Most B2B organizations understand the importance of content marketing; many have launched content marketing programs of their own. Even those that are merely considering it are told to “just get started.” While it is true that starting imperfectly is better than not starting at all, there is inherent value in creating a comprehensive, documented content strategy over a haphazard approach. CoSchedule notes that marketers that document processes are 466% more successful than those who don’t.
Documentation is important, but execution is critical. George Patton notably said, “a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” We counter that a great plan well-executed now trumps all. The best way to execute on well-laid plans is to follow a tried and true framework — and we think there’s value in utilizing software development’s agile framework. Yep, agile content marketing for fintech. Why? Because marketers that leverage agile project management are 252% more likely to report being successful.
The best part? You don’t have to adopt a full-scale Scrum or Kanban framework. Instead, apply Agile principles to your content marketing system. That means tapping into five key areas: visibility, experimentation, iteration, collaboration, and efficiency.
Ship Early & Often
Perfectionism has no place in agile content marketing for fintechs. This can be a tall order for all the journalists and editors out there. While edits and improvement are essential to great content marketing, they shouldn’t impede it.
The bottom line: don’t delay content because you’re trying to Ernest Hemingway (yes, we’re using that as a verb) one paragraph in your white paper on real-time payments. The key is to dispel the whispering myth that each piece of content is a work of art and instead focus on how each piece of content — when delivered to your audience — will add value.
The sooner you put out your content (which should still be well-researched and well-written) into the world, the sooner your audience can benefit from it and the sooner it gets indexed by search engines, allowing you to rank better. Focus on putting out content at a regular cadence and resist the urge to fall off schedule because of a pesky semi-colon or m-dash.
Remember when we said that starting imperfectly is better than not starting at all? The best — and most effective way — to do this is to make everything an experiment. Really, that’s the foundation of great marketing.
Start with a hypothesis, experiment, document results, and iterate as needed. Note: this is a more sophisticated approach than throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks. You can use existing data and content (or that of competitors) to derive a thoughtful hypothesis. Once tested, you can embrace tactics that work and toss out those that don’t.
Everything you do in content marketing should be viewed as an experiment. To keep track, consider documenting the following for each piece of content:
- The reason for testing it
- What you think the content should achieve
- Criteria for success
- Next steps (based on whether it is successful or not)
If you’re really organized, you’ll set up a folder with all experiments and results to track your progress over time. This also makes it easy to pass the baton to other team members, including new people who will need to get up to speed on what your team has been doing.
When it comes to Agile software development, the principle of simplicity means developing to requirements while creating the simplest solution possible and then continuing development incrementally (where needed) to satisfy the customer.
In content, this means taking an idea, concept, or problem your audience is trying to understand or solve and creating the most basic, clear piece of content to help them get there. For fintechs, it might be a blog post on why machine learning is the optimal way to fight fraud.
After publication, you might find that your audience is commenting on the article or emailing your support team with additional questions that might merit further explanation. Now you can consider turning that topic into a longer white paper or supplementing the blog post with a more involved infographic. If people are still having a hard time digesting that information, you might consider releasing a video where an executive talks through some of the key points in an easy-to-understand way.
Some organizations like to start with the whole bundle upfront. While that’s not wrong, it is extraordinarily time-consuming. If you have to wait to launch your campaign until each and every piece is done, you’re depriving your audience of important information that could drive them to look elsewhere. Also, your audience may not be all that keen on white papers. By starting simply and using audience feedback to build out more robust content, you ensure that you’re serving your audience without any extra, unnecessary work.
Use Content Performance as the Measure of Progress
In order to deliver value to your audience, you have to understand how that will be measured. What is the acceptance criteria? In many cases, it is measured by how the content performs. Good, value-added content will resonate with your target audience.
First, get agreement between what content performance criteria will count as a measure of progress. This may require cross-departmental collaboration across marketing as a whole and even sales. Having a common understanding of what constitutes success is important so that everyone can focus on working toward that requirement.
There’s one catch when it comes to agile content marketing for fintech: results may sometimes take time. Feedback isn’t always immediate and it can take anywhere from three to six months before you start to get a clear picture of how content is truly performing.
This is where leading indicators play a crucial role. These can help provide an early signal on whether or not content is performing well or not. Consider the following:
- Number of backlinks
- Comparing ave. time on page to industry standards or your best-performing content
- Link clicks to content shared in emails
- CTR on ads that promote content
- Number of social shares
Remember, you don’t need to follow a rigid Agile methodology to see improvements with your content marketing. Contrary to popular opinion, abiding by a framework can actually enhance creativity because you boost efficiency and create more room for content “magic” to happen. Leverage Agile content marketing principles to help your fintech kick-start a strategy for success and launch a content marketing program that functions like a well-oiled machine.