TLDR: A content scrum is a way to get high-quality content published fast, even with overworked marketing teams juggling many internal stakeholders. Content scrums help marketing teams boost productivity, build stronger collaboration, establish resilience, reduce meeting overload, and get more projects over the finish line.
So What? We’ll dish out all the details on how content scrums work, how to run them, and how they’ll make your marketing department more effective at delivering great content, fast.
Do any of the issues listed in the chart below look familiar?
Waiting for feedback. Chasing people for approval. These troubles are common to most marketing teams, and the solution is content scrums. These are regular meetings that detail your current marketing progress and plans for the following “sprint.” In this article, we’ll cover:
- What content scrums are
- How to run them
- How they can help your team achieve better marketing productivity and happiness
What Is a Content Scrum?
The goal of a content scrum is to quickly check in on content projects and move them forward with actionable next steps to get great content published fast.
Scrums were invented by software developers (who run into the same roadblocks and shifting goalposts as marketers). In agile development, a scrum is a way of checking in on progress and smashing through roadblocks to get high-quality software shipped fast.
In a content scrum, the team goes around the room (or Zoom screen), with each person summarizing what’s on their plate. They discuss what they’ve recently completed, what they’ll tackle in the immediate future, and specific challenges or roadblocks they’re encountering.
Content scrums should be fast. They almost take on the form of lightning talks, which we discussed recently. Sometimes called “content standups,” the goal is to make the whole meeting fast enough that everyone can remain standing up.
If tasks aren’t being completed, or if team members are running into problems like the ones listed in the chart above, a content scrum can focus the team’s attention on the problem, allowing everyone to quickly brainstorm solutions.
The Advantages of Content Scrums
- They’re effective at boosting productivity.
Rather than being “another meeting on the calendar,” a content scrum can make marketing teams more efficient because people get things done before meetings.
Nobody wants to look foolish, so scrums motivate everyone to come prepared. Often, you’ll see heavy bursts of activity before content scrums take place.
It’s almost like magic. Just before a scrum, you’ll see content get reviewed and prioritized, with team members working extra hard so they can report their progress to the team.
- They build stronger collaboration.
Regularly emailing people to review content or leave comments in a Google Doc is time consuming and ineffective. People are busy, and content review work always gets pushed to the bottom of the list.
Scrums are excellent solutions to content roadblocks in that you meet with people face to face rather than text to text. You can better hear the nuance of their feedback, as well as ping-pong ideas off each other and quickly build on them. In the end, this leads to better content and better team happiness.
- They establish team resilience.
You know how it goes. The sales one-pager that was due next week is now due this week, and the sales team hasn’t given you any direction. Typically, this is tackled through email or Slack, which clogs up everyone’s workflow and rarely gets anything solved.
In content scrums, however, you can discuss problems as a team, suggest solutions, and confidently work through roadblocks. This builds resilience and fosters a better team attitude of, “We can work through this together.”
- Scrums combine multiple meetings into one.
Meetings can be draining. When everyone is busy and tasks are piling up, sitting through meetings can feel like wasted energy. Content scrums held on a Monday give everyone a chance to go over many of these issues (and more) at the beginning of the week to make maximum progress. A scrum is a one-and-done solution.
- Scrums help get large projects over the finish line.
Any large project has the problem of coordination. Tasks and priorities change throughout the project lifecycle, and email and Slack are terrible for working out difficult issues as a team.
A content scrum can facilitate deep collaboration while preventing a project from falling onto the shoulders of a single person. They’re effective at getting team members working in tandem, pushing the project closer towards completion in less time.
Media Shower Best Practices for Content Scrums
Content scrums should be held frequently. Most teams hold them weekly, but for crunch periods, they can be held daily.
Content scrums should hold everyone accountable. Everyone in the room should give updates regarding what they did, what they’re doing, and what problems they have.
Content scrums should be empowering. The team brainstorms solutions for problems. The individual is responsible for implementing the solution. It’s bottom up, not top down.
Content scrums should result in clear goals. Each team member should know what they’re doing next, so there’s accountability at the next scrum. Teams should also understand the big picture goals and deadlines.
Content scrums should result in better content that’s published faster. Once a quarter, measure the velocity of content published (i.e., how much, how fast). Also, measure the quality (either objectively using metrics like CTR and Engagement Rate, or subjectively using feedback and feeling). If you’re not improving both, use a scrum to find out why.
At Media Shower, we use content scrums in our own workflow, resulting in great content like the article you’re reading now. If you’re interested in building a world-class content operation, contact us.