When my wife and I were married last November, we were encouraged to create a Mission Statement for our marriage. We worked on it together for some time, and crafted a clear and succinct purpose for our marriage. That mission statement is written on a piece of poster board taped to our bedroom wall next to our vision board.
Why did we do this?
Because we wanted to be intentional about what we are going to create and experience in our marriage.
So far our mission statement has been a success, as my wife and I have done and experienced the things that we set out to do : )
Why start off a marketing with a story about marriage? Because the same principles that make a marriage mission statement effective also make a content marketing mission statement effective.
Do a quick Google search of “content marketing mission statement”, and you’ll see a number of blog articles that give a handful of steps on how to craft one for your organization.
You’ll see that there are some pretty influential people out there writing about this topic. Websites like Forbes have published articles on the topic, and top marketing minds like Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute have written on it as well.
Seems everyone is into mission statements for content marketing.
But why are these people and websites advising the significance of the mission statement? And what does having (or not having) a mission statement mean for who are blogging and creating content?
I’m going to explore these questions in this blog post. I will talk about the reasoning behind developing a mission statement for your content marketing, what one looks like, and give you some simple steps to creating your own.
By the end of the post you’ll be excited and eager to develop a content mission statement for your organization.
Let’s get rollin!
Beginning with the end in mind
I’m a huge fan of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (as I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts). It’s a book that I’ve read more than once because the ideas and principles are so spot on and timeless.
Habit #2 in the book is “Begin With The End In Mind”.
Beginning with the end in mind is why Joe Pulizzi and others stress the importance of a mission statement for your content marketing. Beginning with the end in mind is about the act of ENVISIONING what you want in the future, and then making it happen.
It’s why people create vision boards or write goals on a calendar. They are envisioning what they want to create in their lives.
That’s the essence of what you’re doing. You’re envisioning the reasons behind why you’re creating content in the first place.
Any Simon Sinek fans reading this article? If so you’ll understand this reference: your content marketing mission statement is the WHY behind your content marketing, and must come before the HOW and the WHAT.
WHY are you blogging and creating content in the first place?
Here is one of 98toGo’s content mission statements:
Helping HubSpot customers use the HubSpot tool set more effectively, by creating blog posts, video walkthroughs, best practice tip sheets, and templates that helps our audience generate high quality leads for their business.
(We have multiple mission statements, one for each of our Buyer Personas. I get more into that later in the post.)
Now, a content marketing mission statement is not the same as a content marketing strategy. Your strategy will include a mission statement, but a content marketing strategy is much more comprehensive. In fact, we’ve recently written about content marketing strategy which you can read here: The 6 Essential Elements Every Inbound Marketing Strategy Needs.
So the reason why you want a mission statement for your content marketing is because it makes your content marketing more intentional by providing you an end goal and purpose. Your mission statement will help to focus your efforts and attention on the content that matters most to your audience, and will motivate you through rough patches in blogging (which definitely happen if you go long enough).
Your content marketing mission statement will identify:
- WHO you’re creating content for
- WHAT you’re delivering to your audience and how it will benefit them
- WHY you’re creating content in the first place
Here are a few examples:
Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company and FastCompany.com inspire readers and users to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.
Since January 2006, Copyblogger has been teaching people how to create killer online content. Not bland corporate crap created to fill up a company webpage.Valuable information that attracts attention, drives traffic, and builds your business.
How to develop your content marketing mission statement
Now that you understand the importance of having a mission statement for your content marketing and have seen a few examples, I’ll walk you through the steps to create your own.
Your content mission statement will include these things:
- How your content marketing supports your larger business goals
- Who your target audience is
- What will be delivered to your audience
- The outcome for your audience
Know your business goals
You’re doing content marketing for a reason, so the first step is to clearly spell out what that reason is. Be very clear about how you expect your content marketing to impact your business.
I’m not talking about more shares, likes or comments. Those are probably not going to impact your bottom line as significantly as other key performance indicators.
A more effective purpose for your content marketing would be to generate qualified leads (ideally have a number in mind), or to grow your influence amongst your target audience (and be able to explain how that will be measured).
Define your target audience
Next you want to have a crystal clear picture of exactly who your target audience is. This is also known as your buyer persona. We’ve written all about buyer personas on our blog, check out our article: The Secret To Better Marketing: Know Your Customer Better Than You Know Your Spouse!
Basically, if your ideal customer walked through your doors right now, you should be able to describe their basic demographic information (like age, sex, income, location, etc), what their challenges and pain points are, what their desires and motivations are, the places where they spend time online, and the types of content they prefer to engage with.
Knowing these things will not only help in creating your mission statement, but will provide key information in the development and execution of a larger marketing strategy.
Describe what you will be delivering to your audience
Next, you want your mission statement to clearly state exactly WHAT you’ll be delivering to your audience.
Think back to your Buyer Persona -- what problems and pain points is your ideal customer suffering from? What you deliver should probably help them overcome those problems in some way!
Also keep in mind the format of the information as well. Again, a well defined buyer persona will be able to tell you the type of content your ideal customer want see. Are you writing blogs, creating videos, designing infographics, recording podcasts?
Be clear on the desired outcome for your audience
The final step is to be clear about and state the outcome that you want for your audience.
What do you want your audience to experience with your content? How will your content put your audience in a more fulfilled, prepared, advantageous place?
This is a big component of ENVISIONING. You want to envision what your audience will experience when they consume your content on a regular basis.
You can have more than one content marketing mission statement
It’s perfectly fine to have more than one mission statement for your content marketing. In fact, if you are truly bought in to the power of a mission statement, then you’ll probably have a different mission statement for each buyer persona!
Why? Because each of your ideal customers is going to have unique pain points, needs, desires, preferences, and goals. And you want to make sure that the different content for each customer type delivers.
Remember, we have multiple mission statements at 98toGo because we create content aimed at a few different buyer personas.
Be intentional with your content marketing
Your content marketing mission statement will probably not be the difference maker between content marketing success and failure. However, whether it’s actually written in stone or kept in memory, the top bloggers and content creators can absolutely tell you WHY they are creating content, WHO that content is for, WHAT outcome they want their audience to experience, and HOW content marketing impacts their larger business goals. My advice is to mimic what they do so you too can experience content marketing success.
Your content marketing plan
Your content mission statement is not the end, it's actually just the beginning of a well developed content marketing strategy or plan.
Want to see what one of those plans look like? Click below to download a sample content marketing plan developed by 98toGo (it's part of what we create at the start of each client engagement).
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