Author: Andrea Fryrear

Andrea is the president and lead trainer at AgileSherpas, a training, education, and consulting company designed to help marketing teams transform their work from frantic to fantastic. Her most recent book, Death of a Marketer, chronicles marketing’s troubled past and the steps it must take to claim a more Agile future. She geeks out on all things agile and content on Twitter.

By andrea-fryrear published September 1, 2017

Setting Content Free: How Health Catalyst Gets Results With Ungated Content

setting-content-free-health-catalystEditor’s note: Paul Horstmeier is a finalist for 2017 Content Marketer of the Year. We will be sharing insight from all CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this month.

For many content marketing teams, the email subscriber count is a pivotal measure of success. After all, a quality email list is a vital component of a high-functioning modern marketing department.

And, traditionally, you get more subscribers by putting enticing resources behind an email gate. In other words, you require someone to provide their email address to access something of value.

But when Paul Horstmeier took over as senior vice president of marketing for Health Catalyst, he couldn’t follow this typical content marketing script. The health care audience is historically skeptical of marketing, he says, so he wanted to give them an experience that didn’t feel like marketing.

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By andrea-fryrear published August 24, 2017

How SecureWorks Took Content Strategy From Guesswork to Game Changing

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Editor’s note: Kira Mondrus is a finalist for 2017 Content Marketer of the Year. We will be sharing insight from all CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

Mediocre content marketing is often built on the shaky foundation of assumptions and generalities. Creating detailed personas and accurate buyer journey maps takes time, effort, and resources, and often it seems easier to skip those steps and dive straight into writing generic blog posts.

Poor targeting, however, delivers poor results, as Kira Mondrus, SecureWorks’ director of global marketing, knew when she joined its team in 2014. Unwilling to commit to content marketing without personas, journey maps, or useful attribution data, she set about building a firm base from which to work.

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By andrea-fryrear published August 16, 2017

A Content Success Story: How FedEx Operations Now Delivers a Better Customer Experience

drew-bailey-content-marketer-year-finalist-fedex-content-operationsEditor’s note: Drew Bailey is a finalist for 2017 Content Marketer of the Year. We will be sharing insight from all CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

Redundancies, overlaps, and a general lack of communication kept good content marketers from delivering a better content experience for FedEx customers.

Drew Bailey wanted to change that when he took the reins of content operations at the company. “My team’s job is enablement,” says FedEx’s manager of content strategy and curation. Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published July 28, 2017

Zendesk Shares Keys to Creating an Outrageously Successful Brand Publication

zendesk-keys-successful-brand-publicationEditor’s note: Monica Norton is a finalist for 2017 Content Marketer of the Year. We will be sharing insight from all CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

Many brands struggle to stay out of the spotlight in their content. They begin with good intentions to quietly wait in the wings, but over time the brand creeps back to center stage.

Zendesk, however, created a publication that hardly includes the brand. Its newest property, Relate, is all about improving professional relationships. In a growing library of content – articles, podcasts, print magazine, and in-person event – the SaaS company’s customer service product rarely makes an appearance.Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published July 14, 2017

How REI Is Unlocking the Power of Long-Form Video

content-marketing-year-finalist-rei-paolo-mottolaEditor’s note: Paolo Mottola is a finalist for 2017 Content Marketer of the Year. We will be sharing insight from all CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World this September.

With Mark Zuckerberg recently identifying video as a “mega trend” with the same game-changing potential as mobile, the race is officially on for marketers to add video to their content mix.Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published June 22, 2017

How to Stop Wasting Time on the Wrong Content

how-stop-wasting-time-wrong-contentHave you ever spent weeks or even months crafting a perfect piece of content that generated almost no response from your audience? You expected trumpets and confetti, praise-filled emails, maybe even a raise. Instead, you got crickets.

While you might accept these disheartening flops as the cost of doing content marketing, they represent an enormous waste of time and resources.

Fortunately, Agile practices offer an alternative. Rather than putting all your eggs into one big content basket, you can conduct small experiments by releasing minimum viable content. I’ll define this term in a bit. For now, the main thing to note is that minimum viable content enables you to learn what your audience is interested in and then use what you’ve learned to create big, high-effort pieces that perform well.Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published May 11, 2017

Make Your Audience the Hero With a One-Sentence Agile User Story

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Once upon a time, there was an industry on the brink of implosion.

Its members were consistently delivering the work their bosses requested, but half the time it was so disconnected from what customers wanted that it was useless. Rework ran rampant. Projects spiraled out of control, coming in horrifyingly late and absurdly over budget. By the turn of the millennium, the time had come for drastic measures.Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published April 11, 2017

New Way to Build Personas Over Time

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SPONSORED BY CENTERLINE

Centerline’s chief strategy officer John Lane is on a mission to change the way that we think about our personas. Instead of investing a disproportionate amount of time up front creating a perfect persona that you never revise, he recommends adopting an iterative approach.

I asked him more about how this approach works and why he think it’s a crucial shift for content marketers.Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published March 9, 2017

Play Marketball: Turn Disconnected Teams Into High Performers

marketball-disconnected-teams-high-performers

In his 2003 book Moneyball, Michael Lewis recounts how the management of the Oakland Athletics revolutionized baseball by relying on statistical analyses rather than intuition to choose new players. Before General Manager Billy Beane turned a single metric — on-base plus slugging (OPS) — into his North Star for every decision, team managers preferred strategies that were unlikely to fail rather than those that seemed most efficient. “The pain of looking bad,” Lewis writes, “is worse than the gain of making the best move.”

As a content marketing manager tasked with delivering my quota of MQLs (marketing-qualified leads) and hitting publication dates, I get it. Picking an approach that seems unlikely to fail is safe. Proposing a radical new management system seems not only bad, but foolhardy. “Why,” managers the world over ask every day, “should we try to fix something that isn’t broken?”Continue Reading

By andrea-fryrear published January 19, 2017

Confused About Agile Marketing? Your Questions Answered [With Video]

agile-marketing-questions

Despite the growing popularity of Agile marketing and the fervent evangelism of early adopters, most marketers remain at least a bit confused. Questions are to be expected. Why? Because, although the basic Agile modus operandi is fairly straightforward – release work rapidly, learn from its performance, and adjust accordingly – Agile teams need an internal system that supports a new way of doing marketing.

In other words, Agile marketing is simple and hard at the same time. It’s simple to understand in theory. It’s hard to shift to working this way.Continue Reading