Content Strategy That Works: Hero, Hub, And Hygiene [VIDEO]

Ingeborg van Beusekom

There was a lot of hype about viral marketing when social media first appeared. Nowadays, you need to have more to offer than just a single little film with a good jingle circulating on social media channels. A good content marketing strategy is required to form a continuously strong bond with your target group. The “hero, hub, hygiene” method provides a solid base for this.

In the early days of Web 2.0, creating a good viral content was like looking for a golden egg. The formula was quite simple: come up with shocking, funny, or at least well-structured content (quite often an image or a video) and let it loose on YouTube and all social media channels. Your target group would do the rest.

This strategy had one big drawback. First of all, it caused enormous peaks: in views of the content itself, in attention for your company, and – if you were lucky – in sales figures. Once the viral had lost its magic, though, visitors did not return. This means that quite often, investing in viral marketing is not a long-term success.

Long-term loyalty

Content marketing took over the role of marketing division catalyst. It may seem like stating the obvious to say it, but good content can be used to move and motivate your target group, creating enthusiasm. And especially to ensure long-term loyalty. But a good strategy is essential, as content is like sand running through your fingers. Without a strategy and context, blogs and videos, among other things, are merely one-shots.

Google introduced a content strategy as a guideline for marketeers who wanted to build up a fan-share on YouTube. The web giant called it “hero, hub, hygiene,” referring to the three types of content upon which this strategy is based. Although it was originally intended to be used for video content, this applies to all types of content marketing in a more general sense. The strategy works, as I know from experience: at SAP, hero, hub, hygiene forms part of our content strategy.

But what is hero, hub, hygiene?

The hero, hub, and hygiene approach is based on three types of content:

1. Hero

This is the content that was previously popular in viral marketing. This is a blog, article, or video that attracts enormous numbers of visitors and in which you – as an organization – invest a lot of time and effort. This may be content related to the most important event or product launch of the year.

In contrast with the two other types of content, an advertising video works best here. Even better: an advertising video makes it possible to let loose completely when it comes to viral sensitivity. What is important is that it should address a wider target group and have the potential to go viral. A normal frequency is one to two hero productions per year.

This Volvo commercial is a good example of hero content. It is actually quite an old-fashioned advertising video, but one that went enormously viral due to the sensational performance of the main actor.

2. Hub

Hub content is content that has been specially aimed at the specific interests of your target group. This allows the company to lead the target group, ensuring that it remains in view.

This content is always actively pushed to its intended recipient or appears at regular, predictable intervals so that visitors will return at specific times. Think of a series of blogs, in which the bloggers explore a specific phenomenon in greater depth. Or videos that deal with a specific topic each week.

3. Hygiene

This is daily or at least regular content that is particularly aimed at searches carried out by the target group. Examples are how-to articles, recipes, workshops and “what is …” articles.

The aim of the content is to draw new visitors, especially via search engines. By offering this support content, you are helping to build up the perception of reliability and goodwill of your organization. This is also the broad undercurrent: as far as frequency is concerned, hygiene content has the highest ranking.

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Content pyramid

The strength of this content pyramid is that these types of content interact and reinforce each other. The hero content builds up visitor numbers: it can boost your corporate brand in the short term, thus adding a lot of subscribers to your YouTube channel, for example.

The hub content then ensures visitors keep on returning. This can’t be combined with commercials, as nobody likes to see repeated advertising videos from the same company. However, it can be combined with useful content for a specific target group segment. By using good hub content to create a lot of involvement and response, you start to relate to a target group, resulting in new content ideas for all three of the content categories.

Finally, the hygiene content ensures good visibility in search engines. This means a stable stream of new visitors, who can then link to the hub content. They might do this by subscribing to a newsletter or a specific YouTube channel on which hub content of interest to them appears. Above all, hygiene content creates insight into what is currently trendy and what is not.

Yet another argument for the hero-hub-hygiene strategy: it forces divisions to work closely together. Social media managers, content producers, and web analyzers must repeatedly come together to share their insights. This creates a mutual feeling of responsibility for and involvement with the overall content marketing process.

Content marketing is something many companies want to use. Without a solid base, however, you will use up your budget faster than you think without getting much in return. The hero-hub-hygiene method lets you retain your visitors and actively work on creating a close-knit community. In the end, this is what pays off.

For more on developing content that resonates, see How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Learn more about Omni Channel Marketing.

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Ingeborg van Beusekom

About Ingeborg van Beusekom

Ingeborg van Beusekom is a Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SAP. She is responsible for the overall External Communications of SAP which include Branding and Identity, PR, Account Based Marketing, Developing Global Employer Branding strategy, Internal Communications, Corporate Communications, Developing Creative Concepts, Social Community management, Platform Experience and Social Media Marketing for external Brand Awareness.

Five Goals For Small Business Owners For 2018

Aaron Solomon

Once you’ve wrapped up 2017, you should be hitting the ground running in 2018 for continued success. Here are five goals every small business owner should set for themselves in 2018.

Analyze 2017

While 2017 is over, don’t let it be forgotten. Review how your business performed and what drove revenue. Also pay attention to what didn’t work as well as you’d have liked and allocate your budgets and efforts accordingly. Learn from your successes and failures and use this information to set yourself up for success in 2018!

Increase your customer loyalty

In 2018, all of your competitors will (or should be) trying to take your customers. You should ensure that you have a plan in place for keeping them. Retailers may want to consider a loyalty points program or special promotions targeted at your existing customer base. Even if your business is not retail oriented, take the time to make sure your customers know that they are valued and that there is a benefit to staying with you.

Focus on your employees

A healthy business needs a competent, well-performing workforce. Take steps to not only retain your top performers, but attract top new talent. If you have staff that are not meeting expectations, coach them to improve performance or, if necessary, considering managing them out of your organization. Don’t let staffing hold you back!

Improve your social media marketing

Each passing year, social media marketing is more and more important for driving sales and ensuring success. If you don’t have a social media presence and marketing strategy, make it part of your goals for 2018 to get one started. If you already have one, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to improve it based on your 2017 performance.

Plan for expansion

A good mindset to have is that if you’re not growing, you’re falling behind. Your most threatening competitors will be working hard to grow their businesses, so don’t let them outpace you. Big or small, prioritize developing and executing a growth plan for 2018 to improve your market position!

For more tips on running your small business, visit the SAP Anywhere Customer Success Blog.

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Aaron Solomon

About Aaron Solomon

Aaron Solomon is the head of Training and Content Development for SAP Anywhere. With a dedicated history in knowledge management and consulting, he is driven to provide quality information to customers and help them understand how best to grow their businesses. His areas of expertise include e-commerce management, data analysis, and leveraging technology to improve efficiency.

Adapting To The Digital Sales Revolution

Arif Johari

Is social selling at a tipping point?

“That magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, spreads like wildfire.” – Malcolm Gladwell

Social selling is impacting how sales and marketing teams collaborate, accelerate business, and engage customers. With the technology that supports social selling constantly changing, do the behaviours that make a great social seller need to change too?

The modern buyer requires a modern seller

Charlene Li, principal analyst at Altimeter, wrote in the report, The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling: “Selling must transform because the ways customers buy have changed.”

Forrester’s Mary Shea put it this way in B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment: “Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. They want their experiences with salespeople to be high value or frictionless.”

Sales and marketing reps will be obsolete in two years if they do not adapt

Changing times begets a need for a change in behavior. Look at what email did for communications, the computer took away from the typewriter, CRM did for the world of customer service and sales force automation (SFA) for sales.

Sales and marketing professionals must be aligned with a common understanding of the current buyer’s needs. We must meet the buyer in their digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile-attached, and video-hungry preferences. Today’s buyer wants to talk only with professionals who can add demonstrable value.

Myth: Digital selling is the same as social selling

Incorrect. Social is a component of digital.

Digital selling is understanding how to align the mindset, skillset, and toolset to engage, connect, and grow a relationship through any digital platform—social, video, email, messaging, etc.

“Social does not take the place of a handshake, but it turns a handshake into a hug.” – Brian Fanzo

How to adapt to the digital sales revolution through a social approach

1. Update your LinkedIn profile from a resume to a resource

The more value you can bring to your audience, the more likely that they will become fans, referral partners, and clients.

The litmus test: Does your profile get your buyers excited to take your call? If the answer is yes, then your profile is working for you and your customers!

2. Recognize that Twitter and LinkedIn are like peanut butter and jelly: perfect together

If LinkedIn is your primary social media platform, don’t ignore the power of Twitter.

Add your LinkedIn URL to your Twitter profile. When you have a new targeted follower, start a conversation and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

If your profile is positioned correctly, they will learn much more about you as a thought leader and you can begin to move them forward in the buyer’s journey.

3. Schedule time every single day to work on LinkedIn prospecting.

Treat that time as if you were with a client.

Don’t let your prospecting time get interrupted – it’s the number-one thing you can do to get in front of new clients.

Social selling has become such a hot topic that Coffee-Break with Game Changers is dedicating an entire series to exploring its various facets and promoting best practices for salespeople. To listen to other shows in this series, visit the SAP Radio area of the SAP News Center.

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Arif Johari

About Arif Johari

He is a Communications lead, Digital Marketing generalist, and Social Selling advocate. He trains marketing and sales employees to become experts in Social Selling so that they’d leverage social media as a leads-generation tool. He is responsible for executing innovative marketing strategies to increase engagement in social media, customer community, and landing pages through content, events, and A/B testing. He is passionate in making the work processes of the marketing and sales team more efficient, so that they can generate more revenue in a shorter time.

Human Skills for the Digital Future

Dan Wellers and Kai Goerlich

Technology Evolves.
So Must We.


Technology replacing human effort is as old as the first stone axe, and so is the disruption it creates.
Thanks to deep learning and other advances in AI, machine learning is catching up to the human mind faster than expected.
How do we maintain our value in a world in which AI can perform many high-value tasks?


Uniquely Human Abilities

AI is excellent at automating routine knowledge work and generating new insights from existing data — but humans know what they don’t know.

We’re driven to explore, try new and risky things, and make a difference.
 
 
 
We deduce the existence of information we don’t yet know about.
 
 
 
We imagine radical new business models, products, and opportunities.
 
 
 
We have creativity, imagination, humor, ethics, persistence, and critical thinking.


There’s Nothing Soft About “Soft Skills”

To stay ahead of AI in an increasingly automated world, we need to start cultivating our most human abilities on a societal level. There’s nothing soft about these skills, and we can’t afford to leave them to chance.

We must revamp how and what we teach to nurture the critical skills of passion, curiosity, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and persistence. In the era of AI, no one will be able to thrive without these abilities, and most people will need help acquiring and improving them.

Anything artificial intelligence does has to fit into a human-centered value system that takes our unique abilities into account. While we help AI get more powerful, we need to get better at being human.


Download the executive brief Human Skills for the Digital Future.


Read the full article The Human Factor in an AI Future.


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Dan Wellers

About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is founder and leader of Digital Futures at SAP, a strategic insights and thought leadership discipline that explores how digital technologies drive exponential change in business and society.

Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation.

Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu

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Finance And HR: Friends Or Foes? Shifting To A Collaborative Mindset

Richard McLean

Part 1 in the 3-part “Finance and HR Collaboration” series

In my last blog, I challenged you to think of collaboration as the next killer app, citing a recent study by Oxford Economics sponsored by SAP. The study clearly explains how corporate performance improves when finance actively engages in collaboration with other business functions.

As a case in point, consider finance and HR. Both are being called on to work more collaboratively with each other – and the broader business – to help achieve a shared vision for the company. In most organizations, both have undergone a transformation to extend beyond operational tasks and adopt a more strategic focus, opening the door to more collaboration. As such, both have assumed three very important roles in the company – business partner, change agent, and steward. In this post, I’ll illustrate how collaboration can enable HR and finance to be more effective business partners.

Making the transition to focus on broader business objectives

My colleague Renata Janini Dohmen, senior vice president of HR for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, credits a changing mindset for both finance and HR as key to enabling the transition away from our traditional roles to be more collaborative. She says, “For a long time, people in HR and finance were seen as opponents. HR was focused on employees and how to motivate, encourage, and cheer on the workforce. Finance looked at the numbers and was a lot more cautious and possibly more skeptical in terms of making an investment. Today, both areas have made the transition to take on a more holistic perspective. We are pursuing strategies and approaching decisions based on what delivers the best return on investment for the company’s assets, whether those assets are monetary or non-monetary. This mindset shift plays a key role in how finance and HR execute the strategic imperatives of the company,” she notes.

Viewing joint decisions from a completely different lens

I agree with Renata. This mindset change has certainly impacted the way I make decisions. If I’m just focused on controlling costs and assessing expenditures, I’ll evaluate programs and ideas quite differently than if I’m thinking about the big picture.

For example, there’s an HR manager in our organization who runs Compensation and Benefits. She approaches me regularly with great ideas. But those ideas cost money. In the past, I was probably more inclined to look at those conversations from a tactical perspective. It was easy for me to simply say, “No, we can’t afford it.”

Now I look at her ideas from a more strategic perspective. I think, “What do we want our culture to be in the years ahead? Are the benefits packages she is proposing perhaps the right ones to get us there? Are they family friendly? Are they relevant for people in today’s world? Will they make us an employer of choice?” I quite enjoy the rich conversations we have about the impact of compensation and benefits design on the culture we want to create. Now, I see our relationship as much more collaborative and jointly invested in attracting and retaining the best people who will ultimately deliver on the company strategy. It’s a completely different lens.

Defining how finance and HR align to the company strategy

Renata and I believe that greater collaboration between finance and HR is a critical success factor. How can your organization achieve this shift? “Once the organization has clearly defined what role finance and HR must play and how they fundamentally align to the company strategy, then it’s more natural to structure them in a way to support such transformation,” Renata explains.

Technology plays an important role in our ability to successfully collaborate. Looking back, finance and HR were heavily focused on our own operational areas because everything we did tended to consume more time – just keeping the lights on and taking care of our basic responsibilities. Now, through a more efficient operating model with shared services, standard operating procedures, and automation, we can both be more business-focused and integrated. As a result, we’re able to collaborate in more meaningful ways to have a positive impact on business outcomes.

In our next blog, we’ll look at how finance and HR can work together as agents of change.

For a deeper dive, download the Oxford Economics study sponsored by SAP.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter)LinkedIn | FacebookYouTube

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Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 16,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.