litmus test

Who Needs A Content Marketing Mission Statement?

To check the quality of content day to day, use a content marketing mission statement as your litmus test.

Your content marketing editorial mission statement does several important jobs for you:

  • 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 my free template to create your own content marketing mission statement in as little as one hour!

More than 3 out of 4 marketers lack a content marketing mission statement.

Most marketers fly blind, doing content marketing without a written content marketing mission statement. That’s like working in a laboratory that lacks a basic litmus test.

B2B Marketers with Content Strategy
Only 37% of B2B marketers have a written content marketing strategy.

In its 2017 research with B2B marketers, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that 37% of B2B marketers have a written content marketing strategy. Of this 37%, only 59% had a written content mission statement and a differentiated story/value to deliver.

Findings were similar for B2C marketers: 40% have a written strategy. Among them, 58% have a written content mission statement and a differentiated story/value to deliver.

Net it out: Only 22% of B2B marketers and 23% of B2C marketers have a written content marketing mission. Yikes!

B2B Content Strategy Elements
A content mission statement is one of the elements most often found in a written content marketing strategy.

Here’s the good news:

You can generate a content marketing editorial statement in just one hour!

In this blog you’ll find examples, tips and a template – everything you need to help you create your first content marketing mission statement. To create a content marketing mission statement, focus on 3 crucial questions:

Who is your core audience?
What do you deliver that’s valuable?
How 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 prospect, a prospect becoming a subscriber, a subscriber becoming a customer.

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

First, gather together what you know today about readers of your content 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 interaction such as likes, comments, subscribes?
  • Which calls to action successfully create subscribers and customers?

Then, to know your buyers as well as possible, perform buyer persona research to 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?
  • What process do buyers use to research purchase options?
  • Which obstacles do buyers encounter on the way to purchase?
  • How do buyers overcome these obstacles and move forward?
  • How do buyers reject the status quo and reach a 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’ real 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 topics to create content on.

Provide buyers with resources and tools. Educate them and make them smarter customers, so they can reach decisions quicker.

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 3 to 5 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. When new chemicals come along, engineers see new, authoritative compatibility guidelines as especially valuable.

Don’t limit the idea of “success” to a company 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.

Here’s a free template to help you create your content marketing mission statement.

It’s based on this formula: Source will provide the best information, inspiration and/or relief for target audience about topic(s) to help them achieve their goal.

A fill-in-the-blanks version follows:
________________________________ will provide the best ___________________________________ for _______________________________________ about _____________________________________ to help them _______________________________.

See how content mission statements work through these 3 examples:

Example #1: Digital Photography School has what you need to get your photography to the next level. From basic to advanced we offer daily tips, resources, tutorials that will help you get the most out your camera.

Example #2: The Red Bulletin features breathtaking 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, who have a passion for adventure and are not afraid to walk courageous new paths.

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 expense and improve user experiences.

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

Tellabs’ mission statement includes “relief” to reflect the fact that the company published cartoons from The New Yorker in its customer magazine.

Cisco’s Tim Washer is an expert in helping companies lighten up their content. Getting a laugh brings customers closer and helps build the relationship.

As content mission statement can be very simple or very specific. At a minimum, it must answer all 3 of the 3 big questions.

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

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

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.