Your organization’s mission and purpose aren’t the same. If you don’t distinguish between the two, your content marketing doesn’t stand a chance at being effective.
A mission is your organization’s reason for existing – your why. A purpose is your organization’s way to implement its mission – your how.
For example, the mission of the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower severely injured service members. The purpose of Wounded Warrior Project is to raise awareness and money from the public and to provide programs and services to meet the needs of these service members.
By separating mission and purpose in your thinking, you can more clearly see the distinction between your organization’s why and its how. You can use that information to create a more effective content marketing strategy.
Develop the why and how for your content marketing
Now, it’s time to translate your organization’s purpose and mission into a content marketing mission statement or an editorial mission statement, as Michele Linn describes in her post, The One Statement That Will Refine Your Content Marketing.
The editorial mission statement includes the organization’s mission and purpose, as well as its audience. But it adds a couple critical elements – how the organization will use content to reach that audience and what it wants to accomplish once that audience is engaged.
“This simple statement can transform your content and give you more power to prioritize,” Michele writes.
Russell Sparkman, who has taught the nonprofit industry lab at Content Marketing World, doesn’t use the phrase “editorial mission statement,” but he offers a similar helpful output that he calls “your content’s strategic purpose.” (Note: The use of mission and purpose in this context is not the same as your organization’s mission and purpose described earlier.)
To detail your content’s strategic purpose, you must identify three things:
- Priority desired outcome
- Priority target audience
- Priority target audience’s need
The key difference in Russell’s exercise is to prioritize your reason(s) for creating and distributing the content, which includes identifying your top audience and its most relevant need. Narrowing your focus requires you to say “no” or “not now” to some audiences, but it’s essential for long-term success.
At a nonprofit, you face a challenge because you almost always must serve at least two audiences – the people who receive your services and the people who support those services through time or money. You can’t have one without the other.
That dual-audience need doesn’t absolve you from Russell’s prioritization mandate. Pick your top priority for each audience category (i.e., donors and clients). Your organization can’t be all things to all people and neither can your content. Be selective.
By taking 30 minutes or less to craft a content marketing mission statement or document your content’s strategic purpose, you create a better foundation to tie your content marketing to your organization’s goals. Even if you never get around to documenting an in-depth content marketing strategy, this one statement will bring clarity to the purpose of your content marketing and its ultimate connection to your nonprofit’s mission.