This can translate into enough interest to carry the rest of the campaign if required.
This section covers not only whitepapers but also surveys, reports, research pieces, guides and ebooks. To make my own life easier, I’ll refer to them all collectively as ‘whitepapers’.
Whitepapers – along with research, surveys, reports, guides and ebooks – tend to be less expensive to produce, but more time-intensive. If you’re in a B2B sector, whitepapers can prove immensely powerful.
The key with whitepapers is to make them interesting. Because the language of a whitepaper tends to be more formal, you need to ensure that the content is really engaging.
Whitepapers, and other research pieces especially, aren’t just regular pieces of content. You want users to benefit from reading your report. They need to be able to take their time on it, whilst also taking something from it. This can be insight, actionable tips or even resources.
Making your whitepaper interesting doesn’t just refer to the content, however. You should also think about the layout of your whitepaper. Remember that hundreds of thousands of whitepapers are released each year, so it’s important to make yours stand out from the pack.
When designing your whitepaper, you need to ensure that it is polished and professional, whilst also in-keeping with your brand. You want your whitepaper to help establish you as a thought-leader, so it’s important to look the part.
As with other Hero pieces, you should plan your whitepapers to be released around major events in your industry.
Don’t limit yourself!
Don’t think that you are limited to just these two types of content for your Hero content though. Some of the best Hero content pieces have been as simple as a landing page.
Landing pages, apps and sizeable PR stunts all work as Hero pieces. It all depends on your budget.
Example of Hero Content
This is a great place for me to highlight some of the work that Harvest does at producing pieces of Hero content for our clients. You can see some of the work we do here.
However, the example I want to highlight is the Fearless Girl, which was installed March 7th, 2017 in Bowling Green, Manhattan.
The Fearless Girl was a great piece of marketing that got worldwide coverage earlier this year. The Fearless Girl was installed to send a message about gender diversity, as well as to encourage companies to balance out the gender inequality on their boards.
“Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference”
The Fearless Girl sparked many conversations all around the globe, including thinkpieces, national and international coverage. The social coverage was colossal, and the number of links gained from the installation of the statue continues to pay dividends (I just linked to it, 5 months later!)
All in all, not bad for an investment management company.