According to the Merriam-Webster Online Unabridged dictionary, agile is an adjective that means “characterized by ready ability to move quickly and easily with suppleness and grace.”
However, I like the second definition better as it pertains to content marketing. It states that agile is:
“Characterized by quickness or liveliness of mind, resourcefulness, or adaptability in coping with new and varied situations.”
The origin of the word comes from Middle French and Latin and stems from the idea:
To drive, to be in motion, or to do or perform more.
So I ask again, how agile is your content marketing?
Content marketing and football
I’m sure many of you have watched college or professional football a time or two. The premise of the game is really quite simple. Take the ball, move it downfield across the opponent’s territory and across the goal line for a score.
And do that more times than your opponent for the win.
Your content marketing is not much different from that. Simply put, the “game” is to make the initial contact and move your prospect downfield toward the goal line and make the sale.
If your competitors have a similar product, you try to “score” more than they do.
The excitement, however, is in the execution. In both football and content marketing, it’s how well you work your “game” strategy.
You’ve seen ball carriers that seem to anticipate every move their opponents make. They twist and turn and dart off in a new direction, avoiding a tackle and loss of yardage.
Or the defensive lineman who reads the offense and instinctively knows what’s going on in their minds. Quickly adjusting his game plan, he rushes in to sack the quarterback and foil the play.
In your content marketing, you must keep a watchful eye on the playing field. You need to anticipate the moves, not only of your prospects but of your competitors as well.
There are some requisites for keeping your marketing strategy agile, however. Here are three of the most important ones.
Agility requires research
You probably know that a football team sends out scouts before the game. They record the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent so that a game plan can be formed. They also survey the playing field, looking for any characteristics that might be important.
You need to do the same in your content marketing strategy. First, you must know your market prospect intimately. You’ve got to understand her needs and desires. You need to find out why your product or service is beneficial to her.
But, you also need to look at your competition. What is it that sets your offering apart from theirs? What similarities are there and how can you promote your product more effectively.
And what content marketing strategies are they using?
Once you’ve done your research, you’re ready to formulate a plan of your own. You can begin planning your content writing and content promotion.
However, there’s another thing you need to understand.
Agility requires feedback and follow-up
A good coach continually monitors the opposing team’s actions and reactions during the game. Taking those signals, he adjusts his own team’s strategy to capitalize on the feedback.
You must do the same with your content marketing. Where do you find the “signals”, the feedback? You get feedback from your prospects in:
- Comments made on your posts.
- Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.
- Emails directly to you from readers.
But unless you understand and follow up on these signals, your strategy becomes ineffective. Remember that there’s no “Dislike” button on Facebook. In reality, it’s the comments that count.
And while your article may be been Tweeted and Retweeted thousands of times, what are your readers saying when they do?
Keep in mind that negatives are positives as well. A negative response gives you the feedback necessary to improve. Not only should your content be agile, but your product or service too. If feedback suggests a change is needed, are you able to make the adjustments?
Don’t forget to follow up on both the positive and negative feedback. Let your readers know that you heard and understand them.
Then, adjust your content marketing accordingly.
Agility requires the ability to change quickly
Although a football team going into a game already has an overall strategy, everything is subject to change. Except the desired outcome, of course.
Weather conditions, injuries or injury recoveries on both teams and the emotional or mental state of the players all play a factor at game time. Even the response of the fans plays a role in many cases. The team’s strategy must be agile enough to adjust to these changes.
Your content marketing strategy needs this agility as well.
Changes to your product – or your competitor’s – may require a different direction for your content. You must continually monitor the “playing field” and adjust quickly for changes.
But, more importantly, you must look for clues and cues from your target audience. Things you thought might be important to them might not be after all. And concepts you thought inconsequential might hold great significance to them.
Additionally, circumstances that affect decision making may require adjustments on your part. The financial climate is just one of the conditions that may impact decisions. You must adjust your content marketing strategy to compensate.
Quality research on prospects and competition, monitoring and responding to feedback, and the ability to change quickly when needed are all critical in keeping your content marketing agile. Agile marketing leads to more effective marketing and enhanced, profitable results.