Content Marketing Lessons While Skydiving

May 22, 2012

I’ve never pegged myself as the really adventurous type, but after I tried skydiving for the first time last September I was hooked. It is an incredible experience that is worth trying if you have ever had even the slightest curiosity. For me, it is surprisingly relaxing rather than an adrenaline rush. It is really fascinating to see the earth from way up high in the sky and to have nothing (except for an instructor and a parachute) to get in the way of the experience.  For months I eagerly awaited my next jump and it finally happened this past Saturday. And boy, was it a great day for it! It was amazing to fly freely through the brilliant blue skies and take it all in.

Content Marketing Tips Learned from Jumping Out of a Plane

Usage of Checklists – While our plane was just starting to take off, I noticed a small patch stitched on to the back of another tandem student’s harness. Upon closer inspection I read that it was a checklist for the instructor, to serve as a last minute reminder of the critical things that must happen to ensure safety. While I appreciated the company’s close attention to detail to ensure my safety (e.g. the safety check on the plane was the third of the day), it reminded me of the checklists I have written to help streamline and perfect our content marketing efforts. What stood out about the skydiving checklist to me was that it was simplified to capture the absolute essentials (think: check harness, check altimeter, check straps, check parachute, etc). Every now and again it is tempting to be extremely elaborate and comprehensive, but it is not always necessary right before the jump.

Content Marketing Lesson: If you set up your content projects for success in the beginning you, too, will likely enjoy a simple checklist to help ensure your content is spot on for your audience. You can also think about clever ways to display your checklists to ensure no one over looks them!

Have Some Fun, but Know your Audience – Now the plane is climbing. Our flight was the fourth or fifth of the morning. It didn’t take too long to realize that the skydive instructors all get along really well and like to have fun at work. On the ascent, our instructors joked about only getting paid if their students make it to the ground safely, and my friend’s instructor mentioned to her that he has a 50/50 record right now! Obviously, this could have completely backfired if my friend and I had been incredibly nervous, scared, concerned, and every other feeling you can think of. But from the start we were joking around with the staff. They picked up on that and realized they could have some fun too.

Content Marketing Lesson: While you are embarking on a new blog post, video, or other piece of content, feel free to get a little loose, but always remember your audience. Can they handle a little humor? Or could they potentially get offended?

The Launch – Once we reached about 10,000 feet everyone prepped for departure. As my instructor checked our equipment as per the checklist for the final time, we made our way to the open door. “On the count of three…one…two…three!” And we were off. 

Content Marketing Lesson: Content marketers should always think about the release plan as they are planning out the creation aspect. For any piece of content (large or small) you should have an idea about the activities and processes you will launch to promote it. For large pieces of content like eBooks, this may include outreach to your influencers, sending a press release, writing a blog post, sharing on social media, submitting excerpts to your influencers to serve as guest posts, and creating ads to promote it. For something small like a blog post, this may include sending a few tweets and sharing on LinkedIn.

Think of the Big Picture – As I took my leap of faith out of the plane I made it a point to try to take everything in. The average free fall only lasts about 60 seconds and it goes by quickly! There was so much going on around me to see, not to mention taking in the feeling of being weightless. Once I pulled the ripcord, I was able to sit back, breathe, and observe the fantastic view. I no longer was concerned about the minutia of the day (well aside from hoping the parachute worked!).

Content Marketing Lesson: As content marketers, we are all extremely busy. We are working on several different projects and experimenting with new strategies while trying to consistently move the needle on our goals. My skydive reminded me that it is not just about the little details, it’s also important to really think long term. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tactics and activities, but it is important to take a step back and look at the full picture now and again to ensure that you are on track.


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Content Marketing Director

<strong>Amanda Maksymiw</strong> worked at OpenView from 2008 until 2012, where she focused on developing marketing and PR strategies for both OpenView and its portfolio companies. Today she is the Content Marketing Director at <a href="">Fuze</a>.