I love yoga. I practice several times a week and have experienced numerous physical and mental benefits as a result. In addition to flexibility and strength, it helps me better manage my stress level, enhances my ability to focus and has even improved my sleep. As much as I enjoy yoga, though, it’s not without its challenges. To enjoy the many benefits of the practice, you have to commit.
The other day, while rolling out my mat and preparing for some quality asana time, a thought occurred to me: Yoga really isn’t that much different from content marketing.
OK — it’s actually a lot different. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t several lessons businesses can gather from a little time on the mat.
Here are five things we can take away from the practice of yoga.
Whether you’re attempting a challenging new pose or simply striving to keep from toppling over, yoga requires a great deal of focus. From your breath and weight distribution to your spine alignment, you’re always running through a mental checklist to make the most of every moment.
Focus is also a must for creating great content. In fact, it’s the foundation of content development in general. Developing content without focus can leave you directionless and grasping at straws, because this is the step that will help you determine your purpose. Focus helps you determine the pain points you need to address most and keeps you from wavering into irrelevance.
You can’t simply jump into a perfect bakasana on your first day of yoga any more than you can expect 100 new leads the first time you publish an eBook or a new blog post. The key to deepening your yoga practice — and growing your audience — is repetition.
For an aspiring yogi, this may mean stretching just a little further each day until you achieve your desired form. In content marketing, though, it means staying the course and continuing to fill your arsenal with well-written, well-researched and highly relevant content. It means regularly publishing blog posts and developing a long-term marketing plan.
When you’re creating content, you’re always going to face moments when your brain is seemingly empty of ideas. Everything that can be written on the subject has already been written — or so it would seem. Mindfulness can help you kick the content block.
Mindfulness is a yoga practice that asks you to embrace “purposeful awareness.” In other words, instead of allowing your mind wander to your mountainous to-do list, you bring your attention to the present moment. By taking stock of what’s going on in the here and now, you can find a new angle to approach your seemingly exhausted topic.
Goals are crucial to success. That’s a given. But, an intention is slightly different from a goal. In the yoga world, to set an intention is to commit to whatever is most valuable right now. An intention is also a perpetual agreement with yourself — something you aspire to work toward every day. For example, “I choose to live a more peaceful existence” or “I choose to respect my body.”
To be prosperous in content marketing, you first need to set an inbound marketing intention. After all, content marketing is just one piece (albeit a critical one) in the overall inbound marketing puzzle. While you may set an independent goal for each new campaign, all efforts should tie back to the same original intention. For example, “I choose to educate and entertain my prospects and customers,” or “I choose to help my prospects and customers solve their concerns.”
Early in my yogic practice, I attended a free class near my apartment. It was so crowded, I could hardly see the instructor, so I followed my neighbor’s lead. However, as the rest of the class lowered into cobra pose, the man next to me rolled back into a shoulder stand. No one batted an eye.
The moral of this story is, while you may practice with others, yoga is an intensely personal journey. As one of my favorite yogis, Adriene Mishler, professes: we each have to “find what feels good.”
Don’t be afraid to take that shoulder stand when the rest of your competitors are striking the cobra pose. It’s a different journey and path for every business, so it’s OK (if not encouraged) to break away from the pack and just do “what feels good” for both you and your audience.
Often, when businesses think of taking on content marketing, they envision lengthy projects outside the realm of their resources. At first, the idea of publishing even one or two blog posts each month sounds inconceivable, let alone maintaining a weekly blog. It’s overwhelming, it’s scary and, for many, it seems impossible. However, much like yoga, content marketing is a journey that begins with one small step: commitment.
By committing to the practice, you can begin laying the humble foundation upon which you’ll build a tower of powerful, irresistible content. So long as you stay focused, mindful and always seek to learn and grow, your personalized content marketing efforts will help you convert more prospects and help you foster long-term brand loyalty.