Marathons are long, hard, tax­ing and exhil­a­rat­ing races that require immense ded­i­ca­tion and per­se­ver­ance. Online mar­ket­ing is no dif­fer­ent. In fact, I’m even going to go one step fur­ther and say that online mar­ket­ing isn’t just like a reg­u­lar marathon, it’s more like one of the hard­est marathons in the world. What makes it so hard? Let’s break it down.

Most marketers try to run without training.

Imag­ine decid­ing one day that you want to start run­ning. Chances are you’re not going to start with a marathon. And even if you did, you’d find a train­ing pro­gram to help you.

Mar­keters and entre­pre­neurs decide to start com­pet­ing in online mar­ket­ing every day. They don’t see this as a huge under­tak­ing at all. They for sure don’t think about all the train­ing and prac­tic­ing they need to under­take before being able to do any­thing close to com­pet­ing in their field.

What kind of train­ing do they need? A marathon run­ner has to look at many dif­fer­ent aspects of their health and per­for­mance and put togeth­er a plan that works for them.

A mar­keter should do the same. Some of the things that should be con­sid­ered:

  • What is their busi­ness health right now?
  • When would they like to hit their mar­ket­ing stride and start see­ing sol­id results?
  • What tools do they have at their dis­pos­al?
  • What kind of com­mit­ment can they make to train­ing?
  • Who can sup­port their train­ing?

Online marketing is an endurance sport.

It’s about show­ing up, rain or shine, and putting in the work. The best online mar­keters make the most of every oppor­tu­ni­ty to train they are giv­en.

They put the hours in – writ­ing help­ful, insight­ful blogs, engag­ing with peers and prospects on social media, attend­ing indus­try events, and expand­ing their knowl­edge. They build their busi­ness’ online foun­da­tion strong to make sure they aren’t risk­ing their busi­ness’ poten­tial with small mis­takes like incom­plete link strat­e­gy or poor­ly craft­ed con­tent. They cre­ate. They engage. They respond. They con­tribute to their suc­cess every day.

Pace yourself.

Remem­ber, in order to suc­ceed, marathon run­ners set a pace they can main­tain. Take that to heart. Make sure you’ve set real­is­tic goals for what you want to accom­plish and how soon. Burnout is real. Over­train­ing isn’t fun or ben­e­fi­cial. Start slow­ly. Get a feel for the work. Find your feet, your nat­ur­al rhythm and voice. Take the time to eval­u­ate what’s work­ing for you and what isn’t.

In online mar­ket­ing, qual­i­ty beats quan­ti­ty every time. You want peo­ple to know your busi­ness is valu­able. So take the time to make sure when you’re show­ing up – whether in a blog post or a com­ment or giv­ing a speech – make sure you’re bring­ing val­ue. Make real, human con­nec­tions with peo­ple.

Focus on each step with­out los­ing sight of the big­ger race.

The fact is marathons aren’t for every­one. It takes a spe­cial kind of ded­i­ca­tion to see your goal through. To put in the time. To be able to focus on a sin­gle step – espe­cial­ly when it’s a hard one – and not let it stop you. To keep putting one foot in front of the oth­er.

In online mar­ket­ing, it’s hard to keep the con­ver­sa­tion going from one day to the next – espe­cial­ly when you may not be see­ing your page views grow­ing or huge shares of your con­tent or engage­ment on your posts. But that’s the job. To keep show­ing up. Because in online mar­ket­ing, you nev­er know when your ded­i­ca­tion and train­ing will pay off.

But it will.

Your net­work will grow. People’s trust in you will build. Your rep­u­ta­tion as a reli­able source of valu­able infor­ma­tion will attract more peo­ple to your con­tent. And your busi­ness will grow.

And with each suc­cess­ful cam­paign or post or event, your heart will soar, your adren­a­line will flow. You will get that buzz that tells you you’re on the right path.

And you’ll be eager to keep run­ning. And that’s what it’s all about.