Article

Miles Kendall
Miles Kendall 24 April 2017

5 essentials of an agile content contingency plan

Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election should be a wake up call to any organisation that isn’t able to respond to unpredictable events

There was an almost audible gasp across Westminster on the morning of 18th April as Mrs May called for a General Election. Such surprise events highlight the need for planning, processes and resourcing to allow for an agile content response.

Here are five ways to ensure your business content marketing team is ready for the unexpected.

1. Use scenario planning

Scenario planning is a great way to flag up a series of possible futures and work out what your content response should be. There are books and businesses dedicated to the art and science of scenario planning but most take two sets of variables and looks at what will happen as they change. One can then assess the likelihood of that scenario and its importance.

If you discover a scenario that is likely and also highly relevant to your business, then you need to plan for it in detail. That may mean having content already produced and ready to publish immediately. If a scenario is less likely but highly important it makes sense to have a content creator identified and briefed to allow a quick turn around without up front expense.

2. Prepare for the unexpected

Unexpected events will blindside you, however good your scenario planning. That’s why it’s important to have processes in place that allow you to respond to immediate content needs.

Try wrapping up content strategy or planning meetings by imagining an unlikely situation that would require some sort of content-driven response. The event may never happen, but exploring how you would deal with it will keep you match fit and highlight any gaps in your capabilities or processes.

3. Focus on your audience

It’s always tempting to jump on the bandwagon of some headline-grabbing happening. The problem is that there is likely to be a multitude of mainstream articles about the subject. You need to add something new to the conversation, and the best way to do that is to focus on the needs of your business’s specific audience.

What will be the question or concern at the front of their mind? Will other content providers already have addressed that? If so, is there an area where you can dive deeper and add something truly original and useful? Use the expertise available in your business, or in your team of content creators to move the conversation on or add insight.

4. Demonstrate professionalism

Producing content around a major event is challenging, especially if it’s something unexpected. Time will be short and there is likely to be plenty of other content against which yours could be compared.

This is where it is vital to have access to a proper editorial team that can produce content that has all the quality of serious journalism. Sharing such content in a timely way sets your business apart.

Having an expert in the field available to produce the story makes all the difference. They’ll have relevant data at their fingertips and be able to obtain killer quotes from top-level sources. That’s the sort of thing that will set your content apart and ensure it serves its purpose in developing trust for your business among its target audience.

5. Call in the experts

It is frankly unreasonable to expect most marketing organisations to have the time to create a detailed content contingency plan and then, crucially, source the network of expert writers who can be on stand-by for scenarios that may or may not happen.

The process of briefing, editing and publishing all takes resource that may not be available within marketing teams, especially if some business critical event has just occurred.

That’s why it makes sense to consider using a content agency that has access to a massive network of content creators who are accessible via dedicated SaaS technology. Having an account manager and editorial manager who know you and your business will ensue an agile response to any eventuality, and they can bring fresh eyes and objectivity to your planning process.

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