The Wax Blog

How Hubspot began using Scrum to manage tasks...and everything got better Getting more done in less time. Those six words would make any manager brim with excitement. That’s also the key takeaway from Joel Traugott, a marketer at HubSpot, about his experience adopting Scrum into the software company’s work routine. He recently joined Ryn Melberg on The Guardian Podcast to discuss the many ways Scrum improved his workplace and how they used Scrum to manage tasks. Scrum is an “agile framework for completing complex projects.” Though originally intended to speed along software development projects, its creators quickly realized that it would be an effective tool for all sorts of team projects. There may be no industry for which that’s truer than content marketing. Joel would know. He’s a self-described data-driven digital marketing geek who has experience working for a number of agencies and SaaS companies. Joel had grown frustrated with the bloated editorial calendars that were bogging down team projects. The pre-Scrum workplace looked something like this: employees spent valuable time planning up to a year in advance just to see those plans fall apart down the line, multiple editors independently editing the same content, and unnecessarily long queue lines to get approval to write even simple blogs. It’s no surprise that projects were missing deadlines with this many inefficiencies. After three months of learning how to leverage Scrum, Joel became the “Scrum Master” — the leader of his HubSpot team’s renovated approach to content marketing. The changes they made may seem simple, but the benefits can’t be overstated. Using Scrum to manage tasks made a huge difference. The biggest change may have been the shortening of the editorial calendar to a more manageable and flexible 2-4 week time frame.

You manage a remote team and heard about how Agile increased productivity in the software industry. You've seen the fruits an Agile approach and are wondering how to make the magic happen with a remote team. Is it even possible? You bet it is! At DistantJob, we use it in all our teams, from recruiting to marketing. Agile enables our lean teams to tackle massive undertakings quickly. Not convinced? We've put together a free ebook with a primer to Agile as a remote solution and several case studies. It's a fast read, so grab it if you're not familiar with Agile in general. Our remote teams do Agile using a “Scrumban” method. "Scrumban" means that we take a bit from two popular Agile frameworks, “Scrum” and “Kanban.” Whoa, weird names already? Don't worry -  we're going to keep this light on theory and heavy on practical stuff.

It all starts with the daily standup

A daily meeting with all hands on deck - that's the heartbeat of our Agile process. Sounds weird for a remote company, right? After all, any of our teams might have people spread across five different time zones! But there is no denying the benefits of everyone knowing what everyone else is up to on any given day. The stand-up helps the team bond across a shared purpose.  This meeting helps everyone understand that they're not working in solitude. They're not waiting for, or handing off, work to faceless entities on the other side of the computer. The daily standup also helps people understand how their work impacts the rest of the team. Our daily stand-ups follow a simple formula. Each person tells the team:

I’m speaking at the PRSA International Conference in Boston today on a topic I’m really passionate about. Personas have been a great tool in marketing for decades. In the modern communications world, personas are incredibly helpful but not often used. One area where they can add the most to a communications campaign is during the actual pitch process. Using personas for pitching is something that can boost what I call the “pitch to placement ratio” enormously. In this post, I’ll explain how to develop the five main types of media personas. In addition, I’ll provide a list of questions to help create pitch plans based on that information. My presentation is embedded below as well. [caption id="attachment_13635" align="alignright" width="300"] Creating personas for pitching takes some lurking.[/caption]

Let’s examine the problem.

Public relations people have been in effect communications “salespeople” for years. Their job has been to develop relationships with key media personnel, introduce story ideas and pitch their clients’ products, people and/or services as part of the story. Before the internet, social media and content marketing public relations played a key role in the ideation and development of media stories.  But all that has changed. Factors like the explosion of blogs and other media outlets, reporters that are either changing jobs more frequently or freelancing among multiple outlets and content marketing have all made finding story ideas and experts much easier for the media. Taking it to a deeper level, as consumers we’ve come to expect a certain “experience” online when we’re shopping. This experience is driving expectations in our professional lives as well, where 75% of us want a truly “self-directed” shopping journey. Add to that a journalist's natural independent, or what I call the “reporter factor.” The media has probably been the fastest to leap onto this self-directed idea, and have bypassed public relations altogether.

Stats to back it up:

  • Over 4 million blogs are posted…daily according to Worldometers
  • A Cision report said that 20% of journalists relied less on PR last year
  • Of those still working with communicators, the same study said that nearly 40% say we need to respect their pitching preferences more
With the proliferation of media, less perceived influence on story creation and development, and fewer relationships many have come to regard it as a numbers game. They’re taking the firehose approach, spraying that message as far and wide as they can. And following up endlessly with outlets that may or may not help drive really targeted reach. Even this little blog has countless emails per day – many of them not nearly related to what I write about.

Why use personas for pitching