Missing This One Key Ingredient Can Stop Your Content Marketing In Its Tracks

Stop Content Marketing In Its Tracks

In the last post one of the key content marketing takeaways from John Osborn, CEO and President of the ad agency BBDO, was to “uncover the soul” behind your brand. (If you haven’t read it, you’ll want to hop on over to the post.)

In other words, what is your mission?

But, I didn’t mention that missing this one key ingredient can stop your content marketing in its tracks. That is a mission statement.

Why is a Mission Statement so important?

Before beginning to create content or any type of marketing, it’s critical to understand why you do what you do, and why you want to connect with your audience.  It’s the meaning behind your company and why it really exists. Products and services come and go, but helping others to do something … is an evolving process.

A mission statement helps you stand out and gives you a purpose to work towards. It helps you inspire change in others by aligning with their values and beliefs. A mission statement gives you a roadmap to follow for all your content choices.  

I’ll share what I learned from one of the most experienced and highly respected content marketers.

I recently attended a breakfast workshop in Boston sponsored by Ektron, a provider of Web Content and Customer Experience Management software, and NorthPoint Digital, a provider of Enterprise Digital Platform Strategy and Implementation Services.

The guest speaker was Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He shared results from a survey his team conducted in the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark, Budgets and Trends Research Report. Just 42% of those surveyed believe their content marketing is effective.

Pulizzi explained that companies are still missing the strategy.

Many are using the wrong type of content. Content should be focused on the customer’s needs and desires and not on the product or service.

Others are simply not giving their content strategy time. It’s not like a campaign. There’s no start and stop date, because it’s ongoing. It’s a process that needs time to unfold. It’s different than advertising.

He suggests to start with one content initiative and focus on building that out for a minimum of six months. Then adjust where you need to before you start measuring the outcome. The rewards include having a much longer shelf life than just traditional ad space and it also makes advertising more effective.

Pulizzi continued to explain that in order for content marketing to be effective every company needs a mission statement to start. One that you believe in and carry out and that others will want to be a part of.

This mission statement should be the driving force behind all your content.

What should a Mission Statement include?

Pulizzi suggests a mission statement should include 3 parts:

1. The Core Target Audience.
2. What Will Be Consistently Delivered to Share Your Authority with Your Audience.
It has to be information your audience cares about.
3. The Outcome for Your Target Audience.

It should also be simple and each word easy to understand.

The example he gave was Inc. Magazine. This is their mission:

Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.

Inc-Website-Running-a-Business

How can you use a Mission Statement?

A mission statement is the roadmap for all your content. Use it as a checklist. As you come up with ideas, find topics, and meet people to interview go back to your mission statement and see if they’re a fit.

Let’s use Inc. Magazine as an example.

1. Is it the right target audience? Entrepreneurs and business owners
2. Is it relevant to what you are an authority in and consistently deliver to your target audience?  Advice, insights, resources and inspiration for entrepreneurs and business owners
3. Is it the outcome you want for your audience? To help them run and grow their businesses

If it’s a NO in any of these areas, don’t use it. Find something else that does fit all three categories.

To sum it all up…

After you develop your mission statement, make sure your content marketing strategy fits, is relevant to the audience, and delivers on that promise. Pulizzi  calls it “Return on Objective.”

Pulizzi also recommends spreading your mission statement throughout your company, and share it with all your content creators. Once again, this will be their checklist to select and write content consistently and targeted to your audience and mission.

Next, display it anywhere you create informational content, like on your blog. The mission statement is there to develop a connection with your audience and bring them back to your company. After they rely on your content, and you earn their trust, they’ll be much more open to learning about your products and services. This is where the chances of becoming a customer are much greater.

Win more customers by marketing less

Pulizzi also introduced his new book, Epic Content Marketing: How To Tell A Different Story, Break Through The Clutter, And Win More Customers By Marketing Less.

Think about it … Win more customers by marketing less … that’s the big idea behind content marketing.

All of us at the workshop were given the gift of his new book which was released the very next day. I was thrilled to be one of the first to get a copy, and he even signed it too! I’m in the middle of reading it. If you want to be a success with content marketing hop online and get this book.

Content marketing “done right,”  sets the stage for a presence that attracts a potentially huge audience and draws customers to your business. Discover how your content can create a multilayer buyer experience.

Photo Credits: Top photo courtesy of Dreamstime, Inc. Magazine screen capture at SlideShare/Ektron.

Here are a few questions for you…I’d love to hear your comments!

Are you one of the 42% of marketers effective at content marketing? If so, share some of your successes.
What’s your mission statement?

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