The Marathon Mindset of Content Marketing

When it comes to content marketing, the process looks more like a marathon than a sprint. I know we live in a world of instant gratification and everyone (especially marketers) want results now, but we should change that mindset when we’re talking about content marketing.

But the marathon mindset causes us heartburn. We want to know who is winning and who is losing from the starting gun, but that’s not an easy task in a marathon. Long distance challenges are harder to score, harder to track, and harder to calculate ROI. But if we want to create sustainable, effective content marketing campaigns; then this marathon mindset is absolutely essential.

Goals, Goals, Goals

Marathons are only possible when there is a clearly marked course and an obvious finish-line. Nobody gets lost in the 100-meter sprint – but one wrong turn during a marathon and it’s easy to find yourself way off course in no time.
Just like a marathon, your content marketing strategy needs a clearly defined path and a realistic finish line. The best way to determine your best course of action is to determine (and write down!) your business and content goals. These goals will shape the way you use content and will go a long way toward determining what content marketing success looks like in your business.

Consider what you want your content to accomplish for your business. That could be improved SEO, thought leadership, brand authority, increased reach, or lead generation. Figure out what matters to your business and you’re well on your way to creating a content marketing strategy that performs.

Don’t get lost in a race that has no course or finish line! Set your content goals before you get into the work of creating actual content. This will ensure that you know where to go and what it will look like when you get there.

Measure & Adjust

You should have established goals before you start creating your content. But that doesn’t mean you can take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to the rest of your campaign. During the content marathon, you need to be continually measuring and adjusting your progress.

This could mean changing your content to re-focus on your initial goals, or it could mean adjusting your goals based on your real-world experience. In the first instance, you can adjust your content format, frequency, or editorial process. For the latter, you can see what content is working and adjust your goals – maybe your initial goal was to be a thought leader but now you see that your content is a powerful lead generation tool. There’s nothing wrong with shifting focus mid-race!

Just a good football teams adjust at half-time, so content marketers need to be willing to abandon what wasn’t work and embrace what was. There is no shame in admitting that you took a few early missteps – especially when you’re creating a content plan before you’ve created any content! Just admit your mistakes, adjust, and keep moving.

Content Wins

Content marketing might be a marathon, but you’ll start seeing small successes before too long. Those little victories provide the fuel to keep going – because nothing is more invigorating than seeing your hard work come to fruition. But if you come into content marketing with unrealistic expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed as you wait for results that may never come.

Content marketing can help your business grow and thrive – but only if you have a clear plan of action that is detailed, written down, and adjusted over time. But done right, content marketing will increase your SEO rankings, build brand authority, and generate more leads. And who could ask for more than that?

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