For many race directors, the goal is to execute a safe and enjoyable event, so the focus might (understandably!) be on race day logistics. We get it—there are a million things on your to-do list, and marketing your race might not be at the top. But to grow your event and make it sustainable, it’s important to attract new runners while also building a loyal base. So how can you do that while staying within budget? The answer just might lie in content marketing.

Content Marketing 101

Content marketing has become a key part of businesses’ marketing strategies, but if you’re wondering what it is exactly, here’s a primer. In short, it’s unique and useful content that can help you increase your race’s visibility and maintain loyal customers. As more people consume media digitally, there’s been a switch from traditional advertising, such as TV commercials to online content that consumers can find on their own. At its core, content marketing is free stuff (think downloadable e-books, podcasts, explainer videos, etc.). It serves the dual purpose of adding value for consumers while also increasing brand awareness.

How Can It Help Your Race? 

If you’re wondering how content marketing can help your event, let’s break down some of its benefits:

  • Build race awareness: If you’re looking to increase your registration numbers, content marketing will help you get the word out.
  • Create brand trust and preference: By providing free content (downloadable training plans, race pace calculators, etc.) you will become a trusted source of information. And great content might just make the difference when it comes to athletes choosing your race over a similar event.
  • Increase web traffic: A recent study showed nearly eight times higher growth in unique web traffic for marketers with a defined content marketing strategy.
  • Improve SEO ranking: As you publish more content and reach more athletes, search engines will begin registering you as an authority on training plans or triathlete nutrition (or whatever your topic of choice may be!). This will gradually lead to better SEO position for your website and brand.

Some great examples of race-centric content marketing might include downloadable training plans for different types of athletes (beginner and advanced), podcasts, infographics and training/race pace calculators.

Content Marketing Best Practices

Once you decide to try content marketing, it’s time to do it right. Many marketers have found the following techniques to be effective.

  • Answer common athlete questions: Many athletes search the internet for topics such as “What should I wear on a rainy race day?” or “What’s a good pre-marathon breakfast?” Write blog posts or create an interactive tool that can help answer a question. Think about the needs of your audience and build your content strategy from there.
  • Have a plan for conversion: As you create content, think about the next step for consumers. Will you require them to give you their email address before they download a training plan? Will your informative blog posts end with a link to race registration? In most situations, the goal should be to take an information consumer and turn them into a loyal race participant.
  • Create sharable content: Think cool infographics, funny memes and useful data. If consumers share your content with friends, it will significantly broaden your reach—without much effort on your part!

Pay attention to detail: It sounds simple, but it’s so important when establishing your race and website as a trusted authority. In every piece of content you provide, be sure to fact check with experts and check spelling and punctuation.