In a few weeks, my Ohio State Buckeyes will face Alabama in the inaugural college playoff games. I genuinely respect Alabama. In fact, I’ve adapted many of the coaching techniques used by Nick Saban for Pushing Social.
For example, we work very hard on splitting everything we do from strategy to website development into specific tasks. We focus on understanding what it takes to master each task.
This practice was inspired by Nick Saban’s list of physical factors he looks for in athletes based on their position. According to Saban, a cornerback has to be at least 6 feet tall, 180 pounds or heavier, and run the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.5 seconds or faster.
This obsession results in consistently stellar performance. That’s why Alabama is the team to beat almost every year.
Today, I was reflecting on what type of strategy businesses needed to adopt to win the content marketing game. I usually enjoy these thought exercises. But today, I kept getting distracted by “metrics”, the numerical measures that indicate performance.
I would think about page layouts but would get tripped up by “bounce rates.” I shift my attention to headline characteristics and find myself starting at pageviews and active sessions metrics. I couldn’t see the forest without tripping over every fallen tree branch.[aesop_image imgwidth=”200px” img=”http://pushingsocial.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/nick-saban-p1.jpg” offset=”-100px” align=”right” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”left”]
I’ve preached the power of knowing your numbers. But in this instance, the numbers were getting in the way. When I get stuck like this, I look to college football for inspiration. I’ve been reading “Crystal Magnates” a fascinating unboxing of how Urban Meyer and Nick Saban coach their teams.
The book explains how Nick Saban emphasizes focusing on each play as if it has a history all of its own. Here’s an excerpt from the book –
“Don’t look at the scorecard, don’t look at any other external factors, just all your focus, all your concentration, all your effort, all your toughness, all your discipline to execute went into that particular play, and regardless of what happened on the play, success or failure, you would move on to the next play, and have the same focus to do that on the next play, and that you would do that for 60 minutes in the game, and then you would be able to live with the results, regardless of what those results were.”
Primarily, focus on the process and the results will take care of itself.
For content marketing, this looks means crafting the absolute best piece of content with your very best effort. Work hard to execute each element of the strategy with precision, urgency, and care. Every blog post, podcast, social media update, social media ad, and influencer outreach effort is handled as one event that requires flawless execution.
Do this and the numbers take care of themselves.
Pardon Me. No Unicorns Allowed
“That’s great Stan! I never look at that Google Analytics stuff. I just focus on writing. I’m glad you agree!”
Hold on pixie pants.
The goal is to win. Let’s take another look at Nick Saban’s approach –
Saban began using his Process-Focused approach at Michigan State right before the 1998 Big 10 showdown with the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. His players, now focuesed on doing their job every play, outworked the Buckeyes beating the 28-24 in an epic upset that still hurts the Ohio faithful.
The outcome of the process is winning.
Saban puts a fine point on it when he said –
“I’m not naive enough to think winning isn’t important.”
Winning means generating leads, closing sales, expanding your influence, establishing your position as an expert, fully funding an important cause. The goal aint’t some whimsy excuse for ducking reality. You recognize mastery by its output – winning.
So when I say focus on the process, I mean measure how well you are performing on the elements, that when added to together, creates a winning content marketing strategy.
Like Rocky Balboa said…”That’s how “Winning is done!”
The First Step to Delivering Elite Content Marketing Performance
Dedicate an hour to listing which elements make the most difference to the success of each piece of content you publish.
Next, resolve to focus on executing each of these factors to the best of your (or your team’s) ability. You should see each blog post, podcast, infographic, or social update as the only thing you have to get right. Finish. Publish. Get a good night’s rest. Start again. Try it for 30 days.
Do this, and you will win.