Thursday is guest blog post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Joe Pulizzi – Enjoy!
Did you know that 94% of small businesses (less than 99 employees) use some form of content marketing to grow their businesses? That’s a staggering number, and almost hard to believe.
But it’s true. Yes, nearly every small business out there is creating blogs, articles, eBooks, white papers, newsletters and more to try to attract and retain customers. And then nearly all of those are pushing that content out in the form of tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates.
Here’s the bad news: just one in three believe it’s actually helping their businesses.
Here’s why it’s not working – Most of the content you are distributing is (to be nice about it) not very helpful or entertaining. Your customers are most likely ignoring it. It’s clutter. You are spending time creating it and your customers are working to avoid it. This is a problem.
But the reason isn’t just because your content is lackluster. The issue goes deeper.
I’ve had the privilege of speaking in front of thousands of small business owners and marketers over the past year. Do you know how many of those people have an actual strategy when it comes to their content marketing? Try less than 10%. How can we be effective with our content if we have no clear idea what the content should do – both for our business and for our customers?
For you, that stops right now.
Enter the Content Marketing Mission Statement
Marketing professionals from most small 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 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:
- The core audience target: entrepreneurs and business owners
- What will be delivered to the audience: useful information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration
- The outcome for the audience: growing their businesses
Inc’s mission statement is also incredibly simple and includes no words that could be misunderstood. This is our goal with the content marketing mission statement.
Before you develop any more unwanted content for your customers and prospects, you need to develop your own content marketing mission statement. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it doesn’t have to be written on stone tablets, but you do need it to point your content ship in the right direction.
How to Use Your 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. To work, your mission statement has to be all about the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work. Once you consistently deliver on this promise, your customers will reward you by buying your products and services.
After you create your mission statement, do the following:
- Post it: Include the mission statement where it can be found easily by your customers (perhaps, on your blog).
- Spread it: Make sure everyone creating content for your organization has a copy. Encourage them to print it out and pin it up on the wall.
- 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.
Remember, your marketing goal should be to become the leading expert in your particular niche. You can’t do that without truly epic content. Start your journey by developing your mission. Do it now!
Joe Pulizzi is founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less takes small business owners A-to-Z toward creating a content marketing strategy that works to grow the business. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.