Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Viewpoints: Why Content Marketing Needs an Agile Approach

By Grant Munro, SVP, Shutterstock Custom

More and more marketing departments are moving from being curious about Agile to actually implementing Agile practices in their working methods. However, as Agile principles and concepts from software development get translated into the marketing context, they need to be adapted to ensure they are being used effectively in this context.

When it comes to content marketing, marketers should be defining Agile as a sprint process. Working in small, iterative, two-week sprints allows for better focus on measurement and this testing environment of content creation lets marketers understand what approaches and formats are working well, helping to de-risk a lot of content activity.

With this process, small pieces of content can be developed and distributed quickly, followed by a focused testing environment to understand what approaches and formats are working well. From this, you can start to de-risk a lot of the content activity that’s being carried out and see a very quantifiable testbed of understanding for what clients and customers are actually responding to.

You will be able to work out exactly what kind of messaging works and why it’s working, and then use these inputs to develop bigger projects for the client, justifying greater investment.

To activate this Agile way of creating content, teams should start by building the hypotheses for the content and what is being tested e.g. looking at the different types of messages you want to test within paid media channels. Following this, look at the concepts and the direction that you want to move in.

This is when the creative team can be brought in and the people who are going to be developing the content. After a week into the sprint, review the final activity and make any necessary tweaks to the content.

Once a few days of finalising have been completed, it will be ready to launch. By the final day of the two-week period, measuring the impact of the content and making iterative adjustments should already be happening.

This Agile way of working can be challenging to implement and requires peoplewho may not originally have the Agile mindset, to create, test and rate content quickly. To become Agile, the team will have to understand what your aiming to achieve in the long-term and set clear goals that support the hypothesis.

Coupling this with a deep understanding of what problems the client is trying to solve, and what type of messaging resonates with them, will allow the team to make wise and efficient decisions when creating the content, driven by customer knowledge.

To ensure this is accomplished, initiatives should be set which are clearly connected to the goals and a detailed schedule created to make sure the timelines are stuck to. If a team can adopt these methods, then an Agile mindset can begin to be built.

Using this Agile approach permits plenty of opportunities to review analytics and test the content due to the sprint format. And because there is a defined list of priorities to work through, you’re less likely to run into interruptions.

Any interruption will either not fit in with the schedule (so cannot be addressed) or it will be substituted for something else, allowing for a smooth and efficient process of content creation.

Constantly working in these sprints over a prolonged period enables data to be gathered and a testbed of understanding to be built up highlighting what content works well.

Effective content needs to be relevant to current trends and stories, so it is essential to work in a way that allows this and positions the client as one that can adapt to its audience in real-time.