Leapfrog Competitors with Your Content Marketing Mission Statement
To create content audiences crave, start with a clear content marketing mission statement
If you’re just starting to create content marketing, make sure the marketing team is aligned around a clear content marketing mission statement.
Even if you’ve been working on your brand for a while, it’s worth revisiting your content marketing mission statement.
Today, four out of five marketers do not have a written content marketing mission. That weakness shocks me because a content mission makes a huge difference, and it’s only one sentence long!
In just one sentence, a content mission conveys clear intent about the value you will deliver to readers, prospects, and customers. Tremendous opportunities appear when you create or sharpen up your content marketing mission.
Yes, you can leapfrog your competitors in #contentmarketing. To start, write your content marketing mission statement.
Done right, your written mission will put you ahead of 80% of your competitors. And it gives you a solid foundation on which to build your one-page content marketing strategy.
To create your mission statement, write one sentence that answers 5 crucial questions:
Who is the source of the content?
What types of content will you provide?
Who is the target audience you need to reach?
Which topics will you focus on in content marketing?
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, also known as a content marketing editorial mission statement.
Learn from 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.
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?
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 subscribers?
- 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?
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.
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 need 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 email@example.com