agileWe don’t usually speak of Content Marketing and Software Development in the same sentence, but they actually have some things in common, the biggest of which is how run “the factory.”  For content marketers, it’s the content factory and for developers, it’s the product factory.

Content marketers are responsible for continually deliver high-quality, impactful content, while developers must continually deliver high-quality, functional software. A lot of time has been devoted to increasing the throughput and quality of content or software development. The number of new tools, new processes, new practices, new paradigms, and new philosophies is increasing rapidly.  But over the last 20 years, there’s one revolution in software development that stands out above all else and that is the rise of Agile software development.

Agile is rooted in a set of core principles, and one of my greatest professional joys has been leveraging the core Agile principles and methodologies both in software development and more broadly in other business functions.  I witnessed how changing to this model increased the pace of delivering new features, improved the quality of the final product, and accelerated business velocity.

Now’s the time to shine the Agile spotlight on content marketing. Here are six principles from the 12 Principles behind the Agile Manifesto, with all words adapted for content marketing italicized:

1) Our highest priority is to impact the audience through timely and continuous delivery of valuable content.
It all starts with the audience, the buyers, and the consumers, and delivering valuable content to them where and when it will have impact. This is the mission of content marketing and takes its worthy spot as the first principle.

2) Welcome changing requirements, even late in content creation. Agile processes harness change for competitive advantage.
It is never too late to halt or change the creation of a piece of content. It will happen – a customer case study will be compromised by an account management issue, a competitor will beat you to the punch on a thought-leadership topic, or the market context will shift and make your white paper outdated. It is far better to shift gears even at the last minute than to deliver something misaligned or irrelevant. Welcome the opportunity to get it right rather than be frustrated over the causes of change.
 
3) Business people and content creators must work together daily throughout the project.
Continuous dialogue around prioritization, progress, roadblocks, and needs with an informed and empowered delegate from outside the content team is essential to keeping the factory running at full steam. In software development, this role is filled by the product manager. In content marketing, this role is typically filled by the managing editor.

4) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them 
to get the job done.
Software developers and writers share many traits. They need to blend creativity with science. They need to collaborate, yet go heads down with focus on their individual tasks. And they don’t like people looking over their shoulders and micromanaging them. Figure out what your content marketing team members need to be successful, provide it, and trust their commitment and motivation to get the job done.

5) Continuous attention to writing excellence and good production practices enhances agility.
High standards for writing lead to lower editing costs, better reusability, and an overall faster completion time. Likewise, rigor on asset production makes repurposing, rebranding, and content updates much more efficient. Can you repackage all your collateral with one update to a template? If not, there is a lack of efficiency to be fixed.

6) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
Keep things simple, avoid unneeded cycles, and create straight-forward processes. For example, do not have content creators putting pen to paper without full clarity on what they are creating – the difference between a writer having full persona profiles or not can be a factor of two in terms of time and cost to generate a piece of content.

These Agile principles are just the start to understanding how an Agile methodology can be applied to your content marketing efforts. You will see improvements by adopting just one of these principles into your content marketing operations – but the real magic of Agile happens when you practice it fully as your operational model.

 

Download ebook
You can also download and share the ebook, which includes all 12 Agile Principles.

 

This post was originally published by the Content Marketing Institute.  Read the full post.