Toward went to visit The Content Hub in Cardiff

By Liz,

September 2021

The Content Hub recently came to St David’s shopping centre in Cardiff. It was sold as a sort of ‘room of requirement’ for capturing images to use for content and social media marketing. Which might be particularly useful for businesses and influencers who do a lot of TikTok and Instagramming in general. It was basically a collection of props, backdrops and pretty things.

The Content Hub was only available for a short time (until the end of August) it naturally filled us with a sense of panic and FOMO. Suffice to say, we had to go check it out.

We wanted to see what was on offer and what potential an experience like this could do for both individuals and businesses.

Collage of Toward's day out at the Content Hub in Cardiff

It’s finally happened

This type of visual / 'picture and story' type content is everywhere. It’s how information is consumed now. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Even academics understand the assignment and are giving most of their content on the likes of Instagram, TikTok and Youtube. They have books and blogs too, of course! But it’s being proven all over the shop that it works for the people. And doesn’t detract from the message, or whatever it is they’re trying to get in front of people.
Collage of Dr Jessica Taylor content across multiple platforms
Dr Jessica Taylor meets people where they’re at.

You might not need to post an instagram reel or youtube video every day (although some people do) but you’ll likely need a bank of images and graphics that you can use & repurpose for different posts. Particularly for daily posts.

This is where the concept of the content hub comes into play. Or could have.

Where the concept of a 'Content Hub' works & is particularly useful

OK, so it’s not going to work for all brands, products and services. But sometimes you’ll just need a colourful/abstract backdrop for posts. Stuff that catches your eye but lets the actual words do the talking.

Products / Retail

Collage of screenshots of examples of instagram product photography

Clearly, these are established brands, but having a backdrop for products might be good for startups and smaller businesses to give the illusion of retail or commercial space. But then, you could equally use a local park, nice garden, bathroom, or whatever. But we are talking about having a bank of images so the more the merrier to pad out what you’ve got.

It also gives the illusion of products in context which you could use as product images* on a website or on social media.

*Bear in mind some ecommerce platforms (like Amazon) have criteria for product images being on white backdrops so any ‘fancy’ pictures would need to supplement those not be a replacement for.

Services / Influencers

Holding up a sign, text over a blank space, there are loads of different ways to use a pretty backdrop to promote a message rather than a product. It requires a bit of thought and planning but, again, we’re talking about needing a lot of imagery to be able to sustain a social media presence and keep things fresh.
Collage of examples of social media posts

Some of our impartial thoughts

Why it works

It’s fun. This particular content creation space was bright and fabulous so it made for nice eye candy. So if that’s something that would fit with your brand then all the better.

It made for abstract images that can be repurposed and re-shared across a variety of social media platforms. Accounts with a heavily content-based purpose do really well, especially those with a clear theme and concept behind it. It’s not uncommon to see a fairly nondescript picture of something with reeeeeams of text underneath.

Why it possibly doesn’t work

It’s impersonal. That may or may not matter to you, or to anyone buying your products and services. It isn’t necessarily a HUGE issue.

Kind of a similar point to the last point, it could also easily be irrelevant to your brand, products or services. A pink piano might not be relevant to your accountancy business. I know, I know. Shocking. If you work in telecomms then a pink phone booth might work. It’s still pretty tenuous though.

It could run the risk of making the user look unoriginal. While 9/10 people won’t know you’ve booked out a “content hub” for an hour, but some might. It MIGHT put them off your brand. Maybe, if, possibly. Decide if you care about that or not.

Real talk - how to make the most of this kind of thing

We can’t speak for other places like this but The Content Hub was £9.99 for an hour. That’s per person. So if you turned up with 4 people, that would suddenly become... a LOT of money.

It might help to think of it as just a venue. A venue in which to film and photograph different concepts and scenarios. Annoyingly, the way it’s sold definitely had the impression of “one stop shop” about it. That you might walk in as an ordinary citizen and then be completely transformed into some sort of influencer extraordinaire. That, of course, isn’t the case. Spoiler alert!

So, unless you had a specific plan of attack (and we strongly suggest having one) then the space provided alone may not be enough to bring your concept to life. Basically what we’re saying is... You can’t just rock up and make artsy things happen.

Do your research & be prepared

What content are you looking to get out of this experience and how would it represent your brand? Are you looking to make a topical statement or jump aboard a new trend with some filler content? Either way, give it some thought.

Lighting, props and styling / mood boards...

You don’t need to be a professional photographer but there are basic principles to follow. Use the wealth of tips and information that the internet has to offer. Or just rope in a photographer friend and buy them an ice cream. Look around for inspiration from influencers, blogs, youtube videos etc - utilise what’s working and put your own spin on it. Bring your own props and prepare multiple outfits for styling. That kind of thing. Bottom line is, getting exactly what you want would require some effort.

Either way, we’d recommend using a space like The Content Hub with purpose and clear intentions to get the most out of your time and money.

Did you go to the Content Hub? Seen something similar? Tweet us your thoughts!