Win the Content Marketing Race By Treating it Like a Marathon. Not a Sprint.
As a novice runner, and a professional content marketing strategist, I sometimes wonder if either gets any easier. Sure, both are constantly improving, but…
I train, day in and day out. And I swear – even though I regularly run more than six or seven miles, the first three miles feels just as grim as the first time I ran them. When I pump out that first mile or so at daybreak, my knees are killing me, my shins scream in pain, and I’m gasping for air.
The same is true when producing content. When I sit down to write a new blog post, I still agonize over the headline and the lead… I pound out and rethink the points I’m trying to emphasis in my reports… And I drill down, over and over, on the call to action to ensure it leads readers down the path I want them to go.
But despite, or maybe even because of, the pain – both jogging and content marketing, gets more effective over time. Notice, I’m not saying easier. But better…
This is why you need to treat your content marketing strategy as a marathon… Not a sprint.
Let me explain…
My favorite time for thinking about business is when I am out for my morning jog. Something about the sun shining down on my face as the salty breeze blowing off the ocean and through my (admittedly sparse) hair lets me concentrate on the day ahead. The extra blood and oxygen rushing through my veins due to my rapid heartbeat probably doesn't hurt.
This morning, as I was passing the 3-mile mark, I felt like I was gasping for air and had flashbacks of my first race. This time wasn't any easier… I knew I was less than half way through my morning routine…
But I knew, even though it hurt, I would finish. I also knew – in less than 24 hours I would be out doing it again. It got me thinking…
Once you descend on a content marketing strategy for your business, you’ll feel the same way. It can be painful and difficult to start. At times, you’re going to wonder what the hell you’re doing. And you’re going to worry you are wasting your time, and things aren't getting any better.
You might even question your sanity in taking on such a long-term strategy.
However, if you treat your content marketing strategy as a marathon, instead of a sprint, I can guarantee – when you step back and look at what you’ve accomplished, in 6 months you’ll find the energy to push forward for the next six.
What do I mean?
Train Like You Mean It
Everyone knows running is physically exhausting… You have to train your body to run longer distances at greater speeds. There are tactics you need to learn… Like breathing, posture, and even different types of runs – did you know a Fartlek is a real thing?
Content marketing is the same. When you start, you might not have a clue what you’re doing. You’ll wonder whether to blog, write a white paper, perform a webinar, or record podcast. And you won't know where to start with any of them.
You need practice and training to improve. Even when hiring a professional the more you practice you do together, the more effective your content strategy becomes. Your sales reps will get more ideas for content from their tradeshows… And you'll get a better idea of what you want your ideal customers to know.
As you continue working your strategy, each piece will build on the last. And your presence in the industry will get stronger and stronger.
Consistency – Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough
If your race training consisted of running six miles today, then again in another three months, and again in another two, do you expect your time or physical stamina to increase? Of course not.
Unfortunately, I see this all the time in content strategies and implementation. They put out a blog post this week… Then maybe another in a month or two. Maybe they put out a white paper last year, and plan another one… At some point in the future.
For content marketing to succeed, consistency must be a part of the strategy. Your budget may allow for an intense training schedule… Or maybe a slow and steady approach. But either way, you need to be consistent.
If you commit to one blog post per week, stick to that for at least 6 months before evaluating its success. If you are going to blog 8 times a month, and put out one premium content offer every three, excellent. But be consistent.
You'll discover sprinting (putting out eight blog posts in 1 week and then nothing for several months) exhausts your budget quickly. But doesn't bring you the results you’ll see with consistency.
Mental Endurance – Yes, You Are Tough Enough
This is a struggle every time I run. And probably the most important part of any exercise routine or content strategy.
Remember what I said earlier. That first lap around the track hurts just as much today, as it did the first time I ran around the track. While running I'm constantly thinking to myself “Come on. Only 30 more minutes… Only 20 more minutes…”
The difference is, the training, the consistency, and most importantly, the mental endurance I’ve built up keeps pushing me past those early miles, and onto longer and faster ones.
The first few months you put out content, you might be upset about your readership or lead generation results. You need to condition your mind to keep on going.
Even after 6 months or a year, you might wonder if it is all worth it. You will still experience difficulties coming up with topics for a blog… Or wonder what your potential clients need to read about in a report.
You'll bang your head just as much as when you first decided your business needed a content marketing strategy.
Expect it, and work through it. Push yourself. When you look at your results after 6 months, you’re sure to see amazing results.
When you feel like your strategy isn't working, step back, evaluate your results and keep going.
Win the Content Marketing Race
Like jogging, or any other sport or hobby you participate in, your content marketing strategy requires training, consistency and a long-term mindset. While you will probably see results almost immediately, it will take an enduring effort to see a significant change in your businesses success.
But, if you keep with it, you’ll see results… More leads, more sales and a greater return on your marketing investment
Accelerate Your Success with a Coach and a Great Team
Listen, with any sport, you’ll experience magnified results when you have a coach and a great team.
Content marketing is no exception…
You can make it work on your own. It's possible to learn what you need through books, courses, or online. If you can keep your motivation and consistency over the long term, you will be successful…
But having a professional consultant and team in your corner will get you there quicker, stronger and easier. You can avoid the learning curve and get your business in shape faster than you ever imagined.
If you want to do it yourself, I wish you the best. Watch my blog, webinars, and special reports for more information and learning materials.
But, if you’re ready to take the plunge and discuss how we can accelerate your goals and start getting you more leads immediately, click the button below, fill out our short form and I’ll be in contact for a free interview. We’ll discuss your business and decide if a content marketing strategy is right for you.
Remember, content marketing strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. Train well, keep it up, and go the distance.
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