What is a content mission statement? And why do you need one?

Content marketing programmes sometimes wobble and threaten to fall over completely after a few weeks – or even days – of start-up enthusiasm. A mission statement can help you stay focused and in the game for the long term…

 What is a content mission statement? And why do you need one?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 37% of b2b marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy, and only 18% say they have an editorial mission statement. 

Does this matter? When you start creating content, such planning tools and strategic thinking can seem a bit unnecessary. You may feel instinctively that you know your brand, you’ve got a good sense of who you’re creating content for, and the room is buzzing with ideas. Let’s just get cracking! 

But, as anyone who’s ever tried to complete a book or thesis or feature film can tell you, it’s very hard to keep anything going over the long term without some agreed guidelines up front for what you’re trying to say, to whom, and how. And also – just as usefully, and if only by implication – what you’re not trying to do. 

Enter the content mission statement. 

What is a content marketing mission statement?

A content mission statement is basically just a bit of (not necessarily very sexy) copy that seeks to distill the answers to those questions. It’s something that you can all stick on the wall and refer to, to keep you on track by reminding you what you’re about.  

So the mission statement for the Sticky Content blog is:

  • Tips, advice and ideas for marketers looking for actionable answers to their real-world content questions. 

Your statement may relate to a particular channel, or to your overall activity, or you might have statements that ladder logically down from a central idea to specific content areas dealing with particular topics or audiences. It’s all about whatever’s useful and practical for you and your team. 

What goes into a content marketing mission statement? 

Up to you, really, though ideally it should be short and memorable – try to cram in too much detail, and it’ll never get used. According to Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, you’re looking to include:

  • your core audience target
  • a sense of what will be delivered to the audience 
  • desired outcome for the audience 

Another popular template – as formulated here by Andy Crestodina – is something that populates a sentence like this:

  • Our content is where [audience x] gets [information y] in order to [benefit z]

This is very similar to the formula that people often use to devise a value proposition, and with good reason – your statement is effectively a content value proposition. 

What your mission statement isn’t

Note that your statement may not be the catchiest thing ever written. It’s not a slogan or a tagline, it has to be more informative and unambiguous than that. 

Nor does it start drilling into specific topics or ideas – that’s the next level down. 

Why is a mission statement so important?

Here are 3 reasons for starters:

  1. It helps prevent you from running out of steam. Focus breeds stamina, and your statement gives you that central thought to go back to, time and again, to mine and respond to in different ways. 
  2. It gives you a reason to say no. Sometimes you get a great idea and it’s tempting to just go for it. Sure, it’s funny, it’s creative. But is it a great idea for you? Use your mission statement as a sense-check.   
  3. It keeps you focused on your goals. The last thing you want to do is waste time on creating content that isn’t relevant to your audience or isn’t true to your brand purpose.