How do you measure whether your video content is capturing hearts and minds, or just generating likes? And how can you use it to recruit loyal brand followers who keep coming back for more?
These are just some of the challenges we discussed at our latest Insight Breakfast event, in which marketers explored how they could use Hub content to improve businesses’ communications strategy.
Hub content is that hard working, ‘permission marketing’ podcast, event and video content that audiences really value and sign up for. It builds a brand conversation with consumers, which, when done right, evolves into a long term relationship.
And that’s why, within YouTube’s ‘Hero, Hub, Help’ content framework pyramid, Hub content is probably the hardest to get right. ‘Hero’ is at the top of the pyramid, the beacon that draws audiences in, while the ‘Hub’ and ‘Help’ content works really hard to turn those audiences into a brand community. Click to watch the videos from all three of our events on Help, Hero and Hub content.
Red Bull’s head of programming & audience, Tom Reding, myself and our audience of leading marketers explored how we can ensure great Hub content truly lights the customer journey in our experience economy:
Develop meaningful audience relationships based around your core brand purpose
Understand what your brand’s core purpose is, then use that to inform a content strategy which also includes an understanding of your audience proposition and content objectives. And do that job before even picking up a camera. Otherwise your content won’t be authentic, credible, relevant or sustaining to your target audience.
For example, our agency’s Steps to Investing Hub content for asset management firm Janus Henderson work releases ‘demystified’ weekly, actionable advice for people that want to learn about investing. It’s a natural brand fit, with a long term approach which is driving more visitors to the brand website.
Also – ensure that brand purpose is agreed and understood by all internal stakeholders so when it comes to measurement, everyone is in agreement as to whether your hub content is really delivering or not.
Take a long term, trial and error approach
Hub content isn’t about producing a quick spike. It’s about producing content which brings customers into your brand promise over time. So it takes time to get it right. And it’s not a static process. Marketers need to have the resilience and patience to give the Hub campaign chance to work, regularly testing which elements are cutting through, and which need amending throughout the process. Using a consistent content format will allow you to make small tweaks at a time rather than a wholesale change, so you can really understand what works and what doesn’t.
For example, Red Bull’s Great British Swim audiences were particularly engaged with the stomach-churning physical results of swimmer Ross Edgley’s epic 155 day swim around the British Isles. So the brand produced and publicised more of the same – whether it was footage showing bits of Ross’ tongue falling off or his neck infection.
Use qualitative data to inform your test and learn strategy
To produce habit-forming content, go beyond identifying short term KPIs – for example likes and shares – to measure behavioural and attitudinal change with qualitative insight. Sample sizes of only 300, which cost a few hundred pounds, are well worth any investment if they help uncover whether you delivered on your brand objectives. And that sort of insight is also useful for ROI conversations with internal stakeholders, who, by the way, also need to agree those qualitative measurements and KPIs upfront.
Understand your content ecosystem
Understand the context in which your hub content is operating, then ensure it has a distinct role and proposition across each relevant managed/ owned/ partner channels. For example, Twitch is best for gaming content, whereas Twitter needs to be used for more news-based content and YouTube is the home of content waiting to be found by searchers.
Diversifying your brand platforms will also help spread any risk and opportunity to engage audiences. Then linking anything you do back to your own network and channels – through calls to action or additional content – will ensure you complete the circle.
Watch the algorithm!
Platform algorithms respond to current audience engagement patterns to understand which content to push. So they’re ever-evolving. Pay attention to the trends and respond accordingly. For example, the current trend is for longer form videos and less frequent uploads on YouTube. This dictates a filming format which sets up the intrigue of your narrative in the first eight seconds, in order to keep those audiences with you for the longer film duration.
Know your competition
Analysing how your competitors are performing against you and what drives engagement will help ensure your hub content sticks. And by understanding and following current trends and successful techniques, internet algorithms will naturally start suggesting your videos to competitor audiences as additional, relevant content. A focussed insight report will help you achieve your commercial objectives even more efficiently.