This post is more in a series of articles designed to help you to develop your content marketing methodology that we call the Content Cascade.
In this blog, we are going to discuss how you can start out with content marketing, specifically a video, and design a killer piece of Hero content.
Seth Godin calls content marketing “the only marketing left” – in a modern internet age, it’s important to be as genuine and authentic as possible – and when done right, it can impact your brand hugely.
Producing regular content is a staple of your marketing strategy. Whether you start small or have bigger budgets available – it’s important to produce content regularly and constantly help position your brand as a thought leader in your industry. By starting with Hero content, you can make a great start on your content strategy.
You can then go on to amplify this further via paid channels or update it regularly to become evergreen content. Remember to make sure it’s relevant to your audience and aims to help solve their problems.

What is Hero content?

Hero content is an idea for a brand that’s created to appeal to a mass audience. This content should be data-driven and researched thoroughly. Hero content is designed to expose as many potential customers as possible to a brand or business.
We see Hero content every day. It’s on our TV’s, Radios, Instagram feeds – and even on billboards. It’s not a new concept. What is new, is knowing how to curate it properly! Plenty of brands and businesses have tried (and failed) at this concept, but if it’s done right, it can really propel your brand in the right direction and aid in your marketing growth.
Big ideas and a lot of research mean that this can take a long time to produce and can be quite expensive. That’s why it’s important to invest in data and research, and reuse these numbers and ideas to go on and create your pillar and consideration content after.
If you are not familiar with the concept of Pillars and Consideration Content, then go back and take a look at our Content Cascade Template.

…but what makes good Hero content?

Hero content should always aim to reach a large audience.
That might correspond to high profile events like Christmas, and it usually is centred on an emotional or storytelling approach, designed to trigger a positive feeling of connection with the audience. Think of the big retailers’ Christmas videos, how memorable they are, how they create a positive connection with the brand. And most importantly, the impact they have in terms of amplification and reach across the social networks.
But great Hero content isn’t just for big business-to-consumer brands.  It is being used effectively by what could be perceived as more traditional B2B (business to business) content marketing campaigns.
And of course, if the goal of Hero content is to reach a large audience, by that we mean reaching big numbers of the right kinds of audiences.
By understanding where your audience is, you can then go on to map out a full amplification strategy using multiple channels. You could use channels such as:

  • Paid Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat)
  • Organic Social (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat)
  • Google Networks (Search network, Display network, YouTube)
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital PR/Outreach
  • Paid placements on advertorial websites

Bear in mind, your content may also require reworks for different platforms. Different sizing and different lengths for various different channels.

Formats & Examples

We would never recommend focussing on formats to start your hero content off – but they can’t be forgotten! The good news is there is a huge range of content formats you can look into and explore for your ideas. You should always start with your idea and then go on to various format types it would work for.
Some examples of where I have seen service and product-related content work well are in formats such as major adverts, competitions, experiential activities, and viral content. Whereas business and brand-specific can be created as Ebooks, Whitepapers and Webinars – it all depends on your industry.
In Manufacturing, for instance, four times as many consumers prefer to watch a product video than read about it. Whereas in general, companies using Video marketing receive 66% more qualified leads per year. 

Case Study: Cadent Gas – A day in the life of…

Cadent Gas Limited manage four of the eight gas distribution networks in the UK. They needed to establish their brand and build awareness with their market.
It was paramount that Cadent Gas Limited educated the public and key stakeholders to establish trust and recognition and that when a rare unexpected incident happens they run emergency operations in their network and maintain and repair gas pipes in their network.
We worked alongside Cadent Gas Limited to create a set of stories from their staff. These stories worked best in a video format and aimed to answer questions their audience may have, as well as change the narrative around their brand. By building brand awareness with a campaign that was catered towards their key audience personas, we helped people understand what happens behind the scenes of closed roads, road works, and gas mains replacements. Traditionally, people saw these events as an obstacle to everyday life, but by changing the conversation, we showed how Cadent is helping people all over the UK, every day.
This idea worked as Hero Content because it:
✅ Told a story
✅ Solved a problem for key customer personas 
✅ Takes something complicated (gas networks) and breaks down the benefits
✅ Is fact-based and informative

You can find out more about our campaign here. 

GoPro – Beyond Next Level

GoPro’s product marketing team deserve a medal for their advertising. Whenever they start out with a new concept they concentrate first on their idea and then the audience.
The key to this piece of content is that they created the concept and idea before they created the format. With Hero content, the idea comes first, and the format comes second. Whenever you go away and do ideation, always ask yourself ‘what problem am I solving?’
For this campaign, the problem their customers were facing was around shaky video. With the introduction of a new ‘Hypersmooth 2.0’ feature, every activity you could possibly use a GoPro for is filmed in high quality, with their own products. For me, the best part about this is that it doesn’t feel like a sales video. It feels genuine, driven by User Generated Content, and puts you in the shoes of the user. I don’t even do Motorcross or surfing – and I want one!
The Hero content they created provided:

✅ A broad overview of a product
✅ Targeted at a wide range of customers under a broad area of focus ‘adventuring’
✅ Tells a story
✅ Uses real-life customer examples
✅ Inspires you and put’s you in the place of the customer

Hero Content: Video format

Some of the best examples of Hero content come from videos. As far as content goes, Video is one of the best formats purely because it’s so engaging. People now consume most content on their phones and want an engaging and immersive experience. In fact, over 90% of the content is now consumed on mobile, which plays a big factor in how your content is understood by people and how the information gets retained with your audience.
Wyzowl’s 2017 state of Video Marketing survey showed that:

  • 81% of people surveyed saw an increase in sales.
  • 97% of businesses using explainer videos say it helps users understand their business better.
  • Of those that aren’t using video, 73% have bought a product after watching a video.
  • 94% of businesses see video as an effective tool.

So basically, If you aren’t doing video – you better get on it for 2020!

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