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06 Product Management Practices to Apply to Your Content Marketing

Content strategy is a phrase that means many different things to many different people.

For some, it is a rigorous and prolonged process that can take months to complete. For others, it’s a handful of slides. Or worse, whatever is necessary for the client to sign the annual retainer. It usually depends on the agency or internal team you are working with.

Product management, by comparison, is more standardized. And possibly more sophisticated. It is based on a range of frames and models that help product managers:

  • Understand your users
  • Build a user base
  • Plan for the future
  • Prioritize your time

Image result for content strategy

Product Management Practices for Content Marketing

1. Generative and Evaluative User Research

Product managers take user research seriously. It is one of the key parts of your paper. And not only comb the Internet for statistics to fall into their decks. They regularly survey users to find out what they think and how their product can be improved.

Why is this so important?

For example, I could create an application that solved a problem that you’ve been having for years, but without establishing if someone else needs to solve that problem, there will simply be wasted a ton of money.

“Proper research can help you build the right thing, but it can also help you build it correctly. A good mantra for product development is “You are not the user”, which reminds you that not everyone sees the world in the same way. It’s important to understand the diversity of your user base. ”

“Generative research helps you define the problems to be solved, and evaluative research helps you determine how well you have solved those problems.”

Marketing specialists and product managers review quantitative data on a regular basis so that they can track user behavior and performance. But I wondered how often Steve’s team surveyed their users to obtain qualitative information.
“We try to hold research sessions with users once every two weeks, which helps us keep up to date and detect changes in user behavior.”

2. Early Adopter mentality

Any content marketer that has launched a new domain or brand knows how difficult it can be. Things take time to get going. Often, you spend your first months posting content that almost nobody sees. It is quite overwhelming.
Product managers share our pain. They are well versed in launching applications and startups from scratch. And, true to their form, they have their own methodology to identify and wobble in those precious “first adopters.”
“The first users will help get your idea off the ground,” “They are usually very interested people in the area in which they are working, so they are happy to answer questions and try things, in exchange for being one of the first people to use a new product.”

An excellent way to incorporate the first users is during the user research phase.

“Start any new project with at least 20 interviews with clients. That will give you a good idea of ​​what to create and for who it is. A great question to ask at the end of the interviews is: “Is there anyone else you think we should talk to and who is interested in what we are doing?” Then you can build a community around what you are doing. ”

So where can we find these people?

“Find out where they will be and talk to them, and not necessarily online. This could mean talking to people outside a supermarket, near a travel agency, on the bus or in forums.”

3. Road Mapping

Product managers take roadmaps seriously.
“It’s really annoying when people confuse the roadmaps for the Gantt charts. A Gantt chart shows what they will deliver on what date, but that doesn’t always work in the agile world. A roadmap shows what value it will create for users now, then and later. A Gantt chart assumes that the solution has been perfectly designed and developed in advance, but the agile world is about starting slowly and iterating. For that reason, you can’t really set a date on things. ”

Image result for Gantt chart road map
So why is it so important to have a road map? “It’s a good communication device. It tells its users, its team and its stakeholders what value it will create in what order. A roadmap can show your strategy to achieve the organization’s objectives. Help everyone to understand how what he is doing now relates to future work and priorities. ”
When asked if he has any advice for content teams that want to create more meaningful roadmaps, “Start with 3 columns: now, next and later. In the first column, write all the work you will have to do Now to make your users happy. These are your high priority tasks. In the second column, write down everything you will need to do in the future to keep them happy. Or anything you cannot include in the first column. In the final column , write down everything you should probably do at some point to continue adding value over time. ”

“It’s that simple”

“Use a spreadsheet, a sheet of paper, post-its on a wall, a Trello board, anything that your team and stakeholders can easily access.”

  • Things to stop doing
    Focus on when you will deliver things instead of what value you will create.
  • Things to start doing
    Sequence of events based on what your users want, instead of what your marketing calendar dictates.

4. Value / Effort Mapping

Product managers sit at the intersection of the company, users and the development team. As a result, they often receive many requests.
This makes prioritization a key part of the job. You should be able to identify the most valuable tasks to allocate your time effectively.

“We focus on delivering the right thing in the right way, which means we are constantly making prioritization decisions. One way to do it is using the Value / Effort score, a simple technique to determine if something is worth doing based on how much effort it will take and what you will get. ”

How does it work? Start by drawing a four-point axis, like this:

Then, graph the applications or tickets that are currently live against it. The tasks found in the upper left quadrant are high priority. The tasks found in the lower right quadrant are of low priority.

  • Things to stop doing
    Creation of endless lists of pending tasks.
  • Things to start doing
    Prioritize tasks based on the level of value they create for the user and how much effort is required.

5. User Stories

User stories are a great way to bring your user research to life.
Most marketing specialists recognize that they are quite similar to people. However, I believe that user stories articulate the preferences and needs of a group in a more humane way, because they are written in the first person. And, as they are more concise, they can get caught in the wall to keep them in mind.

“User stories are there to remind you that the work you are doing is for real people, to help them solve real problems,” says Steve. “As the stories are written from the user’s perspective, their needs really arise.”

“Once the user stories have been written based on our research, we will take them to the team design sessions where we jointly design a solution. Once we have estimated how much effort it will take to create that thing, we will take the user’s story to a development sprint that will be created and launched. ”

  • Things to stop doing
    Letting your precious people accumulate dust.
  • Things to start doing
    Turn your characters into user stories, sticking them on the wall and referring to them in your brainstorming.

6. Paste Things on the Walls

This is less sophisticated than the others, but no less essential.
When you’re in the thick, it’s easy to lose track of the vision, strategy and ultimate goal. But as soon as this happens, it is more likely to waste time. Keeping your road maps and user stories on the wall for all to see is a great way to counter this.
“Usually, we will keep our road map near the team area, stuck on a wall for others to see. This means we can point it out and remind the team of our strategy and why we are doing what we are doing. But it also allows us to move tasks as necessary. ”
“You can expect digital teams to work exclusively with digital tools, but having something tangible really helps get things out of your head.”

  • Things to stop doing
    Let your valuable maps and user stories accumulate dust on Google Drive.
  • Things to start doing
    Printing them and pasting them so that the whole team sees them.

So there you have it: six product management practices that will benefit any content team or marketing department.

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