Just like there are design sprints to push work to be done in a more effective way instead of a back and forth during weeks or months, there is a content sprint, which is quite similar and is focused on putting forth the most important content and structuring it strategically within your thought leadership blog or any form of content page.
This has not really been seen before in this type of work, as content sprints are more focused on marketing and social media posts. We took this idea and made it tailored to a general thought leadership blog, our blog why.workwithmad. Other previous content sprints that have been done are focused on just coming up with content with no real structure to it. Therefore, we had to come up with our own version.
The reason behind the initial idea of this content sprint was to really identify the main content that we haven't addressed as well as come up with new fresh content to publish. Our content is not there to attract people on social media and gain revenue with the ads (which is mostly the target of the content sprints out there), but to help with prospective clients to get to know us and our culture as well as to inform on out different processes and intentions to the existing clients we have.
The content sprint is done in one or two full days with the client’s key content stakeholders and our content team. It is separated into 4 different steps:
- Identify the content
- Map out the content journey
- Note & Vote
- Develop Content Strategy
These steps are taken to build content that really matters and steer it in the best direction. This, in turn, will lead to content that has an impact directly with your business operations and culture, as well as with your main audience.
Let's dig deeper into each step in the content sprint
Identify the content
This initial step is what starts moving the wheels into fully identifying the content journey or web.
The main part of this step is to identify which types of content are needed or currently have by asking “What is the content answering” as well as identify the themes and target audiences of said content. This will make it easy to then fully map out where they would go as well as identify who it is the content is for.
The main reason behind asking this question is that with this sprint we are not looking to make just some content for the next few months at random, we want to be effective in what we post and help post by post into consolidating our blog into what we need it to be.
It is key to note that this step starts from before the actual sprint. This step has to be initiated the day before by the sprint coordinator assessing the state of the current content [if any] and finalized in the first day of the content sprint. The reason for this is that all content blogs have different missions, which have to be identified in order for the sprint coordinator to steer the sprint in the right direction.
Map out the content journey
After the content has been identified and the themes established, it is time to get all the sprint participants to draw out the journey the content is answering. This will give a better idea of what content is available and what it is answering. For example, at our very own blog sprint, we identified that with our content we want to answer any questions prospective and current clients have throughout their life-cycle at Mäd. Therefore, our content journey was separated into 10 steps which looked like this (9 is the journey and one (business) is complimentary):
At each one of these stages in our client journey, we want to showcase how we work as well as answer any questions they might have with any components or methodologies which we use. Since we are not a “regular” agency and we also deal with some very technical projects, it is good to address these problems in order to cut down time and back and forth answering the same questions over and over.
Note & Vote
On this stage is when new ideas come into life and are put up on the board in their respective section. Each participant will put up their note and explain why its there, what part of the journey it answers, and how it answers it. After each team member explains their respective ideas, it is time to vote. Depending on the scale of the sprint each participant gets a set amount of votes, the bigger then sprint or content amount, the more votes each one gets. In the case of our sprint, each participant received 5 votes.
Develop Content Strategy
Lastly, after all the votes are in it is time to develop the content strategy. This is done by taking the main voted notes and setting up a monthly, bi-monthly, or even a quarterly schedule for the content.
This organizational strategy will allow for the main points to be answered first and then allowing time to tackle small content that will make your thought leadership blog successful and tackle everything that it needs to.