How to Endure the Long Haul of Content Marketing

JeffJulian-ProfileBy Jeff Julian, CMO at AJi Software and August Signature Speaker for the Lincoln AMA

To steal a phrase from one of the most influential marketers in the modern digital era Joe Pulizzi, I am “super excited” to make my way up to Lincoln in August and present on Agile Marketing.

First, I have never been to Lincoln. My Nebraska journeys have taken me straight up I-29 to head to North Dakota or landing in Omaha for a few days for various events.  I have only heard amazing things and I know I will not be disappointed.

Second, from your pictures and past events on your site, you are an active group and one that is prime to learn about new ideas that are changing the shape of marketing.

One of those ideas that we have been centered on for a few years now is the approach of Content Marketing. While some people in suits dismiss the idea or like to put quotes around when mentioning the term, I have heard it twice this week alone, and it is an effective strategy to deploy as part of your marketing efforts.  If our goal is building brand awareness or generate leads, it is best to do so around an established audience rather than interrupting. Skip Ad, no call lists, and direct-to-recycle mail are all standard practices we do as consumers and businesses. But if you solve a problem, entertain me, or provide education on a subject, I am open to learning more about you and your offering.

Another idea that has developed out of the need to change the way we produce content is the adoption of the agile development process software teams have used for years. They face the need to make changes to their team structures and review performance to avoid churn and burnout.  And like us, they have an every growing backlog of work that needs to be prioritized by consumer objectives.

So if we consider ourselves more than marketers and adopt the term Content Developers, you will continue to the similarities.  We are both focused on delivering value to our audience.  We both need the ability to work together to produce items rather than handing them off one-by-one in an assembly line.  Our teams both need the ability to isolate requests coming in and have some control of the flow of our work.

I hope you see Agile Marketing as more than just doing things faster.  In fact, faster is absolutely the worst word we could adopt in Content Marketing. Faster got us into the mess of producing content that is meaningless and lacks the depth our readers deserve. Being fast made it OK to leave an organization after a year because we worked beyond our abilities to produce more content. And since I like everything in threes, your customers are not looking for the company who produced the fastest content. Instead they are looking for the content that was valuable.

If we are looking for producing valuable assets rather than just word counts, we need a process that can help us determine what the audience wants and how we can deliver in the best experience possible.

ScrumCircles-TransparentThe Top 5 Benefits of Agile Marketing

I really hope you can make it out to the presentation in August. I will leave you with some bullet points you can think about if you are considering attending the session. These are the top 5 benefits teams I see when teams adopt an Agile Marketing approach in their marketing efforts:

  • Team Unity – The breaking down of internal walls for your department will help enrich your team’s experience and contribute to creating a group of highly adaptive Content Developers who can do more when you allow them to learn and give them the tools needed to succeed.
  • Measurable Deliverables – For teams to succeed on delivering content and repeat the process week after week, they need the ability to define the size of the work at hand. Managers and Content Owners also need the ability to hold the team accountable to their estimates so they can have confidence in the delivery timeframes when they communicate a status to the stakeholders.  The time boxes in agile are the vehicle for delivering the accountability and the group based estimates are the team’s voice with the scope.
  • Forward Thinking – Putting a high emphasis on prioritization of the Content Backlog and listening for the changes in the organization will allow the team to start preparing the way for larger organizational initiatives.
  • Sustainable Pace – Burnout can be caused by going too fast or not going fast enough. We need to allow Content Developers to produce at a pace that they can sustain over an extended period of  Agile practices allow this pace to be defined and will expose the team members who need to be encouraged and/or educated.  It will also show you who the next generation leaders are.
  • Audience-Centered – With our customers, influencers, fans, and other members of our audience at the center of every piece of content we develop, we have a higher probability of being successful in delivering content assets that have greater value.

I look forward to meeting you and please feel free to connect up with me on LinkedIn at any time.  If you’re the type of learner that wants to dig into the topic a little more before the event, check out our page dedicated to helping marketing teams become more agile.

See Jeff present to the Lincoln AMA on Thursday, August 14 at the Embassy Suites. Get your tickets now.

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