A content marketing program is more complex than some would have you believe. This is one in a series of posts laying out some best practices and essential steps to take when developing or evaluating a program for you or your organization.

Corporate mission statements really came into vogue in the last 40 years or so as companies sought to set themselves apart and define what the image they wanted to present to the public really was. You read a lot of these and you see repeated use of phrases like “be the best in class” or “become the market leader” in a way that’s related to their industry.

The actual business value of such mission statements has always seemed a tad questionable to me. They always appeared to be more about a board of directors feeling like they’ve contributed or a consultant preying on fears of being left behind than anything that will matter to the public.

That their primary purpose is as in-house positioning is actually a big reason they play a large role in the development of a content marketing program.

When writing your program’s mission statement, the question that needs to be asked is this:

What is it we want our message to be?

It’s a bit more nuanced than that, of course, But if you can’t answer that question right off the bat, the program is in trouble from the outset.

As you begin putting together the structure and purpose of the program, the mission statement begins to focus the defining principles laid out previously. As with any other mission statement, one for a content marketing program should hit the following points:

  • What are you doing?
  • How are you doing it?
  • Why are you doing it?

Here’s a quick, generic example.

Be a valuable source of company and industry news through regular publishing of relevant, engaging updates on important topics to raise the company’s standing among buyers, customers and media.

Your own will be specific to what you want to accomplish and may include mentions of direct sales or other metrics, but be careful to not set goals that are too specific in this mission statement. Those goals will be outlined later on, after tactics and strategies have also been provided.

Right now you’re setting the vision for the program more than anything.

The purpose of the mission statement at this stage is mostly about gaining internal approval. This is you selling the purpose of the program to higher-ups, as well as giving everyone involved something to rally around. So it should be aspirational yet achievable, with a bit of hyperbole built in so everyone feels they’re signing off on something visionary or groundbreaking.

There are some who feel you should include mentions of target audiences, sales funnels and other details in the mission statement, but those will only get you into trouble later on. Target audiences change, sales funnels are altered based on user experiences and testing. The mission statement should, with some caveats, be evergreen and as applicable two years from now as it is today. Like other elements of the program it should be revisited from time to time to make sure it’s still relevant, but it shouldn’t be so fungible that any change in tactics is going to necessitate revisions.

Again, this is a big part of receiving buy-in on the program being developed, so any change to what’s here will impact how those you report to view what you’re doing and how much they support it. If you are constantly changing the mission statement because you made it too specific, those who have signed off on it may be confused or irritated when what they see now doesn’t match what they had previously agreed to.

Create your mission statement with tomorrow in mind and you’ll be on solid footing as you continue developing the content marketing program.