You may be sick of hearing it… but content is king. The stats don’t lie - 93% of B2B organizations rely on content marketing for brand building and demand generation and B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. Posting consistently good content is important for a strong content marketing plan, but creating engaging pieces on a frequent basis is no small undertaking. Content powerhouses like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have arrived at their place of dominance by building up a library of quality content that is executed in a timely manner…and your team can do that, too. The answer lies with building a content backlog using an Agile approach. Agile, a process that originally stems from software development, focuses on holding team members accountable for requirements around tasks that evolve through conversation and self-organization. Basically, it’s an ongoing think- tank around the priority of tasks and how the team can deliver said tasks faster. By boiling content pieces down to their basic elements and allowing team members to own those elements, content marketing reaches a new efficiency. The visual breakdown of these tasks and priorities is called a “content backlog” and it is the foundation for your agile content marketing plan.
The content backlog is your team’s visual contract that states who is tackling what tasks at what priority. A task will not get done unless it is on the backlog, so the first step to creating a backlog is to get a solid understanding of what goes into making a great piece of content. You must be able to craft a descriptive statement of every task that needs attention before the completion of a good piece of content. A descriptive statement shares enough about the task to start a conversation. This is an example of a descriptive statement template:
The elements of this descriptive statement are:
- Persona – it is essential to understand the audience you are writing for and what motivates them. Work with other company departments (especially sales) to develop customer personas. You can then write content with the values of these personas in mind.
- Content Type – It takes more than a blog post to create a solid content piece. That blog post also requires social media posts, email blasts and maybe even ads to promote that piece of content. Your content type should indicate what type of content this is in the overall marketing plan.
- Topic – The topic of your piece should tie into the values of the persona and your marketing goals.
- How To Demonstrate Value – This area lays out how the piece will add value to the overall content strategy.
- Call To Action – Every piece should have some kind of call to action, even if it’s subtle, that ties into overall marketing efforts.
- Priority – Communicate the urgency of the piece and the status of the task.
Taking the time to scope out the details and value of every task and content pieces helps a manager be better able to assign these tasks to their team members.
Here are some pain points to look out for when applying your own content backlog:
- Measure workload – take healthy evaluations of how much work your team members can handle.
- Remove disruptions – hold your team to the time box and remove disruptions to help them reach deadlines for high priority items.
- Define what “done” is – A very important component of Agile is coming to a mutual understanding with team members on what defines a completed task. Setting these standards ahead of time will avoid confusion down the road when team members don’t have the same definition of a completed task.
If you’re looking to try out this Agile method with your marketing team, we would recommend having one sprint per week. Look at your possible content pieces and establish an understanding of acceptance criteria for the tasks that get added to the backlog. The value of this process is more content + more efficiency = more stuff gets done!