How to Keep Your Content Calendar Agile
It’s no secret that content marketing is a highly competitive field. Mountains of blog posts, videos, newsletters, white papers, e-books, guides, etc. get out into the digital space daily. So, how do you remain relevant and engaging to compete?
It may not be as sexy as other aspects but excellent planning goes a very long way towards making you an effective content marketer.
That’s because content creation is time-consuming and requires great effort, especially when juggling an entire team. Creating content without proper planning risks all that effort going to waste making the wrong thing. But with the factors driving our content strategies changing faster than ever, you need to be dynamic when you plan.
This is why annual content calendars are out of fashion. In order to keep up relevant channels of communication with your audience, a content calendar needs to be flexible enough to handle rapid changes.
How Agile Can Address Your Planning Challenges
Luckily, Agile marketing promotes precise planning within shorter timeframes and customer-centric content creation with fewer resources. According to the 5th State of Agile Marketing Report, there’s a wide distribution of the Agile ways of working across marketing departments. In fact, 56% of the respondents use Agile for creative services, content creation, and operations.
By using data and audience insights, Agile content marketing iterates on creating valuable and relevant content. Throughout the process, metrics are examined on a regular basis to assess the performance of each piece and improve based on the results.
Content marketing is a valuable tool for any business because it educates the audience, helps you develop trust, credibility, relationships with customers, and generates leads.
Let’s see how you can produce highly relevant content for your audience by keeping your content calendar Agile.
Agile Content Calendar
Content calendars aren’t just about coming up with blog posts for the next year and leaving them to play in the background. In order to achieve your business goals, you need to know why you’re creating the exact pieces of content and what value they drive to your business. Your content marketing should be built around strategy and key objectives.
An Agile content calendar allows businesses and marketers to move quickly, produce meaningful content, and respond to the dynamic digital scene while being strategic and serving business needs.
For example, you’ve prepared a series of articles, social media posts, a new guide, and an email campaign. Your main objective is to link these efforts to the higher-level goals so you can easily see how the work relates to the strategy.
While an Agile content calendar provides room for flexibility, you still need to plan the dates new content will be released. Focus on the big picture by mapping your major content themes to your strategy. Next, you can create a more effective calendar by organizing your Agile content by weekly or monthly timeframes and by platform (blog, social, etc).
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
We recommended incorporating a variety of platforms that are relevant to your target audience into your content strategy. Relying on a single outlet likely won’t reach a wide range of your audience.
Having multiple channels to distribute your content such as blogs, social media, newsletters, etc., is great for relevancy and consistency across platforms. It gives you more room for experimentation and optimization.
Let the Numbers Talk
Before you start measuring, you need to know what metrics to measure. You can set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) to identify if your content calendar and efforts are actually bearing fruit. It’s easier to succeed when you have clearly defined objectives. You can see what results the content you create drives to the business, how it’s performing, and change course when opportunities or setbacks arise.
After all, data is your best friend when it comes to keeping your content calendar Agile. What KPIs you track depends solely on your content marketing goals and what they drive on a business level. Pay close attention to the metrics when setting your Agile content calendar’s priorities.
By having a flow of data from various sources, you’ll be able to see how your audience responds to your content and identify which pieces perform well and which don’t. For example, if a blog article you’ve published receives high traffic and engagement rate, you’ll know that’s an extremely relevant topic to your audience. That’s your sign to dig deeper and create more content on this subject instead of moving on to another.
Optimize Your Workflows
As marketers with years of experience, we know that inefficient workflows are a source of frustration and low-quality work. Without a structured workflow that is understood across the entire team and followed closely, chaos takes over. However, you can’t keep up an Agile content calendar if you rely on long and complex editorial processes. These systems are prone to errors and delays.
Establish workflows to make each stage of the content creation digestible and automated where possible. Fortunately, there are plenty of Agile tools to help you do that. One of the most common Agile tools used is for visual project management. You can use it to display information. This will save time going back and forth looking for what you need in order to do a task.
With the right tools, you can also streamline processes such as scheduling and distributing new content on social media, notifying stakeholders, using editorial calendar software, etc. This will reduce the time from concept to the finish line with fewer bottlenecks.
Make It Visual & Digestible
It’s extremely hard to improve workflows and processes when you lack visibility. An important element of keeping a content calendar Agile is having information displayed at all times.
Most marketers use a Kanban board to visualize and manage their workflow, breaking complex content pieces into digestible action items. The board consists of columns (e.g. To Do, In Progress, In Review, Waiting on 3rd Party, etc.) that shows the progress of the work. With this visualization in place, you always know what the status of each task is and who is responsible for completing it.
It’s safe to say that the Kanban board is marketers’ favorite visualization system because it promotes consistency, transparency, accountability, and communication between team members while remaining flexible in your content workflows. As a remote team, we at Automagically use a Kanban board religiously to manage all of our work and stay in the loop with all projects.
Make Your Business Stand Out
Agile calendars give you a competitive edge. Being able to adapt the focus of your content on the fly puts you at the forefront of your niche. However, you need a content strategy and production plan that go beyond working faster and iteratively. This is where we come in. Get in touch to learn how we can create ready-to-publish content from pitch to publish for any stage of your customer’s journey.