Important: This article is a part of my step-by-step guide on how to create a fully functioning Content Marketing Strategy that will serve as a backbone of your content marketing efforts.
Step 1) Setting your mission statement <<< YOU ARE HERE
Your mission statement is a unifying force that brings clarity and purpose to your content marketing efforts.
It transforms your content marketing strategy from a stick into a lightsaber.
In this article, you'll learn about:
- What a mission statement is
- When should you come up with one
- Are they necessary
- Why are they important for content marketing
- How to craft a mission statement
- Examples and templates
- What are the benefits of setting a mission statement
Let's jump in!
What is a mission statement?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a mission statement is "a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual."
Like a house needs strong foundations not to collapse, your business needs a strong mission statement that will bind everything together and serve as a guiding light for your every action.
Mission statements are not vision statements, however.
When coming up with a mission statement, you're not trying to convey some grand vision you have in mind for your business.
Your goal is to briefly and clearly describe who your company serves and what you can do for them.
People make this mistake after looking at the mission statements of the biggest brands on the planet.
Sure, their mission statements are grand, but so are their businesses.
Microsoft can say they want “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” because Microsoft is a global leader and they're in a position to target literally every person on Earth.
Facebook can say their mission "is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together" because Facebook has over 2.5 billion monthly active users.
That's a third of all the people on Earth.
It's not an exaggeration for Facebook to want to impact the entire world.
Your mission statement, on the other hand, has to be realistic and reflect what you can do for your targeted clients right now or you run a risk of your mission statement backfiring.
Don't try to cram buzzwords into your mission statement just for the sake of better optics.
But don't sell yourself short either.
Be realistic and craft a mission statement that you can stand behind with conviction no matter what anyone throws your way.
When should you set your mission statement?
Ideally, from the get-go.
Business is rough, especially when you're starting something from scratch.
It's nice to have a mission statement that you can lean on and remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing when the times get tough.
Having a mission statement from the start clearly defines a goal and a framework of operations for your business too.
It sharpens your senses when it comes to carving out a path for your business and sets you in a direct collision course with success.
For example, let's say you start a local social media marketing agency to serve local businesses.
Your mission statement could look something like "helping local businesses of Youngstown reach wider audiences and expand their social media presence to achieve greater financial results."
A mission statement like that removes any dilly-dallying and informs your actions from the start.
Who am I serving?
Local businesses of Youngstown.
What expertise am I offering?
Social media growth and management.
What are the results of my work?
Greater social media presence and financial results for the business that hires me.
With a clear mission statement like that you know:
- Who your clients are – reach out to every single one of them
- What skill-set you need to have – fill in your knowledge gaps if you have any
- What actions you need to take to assure your promises to clients get fulfilled – prioritize fail-proof actions that give the desired results as fast as possible (no shortcuts and dodgy stuff, though)
Are mission statements necessary?
Mission statements are not mandatory, but they don't cost anything and the benefits of having one are profound.
You might think "This is BS, I've never had a mission statement and I'm doing amazingly well."
I would argue that if you're doing amazingly well, you do have a mission statement, you just haven't put one to paper.
In which case, you might as well do it.
And if you're not doing amazingly well, don't you want to do everything in your power to change that for the better?
Especially when it's free!
You don't have to be heading a global brand to benefit from a well-crafted mission statement.
You can literally be a one-man-band operating a small business and still get pumped with enthusiasm and pride when you see your own mission statement.
Why are mission statements important for content marketing?
A mission statement plays a huge role when it comes to content marketing in more ways than one.
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute swears by mission statements and recommends companies that want to leverage content marketing to start thinking and acting like media companies.
For starters, media companies almost without fail come up with a mission statement before doing anything else.
They need a mission statement to influence their content.
This is precisely why you need a mission statement too.
There's a great synergy between mission statements and content marketing that lies in the fact that they're both long-term-oriented, selfless, and consumer-centric.
Going with the previous example of a social media marketing agency in Youngstown, your mission statement gets you in a customer-centric mindset.
All of a sudden, you have a clear idea of who you are serving and to what end.
And if you were to start leveraging content marketing to attract local businesses to seek you out, the mission statement points you in the direction of the kind of content you should be creating.
That would be the content that provides value and serves your potential clients.
Your mission statement also informs you what content NOT to create to get the most out of content marketing.
That would be self-serving content that's sales-oriented all the time.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with selling.
You own a business and that's what businesses do.
But content marketing takes a different approach when it comes to achieving positive business results.
To know when to create purely value-driven content and when to include sales-oriented information, check out my article on search intent.
Personal mission statement vs company mission statement
Personal and company mission statements essentially serve the same purpose.
The difference is that personal mission statements feel more intimate and… personal.
They're more focused on values and improvements the person wants to cultivate in life.
But the general reasons for crafting a personal mission statement is the same as why companies craft their mission statements.
It's to gain clarity and purpose which then influences every aspect of their existence.
Living life or doing business without a clear mission statement is like shooting in the dark.
Sure, you'll hit the mark occasionally.
But coming up with a mission statement turns the proverbial lights on and puts a scope on your weapon.
You now see clearly and are able to zoom in on what you need to accomplish.
Which helps you produce better results more consistently.
How to craft a mission statement in 4 steps
I am a fan of simple, consumer-centric and results-driven mission statements.
There are essentially four questions to ask yourself when crafting a mission statement like that:
- Who are you?
- Who do you serve?
- What results can your customers expect?
- How will you accomplish these results?
Let's say you need to come up with a mission statement for your newly opened health food store.
Step 1) Who are you?
We're a health food store called Healthy Joe's.
Step 2) Who do you serve?
We serve the people of the greater Youngstown area.
Step 3) What results can your customers expect?
We provide our customers with only the freshest, healthiest, and 100% organic locally sourced food.
Step 4) How will you accomplish these results?
We have partnered with local farmers that produce organic food to ensure our shelves are stocked only with fresh, locally grown organic food at all times.
Mission statement example: At Healthy Joe's, we serve the people of greater Youngstown area by providing fresh, healthy, and 100% organic food sourced only from local small organic-certified farms.
You can see how this mission statement influences everything our fictional local food store is all about, and, perhaps equally as importantly, what it's not about.
It connects our little food store with a smaller base of local consumers who want healthy, organic, locally sourced food, but it serves them in the most relevant way possible.
Of course, the store has to honor their mission statement at all times because it's a promise they made to their customers.
Otherwise, the mission statement would backfire and negatively impact the business.
Mission statement crafting best practices, templates, and resources
If you don't like the formula from the example in the previous section, here are the best practices that can guide the creation of your unique mission statement.
Mission statement crafting best practices are:
- Have clarity of purpose – what do you do, why do you do it, who are you doing it for, and what can they expect from it
- Be relevant – have a clearly targeted consumer base you want to serve
- Try to inspire – craft your mission statement so that it evokes inspiration and enthusiasm in those who read it
- Less is more – keep it short and sweet
It's OK to go as in-depth as you want when answering important questions and trying to gain clarity by writing everything on a piece of paper.
But the end goal is to boil everything down to 1-3 sentences.
You can always look for inspiration by checking out what other companies in your space have come up with.
Or you can search for mission statement templates that are readily available online.
Here, you can find templates of personal mission statements like:
- "To ... [what you want to achieve, do or become] ... so that ... [reasons why it is important]. I will do this by ... [specific behaviors or actions you can use to get there]."
- "To live each day with ...[choose one to three values or principles]... so that ...[what living by these values will give you]. I will do this by ...[specific behaviors you will use to live by these values]."
- "To appreciate and enjoy ...[things you want to appreciate and enjoy more] by ...[what you can do to appreciate/enjoy these things]."
And here, you can find templates of mission statements for:
- Retail, and more
Use one of these templates to craft your own mission statement, or craft a truly unique one by following the best practices.
10 Examples of mission statements from global brands
To bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” While its mission statement is to “do everything possible to expand human potential.
To serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.
To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
To save people money so they can live better.
To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world's premier entertainment company.
To refresh the world. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness. To create value and make a difference.
To be our customers' favorite place and way to eat and drink.
For even more inspiration, check out this resource page I created with mission statements from all of the Fortune 500 companies.
5 Profound benefits of having a mission statement
1. Clarity and purpose
A mission statement enables you to cut through the noise and focus on what's truly important.
It's a unifying force that helps big businesses homogenize and foster a team-like atmosphere and culture.
2. Informed decision-making
By knowing the purpose of your business, who your clients are, and what results you want to create for them, your decisions become that much better informed.
A well-crafted mission statement will help you make decisions about what your business is all about and what it's not about.
If you commit it, it will keep you honest and it won't let you go astray from your path.
3. Helps others understand what you're all about
By having a mission statement, you help customers and industry peers to get to know you better.
A great mission statement can also help attract potential employees.
4. Informs your content marketing efforts
Creating relevant content can be difficult when you don't know why you're creating it or who are you creating it for.
By having a clear mission statement, you have definitive answers to these questions.
From there, it gets much easier to start providing value through relevant content.
5. Helps you to be action-oriented and results-driven
Once you have a purpose, know who you serve and what you need to accomplish to be successful, it leaves you nothing else to do but to start taking action.
And taking action leads to getting results.
Crafting a mission statement allows you to put your business into perspective.
It's a short-form statement that requires you to think long and hard about every aspect of your business.
By forcing you to think things through and boil everything down to 1-3 sentences, it helps you get rid of all the clutter and focus on what's truly important.
Did this article help you craft your mission statement?
I'd love to hear about it in the comments!