Training for the Olympics – how does your digital marketing efforts stack up?

The Winter Olympics are in full swing in Vancouver. As I’ve watched some of the world-class Olympic athletes compete, I started thinking about the training regimes of superstar athletes.

Jerry Rice, the famed wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, rarely took a day off in the offseason. He spent every offseason training – and training hard. Rice’s off-season workouts included two hours of cardiovascular running in the morning and three hours of strength training and weight lifting in the afternoon. His early-morning runs included a 5-mile uphill, vertical run. Then, at the summit, he’d throw in ten 40-meter uphill sprints.

You can take a look at the workout routines of other top athletes here.

How does your day-to-day work look in comparison to Rice and other stellar athletes?

If you’re working in digital marketing, PR, email marketing, SEO, paid search, what are you doing to train yourself to improve?

If you’re intent on being a world class marketer, a rock star, here are some things you could consider:

Time – are you punching a clock? Though you work in digital marketing, are you working bankers’ hours? I have two small kids, so I’m all about work-life balance. But, maybe you should consider setting aside a 1 or 2 week period in the next few weeks, work out logistics with your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, and work a series of 12-16 hours days for 1-2 weeks straight.

You can quickly do your “job” during those days, and then spend the other time throughout the day training and studying. If you’re in PR, what do your media lists and contact databases look like? Do you have a thorough list of the top bloggers covering your space. Have you emailed or tweeted them? Take your extra work time and start building those relationships.

Read – how many books did you read last year, last month, last week? And don’t just read Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, and Tamar Weinberg.

At the end of the day, most of us are in business. Sure, the tools have changed, but the basics of business haven’t changed all that much. Have you read Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results, The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials), and Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond?

If you don’t think you have the time to read, first turn off the television, and then read this article by Julien Smith about how he read a book a week last year.

Analytics – sure, you’re intent on social media outreach, you’ve just finished a very successfull PR campaign for a client that resulted in a bunch of press coverage, your SEO is rocking and you’re killing your important keywords in Google’s SERPs. But, what is all that success doing for your bottom line? How many new leads have you generated.

Spend your extra-work week digging into the analytics of your site, and start getting answers to those questions. Read and study Avinash Kaushik.

Maybe you’ll discover that yes, you’re successfully driving traffic, but that traffic has terrible conversion. Analytics can give you answers to many of those questions, and you can begin testing new landing pages, conducting A/B testing, and figure out how to convert the traffic that is hitting your site every day.

Podcasts – You could spend some of your training time listening to podcasts. If you haven’t listened to Marketing Over Coffee yet, that should be your first stop. John and Chris’ podcast is filled with useful, actionable knowledge that you can start applying to your site and your marketing efforts immediately. And, there are plenty of other podcasts, that can educate and broaden your thinking about what you’re doing every day. 10 Golden Rules of Internet Marketing, Jaffe Juice, For Immediate Release, Six Pixels of Separation, are just a few to get you started.

So what’s your digital marketing training regime look like? Are you the next Jerry Rice in the making?