Nobody remembers the ads that played it safe. Why? Because there’s nothing to remember.
“Oh, I just loved that bland commercial that told me about the product in a super-corporate manner.”
You’re not going to hear that, ever. Except maybe from the corporate bigwig that greenlit the ad. They’re out of touch, don’t listen to them. Well, at least roll your eyes at them. If you are a corporate bigwig who approves these kinds of ads, here’s my message to you:
Now I know, this might sound like really bad advice. And you might be asking yourself, “How do we go about taking risks? Isn’t that, risky?”
Of course, it’s risky, that’s why it’s called taking a risk. But, there’s hope. That hope comes in the form of an agile content strategy. An agile content strategy will allow you to take these risks, but with minimal, err risk. Let’s start with the basics.
At its core, agile content development is the process of creating content on the fly through iterations. Collaboration is key, as the content needs to be created quickly, but also researched thoroughly. This means the content developers will need to be working in sync with those pulling data, brand managers, stakeholders, and so on. Agile content is also generally created with the intention of addressing a certain pain point, topic, or need.
So, beyond sounding like a buzzword, what are the perks of agile content development?
In case the name didn’t give it away, agile content development is speedy. This is due to the collaborative and iterative nature of agile. Agile content should be driven by results, specifically the most recent ones. Think of agile content development as a relay, rather than a mapped-out marathon. You know the goal you’re shooting for, but you’re going to reach it through a series of sprints.
Because of its fast nature, agile content development is perfect for outpacing the competition. Look at your competitors and see what they’re putting out, and then experiment with that formula. Speaking of experimenting…
While agile content development allows you to create faster, it also allows you to test more. For example, if you use agile to create an email in a week, you can easily test several different email formulas in only a few weeks. This ties into the previous point about outpacing the competition. If you’re able to test faster, you’re able to see results faster, and learn faster. And because of this surplus of data and quicker turn around time, you can…
Love it or hate it, data is your best friend. Especially with agile content development. When you’re quickly churning out content and trying new things, you will inevitably have more time to look at that sweet data you’ve been generating.
This data will become your best friend in the agile world. With this data, you can make snap decisions on what’s working or not working, and quickly try something new or attempt to duplicate your results.
All thanks to agile content development.
Okay, don’t be that bold. Unless you want to. I won’t stop you.
Agile content development is perfect for taking risks. Playing it safe won’t get you far with your marketing. Sure, you might have some OK results for a while. But what happens when those people get bored, or your brand goes out of style and gets passed by the competition?
Being bold and trying new things is a great way to stay on top of your game. Look at Taco Bell’s social media. They went out on a limb, gave some young people a chance with Twitter, and struck gold. Why? They know their audience. Also, Twitter is a perfect place to experiment because, like agile content development, it lends itself to quick iterations. They can experiment with a tweet, see if it works, and then try again.
I wish I could say agile content development had no downsides. I mean, I could, but I’d be lying. Like all things, there are some pitfalls. Some of them are extremely easy to fall into, as well. Let’s cover those, lest you say the wrong thing and ruin your brand.
Seeing as agile content development is fast, it’s easy to get sloppy. Remember: there’s a fine line between quick and sloppy.
Make sure you and your team are doing their homework before trying something. This means looking at data, seeing what your competitors are doing, and figuring out if others have tried this and failed. It also means adhering to your own company guidelines. It’s agile content development, not anarchic content development.
When you’re producing content quickly and trying tons of new things, it’s easy for tracking to get away from you. Make sure tracking your data is always your top priority. Without proper tracking, you’re not actually testing anything – you’re throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks and then continuing to throw afterward.
Making sure you have clear goals set is paramount to agile content development’s success. This ties right into tracking, as your goal will let you know what to pay most attention to when tracking. Make sure to set realistic goals, due to your agile content’s iterative nature. These won’t be massive, sweeping changes you’re making backed by months of planning. These will be small tweaks to your content, made over the course of a week or two. Your goals need to align with this.
Just like tracking can easily get away from you with agile development, so too can your brand. When you’re trying out new content formats or styles from week to week, it’s easy for your creativity or adventurous side to get the best of you. It’s good to be adventurous when using agile development, but remember what your brand stands for, what their mission statement is, and so on.
There are of course many other things that can go wrong with your agile development, but the above are the more prevalent things that ruin agile for people.
Keep these things in mind and tackle your next piece of content with the agile mindset. Be bold. Take a risk. There’s more content out there than ever before. You need to make sure your brand is ahead of the pack. The best way to do that is to, dare I say, be agile.