By Joe Pulizzi published October 6, 2012

Why You Need a Content Marketing Mission Statement

In the dining room of our house, there is a mission statement on the wall. I refer to it often. So do my two boys, now ages nine and 11.

The mission statement is our family purpose. It’s what we strive to be today and into the future. I believe that mission statement has been crucial to our family’s success and happiness.

According to Wikipedia, a mission statement is a company’s reason for existence. It’s why the organization does what it does.  Southwest Airlines’ mission statement has always been to democratize the travel experience. The mission statement for CVS is to be the easiest pharmacy retailer for customers to use. So, in simple terms, the mission statement must answer the question, “Why do we exist?

The content marketing mission statement

In almost every one of my keynote presentations, I cover the content marketing mission statement. I feel it’s critical to set the tone for the idea of content marketing, or any marketing for that matter. Marketing professionals from so many small and large businesses 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. This seems obvious, but most marketers have no mission statement or core strategy behind the content they develop.

Think of it this way: What if you were the leading trade magazine for your niche area? What if your goal was not to first sell products and services but to impact your readers with amazing information that would change their lives and behaviors?

Inc Magazine Mission StatementInc. magazine has its mission statement in the first line of its About Us page.

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 businesses.

Let’s dissect this a bit. Inc’s mission statement includes:

  1. The core audience target: entrepreneurs and business owners
  2. What will be delivered to the audience: useful information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration
  3. The outcome for the audience: growing their businesses

Inc’s mission statement is also incredibly simple and includes no words that could be misunderstood. Perfecto!

A content marketing mission statement example

Home Made Simple Mission StatementP&G has been producing HomeMadeSimple.com for almost a decade now. Millions of consumers have signed up there to receive regular updates and tips to help them be more efficient in the home.

The mission statement for HomeMadeSimple.com is:


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.

HomeMadeSimple’s mission statement includes:

  1. The core audience target: on-the-go moms (P&G doesn’t explicitly say this on its site for obvious reasons, but this is its audience).
  2. What will be delivered to the audience: recipes, inspiring ideas, and new approaches to organization.
  3. The outcome for the audience: Improve your home life.

So, for P&G, if the story idea doesn’t fit into these three tenets, it’s a nonstarter.

Best practices for a content marketing mission statement

Remember, content marketing is not about “what you sell” it’s about “what you stand for.” The informational needs of your customers and prospects come first. Although there must be clear marketing objectives behind the mission statement, those should not be outlined here. The Inc. mission statement doesn’t say anything about selling more advertising or paid events. The P&G mission statement doesn’t say anything about selling more Swiffer pads. To work, your mission statement has to be all about the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work.

Some other helpful tips:

  1. Post it: Include the mission statement where it can be found easily by your audience.
  2. Spread it: Make sure everyone involved in your content marketing process has the mission statement. Encourage them to print it out and pin it up on the wall.
  3. The litmus test: Use the mission statement to decide what content you will and won’t create. Often, a bad judgment in content creation can be fixed by running it by the mission statement.

For more inspiration, I find MissionStatements.com a very useful resource. Good luck!

Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Cover image via Bigstock

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • http://twitter.com/AJHuisman AJ Huisman

    Thanks Joe for this post, I totally agree with your advice of having a Content Marketing Mission Statement. As you rightfully say, it’s not about the What or even the How but most of all about the Why. Always! It’s basically the starting point of every great (Content Marketing) Strategy.

    As coincidence will have it, I wrote a blogpost just on this subject: The Golden Circle of Content Marketing at http://contentmarketingcrusader.com/the-golden-circle-of-content-marketing/ #shamelessplug ;)

  • NenadSenic

    Uf, Joe. I think I may strongly disagree with you for the first time. The time has arrived. If we survive this disagreement, we’ll be forever fine. :)))

    I think your first example is terrible. It’s the “mission statement” I dread the most. It says: “can find useful information, advice, insights, resources”. This is like saying, our magazine will inform and write about new ideas … It is not a mission statement. After all every magazine does it, one way or another. I constantly call for a more in-depth mission of the mag, etc. Publishing news and information, it’s their core business anyway.

    Cheers from safely far away, N. :)

    • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Nenad…it would be terrible if it stopped at “can find useful information, advice, insights, resources…” It goes on to say “inspire and grow businesses”. That’s the why.

      Love your passion Nenad!

  • Alana Daveduk

    Business Owners cringe when I even say the words mission statement and strategy. Because they don’t know where they will find the time to go out of the box. As a small business owner they wear many hats and need to align with someone who can help them find that voice and so those dreaded words don’t seem so hard.

  • Heike Heemann

    Concise and useful post.

  • http://twitter.com/BritneyMuller Britney Muller

    Beautifully inspiring post Joe! As a Content Marketer (who’s days are filled with chaos), it’s incredibly refreshing to be reminded of keeping a single mission statement in mind. Just curious, do you personally have a Content Marketing Mission Statement?

    • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Britney…actually, we do…it’s on the top of our home page — “Advancing the Practice of Content Marketing”

  • http://twitter.com/InetMrktReview Internet Mrkt Review

    Great point! A missions statement helps to keep your goals in focus as a writer, organization, but also helps to show your readers how you are oriented!

  • http://twitter.com/3rhinomedia Don Stanley

    Fantastic! It’s a great tip and reminder that the WHY is sooooo important vs. the how. I’ve worked with a number of clients who know HOW to do content marketing, but because they don’t have a strong WHY they are doing it, they get easily distracted and quit caring for and feeding their content marketing activities. Thanks for the tip and sharing Joe!

  • jennifer

    Great tips, I plan on using them. One question thou… what’s your family mission statement?? You intro-ed it, but didn’t share. It left me hanging LOL

    • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Jennifer…it’s actually pretty long, but the short version is – Thank God – Always Share – Say Nice Things – Give Our Best.