In business, there is never a one size fits all solution. You always need to consider the specific needs of your business and identify key objectives to develop a solid plan. Bear in mind that, in content marketing, the bulk of your time will be spent in planning and developing a content strategy. In fact, you may spend more time planning than writing and distributing finished content.
To learn more about the lengthy content development process, you can refer to the infographic below on the key steps in content development:
It is true that most marketers and experienced bloggers are already aware of the key steps in content creation. However, most marketers overlook one particular step that has a significant long-term impact on your brand’s development—identifying an editorial statement.
Ask yourself; what does your brand stand for? Who will benefit from your content?
If you, and everyone else in your organization, know the definite answers to both questions, then you probably already have an editorial statement. However, if not, then you are like most marketers—churning out content with a fragmented voice and unclear objectives.
What is an Editorial Statement?
Remember that marketing, online or offline, is essentially about communication; which can only exist between people. With an editorial statement, you will first and foremost identify who your content will be for and how you are planning to reach them. Furthermore, you will also identify who you are as a distinct brand and what you want to accomplish with your content.
In other words, an editorial statement functions similarly with a company’s vision statement—only it focuses specifically on your content marketing. As such, an editorial statement must be well-documented and shared by everyone in your organization. According to research, 48% of the most effective content marketers have a written editorial mission statement. 31%, however, has one but isn’t documented.
Keep in mind that many marketers assume that making “branded content” is all about highlighting the benefits of your products or services. However, an effective content marketer can identify the “intangible” branding elements found in content—things like the tone of voice, article structure, and everything else that makes the content “familiar” to those who’ve encountered your brand before.
While an editorial mission statement makes your brand identifiable from the rest of the pack, having everyone acutely aware of your statement also keeps your content team on the same page. Once your brand gets recognized and your team grows, you need a way to make sure everyone is consistent with the brand’s voice and quality standards.
Establishing an Editorial Mission
Now that you understand the meaning of an editorial mission statement, it is time to go ahead and write yours. Here are the steps on how to develop an editorial statement:
Step 1 – Identify Your “Primary Audience”
Every content you publish may be tailored specifically for a different audience, but you should be able to determine a single audience persona that benefits from most of your content. This is crucial if you want to etch your brand on the industry permanently.
To get to know your target audience, you must empathize with them and understand their journeys. Be familiar with their pain points, preferences, and behavior. Doing so will help you with other areas outside writing the content itself—including but not limited to keyword research, preferred content format, traffic source, and so on.
You can tell if you succeeded with this step when you can refer to your primary audience as if he or she is someone you know. Write down the important demographics so the rest of the team knows who they are talking to.
Step 2 – Identify the “Deliverables”
Let’s face it—there are probably thousands of other brands trying to offer the same information through their content. What you need now is to plan a structure that will make the reading experience unique and memorable to your target audience. For example, will you be delivering content in an entirely humorous fashion, or do you think your audience prefers a more “formal” tone of writing?
Also, focus on the types of content you want to offer. Infographics, videos, memes—all these can be mixed and matched to create a fresh new content experience for your audience. So although it is important to be original when establishing an editorial mission, there is nothing wrong with borrowing a little inspiration if you need ideas that click. A simple content research tool like BuzzSumo can help with this job. It is a simple software that will help you discover the most popular content from the most authoritative sources.
Step 3 – Identify the “Goal”
Ask yourself the question—what will the audience get out from the experience? At the end of the day, all that matters is what the audience gains. Will your content help them advance in their careers? Do you provide expert insights to empower their shopping decisions? Are you offering “out-of-the-box” tips for a particular product?
Remember that your content’s goal is directly reflected in your editorial statement. It must be as accurate as possible, and no content shall be deemed finished unless the goal is completed.
Step 4 – Put it All Together
Now that you figured out all the essential details for an editorial statement, it is time to put everything together. Remember to keep it concise yet compelling. More importantly, it must have all the details you have obtained from all previous steps; namely the audience, the deliverables, and the goals.
For example, ABC Company provides smartphone geeks (audience) with in-depth reviews (deliverables) to help them decide the best product for them (goal). Now, read it aloud and see if it has a “ring” to it.
Things to Remember
- It is advisable for startups and small companies to focus on one core audience, but it is possible to have multiple editorial statements for different projects.
- Although similar, your editorial mission statement must not be the same as your business’s vision statement. They may overlap in many ways, but an editorial statement is ultimately centered more towards the company’s audience.
- An editorial statement must be made official in every possible way. You can post it on a bulletin board, place it in your website’s header, and so on.
Every endeavor in life requires a clear purpose. In content marketing, each article made must contribute to a meaningful goal. If you manage to keep everyone pushing in the same direction, then even the less efficient content may still lead to progress.