We’ve all seen them before: publications that seem disjointed, like maybe the editors don’t know exactly who they’re trying to reach or what they’re attempting to accomplish. The key to a solid periodical is the overarching sense of unity that defines it, but some publications just can’t nail it. Why is that? The answer, most likely, is that there is no editorial mission statement.

A mission statement is crucial in the success of any company or project. But you can’t just expect a so-so mission statement to drive your periodical; it must be well-crafted, easily understandable, and specific in order to be effective. Read on and you’ll learn more about the essence of a good mission statement and what it can accomplish for your publication.

What Is an Editorial Mission Statement?

You can’t begin crafting your statement until you know what it should look like. Your description should cover who you are, who your target audience is, how you intend to reach them, and what you hope to achieve by doing so. Make it clear and concise, but if you can, use it to establish your brand voice. This will set the tone for all of your subsequent publications.

The Benefits of an Editorial Mission Statement

Many companies don’t hone their mission statement because they don’t realize the effect it has on their advancement. The benefits of your statement are far-reaching, however, and can be summed up in these points:

  1. Establish your goal: All great mission statement examples give a goal. It drives the publication, defines it, and also lets you know when you’ve gained a level of success. A nebulous objective is the bane of any journal or periodical; it creates confusion and disunity, as no one knows what they’re working toward.
  2. Achieve consistency: Is there an established brand voice for your publication? If so, are your writers able to understand it? If your mission statement is lacking, your periodical will have an overall sense of inconsistency. A clear and understandable mission statement will keep your writers all on the same page to give that critical unity and sense of purpose.
  3. Focus in: When you have a clear description of your goal, you’ll know what kinds of topics should be covered in your publication. You’ll be able to focus in on those areas that are important, while jettisoning topics that may seem appealing but don’t fit with your objectives or tone.
  4. Find your target: How do you know what to write about, or even what your voice is if you don’t know to whom you’re writing? The answer is, you don’t. Establish your target audience through your statement. This certainly helps you develop your business strategy, but it also aids simply in knowing how to tailor the writing to your intended readers.
  5. Develop a plan: No doubt you’ve come up with many strategies for reaching your audience. How do you know that your strategy will be effective? Well, obviously you know who you’re reaching and how, and what the goal of reaching them is, and you create your plan of action around these facts. Since your mission statement defines your audience and goal, without a mission statement, there can be no clear-cut plan of action.

Creating an editorial mission statement is no pointless exercise. It helps form the basis of your publication and drive your business. If you don’t already have a mission statement, start drafting something that sums up who you are and what your goal is. And remember that while having a statement is incredibly important, you also need to hone it as you expand and change with time.