An expert search, social and content marketer, Ryan leads Elevation Marketing's digital strategy department, helping brands achieve their business goals, such as improving sales and market share, by developing integrated marketing strategies distinguished by research, storytelling, engagement, and conversion. With a proven track record of energizing brands, engaging audiences and managing multi-discipline marketing teams, Ryan is a respected expert in achieving consistent results through creative design, thought-provoking narratives and innovative problem-solving.
When your status update is 'burned out', Don’t worry. Here are a few steps to take to begin feeling better so you can get back in the saddle creating quality content once more.
A successful content creation strategy requires a consistent stream of competitive topics. This is easy in the beginning when the ideas come fast and decision makers’ pain points are obvious.
Then there comes a point that all content creators recognize called “Burnout” that can negatively affect even the most successful of digital campaigns.
1. What is Burnout?
Burnout symptoms feel like you’re hitting a proverbial brick wall. You want to create content and you know you should be but the ideas won’t manifest, the words won’t come.
You find yourself staring at a blank cursor, an empty page, and a few minutes later you’re no further along then when you first started. This is burnout and nearly every industry experiences some aspect of it, and content creation is no exception.
2. What Leads to Burnout?
The causes of burnout are endless. Some people suffering from burnout have pushed themselves way too hard. This is easy to do in the content marketing world, where competition is fierce. You’re churning out content piece after piece and, sooner or later, you hit a brick wall.
It makes sense. You’re not a robot. You shouldn’t be expected to churn out brilliant blogs, case studies, emails, social posts, and ebooks week after week, and month after month. Something’s gotta give!
The marketers who take their work home with them and respond to emails and such on their mobile devices s are particularly susceptible to content marketing burnout.
It’s likely if you sought this post out that you’re already feeling a bit burnt out. Maybe you have “writer’s block” or you’ve completely lost your passion for your niche and buyer persona. Don’t worry. All hope is not lost. Here are a few steps to take to begin feeling better so you can get back in the saddle creating quality content once more.
a. Take a Step Back
The first thing you should do when you think you’re burnt out is to unplug from whatever you’re doing and do something else. Go outside, take a couple days off, go on a road trip.
Whatever you do, don’t think of content, topics, metrics, or buyer personas. Let your mind take a break and then come back when you’re refreshed. Typically, it only takes a couple of days of unplugging to cause burnout symptoms to dissipate.
b. Recycle Your Content
If you’re feeling burnt out, don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. The idea is to take pressure off. Consider taking an older piece of content and dressing it up, adding new research, or somehow injecting more value.
Take a blog post and convert it into a video. Make an infographic a blog post or turn a series of blogs into an e-book. There are lots of ideas for reusing content and doing so can keep your content marketing strategy churning along while allowing you to get your bearings back.
Are there any tasks you find yourself doing over and again that could be given to someone else to do? For instance, topic creation, putting topics and content details into the content calendar, making sure content is on track, editing content before it goes live, and ensuring all content looks ready for consumption by the time it goes live – all of these tasks require time and energy that you may not have in abundance.
Give some of these tasks out and save some mental bandwidth for your content ideation.
3. How to Avoid Burnout Altogether
a. Batch Your Projects
Consider batching your projects and taking more time off in order to find your passion again so that you can infuse more of your positive personality into your content (you know, to make it interesting to read).
Batching your projects means to portion them in various ways. You may decide to only work on major projects for four days per week or working on major projects three times per week for six hours each. Breaking up your projects according to your working style is key for keeping burnout at bay.
b. Organization is Key
Attempting to come up with content on the fly is far too stressful. It’s better to devise a list of dates and potential content for months or – better – years in advance. This way, you can schedule your content based on trends, such as scheduling holiday-specific content, but you should always leave room for any sudden breaking news.
Include all aspects of your content creation and marketing in your content calendar, such as social media, email, downloads, landing pages, and paid digital ads.
Part of staying organized is to use to-do lists and project boards like Asana, Wunderlist, Teamwork, and Trello, to keep you aware of future tasks and milestones. Find the online tools that will make it easy for you to stay on track, even if you take a few days off.
c. Recognize Burnout for Early Prevention
Ideally, you will want to learn to recognize burnout early so that you can take precautions before you get in too deep. And once you’re fully burnt out, your content strategy may be in trouble.
If you feel yourself losing inspiration or if you’re topics and content pieces sound as tired as you feel, you could be coming down with content creator’s burnout. Recognize the symptoms, stay organized and delegate to keep yourself sane. Most of all, keep your mind on what you’re doing.
You’re encouraging, helping, attracting, and providing excellent service to your clients. You’re improving businesses and lives. That alone should help you feel better.
And, of course, you can always recognize that some have it way worse than you. You’re not scrubbing toilets, after all.
With enough vigilance and the recognition to take time off if needed, hopefully, burnout will never affect you or your content marketing strategy again.
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