An agile strategy acknowledges that we can’t possibly know everything in advance, and therefore should plan to adapt, grow, and change as new information emerges.
So in order to stay ahead, marketers need to focus on being agile. Here’s how you can start today:
1) Embrace uncertainty by creating a culture that encourages experimentation, iteration, and learning from failure. By pushing decision-making down into the organization, you’ll be able to create scalable strategies that take advantage of emerging opportunities.
2) Build an adaptable structure that can easily be reconfigured. Design your content marketing structures for agility. Keep the right mix of centralized and decentralized creativity, speed, and decision-making power. This means being thoughtful about how many approvals are necessary to get work done on time, where decisions should be made in order to best serve the clients, and how to balance speed with quality.
3) Prepare for the impact of emerging media. Today’s current marketing practices were built to accommodate traditional media properties like television, newspapers, magazines, and blogs. That leaves marketers having to adapt their plans as new platforms emerge (e.g., Tumblr), old ones transform (radio becoming online audio), or existing platforms shift dramatically (e.g., Facebook).
4) Optimize by learning from real-time data. It’s never been easier to put systems in place that capture and analyze marketing data, allowing you to make adjustments on the fly. Make listening to a priority; learn what your audience is telling you through social channels, and engage them in the conversations they’re already having.
5) Focus on your audience. Identifying – and building your strategy around – your ideal target customer is more important than ever since it ensures that the content you create speaks to their needs. For example, using an editorial calendar can help marketers stay on track by aligning efforts to key content themes that support the overarching goals.
6) Create a flexible internal structure that enables your team to quickly adapt their processes as opportunities arise. Having everyone involved in strategy creation ensures they understand how their work plays into the larger initiative, thus creating buy-in. This also increases efficiency by having all ideas available for consideration at any given time.
7) Identify and grow your talent pool – by consolidating their efforts, you’ll increase the quality of content while streamlining operations and reducing overhead. Take advantage of scalable tools like a CMS to eliminate redundancies and improve processes across the board. Use automation wherever possible (e.g., forms that automatically route submissions to the right people) to create more time for strategists and marketers to focus on higher-value work.
8) Create a strong suite of analytics that measures the effectiveness of each aspect of your strategy. Implement tracking and reporting systems that help you see how each piece of your plan is performing, and then use the insights gained to optimize results. A/B testing is also a great way to see what works best for your audience; test different elements (e.g., headlines) with the same target market, and learn which one drives higher click-throughs or better engagement.
9) Be yourself – don’t be afraid of using your company’s unique voice when creating content. Authentic voices are more likely to resonate with their audience, so tune into that style and deliver content that aligns with who you are as an organization.
In conclusion, marketers can utilize agile strategy and content marketing to stay relevant in an ever-changing landscape.