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How to Bring Agile Marketing to Your Content Strategy

3 min read

Certified Professional in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC), Certified Agile Leader (CAL-1), Certified Scrum@Scale Practitioner, and ICAgile Authorized Instructor Andrea Fryrear sits down with MarketMuse Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jeff Coyle to talk about Agile Marketing.

Managing Content Marketing Projects

Siloed behavior is a common issue among marketing teams, causing numerous missed handoffs and dropped balls. This tends to lead to rework, excessive reviews, and missed deadlines. Often the quality isn’t sufficient to match expected outcomes.

What is Agile Marketing?

The Agile approach has its roots in software development, but can be readily applied to marketing as well. As the name implies, those employing an Agile process can react quickly to changes, ship quickly, and constantly improve. The concept works well in teams where members desire responsibility. 

At a strategic level, the Agile approach starts with the smallest activity called a task, working its way higher up through stories, epics, themes, and vision. Agile is a concept that requires a framework to be realized. Scrum is by far the most popular for IT and software development but not marketers. It uses Sprints to define the work to be done over the next two weeks. The vast majority of marketers take a hybrid approach taking the best of Scrum and combining it with Kanban (continuous flow method), and other methods to employ a unique custom-fit approach.

When implementing Agile, it’s best to start small with a strategic test pilot. Test smart with metrics and measurements based on your small start. Look at metrics to compare against the pre-Agile output (length of time to implement a marketing campaign, outcomes, SQLs, engagement rates, etc.).

Agile + Content Strategy

First build your backlog, a prioritized to-do list. It helps to tag items against strategic priorities to help establish their value in the overall scheme of things.

Then visualize the workflow to determine the entire process from idea to finished product, including where the hand-offs happen. Decide who has the power to put things into the backlog and remove them. Figure out who does reviews, how that looks, and gets documented.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks in the backlog. However, setting a WIP (work in progress) limit ensures a realistic amount of objectives can be achieved. WIP limits in particular ensure that a task gets completed before another one is started. 

Once this is in place, the last step is to start using sprints and creating cross-functional teams. Iterative content creation is far less risky than a “waterfall” approach. The Agile plan is a series of iterative small plans. As a result, content gets published fast and improvements are made quickly. 

Benefits of Agile Marketing

There are numerous benefits to Agile marketing. The process allows all team members individually and as a whole to change gears quickly and effectively. Roadblocks and problems can be identified quicker, it’s easier to prioritize tasks and there’s better visibility into the status of projects. All together this helps improve team morale, making them more productive, producing a higher quality of work that’s better aligned with business objectives.

Stephen leads the content strategy blog for MarketMuse, an AI-powered Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. You can connect with him on social or his personal blog.