I am a runner. I ran my first mile during a week-long leadership course I was taking in San Francisco. At first, I wasn't sure I really wanted to run as my observation had been that people don't generally look happy jogging. Why would anyone put themselves through that?
But I gave it a try. For six straight days, I started my mornings in running shoes, pounding the trails. The experience opened my eyes.
Twenty years later, I'm still running. I've since completed several half-marathons — my first at age 47 — and I still get out as often as I can. One of the things that keeps me running, besides maintaining my physical health, are the mental benefits. It provides perspective, helps me think.
I've discovered that the act of running is itself a journey, full of lessons and insights that appear with nearly every step.
Content Marketing is much the same.
In my recent breakout session at Content Strategy Applied USA 2014, I used running as a metaphor for how companies need to approach content marketing. It is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Marketers must be prepared to go on a journey when they embrace this digital strategy. Ultimately, the benefits are worth it, but it's rarely easy. It requires perseverance, patience and self-awareness about how to push your limits.
My presentation took attendees through nine steps to help them learn what to expect and stay in the race, even when it's hard. From deciding to run, defining goals and picking the right metrics to choosing the right partners and the right races, I offered insights, frameworks and case studies from our experience running alongside clients in their marathons.
You can check out my presentation slides here.