How your vision and mission can give your content purpose

Your organisation’s vision is the reason you exist. It’s a much stronger, emotive pull towards a ‘higher purpose’ than simple monetary gain. And your mission outlines how you’re going to get to your vision (or close to it).

Some of these are clearly articulated and explained through vision and mission statements. For others it’s more of an explanation of what they do or what they produce.

If you’re working within one of the organisations where the vision explains the company’s goal and strategy clearly, you’re in a good place.

But that’s rare.

Usually there’ll be a bit of content hidden away somewhere (try the website’s about us page) that claims to be the vision statement but it might be out of date, unrelatable for staff and/or audience, or unachievable.

Example: NASA’s Apollo project’s vision might be: ‘To land a man on the moon by 1970.’

Mission

Sometimes a vision falls short because it doesn’t have a viable mission to back it up.

Missions come in many forms but they all have to aim to get the organisation somewhere. That could be through stages and check-in points or as a manifesto that outlines the right direction.

Example: NASA’s Apollo project’s mission could have been: ‘To build a programme of engineering, physics and biology capable of landing humans on the surface of the moon and bring them back safely.’

Content

These statements give your organisation direction and focus. They can also guide your content production, govern your brand language and even help you make choices about structure.

How?

As I’ve previously pointed out content strategy isn’t going to work if you don’t have an organisation strategy.

A good content strategy will show you how to execute tactics from that strategy — drawing a straight line between your website’s product page and your vision.

Your tone of voice will be more authentic if you know the purpose behind how you articulate how you express yourselves.

Example: If you know that your aim is become the world’s most approachable bank, you’ll know why your tone should be friendly and welcoming.

Turning mission into content

It’s one thing to talk about how you’re going to achieve your goals in blog posts, or on static pages. But it’s another level to make your website navigation align to your mission. When you can do that it’s a powerful thing indeed.

Here are some methods you can try:

  • When mission statements have multiple points (which is often) you could see if your current website content mentions, or alludes to, your mission. A content audit could be a good way of doing this.
  • If you have a mission statement as a manifesto, split out each point with some content that gives them more detail.
  • Or, you could map your mission to your navigation and use that to build out your content.

This is something MacMillan cancer support do really well.

Their ambition (their vision) is clearly articulated. It shows the two parts of where they want to get to and what they need to overcome.

How they’re approaching the first part: ‘We want to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer’ is broken down in an audience focused set of outcomes (a little like a manifesto).

MacMillan’s mission: The things that matter most to people with cancer

And now look at how they map to their sub-navigation for information and support:

It’s impressive, but it shows that this mapping is achievable. You just need to let your mission guide you and create a messaging framework.

What’s a messaging framework?

Messages are your content’s subconscious. They’re purposefully hidden sets of statements mapping the needs of your organisation to the needs of your audience.

You shouldn’t use these as content so they can remain free to state the things you wouldn’t necessarily say or write. To make them come to life you have to add proof points or reasons to believe.

Example: Let’s say that your company’s vision is produce the finest products with the finest service. Your mission could state: ‘To constantly improve our customer service ratings.’

Your audience want to know why they should choose you over your competitors. You want to tell your audience why you’re better than your competitors, so your message could state:
‘We’re better than our competitors’

With the proof points:

‘In a recent survey, 98% of our customers would choose our service again.’
‘In a group test, Which? gave us 5 out of 5 stars for exceptional service.’

Summary

If you have a vision and mission you should be using these to inform your content. Build a messaging framework to provide guidance to these statements bringing your content in line with your overall strategy.

When you do this you’ll be improving your content, by making it more authentic. Your audience will pick up on that emotional connection.

That connection increases the likelihood that your audience will make a purchase with you or become brand advocates — which is very high on everyone’s idea of successful content.

Get in touch with us and we can help you form and deliver your vision, mission and content.