How to improve your content by being agile

Trends are always changing, relevant news is always happening, and spontaneous opportunities for creating content are presenting themselves as a result. We’re all short on time and want to concentrate our efforts on what’s going to have the most return.

As marketers and content creators, the ability to adapt to change is critical but it’s not in our DNA. Most professionals will come up with plans and do their best to follow them. There’s not a lot of room to be agile.

Agile methodologies are best-known in project management and software development. They focus on:

  1. Prioritizing what matters most.
  2. Completing tasks in incremental steps.
  3. Eliminating wasteful processes.

If you can be more agile, you’ll be more productive and get better results.

I wanted to write this article because most of the existing agile marketing guides stick to only one agile methodology. Instead, I believe they should look at all agile methodologies and mix the most relevant components suited for writing content.

Here are four things you can do to improve your content by being agile:

1. Assign an owner.

Someone needs to be in charge and take responsibility for managing content creation. Agile methodologies require more focus because you’re always on your feet. There’s always an owner (or in tech, a master).

You can hire a director or managing editor, or you can assign the role to someone on your existing team. Be forewarned that this isn’t something to be offloaded. Effective content creation requires time.

2. Create user stories.

User stories have their origin in software development. Their purpose is to provide a concise definition of what needs to be done and why. They’re single sentences that consist of three parts:

  1. Who someone is.
  2. What they’re looking for (a feature).
  3. What they want to accomplish (a result).

There’s a template that they follow:

” As a _________, I would like _________ so I can _________.”

You can use this template to create your own user story for content creation. For example:

“As a marketer, I’d like to learn about inbound marketing so I can increase traffic.”

If you’ve completed your personas correctly, you’ll know the behaviours of your target audience and understand what they’re trying to accomplish. You can form user stories on the fly based on your personas and current events in order to write about topics that are both relevant and timely.

3. Publish frequently and build up.

Agile methodologies preach incremental development. When a product gets built, it consists of a collection of code based off several user stories. The individual pieces can add up to something more valuable than the sum of its parts.

In content marketing, it can be intimidating to write longer assets such as white papers. However, if you have several blog posts following a similar theme (user stories), they can be merged and massaged into a white paper.

4. Test and measure everything.

There’s a lot of experimentation that comes with being agile, but it’s useless if you don’t learn what’s working and what’s not. You must have the right listening mechanisms in place to track th eresults of individual pieces of content:

  • How many shares/likes/tweets did the content receive?
  • Which channels were most effective?
  • How many unique visitors did you get?
  • What percentage of visitors followed through on your call-to-action?

By measuring the results of individual pieces, you’ll know where further focus should be placed, and it you’re building up to larger assets, you’ll know which pieces to include or discard. This way, you can create a masterpiece full of valuable content!

Agile content creation is really about finding repeatable and optimal focus of your efforts.

Instead of strictly following an outdated plan, you can consistently improve your results over time.