The Hero-Hub-Hygiene model is a powerful framework for producing creative, content rich marketing campaigns. Hero-Hub-Hygiene was originally a content marketing model devised by Google in 2014 for YouTube publishers. It was developed to be an integrated communications strategy to help brands, and especially digital marketers, get the greatest impact from their efforts. Allowing brand teams to diversify content to build audience loyalty and longevity, rather than falling into a common marketing trap of chasing tactical spikes in attention from viral content (and the inevitable troughs that follow) at the expense of strategic brand communications.

These principles can and should be applied to all forms of content marketing though. The creative content approach can be thought of in terms of the three Ps: Power, Push, and Pull content. Applying the model in this way can help brands and marketers fill the gaps in their content, and to plan their future content strategy, for an always on creative approach. It can also designed ensure that their communications plan addresses the need for both fundamental content, as well as creative brand-building activity.

Power is the Hero lead creative, designed to impact and inspire viewers. Push is the Hub, from which a brand pushes out regular content. While Pull is the Hygiene (or 'Help') content, designed to pull in users based on their custom searches and specific interests.


Hero communications are those big creative campaigns or initiatives that are designed to build immediate brand awareness and increase engagement as part of a major campaign. Hero content is designed to be highly shareable and leave a lasting impression on a mass audience. So they usually require a more sizable investment in terms of time and financial resources. And while they can generate significant returns, they also carry higher risk. Many content marketers have invested big in hero campaigns that haven't saved the day.

So how do you ensure that your creative is the hero and not a villain? Hero campaigns need to create a large impact, generate coverage across a range of media, and get people to take notice of the brand message. These are often multi-channel campaigns, involving the full spectrum of owned, earned and paid media, across online and offline channels.

And that is often the key to whether hero content will succeed or fail. Many great hero ideas fizzle because they have not had enough planning or investment to make sure they actually get seen, discussed and shared. While other ideas might have huge levels of investment and resources behind them to push the campaign out there, but aren't creative or relevant enough to stand out from the flood of content people are bombarded with every day. Creativity and relevance are key.


What do your target audiences care about? What are they reading, saying and sharing? What motivates them and what gets them thinking? How can you meet their needs in a way that your competitors aren’t? Can you somehow inspire your audiences, and get them thinking about new ways of doing things? Can you inform them, or talk about the next big trend that they might want to be a part of? These are the sorts of questions that shape and inform successful ‘hub’ communications.

Hub content is created primarily to generate brand awareness and increase engagement with a brand's audience or audiences, by pushing highly relevant content directly to them that is of value to them. So it's often more topical creative and shareable than always-on hygiene content. Where it differs from hero creative is in its longevity. It is more enduring and so requires less resources to regularly produce and promote.


Hygiene content, can also be referred to as 'helping content' and typically isn’t overly creative, although it can be. But in its simplest form, hygiene communications are the functional content that forms the foundation of a successful communications strategy. And hygiene plays a vital role in guiding audiences through the purchasing process. Examples include always-on social media communications, such as through Facebook and Instagram.

In many cases, hygiene content can be the first and primary point of engagement between a brand and its audience. So it must always be on brand. It is often the content that secures a brand’s visibility in organic search for particular keyword phrases (particularly long-tail phrases). So it can offer audiences key pieces of information that encourage them to continue their journey.

Getting a brand's hygiene content right often delivers the biggest attributable return on investment from content marketing. So it is vital to continuously monitor where hygiene content is performing well, or where it isn’t performing, and where there are potential gaps in the communications strategy.

As the most common type of content, hygiene maintains promotional efforts to keep a brand attractive and top-of-mind for the core target audience. This content is designed to consistently ‘pull’ new people in. Posting on social media channels with a focus on engagement, reach, and new followers increases the number of people who are aware of the brand offering. Through valuable content, those people may then provide permission for further engagement, whether through social media, email, or other direct method, making them targets for the brand's hub communications

In this way, hygiene and hub content work steadily to build interest and engagement, while highly creative hero content delivers outstanding impact.