Content marketing is the most time-consuming area of digital marketing. Online consumers produce an insatiable demand for fresh material, and since every blog post, infographic or social media post is another opportunity for promotion, there’s good reason to keep providing it.
Ever since social media fundamentally altered the relationship between brand and consumer, huge businesses have invested heavily in making sure that the all the content they produce reflects their overall missions— the narratives they tell about why they exist.
So how does this mission-led content marketing work, and is it something you need to consider for your business? Let’s go through it.
What it means to have a business mission
What is the purpose of your business? You might say that it’s to make money and pay the bills (and that’s almost always a significant factor, of course) but that doesn’t make for a very interesting story. If you make hats, you could say that your purpose is to make great hats, but… well, that isn’t very captivating either.
Having a mission is about taking a step back from ‘what’ you do and coming up with a broader ‘why’ that will say something about who you are, what you care about, and what you’re trying to achieve. What do you envision for the future of your business?
Perhaps a hatmaker could identify their purpose as to help people feel stylish and confident, with making hats just the way they go about trying to further that goal. Or they could state that they want to be the top luxury hat brand in the world, setting out their grand ambitions.
Establishing a mission gets you past the uninteresting parts of your operation and boils things down to the notable parts, making everything a lot simpler to explain— and as we’ll see, making content a lot easier to produce.
How a mission can inform your content
With a particular mission in mind, you can aim to ensure that absolutely every piece of content you produce will in some way nudge you in the direction of achieving your targeted outcome.
The mission of ‘helping people feel stylish and confident’ wouldn’t specifically require the discussion of hats, for instance, so you could talk about other elements of style if you wanted to. And if you wanted to be the top luxury hat brand in the world, you could talk about broader elements of luxury lifestyles, further associating your company with all things luxurious.
The important thing would be getting people to perceive you as a trustworthy authority in your field (trust is incredibly important in business, particularly for e-commerce, with the hope that they would eventually consider your brand the default option for business in that field.
Having a mission is also remarkably significant on social media, where you’re more likely to be commenting on things more casually and curating external content for your followers. With your goal stated, you can talk to the online world about it, humanizing your company and making people more likely to root for you to succeed.
Why mission-led content is so effective
Content, especially digital content, doesn’t get much time in the spotlight (especially in a time of ephemeral content). It’s popular one day and then forgotten by the next, requiring more content to replace it. But trust and authority compound over time, increasing in value as they do so and providing incredible ROI.
Plenty of businesses have content strategies that aren’t intentionally mission-led, of course, and they have their successes, but they tend to have implicit missions that they build their calendars around without really thinking about it— even if they’re relatively plain like ‘be considered an expert’, they keep everything working in the same direction.
You can contrast such businesses with those that produce content sporadically, with topics and formats all over the place (random acts of content). That kind of scattergun approach is never in the least big effective, and they’d be better served not bothering at all.
Another important benefit of mission-led content is the centrality of trust and respect that goes with a considered content approach. From following best practices with your emails to getting users to opt-in to different marketing messages on a regular basis, you aren’t committing the cardinal sin of taking people’s time and inboxes for granted.
How you can embrace the mission-led approach
Maybe you already have a content marketing strategy that isn’t built around a mission, or maybe you’re just getting started. Either way, here’s how you can pursue your mission:
- Make it the core of your brand.
- If you have a slogan, update it accordingly. If you have an ‘About Us’ section on your website, take out anything generic and get really specific. State your objective loudly and proudly, and back it up in your actions. (I like how Ben & Jerry’s objective of ‘linked prosperity’ shines through everything they do).
- Streamline your branding.
- Use the mission-led approach to streamline your branding. Create Marketing Templates and Proposals that showcase your mission and which create enthusiasm for your business and customer-centric culture. The mission should be apparent across advertising and digital media channels.
- Blog about what matters to you.
- If you have a blog, start focusing all your efforts on engaging posts about topics that actually matter to you, because they’ll matter to your readers too if they’re invested in your mission. (If you don’t have a blog, set one up— use shortcuts to getting online — you don’t need anything too sophisticated).
- Acknowledge user feedback.
- Any company that really cares about its goal welcomes feedback, even when it’s strongly negative (some tips here) because that’s necessary for improvement. Showing that you care more about your objective than about always being right is a great way to get the general public on your side, so use social media positively!
It isn’t enough to just think about your promotional content for something like this. You need to think about your content as being the entirety of your output, covering everything from the business pitches you make to how you respond to complaints. Ina time when social media blowback can ruin a company’s reputation overnight, you have to be incredibly consistent.
With a meaningful mission underpinning everything you do, you’ll find it easier to plan, create and get real results from the content you produce— and the longer you stick to that approach, the more authority and trust you’ll build up in your target audience.