As a competitive cyclist for well over half my life, I constantly find myself comparing everything else in my life to cycling: specifically, racing....
I've never really considered myself to be overly competitive, but I might be kidding myself. My wife claims that I am very, very competitive (that's probably just because I won't let her win, when we play darts).
Still, once my helmet is strapped on, my feet are snapped into the pedals and the starter's whistle/ pistol goes off, I do become a different person. I live for the race!
I will feel like hell the night before a big race; unable to sleep, upset stomach, nervous energy. The day of the race is no better and I frequently feel like I will be sick just moments before the race begins- sometimes even for the first few laps/miles of the actual race. Once I settle down and get over the over-stimulated excitement, I am one with my bike and I feel each and every pedal stroke and things unfold in front of me in slow motion.
Holes in the group that might actually be a mere few inches, look and feel like you could drive a truck through them to me- especially if the finish line is in sight. I live for the closing meters of a race, when all of my effort is focused on winning and not letting other riders steal the victory from me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but I grit my teeth and fight for the finish line as if it belongs to me alone. (We sprinters are an odd bunch- I admit it.)
And what does all this goofy imagery have to do with marketing?
Well, a lot if you think about it all; focus, drive, determination and a bit of fierce competitor are all common traits. However, for me, the bigger correlation is between "me" and "my blog."
My blog has become a big part of how I do business and how the world views me; it is a pretty accurate depiction of the real me. (Just ask Toby--she'll tell you).
I really am just as big a dork in person as I am on the blog--there's no curtain of separation. Not even a thin veil. I had a cycling coach once tell me "train the way you race." It's kind of an "old-world" style of training that essentially means that you go hard, as if you are racing, each time you train. That way, you can always race hard and strong. For me, marketing is the same way--the "me" people see on the blog is the same "me" they meet at tradeshows, events, rides or shop visits.
Here's the point in all of this; train the way you race and race to win. Transparency, honesty and sincerity all go a long way to improving your chances of reaching your target audience.
I'm no genius (though I tell my bosses I am), but simply living what you say will come through in what you are saying. Edelman has learned that lesson a few times over the past few weeks.
I'll see you at the races... just don't get in my way at the finish.
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