Measure the value of content marketing to leapfrog competitors

Leapfrog Competitors with Your Content Marketing Mission Statement

To create content audiences crave, start with a clear content marketing mission

Yes, you can leapfrog your competitors in #contentmarketing. Here’s the best place to start: define your content marketing mission statement.

To do so, write one sentence that answers 5 crucial questions:

  1. Who is the source of the content?
  2. What types of content will you provide?
  3. Who is the target audience you need to reach?
  4. Which topics will you focus on in content marketing?
  5. How will your content help people become more successful?

Make it easy: create your content marketing mission with this template 

A content marketing mission is based on this formula:

The source will provide the best types of content for the target audience about the topic(s) to help them achieve their goal(s).

Fill in these blanks to state your mission. Fill in what comes easiest to you first, and work your way up to the hardest part:

________________________________ will provide the best ___________________________________ for _______________________________________ about _____________________________________
to help them _______________________________.

Here are three examples so you can see what’s needed in your content marketing mission statement. By the way, sometimes this is called a content marketing editorial mission statement.

See three examples of content marketing mission statements:

Example #1: Digital Photography School wrote two versions of its content mission. Content mission 1.0 was simply this: Digital Photography School reviews cameras.

After a while, it became clear that people visited the site, bought a camera, and never came back. There was no reason for the audience to return. That’s why Digital Photography School brilliantly updated to content mission 2.0: Digital Photography School has what you need to get your photography to the next level. From basic to advanced we offer daily tips, resources, and tutorials that will help you get the most out of your camera.

Now, the audience has a reason to return again and again — since there’s always something new to learn.

Example #2: The Red Bulletin features sensational stories out of the World of Red Bull and its Playgrounds. Delivering the unexpected, the magazine honors those who don’t play by the rules, who push the limits, have a lust for life, swim against the current, have a passion for adventure, and are not afraid to walk courageous new paths.

The Red Bull mission is bursting with attitude, just like the brand.

Example #3: Tellabs will be the best source of information on Optical LANs (local area networks), delivering useful information, thought-provoking insights, resources, and relief. We show IT, buyers, how to: address technology and business challenges, identify industry, technology, and user trends, reduce expenses and improve user experiences.

This example of a content mission, from my former employer Tellabs, best fits a carefully considered purchase or a B2B audience.

You can find even more examples of content marketing mission statements in Andy Crestodina’s excellent blog on the topic.

Note: on carefully considered purchases decided by a buying committee, marketers probably will need to write multiple mission statements — one to address the differing needs of each of your key buyer personas who are involved in making the buying decision.

For example, the content that turns on a chief technology officer (CTO) will probably not fit the head of purchasing. You’ll need to gain a deep understanding of each buyer’s persona to write a mission that fits their differing needs.

Writing a content marketing mission helps you leapfrog competitors

Since most marketers lack a written content marketing mission, you can leapfrog competitors. Start by writing down your content mission. The mission is the linchpin for your next step, creating a content marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, only two out of five consumer and business marketers have written down their content marketing strategies. Since they lack a written strategy, most marketers can only execute content marketing tactics, not real strategies.

Pie chart: only 2 out of 5 business marketers have a written content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Institute research shows that only 2 out of 5 business marketers have a written content marketing strategy.
Your content marketing editorial mission statement does three crucial jobs:
  • It says what to put into your content marketing and what to leave out.
  • It frees you to conduct a wide range of content experiments.
  • It helps you stay true to your overarching content mission.

Use our free template to create your own content marketing mission statement quickly. These examples, tips, and templates give you everything you need to help you create your first content marketing mission statement.

To create a content marketing mission statement, focus on discovering as much as you can about three crucial questions:

  • Who is your core audience?
  • What do you deliver that’s valuable?
  • How do you help your audience succeed?
A content mission statement is one of the elements most often found in a written content marketing strategy.

Who is your core audience?

Look at the world through the eyes of your future customers.

Map the process of a reader becoming a subscriber, a subscriber becoming a customer, and the customer becomes a repeat customer.

What content do you offer that helps move people forward toward a purchase?

First, gather together everything you know about your content consumers from analytics:

  • Which topics gain the most attention in blogs, emails, and videos?
  • Which emails get the best open rates and click-throughs?
  • Which web pages garner the greatest interest?
  • Which topics provoke interactions such as likes, comments, shares, and subscribes?
  • Which calls to action successfully create subscribers and customers?
Then, perform buyer persona research to know your buyers as well as possible. You’ll find out:
  • How do buyers recognize the need to make a change?
  • What job are buyers trying to get done?
  • What topics do buyers research online? Where else do they go for information?
  • How do buyers research their purchase options and compare alternatives?
  • Which obstacles do buyers encounter on the way to purchase?
  • How do buyers overcome these obstacles and move forward?
  • Why do buyers reject the status quo and reach a new buying decision?

What do you deliver that’s valuable?

Buyer personas deliver crucial insights for great content marketing.
Up to 3/4 of the buying process happens before customers call sales. Buyer personas give you insights into how buyers think and feel.

To create valuable content, start by identifying your prospects’ and customers’ verbatim questions. Gather and inventory the questions people ask.

“They ask. You answer,” Marcus Sheridan says.

Analyze customers’ questions to see which topics, pain points, passions, and concerns rise to the top. They will point you to the pertinent content topics.

Provide buyers with resources and tools.

Educate them and make them smarter customers, so they reach decisions sooner.

Two types of content are most used and shared, Andy Crestodina notes. Research and strong opinions gain the most backlinks and social shares.

“What is the question that no one in your industry will answer? Answer it,” Andy advises.

To answer tough questions, create long-form content such as white papers. These are valuable because they help professionals keep up with new developments in their fields.

A thought-provoking forecast of what’s to come over the next three to five years in your customers’ industry always makes for compelling content.

Content marketing needs to know buyer personas -- the who, what when, how and why of buying.
Content marketing needs to know buyer personas — the who, what when, how, and why of buying.

How do you help your audience succeed?

Help your audience address day-to-day professional challenges.

Keep your buyers up-to-date on what’s changing in their field.

For example, engineers always consult a chemical compatibility guide to make decisions early in the specification of industrial piping and hoses.

Knowing that companies that sell piping and hose have a great opportunity to create their own chemical compatibility guides such as this one. As new chemicals come along, engineers see new, updated, authoritative compatibility guidelines as especially valuable.

Don’t limit the idea of “success” to a company’s or a person’s professional role.

Think of content that helps people succeed in their personal lives and careers, day by day.

Offer tips and advice to help them save time, save money and get ahead. For example, LL Bean offers a Parkfinder app to help you find nearby parks.

Offer content that inspires people.

WestJet, a Canadian airline, offers video stories about Canadians who make a difference to others, including this video with 6.3 million views.

Remember: it’s ok for your content to be fun.

Tellabs’ mission statement included “relief.” That reflected our decision to license cartoons from The New Yorker to publish on page 4 of our customer magazine.

Tim Washer is an expert in helping companies lighten up their content. Getting a laugh brings customers closer and helps build relationships.

A content mission statement can be very simple or very specific. At a minimum, it must answer all 3 of the 3 big questions. And address the needs of different buyer personas or segments.

Today’s bonus question on content marketing mission came up in my content marketing workshop:

Q. Does your content marketing mission for your program needs to align with the overall corporate content mission?

A. Yes. It works best to develop an umbrella content marketing mission for your whole company first.

Then create a more granular content marketing mission statement for each of the company’s brands. Make sure the individual brands’ content mission statements line up with the company’s umbrella content mission statement.

You don’t need to achieve absolute uniformity, just overall consistency in your individual brands’ content mission statements.

If you have a content marketing question, write me at george@crystalclearcomms.com

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