My strength coach/exercise mentor, Eric Cressey, was once asked the most dreaded of questions while giving a presentation.
“If you could choose only one exercise to do, what would it be?” He sighed, realizing the impossibility of suggesting such a thing, particularly given each person’s unique needs.
However, he didn’t run from the question, ultimately sharing a recommendation that touches everyone. “Lunges—or any single-leg exercise, for that matter,” he said.
It wasn’t the simple choice, like bicep curls or leg extensions. But single-leg work is suitable for pretty much anyone, regardless of their fitness level, and it helps correct some of the dysfunction the general population struggles with. And, not to be overlooked, it’s hard, meaning that, though everyone needs it, few adopt the approach with the vigor needed to be successful.
Maybe most important for those looking to get their “swole” on, single-leg work has tremendous carry-over to the “big rock” lifts, having a great correlation to bigger lifts and added size.
This whole line of thinking arose out of my desire to distill why content strategy is so important to businesses large and small. We’re now in an era where seemingly everyone is being told they need content strategy, but I’m not sure business owners truly get why.
During a recent talk at the Dallas-Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association’s (DFWSEM) monthly meeting, I shared my thoughts about the importance of content strategy by showing a graphic of a high-wire act.
“This is you,” I said, pointing to the man on the wire. “The area behind him is your business. The area in front of him is your customers. The wire is content strategy—it ensures your business’s objectives are always aligned with the needs of your customers. Most important, it ensures your focus never wavers from the course.”
Based on the feedback from the crowd, they got it.
Content strategy is an integral part of any business, especially yours. Since everyone is now in get-swole-for-the-beach mode, I figured I’d share three fitness-related tips that highlight why a half-hearted adoption of content strategy is dangerous and foolish.
“Look At What Everyone Else Is Doing, Then Do The Opposite”
When I first heard this quote, I thought it seemed odd. “Shouldn’t I follow the advice of folks who are also making a commitment to their health,” I thought. Yes and no. You should have a few trusted, knowledgeable voices who can steer you down the right path, keep you healthy and ensure you meet your goals. But don’t assume everyone in the gym is doing the right things and for the right reasons.
- Some folks will abuse drugs to get bigger
- Others will ignore sound advice and do stupid exercises
- A fair number are in it only for looks, not health
To be successful in the gym and in content marketing takes a commitment to doing the little things right, consistently. The same way you often see folks skipping warm ups at the gym is much the same as content marketers who start generating content with no clear goals in mind.
Make it your priority to only create content that’s…
- Aligned with your over-arching goals
- Grammatically correct
- Based on the needs of your customers
- Geared to taking away pain points of users
- Of a quality you can be proud of
“Do What’s Hard First”
This quote is akin to the time-management bromide, “Swallow the biggest frog first,” which speaks to getting the biggest task off your plate early in the morning. With exercise, the first lift of the day (often called “A1”) is the most important for the day. It’s the priority, with everything else being supportive lifts.
If you’re a content marketer, content strategy is your main lift, today and every day.
Whether in a meeting, on the phone with a customer or looking at designs with your creative director, I want you to keep this question top of mind: “Does this get the business closer to our long-term goals?”
If not, you shouldn’t be doing it. If it is, forge through, even if it seems insurmountable at first.
While a consultant, my biggest client was in a hyper-competitive vertical. He needed a new website. He wanted to jump right in and start creating content. I asked him the question above, and it made things very real and very clear. We built a new website, and he’s now competing very well, showing up on the first page of Google for his main keywords.
He once said to me, “I’m glad I got the most difficult thing out of the way early.”
“Strength Is Corrective”
On my way to the airport from Eric’s facility, after my first visit, I kept replaying a quote in my head from the meeting—”If you get stronger, many of the other things fix themselves.” Those “other things” were the common ailments a lot of us desk jockeys suffer from, including stiff ankles and slumping shoulders.
I wanted to believe him, but it seemed implausible. “How the heck is getting stronger going to fix all this and assist me in gaining a little size?” I thought
I trusted his word, though, and for the next two months I really hammered getting stronger. A weird thing happened. It worked. All of a sudden, my shoulders no longer slumped, I moved better, and I gained eight pounds over my entire frame.
This serves as a great example of how the residue of your main focus can be found on everything you touch.
You might be working on an SEO strategy for your company or a client, but you keep your eyes on how the onsite content is performing relative to your goals. Or, you ensure that your SEO, CRO and paid media teams work together when redesigning the website, developing landing pages and creating ad copy consistent with the insights gleamed from the content audit. There is no room for silos when content strategy is the main lift.
Honestly, what I love most about content strategy is how it can set a business apart from its competitors, many of whom are stuck in “create-content-for-content’s-sake” mode. If you eschew such thinking and fully accept content strategy as the guiding principle for your content marketing efforts, your business and your customers will greatly benefit.
What’s been your experience with content strategy? Have you made it a priority?
In the final post I’ll break down how your business can successfully and easily adopt a content strategy mindset.
See part 1.