What does your business do? Who are your customers? What do they want from you? These are the questions that your business must answer when constructing a content marketing strategy to ensure that every piece of content you create is working towards a common goal.
If you don’t know why you are creating content and what your audience will gain from it then neither will they.
Content Marketing Institute’s founder Joe Pulizzi once said:
“A mission statement is a company’s reason for existence. It’s why the organization does what it does.”
Joe’s statement is also true of company philosophies or codes of ethics.
These terms are often used interchangeably to describe the basis of a business’s identity but there are small differences.
Using Google as an example:
This is a short and memorable summary of what your core aims are.
For Google this is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
This is more in-depth version of the mission statement which expands on the basic principles outlined there.
Google’s philosophy includes things like “focus on the user and all else will follow”, “you can be serious without a suit” and “great just isn’t good enough”.
Code of ethics
The code of ethics expands even further on the beliefs laid out in the mission statement and philosophy – the code of ethics gives company guidelines for dealing with specific situations and issues.
Google’s code of conduct gives policies for transparency, fairness & consistency and equal opportunities.
In this article we will discuss company philosophies and how to bring this into your content marketing.
What is a company philosophy?
A company philosophy works as a framework for your business as a whole.
It allows every area of your company to unite in a common goal and provides a plan for employees to follow.
A positive workplace culture starts with a company philosophy that is drawn from an underlying code of ethics as well as a genuine mission statement that reflects what you want your business to be.
It is also important for finding talent with 46% of job seekers stating that company culture was ‘very important’ when choosing to apply for a job with a company, according to Jobvite.
Meanwhile, Built In found that employees who don’t like their organization’s culture are 24% more likely to quit citing issues such as a lack of core values or management not following the stated values.
Where many businesses have company philosophies that sound good, to come across as authentic with your customers your business (and content) must reflect the values set out in your company philosophy at all times.
Creating a company philosophy begins with three questions:
- What do we do?
- Who are our customers?
- How do we serve them?
The answers to these questions will go on to inform every decision you make in your business, including the content that you put out.
Examples of strong company philosophies
Apple’s company philosophy has changed over the years as management and technology has changed but the company’s ‘Think Different’ campaign, which ran from 1997 to 2002, typifies the ongoing values of the brand.
Apple represents an alternative to traditional computing, more stylish, more creative, and more intelligent.
Their stores, staff, products, and online content all represent this philosophy perfectly and the business always seeks innovation in every product and upgrade.
Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.
Patagonia is an environmentally-conscious outdoor clothing brand whose company philosophy combines a wish to create high-quality products while helping the environment.
Their focus on the environment and sticking strictly to their company philosophy has worked to their advantage.
Patagonia’s Corley Kenna says:
“We’ve found that when we put the planet first and do the right things for the planet, it winds up being good for business. It has proven itself over and over again.”
Creating a company philosophy
A company philosophy (or mission statement) is generally made up of four elements:
- Contribution: What is the impact of your business on your sector/audience/niche?
- Emotion: Why do you do it?
- Differentiation: What is your business’s USP (unique selling point)?
- Implementation: How can you do it?
When creating your company philosophy think about the following:
- keep it short and concise so that it gets your point across while remaining memorable,
- think about your long-term goals as well as what you are currently achieving,
- get input from your employees and existing customers, and
- be flexible and open to change. Most major companies adapt their company philosophy over time as their focus changes or expands and yours should too.
What is a content philosophy?
A company philosophy ties in closely to a content philosophy, being the foundation for each piece of content marketing a business creates.
Mission-driven copy is more than simply advertising your products or services.
It makes a real impact on your customers and prospects by educating and informing them about your business as a whole.
A content philosophy helps any marketing content you produce to stand out from your competition reflecting your core values and adding to the ‘story’ your business is telling through blogs, articles, email newsletters, and advertisements.
Content philosophies also help you to create a content marketing strategy by:
- deciding which stories you will tell,
- how you will tell those stories, and
- turning business mentions into content assets.
How to build a content mission statement
Andy Crestodina gives this simple formula for content mission statements on the Orbit Media blog:
“Our company [or blog or site] is where [Audience X] finds [Content Y] for [Benefit Z] (with ‘our company’ referring to everything your business creates, publishes, and shares with its customers).”
Who is your audience?
Whatever stage your business is at, you should have some idea of who your target audience are.
However, unlike the target audience for your products or services, the target audience for your content marketing may be further-reaching.
For content marketing you are looking at:
- those you want to sell products/services to, and
- those who you can inform, advise or entertain
Although you may not make money directly from the second audience, having them be interested in and engaged with your content has a number of indirect benefits – not least the fact that they can work as word-of-mouth ambassadors to bring in prospects.
To create a company philosophy and content mission statement you will want to look in-depth at this audience to create a detailed buyer persona.
You will need to decide who your target customer is, where they live, what their own interests and motivations are and even typical behaviour patterns.
Knowing this will help you to speak to them directly when you create content.
You may find it easier to create a buyer persona if you look first at your most important marketing goal and then choose your target audience based on that.
So, if your goal is improving conversion rates you might decide to target an audience made up of leads whom your sales team has struggled to convert.
Look at the company mission statement from media brand The Hustle:
“(O)ur mission at The Hustle is to keep you informed through a daily email, highlighting a handful of topical stories and adding perspective and color to make it easy to understand. So, if you’re fed up with traditional media and ready to try something new, join our charge and the millions of others who believe what you believe.”
The Hustle takes a common philosophy for publishers “keeping audiences informed” and expands it to a more specific subset – people who are unhappy with traditional media reporting.
What does the audience get out of it?
Once you know your audience you can move onto deciding what benefit they will get from your content.
You want to create content that works towards your marketing goals while keeping the audience at the forefront of your strategy.
There is no point creating content that isn’t interesting, useful or relevant to them because they won’t engage with it, so you need to tailor everything you put out to what your audience wants and needs.
In The Hustle mission statement mentioned above, two main audience benefits are immediately clear:
- “daily email, highlighting a handful of topical stories”
- “(making) it easy to understand”
Just from the content philosophy, subscribers know that they will be able to see a relevant selection of topical stories, made meaningful and easy to understand, every day.
For audiences that are struggling with other news media, knowing that they have a simple and accessible way to stay on top of the news should be a huge draw.
What content should you create?
Once you know who your audience is and what they will find valuable you can start formulating a content strategy – the topics and formats for your content to take.
You want to strike a balance between the areas that your business has the most knowledge about and the information your target audience most wants from you.
Creating content that spans both of these is the key to a really strong content marketing strategy.
Use analytics tools to see what content you already have performs best, research tools to see the most shared content in your niche or even use direct marketing to ask your existing customers and prospects what content they want to see more of.
Blogs are a key form of content for any business but there are other forms of content that help to establish you as a brand authority and bring in an audience purely seeking education and information.
Some content formats that are effective here include:
- opinion posts,
- original research posts,
- interviews, and
- listicles and roundups
How to use company philosophies
Once your company philosophy is written it needs to be present in every element of your business and marketing.
It should be present on your website and social media, included in content marketing and direct marketing campaigns.
You need your company philosophy to be clear and established to three main audiences:
- your management team,
- your customers, and
- your staff
Use your company philosophy with your management team to help inform your B2B digital marketing plan as well as general business planning such as:
- budget decisions
- brand messaging
- strategic planning
- marketing campaigns
- on your company about page,
- on your social media profiles,
- in your meta data for key website pages,
- in testimonials and case studies,
- supporting your marketing messages, and
- to decide the content of your blog.
- to decide common goals and objectives,
- to encourage independent decision-making on the company’s behalf,
- to encourage employee productivity, and
- to decide performance markers and standards.
Your company philosophy should be present throughout your business practices.
Place it prominently on your website and make it part of your onboarding process.
Write it into your content and then highlight how each piece of content marketing relates to the company philosophy when guiding your team through the creation of digital sales and marketing campaigns.
Understand your mission and then sell it to the world
More Than Words is made up of sales and marketing professionals with decades of experience.
Our brand strategy service is designed to help your business uncover your unique personality and implement this in every area of your content marketing.
The first part of our brand strategy consulting service includes:
- discovery of existing target markets and refinement (where required) into a smaller number of more lucrative target markets,
- creation of a brand history and mission statement,
- amendment to or replacement of existing website and to social media platform presences, and
- brand strategy presentation to assess progress made.
The second stage comprises:
- creation of content strategy,
- decisions made on where to place content and other marketing materials,
- creation of branding manual to cover visual and linguistic company presentation, and
- creation of content (with or without support from your internal teams).
Your brand strategy will be reviewed every three months to allow for adjustments as your business develops over time.
To get started with a More Than Words account manager, please call us on 0330 010 3495 or you can email our content marketing team by clicking here.