Last year I lost 25 pounds. Unlike the people in ads who did this in eight weeks, I took 50. Slow, steady, but sustainable.

I’ve known too many people to lose lots on those fad diets only to put it all back on again. Often more. Three months later, through my continuing healthy habits, I’m maintaining just fine. I don’t feel deprived.

Over the years, I’ve seen too many people enthusiastically launch blogs, newsletters and other content channels only to run out of steam because they’re not getting the results they’ve been promised. But, like weight loss, content is a long-term investment.

The second way content channels are like Weight Watchers is their insistence on the right kind of fuel. Many of the fad diets I had tried left me ravenous, dizzy and cranky. I could not feel full on mostly grapefruit, cabbage or other fruits and vegetables.

constant contact2With Weight Watchers, I learned to also eat a steady stream of lean protein and complex carbohydrates, downing a tablespoon of peanut butter whenever I heard the siren call of Crispy Cream.

With blogs and other content channels, my fuel is “deep and extremely up-to-date information,” as Bill Gates advised in his 1996 essay Content is King.

Feed your content flow with questions and feedback from your customers, news on the interests you share and your expertise repackaged through how-to articles, advice, news, insight and stories.

The third similarity between weight loss and content growth is the need to be flexible. Sometimes you’re going to be just too busy with work or have a personal crisis or holiday. Probably nobody will notice that you failed to stick rigidly to your schedule.

Like Weight Watchers, you should be encouraged to occasionally take off a day, or month. If you know you have a food fest coming up, you can cut down on what you eat before the fun. Similarly, content publishers can balance their routine by producing more when they have a product launch, inspiration or spare time.

But after your quick break, get back to your healthy habits as soon as you can. No excuses.

To sum up, here are my three content sustainability tips that parallel my weight loss experience.

  1. Go for slow, steady, sustainable results.
  2. Fuel with high-quality content.
  3. Be flexible.

You could also apply this advice to investing, working out or many other activities. Try it and see.

Here are the slides from my Constant Contact presentation on sustaining content.

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Three ways your content can work like Weight Watchers

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