Love it or hate it, a lot of people are filling up CrossFit gyms (“boxes”) around the world and learning functional fitness – even me. After one of those intense workouts, I realized that content marketing and CrossFit actually have a lot in common. Both were considered fads but are here to stay. Both require a certain amount of mental fortitude. And while content marketing won’t leave you lying on the floor gasping for breath, the lessons learned in CrossFit translate handily into your content marketing strategy. Here are five principles from CrossFit that you can take with you for your next strategy session.

1. Know your foundational movements. In CrossFit, there are some basic fundamentals you need to learn, mostly involving a barbell. In content marketing, enterprises need their own set of foundations in the form of collateral: white papers, case studies, videos, infographics, blog posts, print materials, and other content. Knowing what foundation you want to build your program on is the first step in a successful content marketing strategy.

2. Constantly vary your workouts. If you’ve ever checked out the WODs (workouts of the day) on the CrossFit website, you’ll notice that it’s a long time before the exact same workout is repeated. (Go on, check it out.) You’ll also see that there are some movements that are repeated on a semi-regular basis, like the foundational movements or some metabolic work. Do the same with content marketing: sometimes, the strength portion of what you’re doing for a particular product will be a white paper, followed by a lot of metabolic conditioning like blog posts and infographics. Other times, you’ll use a lot of case studies and videos. This is totally up to you. But remember…

3. Pay attention to your programming. Good CrossFit coaches and good content marketers have one huge thing in common: they know how to plan a workout or create a content marketing strategy. They make sure their programming is planned well in advance. They rarely leave anything to chance, but they’re ready to scale the workout or the program if it’s required.

[tweetthis url=”″]Good CrossFit coaches and content marketers know how to plan WODs and strategies, respectively.[/tweetthis]

4. Be prepared to scale. In a CrossFit workout, there’s an RX option, which very few people can actually do. There’s also the scaled option, which is tailored to various fitness levels. For example, muscle-ups might be part of the WOD, but the scaled version might be pullups and ring dips. A content marketing strategy might start out with an ambitious five white papers per quarter, but if it’s too much for the marketing department, even with freelancers, it might get scaled back to two or three. Know your abilities, and choose the scaled option if you need it.

5. Know your strengths and weaknesses – and work with them. One thing a lot of CrossFit boxes won’t do is post the WOD on their websites or social media until the day after. That prevents athletes from saying, “Ugh, wall balls! I’m staying home.” In content marketing, you’re spared the agony of literal wall balls, but there may be other weaknesses your team has. You might not have a great graphic designer for your infographics, or you might not have enough writers for blog posts or case studies or white papers. Unlike in CrossFit, you can bring in freelancers to round out your team and throw that medicine ball at the target high on the wall (and catch it in a squat, and repeat). So if your content marketing strategy calls for something you know your team doesn’t have the skill set to complete, or your team is overloaded with other work, it’s perfectly okay to bring someone in to help.

Ready to plan your content marketing strategy WODs? When you have those in place and need someone to do figurative wall balls, give me a holler.