This is a guest post by Mike CJ, co author of Beyond Blogging.
One of the businesses I consult with organizes triathlon events. Although my work is based around their blog and social media presence, I also enjoy getting stuck in as a general volunteer on the actual events.
The triathlon we run is called Ironman, and it consists of a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride and finished off with a 42.2km marathon. Our triathlon is renowned as the world’s toughest, as athletes have to endure our searing heat and a mountainous bike course.
I’ve been lucky enough to get to know several world-class, professional competitors, and it was while talking to one of them that the similarity between what they do and what bloggers do dawned on me.
It’s the details that count
Steve was explaining to me that the difference between being a winner and an “also-ran” in triathlon is about improving a wide range of factors, bit by bit, over time.
He said the mistake most amateurs make is to focus on what he called “The big one”— the biggest challenge. In triathlons, that’s almost always the bike discipline, or the marathon. Amateurs tend to work hardest on those areas, believing that there is a lot to be gained from the two longest legs.
He told me that they’ll work and work on one area, and then lose all the time they’ve gained in those legs on other parts of the race.
As a pro, he told me the secret to his success was to focus on improving every single element of his race by a small amount every week. As well as the obvious key phases of the race, he also concentrates on small details:
- the swim start, running into the sea and getting into a stroke fast
- stripping his wetsuit off while running to the transition area
- getting sun cream on quickly
- leaving his bike shoes strapped to the pedals and doing them up while riding
- changing his seat height for the final few miles to get his legs ready for the run
- dismounting from the bike and racking it fast
- putting his running shoes on while running
- planning his fluid intake during the race.
These are just a few examples, but he told me that he seeks to improve the efficiency of each of those factors by several per cent every year. In real terms, he may make up only a few seconds on each, but when they’re all added together, he improves by minutes every single year.
How to blog like a pro triathlete
We bloggers love to focus on the big stuff—changing our themes, writing an epic series of posts, or perhaps creating a new ebook or course.
But actually, it’s all the little things that add up to improve our traffic, increase our conversion rate and really move our blogs forward over time. Lasting progress is achieved in many small ways:
- revisiting old posts to add internal links and improve them
- adding new follow-ups to keep our email lists engaged
- testing placement of adverts or calls to action to improve response rates
- taking the time to follow commenters back to their blogs
- creating sneeze pages to help new readers find relevant stuff
- adding links to relevant past posts when we write new ones.
None of these tasks are interesting, fun or sexy, but find me a successful blog and I’ll show you a blogger who does them. All the time.