My actual running shoes.

Back in April, I really wanted to start running again. So I dug out my running shoes and hit the road (and treadmill, on rainy days). In the process, I discovered some truths that apply to content marketing:

  1. Set a goal. For my running, that was to hit 5K without having to stop to walk or rest. For your content marketing, it could be to pull in a certain amount of warm leads with a white paper, or get a certain amount of hits on a new case study.
  2. Get the right tools. In running, you really only need one main tool: the right pair of shoes. In content marketing, you need a great white paper writer or case study writer – or a great writer for the type of content you’re creating. You’ll also need a graphic designer to create charts and lay out your content.
  3. Don’t try to do everything at once. I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but I knew that trying to run 5K on my first time out would not end well. It’s the same with content marketing: start with smaller goals, like getting two new case studies posted or one really great white paper. It will give you a chance to get accustomed to content marketing, especially if it’s new to your organization.
  4. Track your progress. I bought a new Nike+ chip for my running shoes and fired up my iPod so I could track my distance and speed. For content marketing, make sure you’re tracking through web analytics, social media monitoring, and every other channel you can think of. Track how visitors are entering, where they’re exiting, and how they’re getting there, as well as how long they spend on your site.
  5. Don’t give up. There were some mornings that I didn’t want to get out of bed and run, but I did. There were times on the road that I wanted to rest, but I pushed on – and I reached my goal. If you’re not getting the results you want with your content marketing, don’t give up – re-examine your goals and content, evaluate what can be tweaked, and push on. You will reach your goals if you stick with your content marketing strategy.
  6. Set more goals. Once you hit your initial goals, strategize on bigger, bolder content marketing goals. When I hit 5K, I didn’t stop there. I’m now training for Rugged Maniac. When you hit your downloads or page views or sales goals, what’s the next step? The sky’s the limit.