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Good content takes time.

The more time users spend on a post or page on your website, the more likely they are to be reading and engaging with links to related content. But keeping users around is an ongoing battle against decreasing attention spans: A startling number of website sessions last under 15 seconds.

Time is an equally important factor in creating the quality content that does capture potential customers' interest: In some cases, clunky processes slow content creation to a crawl, leading to stale blog posts and bland social media copy; in other cases, leadership demands an unrealistically quick churning out of content, burning out marketing teams and producing content that is ultimately low-value.

Finding the right cadence and amount of time and energy spent on content can be difficult, but it's not impossible. In fact, marketers can take a page from the Agile methodologies that are increasingly accelerating the pace at which websites and applications are deployed.

How Agile Can Guide Better Content Practices

Though writing code (what Agile was originally meant for) is decidedly different from producing good marketing copy and content, following Agile methods can have a big impact.

By developing processes and adopting ideas that mirror those of Agile methods, marketing leaders can help steer content teams toward better processes that produce higher-quality content.

Incorporate user acceptance testing into content reviews

User acceptance testing (UAT) is a critical part of Agile development: End-users test a piece of software or an application to make sure a predetermined set of features is present and those features are working as they should. This structured, purposeful review of a new version of a product helps determine whether it is ready to deploy more widely.

Incorporating a UAT-like process into content review helps solve a problem marketing teams often face: objectively judging what is and what is not quality content—what it looks like.

In addition to checking for grammar and style, editors also incorporate additional elements into their review and approval process. Does the piece of content use the right keywords? Does it contain enough internal links? Are there related videos, images, or other rich content that can help break up the text while telling a cohesive story? If an editor is unsure about such questions, it is worth the time to go back and improve the content.

Just as good dev teams don't deploy buggy and incomplete software, your content teams shouldn't post rushed or clumsy copy. This type of review ensures only the best content is released.

Streamline the approval process

Good writing takes time, and almost any copywriter or content manager will tell you they wish they had more of it.

Agile works particularly well to save time by streamlining workflows and making processes more efficient. In the case of content, the approval process tends to gum up the works. Whether it's too many eyes on the content, differences of opinion, or simply low bandwidth for review, getting content approved by predetermined stakeholders can become a drag, and the work of incorporating all feedback falls back on the writer.

However, teams can help get a better product out sooner by revisiting the approval process. Take stock of who really needs to review content, and set fresh guidelines and expectations for those who will be approving it. When a faster, more efficient approval process is deployed, more time can be spent researching, writing, and curating all the elements of a rich content asset.

Measure, iterate, repeat

Content teams often find themselves scratching their heads at what makes one piece of content perform better than another. If they are unable to find an answer, that likely means there is no good system of metrics in place to measure success. In that case, it is also very likely that the copywriters and content creators are equally uninformed about which projects are successful and which ones aren't.

But when success is easily measured, big opportunities to improve content emerge. Keywords and topics that tend to drive engagement and time on page, for example, can be worked in at the very beginning of the creative process. Entire editorial and content calendars can be overhauled to produce pieces that—while they have a far longer lead time—keep the audience coming back. Creatives can adopt an iterative process toward creating content with a clear goal in mind, ensuring the output is continuously improving.

Find a tool that drives agile processes

For content teams, putting Agile methods into practice can be significantly augmented by harnessing a CMS tool that is aligned with Agile principles. Using a CMS solution that's adaptive and future-focused (i.e., AI-driven solutions) content teams can significantly level up their output.

* * *

It's clear that Agile methodologies can be applied successfully to content processes without sacrificing quality. In fact, Agile's ability to free up time through efficiencies makes it a great fit for content teams looking to produce rich content that captures shrinking customer attention spans.

When you adopt the principles outlined above, you will no longer be forced to choose between content quality and quantity.

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How Agile Can Help You Balance Content Quality and Quantity

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image of Rasmus Skjoldan

Rasmus Skjoldan is the chief marketing officer at Magnolia CMS, where he leads global marketing, product management, analyst relations, and UX. He works out of Copenhagen and Basel.

LinkedIn: Rasmus Skjoldan

Twitter: @rasmusskjoldan