What’s a hook?
If you’re going to create valuable content for your target audience, and you’re going to stick to a format, you must have a hook. Formats give your content structure; a hook gives it character. A hook is, quite simply, a unique content concept that is designed to ensnare and trap your unsuspecting audience into consuming and sharing your content.
Hooks enable your audience to build a relationship with your content each time it’s delivered. A twist on a familiar structure is what makes your content unique, but a hook is what gets people to talk about it.
Example: Devin Graham creates valuable video content
Photographer and storyteller Devin Graham creates energetic extreme sports music videos. That’s how I’d describe his hook. If you think mountain biking is extreme, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Devin’s “huge bike jump into a pond” music video. Like snowboarding? Maybe you should experiment with saltboarding — that’s snowboarding pulled by ATVs on the salt flats in the desert. Like rock climbing? Check out his video about the world’s largest rope swing.
Devin releases a new extreme music video every week, so he’s got frequency down. His production value is phenomenal, and the substance of his music videos is consistently good. Quality? Check. His videos speak to a young, hip, male audience, and every content choice he makes — from the music he uses in his videos to the extreme experiments he chooses to shoot — directly appeals to this target audience. Want proof? in just over a year, his video content has generated 300 weekly subscribers and have been viewed more than 56 million times.
So, Devin is relevant, and he’s got a format that’s working for him — music videos. Though these brand attributes themselves aren’t particularly notable in the world of video, his unique hook sets his content apart from others on the crowded YouTube landscape.
The water jet pack
In early 2011, as Devin was getting his YouTube channel up and running, he happened on a mediocre marketing video for an extreme product he knew his audience would love. The product was called the JetLev R200. Check out the brand’s marketing video:
Devin approached the JetLev team about featuring its product in one of his signature music videos. Moreover, he offered to create this video content for free (all the company had to do was pay for his travel to Florida, where the company was based, and let him play around with their product).
“They were skeptical at first,” Devin remembers. “They imagined my YouTube channel was just a bunch of kids. The JetLev costs more than $100,000, which is a lot, if you’re hoping these kids are going to save up their allowance to buy one. I told them that, yes, my videos attract a lot of younger consumers, but those consumers have parents, and their parents have money.”
The brand agreed to have Devin come down and create a video showcasing the JetLev R200, and the end results were spectacular. Go ahead, see for yourself:
Through this unique hook, Devin’s video content managed to capture not only what a JetLev R200 is, but also the fun and excitement it generates for those lucky enough to ride one. More importantly, it helped build a memorable association between the JetLev brand and the engaging, visceral experiences depicted in all of Devin’s videos.
Within a few weeks, the JetLev extreme music video had been viewed by more than 1 million people, attracting a wide range of JetLev’s target market of male viewers between the ages of 18 to 55. The JetLev team sent Devin an email describing a few more of the positive effects the video had on their business: Devin’s video had generated many more serious customer inquiries than even a four-minute piece that aired on several FOX television stations around the country had. When compared to the quick, one-time exposure JetLev received from FOX, Devin’s video kept generating interest: By August, the video had been viewed by 2 million people; by November, its views reached 3 million, and by July 2012, 5.4 million viewers had watched Devin’s Water Jet Pack video and were talking about it. That one piece of video content now has 9,100 comments and counting. Who’s watching that FOX news story today?
Powerful partnerships with a hook!
Devin’s channel is successful for one major reason: He’s got a hook that his audience loves. But the partnership between Devin and JetLev worked as a duet — a simple brandscape. Devin got access to a $100,000 piece of equipment few people had ever seen, and JetLev got awesome branded video content that successfully drove demand.
You created content with a smart hook like Devin’s? How would you twist your content to make it unique?
Devin’s JetLev story is just one of the many lessons marketers can learn about valuable content, how to create it, and who we can partner with to be more successful. Want more details on the JetLev video and its content marketing impact? Dive into Andrew Davis’ book, “Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.”