8 Steps For Writing A Vivid, Inspiring Mission Statement

How does your company provide value? What are you doing that makes the world a better place? An effective mission statement answers these questions, creating a sense of urgency so that others don’t only want to get involved—they need to. Through a killer mission statement, your website copy can provoke and inspire readers, as well as drive business.

In our previous post, you learned the what and why of mission statements. Now, let’s dive into the how.

Step 1. Believe. If you’re your own worse critic, squelch that, just for a day. Think about your value. What does your company offer the world—from clients to employees, from vendors to society at large? Play your value proposition to the highest possible imprint: what would change if everyone used your product or service? How will we all be deprived if your company ceased to exist? Write that down.

Step 2. Go big. No, bigger. Know that what you do isn’t literal, by far. You serve sandwiches? Assist the elderly? Train teachers? Design armbands for iPhones?

That’s awesome. So: you deliver joy. Ease the spirit. Carve the future. Increase mobility (while remaining connected). If you’re a B2B company, like we are, then chances are, you create wealth, manufacture freedom, deliver serenity, or all three. Pair an action (verb) with an object (noun), keep things proactive and unqualified—and avoid clichés.

Step 3. Identify your goals (optional). I like combining mission with vision statements: this way, you get to deliver your value directly into its real world impact (and do so in a single graf, which also makes reading a breeze).

If you’re doing this as well, add your vision. How big of an impact are you shooting for? I did it here by naming specific goals. But you can also name a range of clientele or quantify customers, clients and/or locations. You can also play out the depth of your value, when the job is done right. For example, for any one person, the iPhone armband enables a whole new lifestyle—one adorned with music, newly nimble via multi-tasking and mobility, and safe with physical protection.

Step 4. Include details—but keep them minimal. I find that most mission statements maximize the details—and it keeps them grounded.

Human brains can do amazing things with just a few cues. Pick a few emblems that will tell your reader what you do—without sinking your ship. Pick adjectives carefully. Mentioning “inspired sandwiches,” “whimsical jewelry,” or “powerful teacher training” can go a long way…and may be enough. Here’s an example.

Step 5. Start with context. How were things before? What’s life like now, without your company? (“Most words are filler.”) This invites a reader in. It sets the stage for what you say next to be relevant.

Step 6. Compile. You have all your pieces, and it’s time to write. Drop in your context (1 sentence max). Insert your value, while going big (1-4 sentences). Rather than making your vision a separate sentence, see if you can weave it in somewhere. Weave in your scant details, too.

Best practice: don’t make this a laundry list. Save that for your core values. Instead, take the trouble of guiding the reader from one sentence to the next. Processing things for them makes reading even more of a breeze.

Step 7. Set a timer. Keep things short: just four or five sentences. That’s no big deal, right? You can write that in an hour. Do so, and stop. Tomorrow, you’ll have more perspective—and you can fiddle for another hour.

Step 8. Keep it light. Keep things light—in both your mind and heart. No mission/vision statement worth its salt comes out of struggle. If you find you can’t, hire a pro. We’re here to help.

Jean Tang

Jean Tang

A champion of high-end content, Jean is a living tribute to copywriting for humans. In 2012, at a TEDx talk, she declared her now widely viewed “War Against Bland.” The visionary founder of MarketSmiths, Jean leads her growing team to captivate, inspire, and motivate readers. She has helped thousands of global clients generate revenue from words (up to 12,000% ROI), and transformed the writing of hundreds of seminar attendees at the SXSW Interactive Festival (2014 and 2015), SXSW V2V (2014), the Small Business Summit (2014, NYC), and other venues.

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