We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article A new way to navigate agile marketing. The navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation. In recent articles, we covered the pieces in the first stop of the navigator, the Collaborative Planning Workshop.
Now we’re going to dive deeper into our second stop on your agile marketing journey — the Launch Cycle. The Launch Cycle is a repeatable cadence for delivering valuable marketing experiences early and often. Within the Launch Cycle there are five key components—Marketing Backlog, Cycle Planning, Daily Huddle, Team Showcase and Team Improvement. Last week we shared how to conduct a great Cycle Planning. Today we’re going to dive into the next part of your agile marketing journey—the Daily Huddle.
Running a Daily Huddle
The purpose of the Daily Huddle is to focus on the work in progress and how the team is doing towards completing the work that they planned during Cycle Planning. The Daily Huddle is meant to eliminate one-off conversations and to build up teamwork and shared ownership and accountability.
People often ask, “Why does this have to be daily? What about two or three times a week?” While our framework strives for being pragmatic, and you can certainly figure out what works best based on your unique situation, the teams that I’ve worked with that actually connect daily have a lot fewer one-off meetings and tend to have better communication, so that the small time investment tends to actually save time in the long run.
The Daily Huddle should be attended by the Team and any Supporting Cast members that have active work in the current cycle. Practice Leads and Stakeholders should refrain from attending unless invited by the team. Just like we want our teenagers to learn how to be adults by letting them figure out their own problems before asking mom and dad, this works similarly. We want the team to first have an opportunity to identify and resolve problems on their own.
There are two main ways I’ve seen teams run a Daily Huddle (but new, creative techniques are always welcome). The first is a person-by-person approach where every team member talks about what they’re working on. The second is a work item approach, where the team talks only about the work items in progress and how they’re doing at getting them done.
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Questions to ask
With the person-by-person approach, the traditional three questions that Scrum used to have (they’re no longer part of the official Scrum Guide) were: What did you work on yesterday? What are you working on today? What are your blockers? These questions are fine to use, but a lot of marketers find focusing on yesterday to be a bit backwards and like to just narrow it down to: What am I contributing today? What’s getting in my way? By saying “contributing” this adds a powerful statement and gets team members to answer something valuable because no one wants to be that person that’s not contributing.
A great Daily Huddle shouldn’t feel like a status report. There shouldn’t be a single person on the team that everyone is looking at as updates are given. If you notice that behavior, it’s a sign that the team is still more concerned about status updates when they should be more concerned that as a team they’re working together to get all work done, not just an individual’s piece.
A healthy Daily Huddle is when team members are offering to jump in and help each other out, even if it’s not their typical role at the company. When the focus is on accomplishing work as a team, you know you’re succeeding.
Catch up on the Agile Marketing Navigator series!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
About The Author
Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”
It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.
In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.
So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.
You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes.
So, without further ado…
Which names changed?
Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.
A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles.
So, why the change?
It boils down to three guiding principles:
Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency
Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with
Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite
As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).
Other questions? We’ve got you covered.
Q: Why have you made these product name changes?
We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.
Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own?
No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.
Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?
No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.
Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?
No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names.
Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?
Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com
Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?
If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.
Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?
I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?
What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.
1. Write with an inclusive heart
There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.
You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.
2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist
Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.
Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:
Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
Red – dense and complicated text
Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
Green – passive voice
Fix: Rewrite for active voice.
Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.
In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:
“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.
“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.
Much cleaner, right?
3. Ask questions
See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.
4. Include links
Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:
You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).
You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.
5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text
Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.
First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).
If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.
For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.
For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.
An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”
It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”
Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”
It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.
Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.
Improve your content and better the experience
Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.
They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)
If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.
All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.
If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.
In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute