Why Posting Company News on Your Website Makes No Sense

by Marcus Sheridan

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Some things in life don’t need a whole bunch of words to be understood. Just think about it– When was the last time you went to a home page of a company’s website with the purpose to find out their latest company news? If you’re like most consumers (myself included), the answer is never. This is why “company news” is fine as a section of your website, but it’s certainly not something you want to waste valuable real estate on your home page with– at least for 99% of businesses in the world today.

Again, it’s all about the consumer. That’s the essence of sound content marketing and clear messaging– a skill that means everything in the digital age.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruth Zive January 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hi Marcus. I don’t disagree, but I do think that the Company News page, or a News page, serves an important purpose.

For one thing, regularly released news releases that are posted on your website can help with SEO.

Second of all, they can speak to your brand; they can leave an impression. I tell my clients to churn out releases related to anything and everything from – new customer acquisitions, awards won, conference participation, new hires, financial milestones that have been achieved, charitable/community events. Deeper in the sales cycle, prospective customers are looking for credibility and validation – they want to know that you are a thought leader and expert in your field. “News” can serve that purpose, if it’s done right.

Now, all of that said, I would still say that a News page is a secondary consideration. A blog is MUCH more important (IMO), and most of the content on your site should speak directly to your target customers needs and interests. So in that sense, we are in agreement.

Ruth

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Marcus Sheridan January 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I think we’re on the same page Ruth. My main question though, just so I fully understand you, is this:

Do you think news blips should be listed on the home page of a site? (Referring to most business here)

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Ruth Zive January 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I suppose it depends on the design/layout of the website, but no, I would never waste valuable real estate on your home page with Company News.

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Chris Marr January 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Hey Marcus,

I say these words to my clients about 10 times everyday:

“Most bad business decisions are made due to not thinking like a customer”

I don’t get fed up of saying it either…it constantly reminds me too.

Such a simple but fundamental lesson that all business should embrace.

Cheers!

Chris.

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Marcus Sheridan January 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm

We couldn’t be more on the same page Chris. Good thoughts man. :)

Marcus

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Darnell Jackson January 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Good point Marcus,

This needed to be said people don’t spontaneously know these things ya know.

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Phil Whomes January 18, 2014 at 9:20 am

You forget about investor relations, otherwise I would agree. Many sites are built from an internal perspective, concentrating on what managers think should be on the site, rather than content users would expect to find there.

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Lana January 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

Hi Marcus,
I could not agree more. People want to know whats in it for them, not about you and company news. You only have a few second to grab attention and it has to be something your ideal customer wants and is looking for.

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Rob Metras January 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

It’s all about them not you. You want customers or prospects to come to your site to find solutions to their issues. Do this, like Mr Sheridan did for River Pools and they will know,like and trust you. As Jay Baer says be the YouUtility; like you Marcus are for marketers as you get out of the swim of things and perform on a greater stage.

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Misae Richwoods January 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm

All depends on what you call news.

“ABC Corp merges departments” probably isn’t anything a customer need hear, although investors might want to know.

“New workflow means we can halve your waiting time” just might be more relevant to end users.

Same story. Different emphasis. News is multi faceted and so long as you show the right face for the context you’re putting it in, it’s a good thing. A steady news flow can help establish trust, community and tell a company’s story.

Of course if you are using ‘news’ as a pseudonym for crap content, then I agree fully! Dry, boring, uninspired content written for the sake of writing something alone, doesn’t belong *anywhere* on the web, let alone your homepage…

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David Gadarian January 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Love what you do and also the way you think, but on this one I’m not sure I’m willing to take such a hard line on it as there seem like in many instances there are good reasons to include news.

Let’s put it another way – when is the last time you went to the home page of a website with the intent of reading EVERYTHING. Generally the home page is “consumed” in a specific sequence and often a visitor will pick and choose.

While I agree that company news is probably not most peoples first inclination, at some point in the process listing company news does have a purpose (provided you have news), and it does serve a purpose for a good number of readers if only to fortify trust and to ensure a real presence in a marketplace.

Not to mention that for larger companies one of the best “customers” are the people on your team and why shouldn’t they be celebrated too?

That said, I do find it annoying when companies try to force a “news” section in there when in reality there is not much that is “newsworthy” – generally if the last piece of news was from 6 months ago it is a pretty strong indicator that perhaps a distinct “news” block on your home page is not a great use of space.

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Jay Soriano January 19, 2014 at 12:27 am

Or better yet, make your homepage newsworthy! BetaBrand recently did a stunt where they “redesigned” their homepage to the worst possible homepage in effort to look for a new UI/UX designer. The results? Tons of press, clicks and probably orders.

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chester durden January 20, 2014 at 11:02 am

im absolutely agree with you

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Brad Shorr January 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Great point! The home page of a business website should be geared to customers and prospects, not journalists and investors. Journalists and investors who go to the site will be looking for a “media room” link or something along those lines in the top navigation.

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Marcus Sheridan January 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Well said Brad, my thoughts exactly.

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Ian Adams January 20, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Haha this is hilarious Marcus. Nice call.

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Marcus Sheridan January 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Glad to provide a smile Ian :)

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Alan | Life's Too Good January 21, 2014 at 8:45 am

Love it Marcus,

well you certainly made that point loud & clear (& you’re right).

- makes perfect sense.

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Marcus Sheridan January 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Appreciate that very much Alan, thank you :)

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Elektronik Sigara January 23, 2014 at 9:02 am

Thanks for information, its should read

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Mike Grossman January 28, 2014 at 7:22 pm

I truly love the bluntness – because nobody cares. I think too many people follow the herd before they put themselves in the shoes of people they want to visit.

Great work MS.

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Davina K. Brewer January 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Marcus, Marcus.. I read so many of your posts would that I had time to comment on them all. As a PR, I had to hit this one.

Often posting news is SEO tactic, plain and simple. Many times it’s about providing a resource place for others – namely reporters and bloggers who do care b/c they want the content. Sometimes a successful company is as much about its people and innovation, as it is about products and sales. It all depends on the company, the site, who’s the target, what’s the message, etc. There’s investors, recruiters, prospective employees.. so many other people read websites. As you say, as consumers we rarely read corporate sites for the news – every brand has to monitor their website to see what’s working, what isn’t.

I totally and completely agree w/ you on the average customer not caring about so much of what brands consider ‘news.’ Word. I’ve got a newsletter rant a cooking, someday on that very topic. But.. and you knew I’d come back w/ that .. sometimes posting company news – in a well-organized newsroom, not wasting key real estate on the front page – may not be about the customer at all. Hat tip to Jay for suggesting making the homepage newsworthy; FWIW I say make the products and services, the business newsworthy.

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Udhayakumar G K January 31, 2014 at 5:53 am

Awesome & Fantabulous. Thats great & useful info.

Thanks,
Udhayakumar G K
http://saibabaprayerrequest.blogspot.in

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Kayla Seah @ Berlin Fashion Blogger February 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

This times 100! “Because No One Cares” is pretty much the only necessary thing that needs to be said about it.

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James Hammermade February 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I understand your point but I don’t believe this is always the case. In fact, I believe that more often than not well positioned, written, and updated news content can be a huge asset on a website and on the homepage. Like Ruth, I have encountered a number of situations where having good targeted news stories can help greatly with conversion. We have successfully used news many times to help demonstrate new innovations, talk about new clients choosing us, and to showcase new products or methodologies and we have found that while clients may not sit and read these stories they do help influence a purchasing decision.

A great example of this: We announced a new client relationship in our news section. Another potential client happened to be browsing our site and saw that news story. He was also a vendor from that company and he knew the lengths they went through to select good vendors. He hired us immediately because if we were good enough for them then we were certainly good enough for him.

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Marcus Sheridan February 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

Good points James, but keep this in mind:

1. Your example was from a news section, not the home page. We both agree they can have value if done right.
2. If the company is a startup, looking for investors and such, News on the homepage could have value—but this is the case less than 1% of the time for most businesses not in that realm.
3. Remember that I’m really trying to state a general rule of thumb here. There are always exceptions, no doubt, but the core problem is that most businesses continue to waste valuable real estate on the homepage with poor info/content.

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James Hammermade February 15, 2014 at 9:09 am

Hi Marcus. I was talking specifically about homepage news. We do also have a news section but we feature it on our homepage as secondary support information to our main sales message.

I would certainly agree there are plenty of times news is irrelevant but I believe that is a function of how the website owner is utilizing their news as opposed to the concept of news in general. Just like with press releases or any other marketing communications it is the writer’s job to make the content compelling for their audience. If your news is boring and not engaging to your target audience then by all means remove it but if you can spin the articles so they increase your company’s credibility, excite potential customers, and influence buying decisions then I don’t see any reason to exclude news from the homepage.

I would say that 99% of the time news could be a useful addition to the homepage. Unfortunately most companies don’t keep their news up-to-date and those that do rarely write their news articles with the goal of influencing conversion. Nobody wants to listen to you talk about how great you are but if you can eloquently explain why xxx company chose your firm then you have created an excellent sales opportunity.

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Marcus Sheridan February 15, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Nice points James, love how you engage.

Continued success!

Marcus

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