Revisiting the ‘Hero, Hub, Hygiene’ Approach to Content

Published on June 21, 2017

According to our friends at J. Blanton Plumbing, we should consider the three “F’s” when it comes to picking out a toilet. The guys at Chicago-based BJ construction always remind us to “KISS,” or “keep it simple, stupid” when coming at a home project. And even here in the Geek office, we’re constantly trying to remember the five “W’s” of headline writing.

There are countless acronyms, mnemonic devices, and catchphrases that make life easier for people across professions. One that consistently gets batted around in the digital marketing community is known as the three “H” approach to creating content.

Those three “H’s” are “hero,” “hub,” and “hygiene,” and, together, they comprise an effective framework for creating a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Let’s break down what hero, hub, and hygiene mean, how they work, and how you can put the elements of this strategy to work creating real value for your brand:

What Is a Hero, Hub, Hygiene Content Strategy?

After a little digging, the earliest reference we can find to this content marketing framework appears to date from 2014, and it seems to be related pretty exclusively to creating YouTube content. Since then, however, savvy marketers have adapted the three “H’s” for other types of digital marketing content.

In essence, the three “H’s” refer to a three-pronged approach to creating content. The idea is that your brand should focus on maintaining three pools of content at once, each targeted at reaching a unique audience and, by extension, accomplishing a specific goal.

Hero content is designed to reach a large audience and increase your brand awareness. This is high impact, mass appeal content intended to reach as many people as possible and engage them with your brand, possibly for the first time.

As our friends at Search Engine Land suggest, an effective way to approach hero content is to think of what you create as “entertainment, storytelling and experiential events.” This is fun, engaging stuff that may not necessarily be in lock-step with what your brand does, but is related enough to pique an audience’s interest.

Creating an eBook is a great, cost-effective way to get started with hero content; you may also consider hosting a social media competition or giveaway, designing a highly shareable infographic, or creating a video with the potential to go viral.

Hub content, as its name suggests, is the content that speaks more closely to what’s at your hub – it communicates to audiences who you are, what you do, and where you’re located, increasing your trust and authority with your audience.

Hub content is a lower budget proposition that could well have a higher impact overall, as this is the content that is most likely to prompt retention and keep your brand top of mind, helping generate conversions. This is also the content that establishes the brand themes that you can then weave into the other aspects of your content marketing

A regularly-updated blog is a great way to get started building your backlog of hub content; sharing this content via an email newsletter and across your social media channels is a great way to ensure that it reaches an even wider audience. Visual content is also great at bolstering your hub, and you should be sure to include a variety of high quality images in your content, whenever and wherever possible.

Hygiene content can also be thought of as “helpful” content; it refers to the content that you create to educate consumers and tackle any questions that they might have about your industry or your product. In a way, this is the content that most specifically boosts your SEO efforts, as it is designed to target the questions and concerns that your audience is likely asking their search engines every single day.

Rather than going on and on about your brand, think of hygiene content as your chance to freely provide solutions to common problems that your audience may be seeking out online. While this may seem like a slightly counter-intuitive approach, audiences will respond more to content that seems unbiased and genuinely helpful than to anything that reeks of aggressive self-promotion.

“How to” articles and videos, FAQ posts, user testimonials and reviews, and other content that focuses on helping a user achieve a specific, searchable goal all qualify as hygiene; all of these pieces of content help inspire trust and faith in an audience and help position you as a thought leader in your field. Create value, in other words, and it will come back to you.

When taken together, your hero, hub, and hygiene content are able to reach customers who happen to be at each stage of the “buyer’s journey,” meaning that you’re increasing your chances of converting a customer whether you’re just reaching them for the first time, or getting back in touch after they’ve already made a purchase. But the strategy only works if all three content pools are fully functional and always operating in tandem.

Ready to Get Started?

Of course, we recognize that getting started with cultivating and sharing this multi-pronged, multi-platform approach to content creation is easier said than done. It takes time to research, draft, and edit blog posts; source or create high quality images; and maintain a sharing schedule via email and social media. We understand!

That’s where the Geek team comes in! Our focus has always been on creating and sharing unique, branded content that helps your business stand out, find new customers, and retain existing ones. Curious what great content can do for you? Have any questions about the three “H’s,” or any other aspect of content marketing? We’d love to help get you started down the right path. Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!

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