Agile Content Marketing: Bringing Content Marketing Up to Speed
Enterprises have embraced Agile methodologies for everything from software development to marketing. In fact, Agile has become essential for companies that want to keep pace with the competition – not to mention consumer demand. It’s an instant-gratification society. Those who deliver get to advance to the next round in the competitive game of enterprise marketing. Winners take home a bigger slice of market share.
What is Agile Marketing?
First, a little refresher on Agile marketing if you’re not sure of your lingo: Jim Ewel of AgileMarketing.net says, “The goals of Agile Marketing are to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change of the marketing function.” It follows an iterative process designed to increase alignment with business objectives and allows for “short marketing experiments, frequent feedback, and the ability to react to changing market conditions.”
Sounds fabulous, but how do you make that happen, and how do you bring content marketing into the mix? Content marketing entails ideation, planning, production, editing, and promotion. It’s not always a defined, straight-line process.
This definition from MarketerGizmo.com may shed a bit more light on the subject: “At its core, agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure their impact, and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time.”
So now we can start to determine how to make Agile content marketing fit into the broader marketing picture.
The Agile Content Marketing Process
Remember that one of the primary goals of Agile marketing is alignment with overall business objectives. So the first step is to identify the business objectives or, more specifically, marketing or sales objectives that will be supported through content marketing. Armed with this information, the following steps outline the process for Agile content marketing.
- Hold a kickoff meeting. A kickoff meeting is a good time to define your user stories and brainstorm topics that align with the desired objectives and user stories. WordStream points out that in Agile content marketing, every need is important enough to capture (not necessarily execute, but capture). “By capturing all the needs and wants of a user base alongside the fantastical whims of the idea people (this is done on a scrum wall), you can create artifacts that can be sifted, weighed, measured, grouped and prioritized according to an ever-changing market continuum (Panda, Penguin, 3-Toed Sloth, et al.).”
- Identify formats and define sprint lengths. If you’re formulating shorter, quick-hit content, shorter sprints are adequate. Remember that long-form content may require longer sprints and plan accordingly.
- Source existing content that can be reformatted, repurposed, or used as background knowledge. Look to equip your team with the tools they need for instant access to your existing marketing and sales assets. You will also need built-in content analytics so you can quickly identify the existing assets that are most effective for different selling scenarios and rapidly pinpoint and build off of what works.
- Produce and edit, using multiple iterations if necessary. Break larger content initiatives into smaller, bite-sized chunks so that you can implement ideas and start gathering feedback throughout.
- Promote. Using some Agile methodologies, you may have distinct teams – one focused on producing content, the other focused on promoting content. Whether your production and promotion teams are distinct or one and the same, both functions should be treated with equal importance and given the same due diligence.
- Test, analyze, and refine. The beauty of Agile content marketing is that it allows you to produce more content and implement continuous feedback loops. While your first iterations may not be perfect, Agile content marketing means you can quickly identify what’s working and what’s missing so you can make rapid adjustments and fine-tune your content marketing efforts to hit the sweet spot.
Find Your Unique Agile Content Marketing Methodology
The steps outlined above are most closely aligned with the Scrum approach to Agile marketing. Of course, there are other Agile approaches that can work for many marketing teams. One of the cornerstones of Agile marketing is flexibility, highlighting the importance of adapting any Agile methodology to align with your company’s specific goals and objectives. Much like the process of iterating, testing, and refining for your content marketing initiatives, the Agile process itself should be fine-tuned for a unique, seamless workflow that works for your team and facilitates rapid content development and promotion.
Relying on traditional, waterfall methodologies for content marketing, in contrast, means dramatically longer production cycles. Ultimately, attempting to refine and perfect content before gaining valuable feedback from your prospects means that you could end up having wasted six months of time and resources when you find out that your content marketing campaign doesn’t resonate with your audience, after all. Agile content marketing can be both more efficient and more effective by allowing you to adapt in real-time in response to key market trends and shifts.