If a strategy and editorial mission statement aren’t the foundation for your content editorial planning – you’ve got some work to do!

The title of this post is inspired by an HBR article which highlighted the fact that there are not many executives that can honestly answer two simple questions: Can you summarize your company’s strategy in 35 words or less? If so, would your colleagues put it the same way?  These two questions, the authors believe, can be the difference between a company’s success and failure.

Can you summarize your company’s strategy in 35 words or less? Click To Tweet

I believe content marketers would find value in adding this test to their editorial planning process.

According to the sixth annual Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America report, having a written content marketing strategy and editorial mission statement in place are two of the four key qualities that define a best-in-class content marketer.  [Note: The other two qualities are: (1) Understand what successful content marketing looks like and (2) Communicate frequently with your team (and by frequently, we are talking daily or weekly).]

The report shows that only 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy (down from last year) and only 28% have a documented editorial mission statement.

Documentation is the key as it is the only way to know if every team member involved with content marketing is on the same page.

If you have a strategy and mission statement but they aren’t written down – your next step is clear: GO WRITE IT DOWN!  Then compare what you wrote to your teammates.

If you don’t have a strategy or editorial mission statement – your next step is also clear but it will take more time.  Here are some hints and tools to help you along the way:

Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

There are a lot of companies out there providing content marketing strategy consulting – and for each company, they have their own approach to development (which they likely offer for free if they walk their content marketing talk!).  However, if you don’t have a strategy right now, a simple approach might be best – I recommend starting with Jay Baer’s 7 step process:

  1. Determine objectives – This is where you connect content marketing to business strategy.  What specific business goals will your content help achieve?
  2. Choose your “one thing” – What part of your approach differentiates you from your competitors?
  3. Identify how you will measure your success
  4. Define your audiences
  5. Research audience needs – get underneath the actions your audience takes to identify their true needs.  Remember that saying: When someone walks into a hardware store looking to buy a drill – they don’t really need a drill, they need to put a hole in something. The drill is just the tool.
  6. Determine how you will execute through an editorial plan that shows when and what you will create
  7. Market your marketing through a content amplification plan

Building an Editorial Mission Statement

  • An editorial mission statement helps you decide what content to create, but sometimes even more importantly, what content NOT to create.  Watch the video below from the B2B research roundtable from the Content Marketing Institute for more.

  • A mission statement answers the question: “Why do you exist?” Joe Pulizzi has been encouraging all content marketers to get clear on this key part of editorial planning, he says, “Marketing professionals … get so fixated on channels such as blogs, Facebook or Pinterest that they honestly have no clue of the underlying content strategy. So, the why must come before the what.”
  • Pulizzi says you only need to answer three things to create your initial mission statement:
    1. Who is your core target audience?
    2. What will be delivered to the audience?
    3. What is the desired outcome for the audience?
  • Another option is to fill out this Mad-libs style mission statement.
  • Here are a few examples:
    1. Inc. Magazine: Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their business.
    2. P&G’s HomeMadeSimple.com: Whether it’s a delicious recipe, an inspiring décor idea or a refreshing approach to organizing, we strive to help you [Moms] create a home that’s truly your own. Everything we do here is designed to empower and inspire you to make your home even better, and most importantly, a place you love to be.
    3. Fast Company: Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company and FastCompany.com inspire readers and users to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.
    4. Digital Photography School: Welcome to Digital Photography School – a website with simple tips to help digital camera owners get the most out of their cameras.

A solid strategy and editorial mission statement will give you the right foundation to build a strong and successful content marketing machine/approach/system.

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