Building a Flexible and Agile Content Calendar

We all know how important it is to be nimble in content marketing. Internal and external forces can impact the need to pivot. One of the fundamentals of executing your content strategy is to build a flexible and agile content calendar.

While consistency matters tremendously in content marketing—you must also stay relevant to your audience. With agile content marketing, you can focus on continuous improvement and gathering feedback with metrics.

But how can you build a content calendar that’s rooted in structure and workflows while also being able to turn on a dime? Here are some critical tips to consider.

Agility Doesn’t Mean Inconsistency

Before we dive into crafting an agile content calendar, it’s important to note that agility doesn’t mean inconsistency. Brands often struggle with message consistency across the enterprise. Your message consistency should be rooted in what your brand stands for and how it solves problems. No matter the specific topic, channel used, or format of your content, you need to keep this in mind.

Alignment in messaging requires that your team is on the same page. If not, this culminates in confusion for your audience. And while new trends and topics will be added as they become relevant, they shouldn’t shift your content strategy or vision. Rather, they should be informed by your strategy and vision to ensure that you stay on brand.

Identify Insights from Metrics

an agile content calendar starts with analyzing your data

Content analytics can be a powerful tool to reshape your content calendar. By using a content marketing platform that aggregates data from multiple sources, you’ll have real-time insights. You’ll be able to identify content performance and your audience’s response to it.

For example, if a blog you created relates to a specific pain point, and it has high metrics of engagement, then you know immediately that the content aligned with your buyers’ challenges. Instead of moving onto a new topic, find ways to develop more content on this subject.

Consider how much deeper you can go into the topic or what other formats you can use to attract your audience. If you wrote a blog post, repurpose it as an explainer video. Or, if you wrote an eBook, break it down into bite-sized posts on social media. Repurposing content is often key to being agile and responding immediately to what your audience wants.

Ensure You Have a Flexible Platform

Beyond focusing on the topics and types of content, you also need a flexible platform for your content calendar. It needs to be a web-based system that offers accessibility and transparency. It should also have features for notifications and easy updates.

A spreadsheet simply won’t do. Shifting strategies in your content is time-consuming and ineffective with a static document. You need to build a content calendar that can easily be altered should you need to make changes.

Select a content marketing platform that gives you this freedom. Otherwise, it will be too hard to be nimble. You’ll miss opportunities if it’s such a heavy lift to edit workflows and timelines. By leveraging software, your team will have structure and the ability to shift as needed in an efficient and effective manner.

Establish Workflows

If you were to add new content to your calendar today, would the workflow process still be manual? Content workflows encompass the set of tasks needed to complete a piece of content. Without such a structure, small adjustments can turn quickly into confusion and frustration.

When you develop content workflows, it means that fewer errors will occur in the process. Workflows also establish accountability for your team. Plus, there is a way to automate workflows, reducing the time required to build and launch them.

Using software to streamline your workflows will be a savior every time you want to change things up. You can automate activities such as:

  • Creating new content calendars—drag, drop, and make it happen
  • Combining processes such as ideation, content planning, and measurement into one hub
  • Notifications and alerts to stakeholders
  • Distributing content on social media networks

Keep a Watchful Eye on Industry Trends

While internal elements can be the catalyst for change, industry trends are also critical for identifying what your audience wants to read and see. Some industries have constant twists and turns and are impacted by regulations or shifting political climates.

To ensure that your content is meaningful to audiences, you always have to be prepared to fit in timely content pieces. These events often happen out of the blue, so you can’t wait for an opportunity.

For example, in the realm of healthcare cybersecurity, regulations like HIPAA are always a concern. HIPAA has evolved over the decades since it was passed and will continue to do so. Thus, if the governing bodies that enforce HIPAA define a change, your team must be ready to develop content on the impact of these changes.

Stay up to date on your industry by reading industry journals and publications. You can also set up Google Alerts for certain keywords that will notify you of breaking news.

Get Input from SMEs

Your content team shouldn’t be the only ones contributing to topics and ideas. You have multiple subject matter experts (SMEs) that can be included. Other roles in your organization have fresh perspectives on your industry and audience.

First, you’ll need to let them know you want their feedback. Next, you need to provide them with a space to share these. By choosing a dynamic content calendar, you can create a place for ideas to live and grow into a fully formed content topic. You can even invite these SMEs to brainstorming sessions where everyone can participate in exercises to connect to the most relevant content themes.

When you have experts that can inform your content calendar, it’s easier to see opportunities to evolve it so that it connects with more with customers. One of the most important ways to cultivate content flexibility is by looking at different perspectives.

Ready to build an agile content calendar? Check out our content calendar planning guide to get started.