Last November 2013, international brand giant Coca-Cola shook the marketing world when it made a very bold pronouncement that corporate websites, as we know them, are dead.
The conclusion was made no less than Ashley Brown, Coca-Cola Company Group Director of Digital Communications and Social Media, who is charged to bring the centuries-old brand to the digital age.
Mr. Brown is rather direct in his statement: “Today, fans tell the company when to communicate, not the other way around‚ you read it here first: for consumers, the corporate website is dead and ‚press release PR‚ is on its way out.”
His thesis came more than a year after Coca Cola announced a major overhaul in its global corporate website, from a usual set of pages that tell about the company’s history, products, and press releases, to the Coca Cola Journey, a Coca-cola branded magazine that supports the company’s “Happiness” proposition.
SAP VP for Marketing Michael Brenner, echoed this growing sentiment on the death of corporate websites. In an article he wrote for Forbes, Brenner said there is a growing consensus that the corporate website as an online brochure displaying ‚”About Us, Our Products, Latest News About Us, and ‚ Speak To A Representative‚ isn’t working anymore.”
He said everyday companies that used to enjoy website visits to the online brochure of a website are losing out to smaller competitors that have decided to stop using their websites as company mouthpiece and instead shifted to publishers that show content that their customers actually want to consume.
Coke is not the only company that has reworked their website to turn it to a publishing portal. Pepsi is now a publisher of pop generation, Red Bull is a publisher of extreme sports, and General Electric provides content centered on technological imagination.
The trend toward content marketing and brand publishing is not confined to the global web sphere. In the Philippines, more and more companies are starting to learn and are in fact shifting to this. Google Trends also noted a spike in the number of people searching for content marketing in the Philippines.
The success of content marketing is also evident in the Philippines.
One company Comm&Sense worked with, PhilLife Financial, asked to have a new website. Apart from the redesign, we also convinced the company to put up articles on Financial Literacy. From an average of about 300 visits per day, the website now fetches more than 2,000 visits daily.
Another company, a flight school, engaged us to provide articles for their blog section. They also wanted to promote the articles on the Facebook fan page to get more traffic to their website and consequently collect leads for possible aviation students.
On average, this school was getting about 3,800 to 4,200 visits a day. When we started putting articles on the potential of the Aviation industry and advertised them on Facebook last March, traffic instantly went North, from an average of 5,300 a day in March; 13,200 a day in April; and now at 14,000 a day.
Their number of followers on Facebook also jumped from a little over 500 in March to 17,600 as of writing.
In the US, Forbes reported that brand marketers have shifted significant amounts of money to content marketing. It is now a $44 billion industry as 93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C brands are now using content marketing.
The predictions and real-life examples all point to how corporate websites should be built, and ultimately, it should be about content that your target market would love to read. Thomas Petty, and SEO trainer with the Search Engine Academy, perfectly describes this evolution in corporate websites:
No one cares what color your website is, what you sell, or what your logo looks like‚ no one cares what your company name is or your tag line (or mission statement, etc.). They DO care about finding a solution to their problem. Almost universally, when people do a search on the internet, they are looking for an answer. When they land on your website, they want to know:
“Do you provide the answer(s) to their question?”
“Do you provide the means to enable them to solve their own problem?”
“Can you solve their problem for them (for free or a fee)?”
These are all true. They just don’t care so much what it looks like, just that they can find the answers to their problems.
Summing it all, the days of the wild wild Web are over. There’s a new sheriff in town and it goes by the name Content Marketing.