[Originally published at Kuno Creative]
B2B marketing is always in flux—evolving to meet the demands of consumers, technologies, market conditions, you name it. And since it has come a long way in the last few years, it’s likely change will continue. However, one thing that’s sure to remain is the need for marketers to be agile in every aspect of their roles, especially content. By its very definition, agile means “marked by an ability to think quickly; mentally acute or aware,” all of which are qualities your stakeholders will appreciate.
And though agile marketing can be impactful, there are still numerous obstacles to overcome: today, many marketing organizations are forced to do more with less. They’re dealing with self-educated buyers and often have multiple messages (or goals) and sometimes more than one audience, all of which want or need something different. Not to mention, things change in B2B marketing so fast that news goes viral before we even have a chance to read the full story or get an accurate update of the latest scoop.
Remember content shock? Content marketing was hailed king for the last couple of years, but, in a matter of a few hundred words, it became a topic some argued would see a swift demise. Then the expert rebuttals began and the myth was put to rest. Things happen and change quickly—and content should be created accordingly. This is why it’s crucial for content marketers to be agile—responding to the changing needs of their customers.
Moreover, since content specifically is at the center of inbound marketing, one can see why it’s crucial it’s created with agility in mind. Marketers must be able to produce content that’s responsive, laser-focused and relevant. When content is fresh, the engagement is ripe.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to take time to plan your content strategy and schedule based on predetermined needs, topics, events, etc. But marketers must be able to jump into real-time conversations to ensure they capture as many prospects as possible—with as much relevant content as needed to keep their brand top of mind.
Being front and center of any industry’s latest news and trends demonstrates an organization’s ability to drive instant thought leadership—which is key to successful content and inbound marketing.
To ensure your content is responsive, focused and timely, hone it on these three steps:
1. Know What’s Going on by Reading About What’s Going On
A good writer is a good reader. If you want to produce quality content, you have to read or watch a lot of it. But, it’s arguable that your day-to-day work routine has you busy enough. So leverage what’s already at your fingertips. Start with social media. Your Twitter stream is probably flooded with bitly links just begging to be clicked. Oblige them and read the articles and posts that seem relevant to your work. You might just find your next source.
Next, to be agile, you must listen and engage with content that’s being published in your “space.” I suggest building a feedly report that consolidates news and information from the organizations, clients and media outlets you already check on a regular basis. A content stream (or feed) saves time because you have a centralized location for everything you need, rather than having to visit numerous sites each day.
Second, visit the feed as often as you can—you never know when that next ground breaking story is coming. Lastly, share news and articles you think might interest your readers. This will show your ability to stay in-tune with what’s going on in your industry, while positioning you as a thought leader.
2. Build Your Editorial Calendar with “Extra” Space AND a Plan to Repurpose
When planning your editorial calendar, whether it’s monthly, quarterly or yearly, it’s important to always save room for extra content (i.e., news, booming trends, new technologies). Not only will this demonstrate your organization’s ability to produce consistent and frequent content, but it will also show timely thought leadership.
Also of key importance is your ability to repurpose content. If you plan to develop an eBook and it has a designated spot on your editorial calendar, go ahead and plan for ways you can repurpose some or all of the eBook for additional content such as blog posts, Tweets, LinkedIn posts, etc. Not only will this ensure you have a consistent stream of content ready to deliver, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck (in this case your content creators’ time). This will allow you to spend time to staying abreast of industry research, engaging in timely conversations, and figuring out your next content move.
3. Build and/or Re-organize your Content Team to Focus on Their Strengths
At a recent Kapost event (Content Austin), a common theme throughout the presentations was the importance of building your content team. Not from the literal sense of hiring each individual, but rather building a team based on their strengths, passions and expertise. Your existing team may have an infographic guru, an eBook expert or a case study savant, and knowing who’s who can do wonders for your content strategy because it will point you in the right direction when you need various types of content.
According to Bryan Urioste, vice president of Demand Generation at SolarWinds and the keynote presenter at Content Austin, knowing the strengths and passions of your content team might be the key to finding your secret weapon and leveraging your team’s full potential. So take a skills audit and ask them what they’re passionate about. When you’re happy, you’re productive.