Content and Corporate Storytelling: Lessons from Coca-Cola

December 3, 2013

This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on the BurrellesLuce blog on Nov. 5.

Mapping the new territory of content marketing is an exciting challenge.

During her professional development session on Oct. 27, during the PRSA International Conference, Mallory Perkins, social media analyst at Coca-Cola, shared how she and her team launched Coca-Cola Journey, the company’s content blog.

Coca-Cola’s analytics showed that their consumers love stories about food, innovation, careers and feel-good topics, so a bulk of the content is geared to one of those areas of interest.

Perkins and her team also answer a set of five questions when considering topics for stories, before the stories are written:

1. Does it answer the “Why should I care?” test?

Think about what the story’s interesting nugget is, and picture whether you would actually pick up the phone and tell someone about this story if you read it.

2. Does it surprise?

When you’re gathering content for the story, think about it as a person, not as an employee. Whatever  you react to is what’s worth pulling out and highlighting.

3. Does it reflect the company’s brand values and voice?

Your content could be just one photo, a song or a video — not necessarily an entire story, that needs to come back to the brand values and the brand’s voice.

4. Is it compelling with universal appeal?

What’s the heart of the story and what kind of insight does it offer? Perkins said that the best stories tend to be the ones in which the reader leaves knowing something they didn’t know before.

5. Is it being measured systematically?

You must have a way to track your story’s performance and determine whether it was worth the time and whether you should create more content on a similar topic.

Consumer connection

One question that arose during the session was: Why is Coca-Cola creating all of this content if it’s not about their products?

Perkins pointed out that in fact, about 70 percent of all the content on the site relates to Coca-Cola in some way — in reflecting the brand’s values, promoting one of their campaigns, responding to media criticism and sending out more narrative press releases for smaller promotions.

It all comes down to continuing to engage and connect with their audience and consumers, and it’s working. In the first year, the site has received 30.3 million page views, more than 9,000 comments, and has expanded to international sites in five other countries.

The company has seen an annual growth of 166 percent on Twitter, 190 percent on LinkedIn, 157 percent on Google Plus, and 89 percent on YouTube.


Ellis Friedman
After working in China for four years, most recently as a magazine editor and reporter, Ellis Friedman (@ellisredpen) joined the BurrellesLuce marketing team in 2013.


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