Agile content marketingEvery content marketing team must ensure it has a content calendar in place, but it shouldn’t be written in stone.

Just like any pre-agreed plans, you must be flexible enough so that you can account for any last-minute changes without it ending in complete disaster.

There are numerous benefits to creating a content calendar, of course – brand consistency, ensuring balance of content, setting a path towards objectives – but leveraging agility is not necessarily one of them.

You can’t for instance, say, on 27 August have your content calendar read: “Post content based on the meme of the moment”. It just doesn’t work like that. You have to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves, rather than pre-empt them.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that there has been a lot of talk of ‘agile marketing’ recently. Are we guilty of becoming immobile? After all, there’s an easy argument for not capitalising on happening events: “Somebody has probably done/said it already,” we tell ourselves.

It’s a rather impassive mindset, though, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time to inject your marketing team a much-needed shot of adrenalin…

Making the most of your data

However, as Econsultancy points out, remerging as an agile marketer isn’t simply a case of jumping on the bandwagon.

It’s all a bit too easy to just skew a headline so that it fits your agenda. Sure, there’s often some value in putting your spin on a news story, but not just as a means of generating a few cheap retweets.

Likelihood is that whoever has tweeted your post is not going to be part of your target audience anyway – having just come across it on a hashtag search rather than as a follower – nor will the people they retweet it in the direction of.

Econsultancy argues that being agile is showing a willingness to listen to what your customers make of your content, allowing your writers to adapt to shifts in attitudes or means of interaction. That might strike you as very subtle movements, but isn’t that the very definition of agile?

Creating a collaborative environment

You can’t set ambitions to become more agile if your organisation is set up in a way that will ultimately prevent it happening.

If you intend to get content out to your customers in real-time, you first need to make sure that the sign-off process is sufficiently streamlined to allow for more immediate posts.

If every time you go to post a piece of content it requires the approval of a more senior department, it might be unrealistic to think that instantaneous posts are going to become a reality.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t make an attempt to modernise the approval process, of course, but you’ll probably need to give some good reasoning for it. If that’s necessary, it might be worth pointing to Oreo as an example, who have made agile marketing their own in the last couple of years.

Following the 70:20:10 rule

The 70:20:10 model is a well-known concept, and Econsultancy makes the case for it to be adopted by content marketers. That is: 70% of your marketing is pre-planned, 20% of your marketing should be programmatic and the remaining 10% should be kept aside for purely responsive marketing.

Therefore, one in every ten of your posts should be ‘of the moment’ which doesn’t necessarily follow a plan. For some marketers, that might cause a mild panic but the trick is to not overthink it.

As long as you have the right monitoring systems in place, off-the-cuff ideas should come fairly naturally, giving you the confidence to pounce on a potential opportunity.

However, those opportunities can only be identified and acted upon if you have the manpower at your disposal. If a solitary writer is tasked with taking care of your entire content marketing campaign, it’s unlikely that they’re going to have enough time to spot an opening as soon as it arises.

If your business is struggling to stay ahead of the curve, we have a team of writers and social media aficionados here at M2 Bespoke who make it their business to stay on top of current events. If you want to see the benefit of having a team of experts orchestrating your content, please get in touch.

Ben Hollom

August 17, 2015