In this month’s Good Copy, Bad Copy, we’re talking about Agile and Lean-Agile processes, and whether B2B content producers can learn something from software development and engineering.
David’s joined (virtually, of course) by a very special guest co-host: our former host Emily King, now Content Coordinator at Bluefruit Software. She shares her wealth of experience on adapting Lean-Agile processes for B2B content, and tells us how you can create more meaningful copy with less waste.
We also interview Bluefruit’s UX design expert Dan Goodwin on the role of the user in content creation. He reveals how personas can be used more ways than you think, shares his tips on bringing customers into the creation process, and gives us some really clever ways to get to know your audience when you can’t actually talk to them (which, sadly, is a common obstacle to B2B content).
So, what is Lean-Agile B2B content?
Put simply, it’s content created with maximum collaboration, communication and flexibility. We’ve put together some basic guidelines:
- It doesn’t mean you do everything; you shouldn’t start until you and your client have a clear idea of what they need and who it’s for. If it’s a drive-by content request, push back. Ask: “is that genuinely what you need?” (Emily told us there’s no room for subservience in true collaboration. Put that foot down.)
- Once you have that understanding, start small. Think “minimum viable product” – a phrase you’ll become extremely familiar with. Break the project down into smaller parts, get them out, test them, gather evidence and build out from there.
- Most importantly, keep communication open, stay responsive. Regular reflection from everyone, especially stakeholders, gives you a clear direction on what needs to change and what is going well. Then you can quickly problem solve any issues, together.
- Bonus hint: Emails can be miscommunication minefield. Picking up the phone is often a safer, more personal option.
To reduce content waste, add value for the audience
In theory, by starting small, and being clear about objectives, you won’t waste time or money throwing yourself into big complex campaigns that are later scrapped by indecisive stakeholders. Plus, with frequent communication and reflection, you can make sure you’re always on track – so there’s no falling down expensive rabbit holes.
But Dan points out that user-centred development takes things to another level. At its best, Lean-Agile is about focusing on content that meet the real needs of the people you want to read it – and the more you can learn about their context, the more likely you are to create something that gets read and shared.
But how do you get all that information? Dan’s suggestions include:
- If you can, ask your clients (d’oh)
- If you can’t, find the people in your organisation who talk to customers most, whether that’s sales, account managers or field staff
- Get the whole team on board with what you need to know, and they’ll bring you helpful insights from their own customer conversations
- Go where your users go – whether that’s the right conferences, the right online forums, or even just the right LinkedIn pages
In Episode 83, you’ll hear…
0.55 – The Return of the King: Emily tells us what she does as Bluefruit’s Content Coordinator
4.36 – What ‘Agile’ and ‘Lean-Agile’ really mean for B2B content marketing, and how you can adopt them
19.56 – How to bring users into content creation: an interview with UX Designer Dan Goodwin
39.55 – Emily’s tips for getting more information from subject matter experts
Read more about Lean-Agile, user-centred B2B marketing content
Resources Emily and Dan mentioned in this episode include:
- Agile on the beach and its archive of previous talks
- Bluefruit’s Lean-Agile blog series
- The Mom Test
- Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited
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How to listen…
- You can download the episode here (right click and select “Save As” to download)
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Thank you to Emily and Dan from Bluefruit Software for sharing your time and expertise. You can find Dan on twitter @bouncingdan and on LinkedIn. And if you haven’t heard Emily’s podcast Nerds Assemble, you really should give it a listen.
Podcast editing and music by Bang and Smash