The Hero-Hub-Help Approach to Content Strategy

Content is king. This most certainly is not the first time that I’ve mentioned this truism on the blog and it probably won’t be the last time either. It’s holds up regardless of what kind of content you want to publish on the web, whether that’s with a blog, a vlog, or on social media. Pump out quality content on a consistent basis and that will serve as a strong foundation for whatever goals you may wish to achieve on the platform.

But what does “quality” content or “good” content really mean? And what does it really mean fo you to publish this content on a “consistent” basis? Turning to the experts at YouTube, they recommend a particular content programming schedule and strategy that has worked for many of the most successful channels. You can deviate from the structure to fit your particular brand and style of content, of course, but the basic structure consists of three tiers.

YouTube says that consistent content programming is crucial for success, but it is equally important that you structure your content programming in a way that both satisfies your subscriber base and facilitates long-term growth. It’s important that your content schedule is consistent and sustainable.

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The strategy is called Hero-Hub-Help. You can think about it like a pyramid, as depicted above. Alternatively, you might think about it like a timeline grid or like the guide on your TV cable box.

The Hero at the Top

The main idea here is that you release “hero” content on a relatively infrequent basis, perhaps only once every few months. Your hero content is larger in scope (and possibly in budget), really hoping to attract new subscribers and new audiences to your channel. Your hero content should be your flagship. It’s meant to go viral. It’s meant to be big and audacious. It’s “tentpole” content.

It would be unrealistic for you to release “hero” content on a more frequent basis, because hero content typically requires more resources, more budget, more planning and more time. It wouldn’t be sustainable to release “hero” content every week.

The Hub in the Middle

One step down from the hero content is your “hub” content. This is the type of content that you would release on as consistent and as reliable a schedule as possible. These have repeating elements so your existing subscribers know exactly what to expect.

Driving with John Chow or Dot Com Lunch are a couple of good examples you may be familiar with here. The point here isn’t to attract new subscribers, per se, as much as it is to keep your existing viewers and subscribers coming back for more.

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The Help at the Bottom

And finally at the bottom of the pyramid is your “help” content. In some ways, this might be similar to or related to your “hub” content, except it’s not necessarily scheduled on a regular basis. You might have a consistent “Friday Finds” or “Mindless Mondays” segment that would fall under the “hub” category, because they’re released on the same day every week.

There are two key differences with “help” content. First, it’s released all the time and at any time. There’s not a specific schedule except that it should be published frequently. Second, the goal of “help” content is to help your audience. You are answering a specific question or addressing a particular interest. In other words, you’re helping your viewer or reader.

The Final Word

If your YouTube channel (or blog or social media profile) is filled with nothing but “help” content, it’s could get too boring too quickly and you may have a hard time growing your subscriber base. If your YouTube channel is filled with nothing but “hero” content, you’re not going to be able to keep up with a consistent (and relatively frequent) release schedule, nor will you be able to provide long-term value to your viewers and readers.

The main take-home lesson here is that you need to balance your hero content against your hub content and your help content. You really should have some variation of all three, maintaining the ideal ratio between the three. Hero content is less frequent but bigger in scope. Hub content is regularly scheduled with recurring elements. And help content fills in all the gaps all the time by providing specific value to your subscribers.

Take a look at your own YouTube channel or blog. Does your content align with the hero-hub-help pattern? Where do you think you are coming up short? Where do you think you are doing particularly well?

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3 thoughts on “The Hero-Hub-Help Approach to Content Strategy”

  1. I like this idea of staggering things Michael. I am a big fan of guest posting. On some blogs I write 600 word pieces. On others it is 1200 words. I publish 1500 word pieces on Blogging From Paradise, save my podcast and eBook release posts, so I mix up the hero and helpful posts nicely. I also feel it has to resonate with you. Post length aka style, I mean. Writing 7000 word posts 3 years ago felt heavy to me. Even though I did a fine job publishing said posts to my blog, it felt hard/heavy, so I just released on the idea, started writing 6000 word eBooks, and self-published over 100 of those suckas on Amazon 😉

    Better to create some help style, 30-45 minute reads and get KDP payments from Associate payments in addition to publishing my blog posts and guest posts versus forcing content thru only 1-2 channels.

    Fab points here all around MK 🙂

  2. Susan Velez says:

    Hi Michael,

    Great tips, especially for someone who is trying to grow their YouTube channel. I have to admit, most of the videos on my channel are help videos.

    I need to start focusing more on hero content. I tend to do better with creating the hub type of videos.

    I know what I am going to create and I just create it. I’ll have to start thinking about creating more hero content for both my YouTube channel and my blog.

    Thanks for sharing these tips have a great day 🙂

    Susan

  3. Priya Goyal says:

    Hello Michael,

    very good tips thanks for sharing ……good job.

    Thanks

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