Your corporate website should build your reputation, your business and value for your company. Are you making the most of the opportunity? How can it work harder for you?
You need the basics, certainly. Master the building blocks and ensure the messages are clear and concise. And, no matter what you are talking about, it needs to be true. A company’s reputation lives with its customers, employees and peers. Your actions and communications influence, they control it. If you don’t provide information to shape opinions, others will certainly fill the void for you. The activity might be on social media, but those posts lead to your content on your corporate website. So, how do you get to the next level? Here’s how:
Explain your purpose
You must explain your purpose—why you exist—and why you are worth an investment of time or money. If you don’t take the time to explain, the idea is diminished, the power of what it can enable is lost. The focus on purpose is heightened, and people expect more of all businesses. Who, you may ask? Customers are interested in seeing the organization behind the products and services they love, potential partners always make a stop at the corporate website, the media visits when researching a story, job seekers are a mainstay, communities where you operate seek assurance, and investors doing their due diligence—all look to the “corporate” website information.
Showcase social impact
Beyond the quality of the products and services you provide ESG, Corporate Social Responsibility, Community Engagement and Sustainability are the foundation of your reputation. How your company lives its values, and the evidence you provide, goes a long way. Whether you formalize goals, progress and results in a report or showcase employee actions in articles, include evidence that you do what you say you do. For public companies there’s an army of raters and rankers ready to take you to task, or dole out awards. The ‘concerned consumer’ is another audience, and the site is an opportunity to bolster brand loyalty. Communities where you operate give you the social ‘license to operate,’ and you must earn and sustain their trust. And, employees are the biggest stakeholders of all. Knowing that the company is ethical and focused on issues bigger than itself are key to retention.
Reveal your culture
Employees want to be proud of where they work, and where but your website and social media channels can they send their friends and family to make the case? Job seekers are discerning and need to be wooed, they need to see themselves at your company. Make sure your values ring true, and rise above generic table stakes all companies must meet to exist. (Integrity and trust anyone?) Be sure you have evidence of your awesomeness — from Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, to leadership programs and professional development, employee volunteerism to philanthropy — showcase what makes you special. And, even if you aren’t there yet, talk about your progress.
Make it easy for the media
Be sure this busy group can find what they need so they get it right. Journalists are online all the time and once in a while they will notice what you say, and sometimes they are looking for information. Contacts, basic company information, approved logos, images and b-roll give you some control. Although a very small number of site visitors overall, the risk of not serving their needs is high.
Orient your customers
Although customers are not always the focus of the corporate website content, they do come. They are curious to learn about the company behind the products or services they rely on and, occasionally they are lost looking for your products or spare parts. Help them by providing links for the ‘lost’ and ensuring their concerns are also represented in the stories you tell. This is another touchpoint where you bring your brand to life, be sure all the messaging is consistent.
Answer “why invest?”
For public companies (and those with aspirations) investor communications are regulated, and many companies choose to work with services who provide packages in line with whatever your legal department says. You’ll still need to create the content… no one can make the investment case but you and your IR team. The full corporate website provides the context for what is in the investor presentation. And, although the sophisticated investors come knowing exactly what they need, they might be steered to some related content that expands their view. Retail investors may be looking to learn more about your company. The entire site bolsters or hinders the investment case.
Give contact info
For some, the website is primarily a way of getting to people within a company – so make that easy. The bigger the company the less contact information is typically available (not always true, but it gets more complex). Keep the audiences in mind and try to help users with self service FAQs and easy to find phone or email addresses, that a human being actually monitors.
Filling your corporate site with relevant, interesting content that explains who you are, what you do and importantly WHY will start you on the road to getting the most return for your investment in the corporate site. A great website goes beyond the content, and done well a corporate site can bolster trust in your company and its brands, make the investment case, create deeper employee engagement, enhance customer loyalty, and excite purpose-driven Millennial and Gen-Z job seekers. It’s a win-win.
Need help? Ideas On Purpose has designed and built many corporate sites, we’re happy to discuss your needs.