Why Blogging is a Marathon

6 Must-Have Blog Elements

Talk about commitment—today is the New York City Marathon, covering 26.2 miles through all five boroughs of New York City, ending in Central Park. To be eligible to run in the New York City Marathon you must be selected from a lottery of over 100,000 entrants to get one of the 37,000 places. Once you secure one of these spots, you must be dedicated and train for up to six months to get in shape for the race.

Therefore, you don’t just wake up one morning and say I think I’ll run a marathon today. Similarly, blogging is a marathon that requires an equivalent level of commitment and effort that doesn’t happen overnight.

Here are six ways that blogging is a marathon.

  1. Set marathon goals. For many runners a marathon isn’t about being first but rather about achieving their personal best time. In terms of your blog, what are your goals? What do you want to be able to do with your blog? Generate revenue, establish authority in your category or other? Write your goals down so you know what you’re aiming for. Additionally, it will shape your metrics.
  2. Register for the race. Marathons require participants to register. Some of the major marathons like New York City hold a lottery since many more people want to run than there are spots available. Fortunately for bloggers, no lottery’s required although it’s a good idea to register your URL. Despite this, recognize that your blog faces more competition than the average marathon runner since there are way more blogs in the blogosphere. To this end, pay attention to your blog’s design elements to help it stand out from the pack.
  3. Train for the race. Marathons require extensive training to build up enough endurance to run a full race without getting injured. For bloggers, this translates to understanding your target audience and the information they’re looking for. To this end, create marketing personas to keep you on track. In addition, it’s useful to set up an editorial calendar to help you lay out your different types of columns as well as when they’re going to be published. This ensures you cover the necessary topics on a regular basis.
  4. Eat the right kind of food. Diet is a critical component of competing in a marathon. Especially during the last couple of weeks where runners are known for their high consumption of pasta, a practice referred to as carbo-loading. Similarly, you need to feed your blog new content on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean binging on a bunch of posts at one time but rather spacing them out. Further, it’s useful to have a mix of different content types such as photographs, videos, audio and powerpoint.
  5. Get your race support team. It’s tough to run a long race like a marathon with having a racing buddy or friends to help keep your training on track. In the same way, you should get your blogging team in place. Even if you’re a solo blogger, here are some resources that are useful to have: a copy editor (to keep you on the grammatical straight and narrow), tech support (while most blogging doesn’t require advanced programming, at least have backup resources when something goes wrong) and back up support (someone to cover your blog in case of emergency to make sure it keeps going). If you’re working on a company or group blog, more division of responsibilities is needed to share the workload.
  6. Run the race. You can’t just put on your running shoes and take off. You need to get to the starting line with your race bib and it’s built-in tracking.  In terms of your blog, you need to show up at the computer screen and blog on a consistent basis, ideally at least two to three times per week. Additionally, you must track your blog’s performance via metrics that are matched back to your blog goals to determine whether you’re making progress.

For most marathon runners, it’s about the race not the finish line. Similarly for bloggers, it’s about the journey. Blogging isn’t a one shot deal. You need to build your blog over time, one post at a time. Remember, you have to blog for the long run.

Do you believe that blogging is like a marathon, why or why not? Please explain why.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/totalaldo/502812425/
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