All About Your ‘About Us’



“About Us” is usually one of the most highly trafficked sections on a brand website. But if you looked at the brand experience in most, you wouldn’t know it. Too often it’s static copy ripped out of an annual report or some painful regurgitation of corporate responsibility programs. I’m not against it being static but we’re seeing some brands really explore how to narrate their story in a digital age, without getting in the way of the shopping experience. >>Full Story

Thoughts// A good story from Ad Age asks why most of our ‘About Us’ sections are really not about us…from the consumer’s point of view. It this age of digital storytelling and brand-centric everything (raise your hand if you are in the middle of a re-branding) the old, reliable ‘About Us’ section is simply cut and pasted together with a few paragraphs from various interdepartmental memos, mission statements and a faceless, blacked-out image of ‘business workers’ from Corbis (check!). As the story pleads, why are we wasting this valuable real estate with such uninspiring and non-brand building copy?

So, why is this important for a travel site.

1) Search engines find everything, so your About Us section is being indexed, bad copy and all, in Google.

2) Consumers look at these sections. While I don’t have any official 3rd party studies confirming my suspicions, I will assume that a lot of users tend to skip right to the bottom of sites they are unfamiliar with. Knowing full-well that the above the fold content is marketing fluff (stop it, you know it is) and looking for the site map, about us or FAQ pages (all of which are great for SEO). For example, the site map page on arizonaguide.com…located at the very bottom…is consistently the 5th or 6th most visited page.

Another interesting quote from the article points out that ‘but those sections do lay out the basics for someone comparing against competitors with two browsers open.’ Ah, competition. Now we are talking.

Some examples:

(some page content was longer than others, so at the risk of making this post too long, we just clipped the first paragraph)

Michigan:
(listed as ‘About Michigan’)
Michigan is a state blessed with the riches of unspoiled nature: the world’s longest freshwater coastline, lakes that feel like oceans, shimmering beaches, miles and miles of cherry orchards, glorious sunrises and sunsets, daytime skies of the deepest blue, nighttime skies scattered with stars.

Oklahoma:
(listed as ‘About Oklahoma’)
GENERAL INFORMATION
• Oklahoma’s current population is 3,450,654 ( 2000, estimated).
• Oklahoma is comprised of 77 counties.
• Oklahoma covers 69,919 square miles.
• Guthrie was the first state capitol of Oklahoma.

Tennessee:
(list as ‘About Tennessee)
Traveling to Tennessee makes sense. We have natural beauty, southern hospitality, serene weather, and something for everyone. And, we are within a day’s drive of 65 percent of the United States population. What more could you want in a travel destination? Tennessee welcomes you to explore everything we have to offer.

Nevada:
(listed as ‘About Us’)
Nevada’s tourism department is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a tourism and travel destination. This includes editing, publishing and distributing publications that promote the state of Nevada. A director appointed by the governor directs and supervises all tourism department operations. An 11-member commission advises the tourism department.

Minnesota:
(listed as ‘About Minnesota’)
There’s a lot to know about Minnesota. Here you’ll find plenty of facts, figures and informational tidbits about the state’s history, geography and climate. Everything from the prehistoric carvings found throughout the state to the 7,326 square miles of water found within its borders. Not to mention, practical travel information like the average low and high temperature throughout the year. One thing is for sure: the more you know about Minnesota, the more you appreciate all that it offers.

As you can see, some of our counterparts are beginning to tell the ‘insert state name here’ story via the ‘About Us’ section, not to mention, start to differentiate themselves from other states in the consumers mind.

To put a very simple spin on it, consumers just want to be told why I should do X vs. Y, state A vs. state B and the ‘About Us’ section is a great place to start.

Of course, there are some states, Arizona included, that simply do not have an ‘About Us’ section on the site. Which is fine, if there was a rational decision to leave the page off the site, rather than just not being able to write more than 3 lines about yourself.

And not to be out done, after reading the article, we decided that the Travel 2.0 ‘About Us’ section (or About Travel 2.0 as it was called) could us some help as well and provide another example for how you could start re-branding (love that word!) your ‘About Us’ section.

Old version:

About Travel 2.0:
The Travel 2.0: Interactive Trend Report was originally created to provide insight into the interactive marketing and travel fields for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

In an effort to broaden the scope and reach of the report, the Arizona Office of Tourism invited Travel Oregon to contribute and collaborate on the Interactive Trend Report.

This partnership will present additional views and opinions on the ever-changing interactive marketing landscape, including the latest travel trends, online (and offline) advertising campaigns, Google, user-generated content.

New version:

Why Travel 2.0:

Because…

…we know the travel industry.

…we read hundreds of blogs…usually far too late at night.

…we can’t get enough technology.

…someone had to do it.

…you need insight about social networking for a big presentation.

…we blog even while on vacation.

…your peers are reading it.

…there are too many experts who are not really experts.

travel trends are constantly changing.

analytics is hard.

…it’s free.

Ah, I can feel the Travel 2.0 brand becoming stronger every day.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.