Plan more effectively for your upcoming publication by dusting off and sharpening your mission statement or producing a new one. This brief exercise can help you define your purpose and audience, saving much time and resources.
To create a solid mission statement, you need to: 1) define a specific audience and get to know that audience well; 2) write a clear statement of purpose and objectives to be consistent from issue to issue; and, 3) find a way to evaluate what you are doing to make sure you’re meeting the purpose and objectives.
Creating a mission statement is fundamental to the publishing business—for a book or a magazine. Many editors have not thoroughly defined their market, nor have they written out a mission statement that will guide them day-by-day through the editorial process to the finished product. Then there are some editors and publishers who spent hours thrashing through a mission statement, put it in a drawer, and never looked at it again.
Try this exercise. Get your staff together—everybody who is involved in publishing the magazine or newsletter or newspaper. Ask each person to describe in 25 words or less the audience he or she thinks your publication is trying to reach. Have each person write out a statement of the purpose of your publication. Then gather everyone together and read the descriptions and statements aloud. You may be surprised at how different they are, and you may wonder if you’re all working on the same publication.
You can still write out your mission statement as an individual. Please let us know if this exercise is helpful.
This article was excerpted from MAI’s booklet, Editorial Vision and Strategy: How to write a mission statement and make it work, by Ron Wilson. Check out resources on writing and publishing on MAI’s website.
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