Content marketers often face the dilemma of too many ideas and too little time. Is it more important to produce social media content for the top of the funnel, an in-depth report for mid-funnel or a landing page to cross-sell to existing customers? Each potentially requires a different process and drives a different outcome. Agile marketing offers content marketers valuable tools to streamline the content marketing pipeline, enhance collaboration, and ultimately, produce more impactful content. In this blog post, we’ll delve into how Agile marketing can be a game-changer for prioritizing content creation and improving the flow of your content marketing efforts.
Embracing Agile Marketing
Ruthless prioritization: Agile marketing focuses on capacity management and prioritizing the highest impact work, so the most important work gets done first.
Customer-Centric Focus. Agile marketing places your audience at the heart of content creation. By thoroughly comprehending their needs and preferences, you can prioritize content that resonates and addresses their challenges.
Iterative and Incremental Approach. Agile marketing breaks down your content projects into smaller, more manageable tasks and prioritizes them based on their importance and impact. This allows your team to make constant improvements and adapt to evolving circumstances.
Data-Driven Decision-Making. The use of data and metrics to gauge the effectiveness of marketing efforts is central to Agile marketing. This practice allows you to optimize your strategies based on real-time feedback.
Now, let’s explore how these principles can be applied to prioritize content creation and enhance the content marketing flow.
Prioritizing Customer-Centric Content
Content marketers face the constant challenge of deciding what content to create next. In an Agile marketing approach, your decisions are guided by your audience’s needs, and the approach is agile enough to adapt to changing market trends and audience preferences. Identify your target audience personas and understand their journeys, then talk to them to validate that the content meets their needs. The more time a piece of content takes, the more important it is to validate your direction up front and check in along the way. Frequently gather customer feedback through surveys, social media interactions, and web analytics. This real-time data is invaluable for shaping your content strategy and ensuring it remains customer-focused. By doing so, you can create content that effectively engages the customer at different stages of their journey.
Agile Content Planning
With a customer-centric approach in place, Agile marketing empowers you to create an iterative content plan that responds swiftly to market trends and audience preferences. Maintain a backlog of content ideas and prioritize them based on customer feedback and business goals. Use techniques like the MoSCoW method (Must-haves, Should-haves, Could-haves, and Won’t-haves) to categorize initiatives.
Then break the work down into short, focused periods of content creation, sometimes called Sprints, to address high-priority items. During each sprint, your team can tackle specific content pieces, ensuring a consistent flow of content output. The trick is to keep an eye on large pieces of work and break them down into smaller chunks of value whenever possible. This prevents a large piece of work from becoming a bottleneck for the content marketing team.
Let’s say that you are looking to produce an ebook. Maybe start with a series of blog posts that can be then compiled into an ebook. Each blog post has its own value and, together, they also have value in the form of an ebook. You will also get feedback from each blog post you release, which can help inform the compilation of the ebook. The goal is to deliver value early and often, getting feedback as fast as possible.
Improving Flow for Content Marketers
One way to improve flow is to include as many of the people needed to create marketing content on the team as possible. Taking this approach reduces hand-offs and delays and keeps the team focused on a small set of deliverables. For content marketers, this means involving writers, designers, SEO specialists, and social media experts in a cross-functional team.
The team then holds brief meetings, often daily, to ensure alignment on tasks and discuss any impediments. This promotes transparency and helps in identifying and resolving issues promptly. Some people dislike the frequency of these meetings, but they can keep small issues from becoming large and actually reduce the amount of meetings in the long run. The goal is to keep these meetings tightly facilitated and prevent them from becoming drawn out status meetings. Think of them as consolidating ‘quick pings’ throughout the day so that content marketers are interrupted less and can focus more.
Another way to improve flow is to empower team members to make decisions within their areas of expertise. This autonomy accelerates the decision-making process and fosters innovation. Think of how much time gets wasted waiting for a busy executive to make a decision. By operating within pre-established guardrails, marketers can take advantage of local expertise and make immediate decisions, eliminating delays.
Using Data to Prioritize and Improve Flow
An essential aspect of Agile marketing is data-driven decision-making, and this is particularly vital for content marketers. Continuously measure the effectiveness of your content and optimize based on insights. Use real-time analytics to monitor the performance of your content. Key metrics such as page views, time on page, conversion rates, and social shares provide insights to assess content effectiveness. This helps make trade-off and prioritization decisions for future content formats and topics. For example, if a recent infographic about AI in small businesses generates a high number of social shares and website traffic, you might decide to create more infographics.
Agile marketing teams also track metrics such as cycle time, or the time it takes for content to be created and released out into the system. Events called ‘retrospectives’ invite teams to think about how they can continually improve, including optimizing metrics like cycle time. Using this data and a ‘facts are friendly’ attitude, content marketers can continually improve many aspects of the team, including flow.
In conclusion, Agile marketing principles can be a game-changer for content marketers looking to prioritize content creation and improve the flow of their content marketing efforts. By placing the customer at the center, using Agile planning and relying on data-driven insights, your content marketing can become more responsive, effective, and streamlined.
Embracing Agile marketing may require a shift in mindset and processes, but the benefits of improved customer engagement, faster delivery of high-quality content, and a stronger competitive edge are well worth the effort.