Are you experiencing content creator burnout? You know—that feeling of complete overwhelm when faced with all of the content you should be producing… and aren’t?
Let’s face it. We all know how important creating quality content is for our business—the sort of content that shares your message, showcases your expertise, and builds your audience.
And… we’re also busy—too busy to remember to write that blog post, post a video, or send an email to our list. Between caring for our clients, managing the behind-the-scenes of a business, and living our lives, it can feel impossible to keep up.
So we disappear.
What is content creator burnout and why does it happen?
Let’s set the scene.
You decide that you need to be more visible. So, you ramp up your time creating and publishing content on your platform of choice. Maybe it’s a blog post a week. Maybe it’s an Instagram post a day. Maybe it’s being more active in your Facebook group.
Whatever it is, you’re doing great for a while. You’re being consistent. You’re posting. You’re engaging. You’re starting conversations.
And then… life happens.
A big client project lands in your lap, or you get sick, or your family wants to spend some quality time together.
And suddenly, your commitment to ramping up your strategy feels WAY too overwhelming. You get a serious case of content fatigue, and decide to skip a day. Then two. Then a week. Then a month.
And the guilt starts to sink in. Your grand plans have fallen apart and now you have to start over. You promised yourself! Ugh!
After berating yourself for being a terrible business owner who isn’t cut out for this visibility thing, you rally. You revisit your commitment, hop back online and begin the content burnout cycle again.
Why you keep suffering from content fatigue
There are a lot of contributing factors when it comes to content creator burnout. Life has no lack of curveballs to fling in your direction. But let’s take a look at the content strategy itself and what causes it to break down when life gets busy.
Breakdown #1: You’re listening to too many “shoulds”
Look in any direction and you’ll find about ten people telling you how to create successful content. And a lot of that advice is good, solid guidance. Let us be clear: There’s nothing wrong with following advice on how to create quality content (after all, you’re reading a blog post on that very topic right now).
But if you’re listening to every single “should” out there, you’re going to set yourself up for content burnout. Experts love to should on their readers (yes, we’re making should a verb now). They tell you that you have to do something or your content will fail.
At the end of the day, you know your business best. Take all advice (including ours!) with a grain of salt. Look to your audience, your strengths, and the things that light you up most to make your final decision. That way, you aren’t stuck feeling weighed down by someone else’s content strategy when life gets busy. Try different things. Look for what’s light and easy and makes sense for you.
We’re starting with this tip for a reason. Every single piece of advice following this one can qualify as a “should”. So, take it in, figure out if it works for you, and leave what doesn’t behind. This is your business, and the best thing you can do for it is create a strategy that works for you and your audience.
Breakdown #2: You aren’t grounded in your content pillars
Every business has “the stuff they’re known for”. This is your area of expertise, and it’s usually one broad topic and several subtopics. We call these categories pillars because, like pillars in a building, without them, your business would crumble.
If you don’t know what your pillars are, you’re going to feel less focused when it comes to creating a content strategy. As a result, it will be harder to create content when you’re busy, and you’ll be at higher risk for total content burnout. We recommend no more than four or five pillars in your business.
Breakdown #3: You’re always creating new content
This is probably the biggest cause of content creator burnout. Whether you’ve been in business for one year or ten, there’s this undeniable urge to constantly create brand new content.
We tend to think of content we’ve already created as subpar, for some reason. As if once we hit the “publish” button, it’s no longer worthy of our time and attention. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
This very blog post will inspire future content. It will go out to our email list and be shared with our Instagram followers. And it can easily become so much more that we can use now and in the future.
Here’s the big secret: You don’t need to have fresh content all the time.
It sets you up for content fatigue and, frankly, does a disservice to your past content. So, if you know a busy time is coming up, and you know you won’t be able to churn out new content, look at what you’ve created in the past and repurpose it. Dust it off, update it if needed, and let it enjoy the spotlight once again.
How to remain visible and present during your busiest times
When life gets busy, even something as small as an Instagram story can feel overwhelming. At times like this, it’s important to celebrate the small wins in your visibility game. Every small move adds up, and it doesn’t need to be part of a big, convoluted strategy. When you give yourself permission to take it slow, it will be easier to keep content burnout at bay.
Here are two questions to ask yourself during your busy times:
- What is my current business goal?
- What is the minimum amount of content to help me achieve this goal?
In the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, he talks about the power of a single peek behind the scenes. He goes on to remind his readers that a year can seem overwhelming, but a year is made up of 365 individual days. If you just commit to doing one small thing a day, you’ll look back a year from now and be amazed at what you’ve accomplished.
Three ways to get your message to reach more people
Alright, so at this point you have permission to post less, repurpose more, and find what works for you. But how do you make sure you’re still reaching people? You don’t want your audience growth to suffer when you’re busy and burnt out by your content.
Here are three ways to get in front of more people:
1. Ask more questions of your existing audience
Before you go out searching for new audience members, work on engaging those you have. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the conversations you start within your existing audience have the potential to draw attention.
Everyone has an opinion, but often they need to be invited to share it. Ask them questions and allow your content to be a dialogue—not a monologue. In this way, our clients become active participants in the content.
2. Find the hook and engage
Our audience is made up of humans and they’re interested in our stories. Think about what you can write that may deviate from those pillars we mentioned above (see, we’re breaking our own rules!). What can you write that causes more wonder or intrigue? Can you give people a peek behind the scenes?
Then, take it a step further, and engage with others. Business is all about relationships, and it’s not a one-way street.
3. Repurpose your content
Yes, we already talked about this. But it’s so important that we’re bringing it up again. It is, hands down, the best way to cure content creator burnout.
Not only does repurposing get you off the hook when it comes to creating new content, it gives you a chance to put your content on new platforms (and in front of new people).
Here are a few more tips for content repurposing (but you can check out more in our other article!):
Create a content inventory:
This can be a simple Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet you create yourself, or you can download our free content inventory spreadsheet! Regardless, keep track of what content you have and organize it in a central location. There’s nothing worse than losing that epic post that had the potential to draw in new clients.
Focus on one piece of core content per cycle.
We consider a “cycle” once a quarter, but you can choose a time period that works for you (every 90 days). We focus on creating one detailed piece of new pillar content during this period. When this is the only new content we’re responsible for, it allows us the freedom to spend the rest of our time repurposing.
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Find a Content Strategy That Works for You
Ditch the content creator burnout once and for all by booking a Content Strategy Intensive. You’ll have the chance to sit down with an expert who can evaluate your current strategy, identify gaps and areas for improvement, and create an easy-to-follow content plan so you can hit your goals.