You've probably heard that taking baby steps can be an effective tactic for completing a larger task. You may have even followed this approach yourself, or offered it up as advice.
In many ways, Agile marketing follows this same advice.
As long-time readers are aware, Agile marketing is an approach to marketing that uses the principles and practices of Agile frameworks, originally from software development, in order to break down larger marketing initiatives and tackle them in an iterative way.
It's one tool that ensures that marketers work smarter, not harder, towards customer and business success.
Among other areas of marketing, complex content marketing strategies stand to gain a lot from breaking down campaigns into actionable, bite-sized pieces that can be tested with customers before being launched more widely.
For content marketers, Agile is a way to conserve limited resources and make the most of their time and budget. In this article, we'll review five tips on how to implement Agile content marketing so your content is working its hardest.
Why Agile Marketing is Essential in 2022
Teams using Agile marketing can bring a defined strategy to the table. This ensures that the marketing team can reach task goals quickly and can move forward on a project with purpose.
The 4th Annual State of Agile Marketing Report that was released in 2021 can give you a very detailed perspective on how valuable Agile is for marketers. A whopping 84% of the Agile marketers surveyed for the creation of the report said Agile was important in navigating 2020. What’s even more exciting is that, for the first time ever, over half of participating marketers labeled themselves as being Agile.
Clearly, this concept of getting work done has changed the landscape of marketing for businesses of all sizes.
How Agile Frameworks Fit With Content Marketing
By breaking projects into smaller chunks, Agile benefits content marketing teams not just by helping them optimize resources towards impactful goals, it also helps boost morale. It does this by giving team members opportunities to celebrate small victories and confirm their strategy through experiments.
Getting over little hurdles can build confidence and increase critical thinking a lot more than hitting roadblocks attempting to navigate a larger task. With web content, the same premise applies.
Agile marketing provides the tools for your business to move away from concentrating on individual content pieces to fuller, comprehensive campaigns.
The best thing about it is the data-driven approach to decision-making and experimentation that enables you to boost the effectiveness of content marketing. If the team sees that a campaign is performing below the initial expectations, it can pivot in a timely manner and test new ideas for turning the tide.
Tip #1 - Trust The Data
If your team was developing a business application, it would require regular testing as soon as it got out of the gate. This early testing quickly remedies issues, sometimes getting them out of the application so fast that users don't even notice they were there.
The same concept of “test early and often” can be applied to Agile content marketing. The “testing” part comes from close monitoring of metrics produced by traffic coming to the content. By monitoring metrics we mean checking them frequently to identify patterns and issues as they develop.
Frequent checks will come in handy as you plan your next content blitz. Also, by “testing early and often,” your team can make informed, data-driven decisions that will ultimately be better in the long run with metrics to back them up.
Tip #2 - Use Effective Documentation
There's a difference between creating good documentation and just taking notes. Plans to describe and outline the goals for a blog post don’t need to be so detailed that it takes hours to read them, either. However, clear and concise directions, which spell out the specifics of what that blog post should focus on and the audience being targeted are essential.
Part of that documentation should also detail goals that will assist in measuring the success of that blog post. The documentation doesn’t end there. With effective notes, you end up with a valuable tracking tool that can be used in the future for additional projects where content forms the foundation of a campaign.
Those notes will also help you to determine where things went wrong, if the project falls short of projections. But what should be included in that documentation? Keyword research would be essential to remain competitive in the marketplace.
User stories, an important Agile marketing tool for customer-centricity, would also be valuable to document and socialize at this stage of the process.
Tip #3 - Break Down Barriers
In addition to chopping up projects into smaller pieces for teams to score small victories, Agile content marketing is more effective when traditional corporate thinking and models are shoved aside.
For example, the best-performing Agile teams are cross-functional.
This goes against the traditional practice of grouping together marketers with identical skill sets and reduces the required handover of work outside each team in order to complete a content marketing campaign.
When teams tear down barriers, they unlock collaborative efforts that reach greater goals and produce amazing results.
In other words, don’t “pigeon hole” staff members. Let content writers meet clients or attend management meetings.
This gives the people responsible for the content that will be published an opportunity to gain insights that would not otherwise be accessible to them.
Avoid having management explain what the client wants to a content writer. Get the content writing team into the same room as the client so that questions can be answered directly and that the content produced has more integrity.
Tip #4 - Pace Yourself
There was a time when long hours of highly intense work was how projects were completed. You know, bursts of energy sustained for lengthy periods and often fueled by caffeine or some other energy beverage.
Well, those days are in the past in Agile marketing teams.
The reasons are simple: that type of work ethic may look impressive and produce results, but it also has other negative impacts like lower productivity and higher burnout rates.
On the other hand, by ensuring that all team members are working at a sustainable pace, you'll start to see improved creativity and a happier workforce. In turn, a happier workforce that's not worn out will increase staff retention figures.
Pacing ourselves still gets the job done, but with wisdom.
Tip #5 - Don’t Push Roles
Finally, according to Forbes Magazine, in Agile content marketing settings, the roles of individual team members can be dynamic. One way to avoid “type casting” of key players is to encourage employees to sign up for specific tasks they're interested in working on to achieve the main objectives of a specific project.
This eliminates the need for a project manager to assign tasks, and lets team members move around the list of responsibilities to where they can develop new skills. This promotes better interaction within the team and some members may bring different perspectives to the table that they couldn't explore in the past.
Agile Content FTW
Getting relevant, impactful content that drives ROI published online is the goal of all website owners. However, the approach your content team takes to achieve that goal differs from place to place.
Adopting Agile ways of working in this context is a proven method for getting the best results out of the content you release, delighting customers consistently, and keeping morale high among your internal members.
For better content marketing, consider rethinking the process through which you produce your blog posts or other web content and going Agile ASAP.
This piece is created in collaboration with Marina Turea. She is a content manager at Digital Authority Partners, a Las Vegas marketing and SEO agency.