In just two short weeks, Jessica and I are going to be on our way to the beautiful sunny state of California. Vacation? Kinda, you could say that. We entered into the Nike Women's Half Marathon, a huge lottery race with more than 25,000 hopeful runner entrants. It was our first year to put our names in and attempt the crazy hills of San Francisco. We were shocked back in June when we got our acceptance emails!
This race is awesome because it embodies so much of what we stand for: women who are strong. Women who push themselves. Women who are ever evolving into something better than they were yesterday. (The Tiffany's necklace you get as a "medal" isn't too shabby either!)
Over the last few months we have been busting our butts (Read: TRAINING IS NOT EASY) to get ready for this sucker. People tell me there are hills in San Francisco. Serious hills. See for yourself, the SF course map and elevation profile. Does anybody want to be that woman out there huffing and puffing like the little engine that could NOT?
This will be my seventh half marathon, and Jessica's first. But each time, I train. And each time, I face roadblocks and hardships, aches and pains. But guess what?
There's a science to running, just like content marketing.
You can't just go out and run the race without training and expect to finish strong. Just like you can't publish one piece of content and expect to see your web traffic shoot through the roof overnight. It's slow. It can be painful some days. And it takes a lot of work. You have to work, a little at a time, then push some more, and do some more work. We can't tell you how many clients come to us with one problem: "Where did my web traffic go?" or, worse, "Why don't we have any website traffic? We have a gorgeous site we paid XXXX for!"
Most of the time the first place we look is the content. Sure, your standard pages might have pimped out content. Great URL structure. Strong keyword presence. Then we check the blog. Last post? 2011. 2013. Six months ago.
With running, we have been slowly building up to our "long" runs each week. We're up to a comfortable 12 miles now! TWELVE MILES. How cool is that? We set a goal, and we formed a plan, and have been sticking to it. (Okay, Jessica is sticking to the plan way better than I am, but hey, I'm trying.)
With content marketing, you have to have a plan.
Who is your audience? What kind of content do they enjoy reading? What are they searching for? These are questions that so many online marketers fail to ask before launching a blog. Combine that issue with no plan for content and you get zero website traffic. You have to give people a reason to visit your site. Hubspot's Content Marketing Strategy Guide says the reason companies delve into content marketing is "the need for a more cost effective, predictable and scalable source of traffic and leads than what they've been receiving from their current marketing programs."
It may take a while to build up a consistent following. You know exactly what we mean; no one gets 5,000 quality hits overnight! And that's what you want, valuable traffic. Make a plan. Stick to it. And you'll finish the race strong, just like we will on October 18.