Agile methodology isn’t just for the techies in your dev teams. Content marketing teams, especially those in larger companies, often find that Agile principles can help them improve their planning and production processes and bring visibility into the full scope of everything they’re working on. Much of the agile approach requires teams to define their strategy and workflows, and a documented process helps all collaborators stay focused. And, as research shows, documented marketing processes are more than four-and-a-half times more successful than those that aren’t documented.
Whether you go whole-hog Agile or just adopt some of its principles into your content strategy, it can transform your content production in both quantity and quality. As Agile Sherpas’ Andrea Fryrear points out, using Agile principles increases your marketing strategy’s chance of success by 252 percent.
Let’s dive deeper into the five foundational areas that characterize Agile marketing, namely:
Visibility: Put It All Out There
Here’s where a content calendar earns back every penny you pay for it. Listing every piece of content you plan to create, are creating, or have already created and published, along with what step it is in the process, in plain sight of everyone, keeps your teams on track and motivated to push on to the next step. Additionally, it allows team leaders to see what each team member has on their plate, helping them avoid overwhelming their creatives with too many requests.
Experimentation: Think Short-Term for Success over the Long Haul
Testing new directions in content is scary. Will it hurt our brand? Are we spending too much time creating content for a new market, or should we concentrate more of our efforts on tried-and-true market segments? And the list goes on and on.
So, instead of heading out in a bold new direction all at once, test your ideas with focused, short-term experiments. Make sure that your experiments involve only slight changes so that failure won’t bring any long-term damage, that the items you test are specific and measurable, and that you use the same methodology that scientists use to conduct experiments. Otherwise, your bias and those of your team members might skew the results.
Iteration: Keep the Creative Ball Rolling
When your experiments uncover an idea that works, use that idea as a springboard for new material. Let’s say that your company makes garden equipment, and you’ve created a blog post about “The Must-Have Tools for the Beginning Gardener.” You test it with your newbie market segment, and it performs insanely well, with tons of shares, conversions, and sales.
Create an iteration of that post by expanding on it – maybe to a YouTube video that demonstrates how to use each tool to its best advantage. Then, if that version performs well, you could even expand it into a live event where a professional gardener teaches beginning gardeners the tricks of the trade.
Collaboration: Leverage More Expertise in Less Time
One of the best aspects of the Agile methodology is its emphasis on collaboration. Specifically, it’s a partnership with not only other content creators, but also with subject matter experts, sales and customer support teams, and with the person requesting the content. With a content marketing platform on which you can plan, create, and collaborate about each piece of content in real-time, you can sit in your New York office and chat with your London customer support team about questions and feedback they hear from their UK customers.
If you want to dive into Agile headfirst, jumpstart your day with a standup meeting. These short (usually around 15 minutes) get-togethers fuel creativity because you are bouncing ideas off each other and sharing each other’s progress on various projects.
[Shown above: DivvyHQ’s content project list view with “next 2 weeks” filter]
Efficiency: Get More Done with Less Effort
Burnout happens when content teams continually have more on their plate than they can handle. Putting the bulk of their workload on pause while they work on only a few ensures that they can focus on those projects with full attention. The result? More quality work, yet surprisingly, you’ll discover that it takes less time to complete a project when your teams can give it their full attention. It’s an all-around win for everyone involved.
And, as a bonus, you’ll find that your teams are more satisfied when they don’t have to worry about those other five projects in their queue. They can expend every bit of their creative energies on the project at hand.
Those are the basics. Although a detailed treatment of Agile methodology is beyond the scope of this post, you can check out Andrea Fryrear’s thorough treatment of Agile principles on her Agile Sherpas blog.
An Agile Marketing Strategy Can Transform Your Entire Company
Going Agile in your marketing strategy won’t just make an impact on your content teams. It truly can transform your entire enterprise. Here’s why.
Team Spirit Grows Across Departmental Silos
Large companies, particularly ones that have been around for a while, often live in silos. At least, at work. It’s only natural since you tend to develop close relationships with those coworkers who share your passion for what you do.
However, those silos can keep great ideas from coming to fruition. Since Agile principles bring in outside teams for input on content, you’re likely to find some amazing content ideas from places you wouldn’t expect.
That geeky guy in Engineering? Although he’s probably more comfortable with formulas than words, he might have some insights on content topics as well as technical details. And even better, such content collaboration builds bridges between departments, creating an esprit de corps throughout the company.
Including sales and customer support teams in content planning aligns your content direction with their missions, providing prospects and customers alike with a consistent brand message across departmental divisions and channels.
Better Alignment with Your Company’s Business Goals
Secondly, an Agile methodology brings your content team, as well as those from other departments that collaborate with you, into full alignment with your company’s business goals. Since Agile-produced content takes a two-pronged approach to focus on both the audience and your company’s goals and target KPIs, those from other departments will catch the vision as well.
Having a content management platform designed with agility in mind makes an Agile marketing strategy a lot easier. When you have a single place where you can share ideas, collaborate on and create content, review it, publish it, and analyze it, you can take full advantage of the Agile methodology.
DivvyHQ is such a platform. Even better, you can try it for free for 14 days to see how it works for your content teams. Start your free trial today!