Chances are you got into business knowing what you wanted to sell. But did you stop to consider why you’re selling it?
Countless times, the why gets left in the dust and the focus behind content marketing becomes what you sell or how you sell it. The truth is, your audience couldn’t care less about what product or service you sell or how you sell it to them.
Sometimes without realising it themselves, they want to know why you’re selling, what your purpose is in life and why that helps them. Hence the need for a content marketing mission statement.
Don’t believe me? Which of these is more engaging:
‘We are activity holiday specialists. Our trips have been lovingly created by local people because they offer the perfect mix of activities, people and places.’
‘We know you’ve got things you’d love to do, places you’d love to see, cultures you’d love to jump into and adventures to experience and remember forever. We’re here to help you do them, not just dream about them.’
The first example focuses only on the what (activity holidays) and how (lovingly created by local people). The second is all about the customer and their why (the word ‘you’ is used five times).
In the simplest of terms, your mission statement answers the all-important question, “Why do we exist?”
This article discusses why having a clear, purposeful mission-statement should drive all of your content marketing goals, and how to build the right one for you.
Why a good mission statement can change your business
While it may seem like one of those boxes to tick when writing your ‘About Us’ page, a mission statement is much more than a bunch of idealistic, trendy terms like ‘synergy’ and ‘bespoke’.
It drives what you do and it defines who you are as a business.
For content creators, it serves an even higher purpose – it is the gatekeeper of your principles, the backbone of your articles and the holy water of your brand through which each piece of content should be washed. It gives your team a driving thought – ‘Why am I creating this content?’ – to clearly and concisely refer to when building content.
LEGO is a great example of the importance of a solid mission. As the computer and video game era permeated the market, they weakened their core values to adapt and widen their product range, yet income continued to drop. Only after hiring Jørgen Knudstorp as the new CEO did the profits turn. Why? Among other changes, Knudstorp refocused the company on its core values and mission.
Lego’s net income reports before and after hiring mission-focused CEO Knudstorp. (Source: Forbes)
Content driven by a mission trounces the wishy-washy fluff permeating the internet by moving away from what you sell into why you sell it.
It sparks discussions, educates and impacts its audience with intentions that give like-minded customers something to believe in.
That’s all well and good, but how do you build one?
Creating a solid marketing mission statement deserves the dedicated time and thought you devote to any of your marketing campaigns. These three steps should get your brainwaves flowing and give you an outline for your statement.
But, before you dive in, you (and your team) need to get in the right mindset. Stop thinking about why your company or your products are great/useful/fun/cutting-edge/etc. and start thinking of why your customers should care.
Part 1: Identify your target audience
Not unlike designing a product, you need to first know who your audience is. Where do they live, what do they do, and – most importantly – what problems do they have?
A thorough demographic analysis should reveal most of these answers and give you a better understand of who buys your product. A middle-aged mum is obviously going to interact differently with your used cars brand (for safety and security) than a university-aged male (for style and price), for example.
Many marketers at this stage choose to build personas of their potential customers to give them a ‘face’ and a story that guides content creation.
Part 2: Define what you will deliver to them
Once you know who you’re selling to, you need to define what you are delivering to them. This is the only piece of your mission statement that should focus on your product, though even now, it needs to be generalised.
Maybe you deliver useful information and advice, like TechCrunch:
‘TechCrunch is… dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.’
Or perhaps you sell a product or provide inspiration or resources, like the BBC:
‘To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.’
Whatever it is, leave yourself room for growth and think big about what you want to provide to the world.
Part 3: Close with the outcome for the audience
Again, this is customer, not product, focused. Think hard about the impact you want your content to have – are you challenging them to consider new alternatives (like Tesla), are you sharing useful resources, products, and advice to simplify their lives (like 3M), or is your sole purpose to entertain (like BuzzFeed)?
When your mission is to improve your audience’s lives in some way or solve their problems (which we identified in step 1!), you’re setting a goal your customers can level with.
Your reward? Brand loyalty.
Letting your mission permeate your brand
Once you’ve crafted a content marketing mission statement (see the missions of 51 top companies here) that’s both inspirational and aspirational, it’s time to let it guide your content production.
Add it to your production workflow, so that before publishing any piece, the mission has been used to check if the new content is up to scruff. Put it on your website, blog, email signatures, and in your newsletters or campaigns. Your audience – and your employees – want a reason to identify with your brand, and your mission can be it.
By giving people a clear idea of why they’re doing what they’re doing – whether it be writing the content or purchasing the product – they are more likely to take ownership of their actions and form an emotional bond to it.
And that’s what a good content marketing mission statement does: create an ideal that an entire generation or world can connect with.
About the Author: Meghan Battest is a content marketing executive at WooContent, a London-based copywriting and content marketing agency specialising in expert-led, multilingual content across multiple industries.