7 Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn From Olympic Athletes

The 2018 Winter Olympics are in full swing, and there’s no denying that fantastic athleticism and teamwork are about to take over our TV, mobile phones, tablets and social news feeds. While you watch athletes set new records and accomplish stunning performances that everyone will talk about days after the games, keep this in mind: there’s a lesson to be learned. From Chloe Kim to Red Gerard, here are seven lessons that every content strategist and content marketer can learn from the Olympic Games.

  Photo courtesy of  Andy Miah .

Photo courtesy of Andy Miah.

Set Goals Based on Performance

Olympians are continually reviewing their performances to better their techniques and outperform their competitors. Content marketers should do the same. With analytics, SEO and social media, there are many ways to look at your performance, set goals, and outperform your competition.

Example: If you have 10,000 page views per month, is there a way to improve that number to 20,000? Yes. The question is how can you do that. Look at how you were able to achieve 10,000 page views and map out a plan to help you achieve 20,000. Then write it down. Set your goal and stick to your plan.

Test It Out

From hockey and curling to figure skating and bobsledding, one thing all athletes have in common is that they test out their skills. A hockey team might test out a new offensive play to score. If it doesn’t work, they reevaluate the play and learn from their mistakes. But, if they don’t test it out, then they will never know if it’s worth continuously doing. The same thing does for many other athletes. If they don’t try something, they will never see the outcome.

Keep this in mind with you’re working on any project. You can A/B test a campaign to understand your audience and gain more insight into verbiage, time sent, imagery or more. Testing is a way to discover.

Work As a Team

Nine out of 10 times you’ll hear athletes say they couldn’t have gotten to where they are today without their team, which can be their coaches, family, friends and—of course—their actual team.

One example: Chloe Kim, 17-year old Halfpipe Gold Medalist, thanked her dad for the endless support and hours he poured into her training. He gave up his career to help Chloe achieve her snowboarding dreams. If her dad didn’t make that sacrifice, she might not have been a gold medalist. Their teamwork helped her achieve such greatness. Also, she worked with other snowboarders and coaches to be where she’s at today: an Olympic gold medalist. They collaborated, communicated, and executed together.

Another example: Canadian Curlers Kaitlyn Lawes, a gold medalist in the women’s competition at Sochi 2014, and John Morris, a men’s team champion at Vancouver 2010, now go down in Olympic history as the first winners of the mixed doubles event—taking home the gold. And, just because it was the two of them competing doesn’t mean there aren’t others off the ice that helped them get to where they are today. They had coaches, friends, and family to guide them to where they are today.

Same goes for a content marketer. A content marketing campaign is not a one-person job. A campaign involves researchers, writers, editors, graphic designers, sales, and project managers. The campaign begins with collaboration and each team member then starts their role in the project. There is a great deal of communication to execute the plan. At the end of the campaign, it’s the team that achieved success, not one person.

Learn From Others

Olympians surround themselves with coaches and experts to help them improve their athletic performance. In addition to having a top-notch coaching team, they also can learn from other athlete's mistakes and successes.

A content marketer should do the same. Learn from your colleagues. Learn from experts in the field. Ask your mentor questions. Don’t be afraid to fail and ask your team for advice.

Measure Your Performance

Whether it’s an average score, timed race, or total points, all athletes look at their performance results and analyze how they can improve. Content marketers must do the same. Look at your content performance and dig into the analytics to see how you can improve your KPIs.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Slopestyle snowboarder and returning Gold Medalist, Jamie Anderson, had a great deal of pressure placed on her when competing in these games. She’s had to develop and practice new jumps for the Pyeongchang games because women’s snowboarding has evolved quickly. “During the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to learn new tricks and having a handful of injuries,” Anderson said, “there’s so much to process.”

The same is true with content marketing. Content marketing has developed quickly over the past few years and many creatives, marketers, and strategist, aren’t afraid to take risks. So, it’s important to keep practicing your creative skills. In the content world, it may be writing, reading, going to conferences or webinars you must stay on top of the trends, learn, and practice what you discover to make your content stick out.

Know Comebacks Are Possible

We can learn a lot from 17-year old Gold Medalist Snowboarder Red Gerard. Bailing out of his first two attempts after making mistakes, he entered his third, and final round in 10th place. Knowing he had a couple of not-so-great runs, he took on the course relaxed and with a goal to land a run. “I just told myself that I want to land a run and I was a little bummed on my first two runs because I fell a couple of times,” Red said. Landing a perfect backside triple cork 1440 on his final run, allowed Red to score 87.16—earning him first place.

So, what can we learn from this? No matter what, you can always improve your content and make a stellar comeback. Maybe one of the pieces you thought was going to perform well didn’t do so hot on social, or it’s not ranking well on Google. Thankfully SEO is adjustable! With a little mind shift and some SEO adjustments, you can turn that flub into a top-ranking content piece. Just have fun with your content creation. 

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