So many of the business owners we speak with say they no longer feel like entrepreneurs at all. They told us it seemed they’d traded in their CEO status for content creator status. There’s an expectation that, in addition to running their business, they also become marketing mavens and expert influencers.
Business owners have always worn multiple hats. There’s nothing new there. But in recent years there has been a substantial shift in the way seasoned entrepreneurs feel about their content game.
Let’s dig deeper into the problem before we figure out what the heck to do about it.
Content feels riskier than ever, and content creator burnout is on the rise.
We recently interviewed dozens of business owners about how content fits into their business. The vast majority of these individuals run businesses that bring in six or seven figures of revenue each year. They have support, usually in the form of a small team, and they’re offering an array of services and products from lower-cost templates to high-cost 1:1 coaching.
Here’s what we found.
Most experienced business owners:
- Have a massive backlog of content they’ve built up over the years, but aren’t leveraging effectively (so they wind up constantly creating new content instead of maximizing the success of what they already have).
- Value visibility and consistency, but the constant content treadmill takes them away from their paying clients and customers (which means the quality of their services suffer, along with retention and long-term brand loyalty).
- Want more time and energy to create from a place of genuine service, rather than the frenetic need to keep up with demands and trends (because while many of them do like creating content, they don’t like feeling like they need to constantly produce).
If you see yourself in any of that, you’re not alone. Business owners everywhere are stuck in a downward spiral of content creator burnout, and it’s only getting worse.
So how do you combat it? The answer, thankfully, isn’t creating more content (at least, not without a plan). Instead, it’s about optimizing what you already have, identifying gaps, and proceeding with strategic direction.
It starts by making sure you know how to make decisions around optimizing content. That means running an audit of what you already have.
How to Quickly Audit Your Existing Content
While defaulting to new content creation is totally normal, it also can quickly become an inefficient creative drain. Even with the best of intentions, there’s often a descent into creating content for the sake of quantity, not quality.
Consider Kara, a business owner who:
- Wants to increase organic traffic through search-engine optimization (SEO). They do some keyword research, make a publishing plan, and are off to the races. For a while, all is well. But eventually, they exhaust their keywords. They don’t want to get punished for no longer pushing new content out, so they start to write whatever comes to mind.
- Decides to try their hand at short-form video content, because they hear that’s what is currently hot. They start off strong, batching a bunch of videos and sending them out to a big response. They’re racking up the views! Clearly this means the content is a success, right?
- Creates an opt-in that their target audience seems to love. They get tons of new leads onto their email list. All of them go through a nurture sequence (which may or may not lead to sales) before entering the main list, which includes sporadic emails when there’s something new to sell, and not much else.
In fact, focusing solely on visibility is one of the biggest misconceptions content creators fall into (head here to learn about the four other myths far too many business owners fall into).
Remember, if you’re a business owner, every single content strategy serves a single purpose: Make sales.
It’s no wonder Kara is tired. They’re writing blogs, filming videos, and building a list of non-readers and non-buyers. Assuming that they’re not doing enough, they create more content, which only exacerbates the problem.
It’s time for Kara (and you) to pump the brakes on content creation.
The first step to reducing content creator burnout is to make sure you have the data you need to make smart decisions.
If you’re not actively collecting and evaluating data, you’re setting yourself up for a never-ending treadmill of churn.
Putting a content-auditing system in place can make a huge difference. It’s not difficult to implement, it only takes a few minutes a week, and it can help you make more strategic decisions about how to spend time in your business.
Step One: Commit to a Single Content Inventory Tool
There are tons of different ways to collect information. Some are fancy, some are simple. There’s not a wrong way to collect data, so long as you don’t get so hung up on the bells and whistles that you spend more time trying to find the perfect dashboard than actually implementing it.
We’re old school, and we like to initially collect data in a simple, effective content inventory spreadsheet. This allows us to customize the data we’re collecting and only focus on the information that’s most important to our goals.
Once you decide on your content inventory tool, you can tweak it to fit your specific needs. If you’re new to this, we recommend focusing on gathering data for no more than three channels. If you’re throwing content out in more than three places, it’s probably stretched thin already (unless you have an in-house marketing team).
So which (up to) three channels are you putting the most effort into? Start there. Pro tip, we recommend one or two channels for the front of the funnel (like a podcast or social media) and one channel for the middle of the funnel (like email).
Ready? Great. Now it’s time to start tracking data.
Step Two: Collect Past Data
If this might be your first time diving into the data behind your content, don’t worry. You don’t need to go back and collect a lifetime worth of data. We’re going to keep this simple and straightforward.
Start by going back a few months to a year at most and filling in your content inventory. You can do a more comprehensive deep dive later, but right now you just want a sense of what’s working and what’s not.
The kind of data you collect will depend on the content channel. Our Content Inventory Spreadsheet will give you a great starting point.
Let’s go back to Kara.
After putting a year’s worth of data in their new content inventory spreadsheet, Kara discovered:
- 2-3 of their blog posts are driving the vast majority of visitors to the site, and as a result, to their signature opt-in.
- While TikTok videos are receiving a ton of views, very few are converting followers, opt-in subscribers, or (most importantly) paying customers.
- While their opt-in landing page does well, the email nurture sequence that new subscribers receive has low open rates across the board.
In each of these cases, the content Kara already has isn’t optimized for results. And yet, instead of evaluating what they have and optimizing it for success, Kara is basically tossing all that hard work aside and spending precious time and energy creating brand new content.
Do you see how this could lead to content creator burnout?
Remember how business owners are finding content riskier than ever? That’s often what happens when you’re not letting data lead your decision-making.
Now that we have data, we can make results-oriented decisions.
In Kara’s case, they can use the process of elimination to create an order of triage.
First, thanks to gathering data, they now know that TikTok views aren’t translating into new email subscribers or purchases, so that’s something they can set aside for now. Phew. Hours already saved!
Next, they know that some blog posts are doing a lot of heavy lifting. It can be tempting to focus on optimizing blogs first, but hang on… just like TikTok views, blog views don’t necessarily mean money in the door. Remember, a business’ goal is to make sales.
Most of Kara’s blog visitors who take action are joining the email list through a high-converting landing page.
But that email list is suffering from low open rates (which means sales are likely hurting).
Based on all of that information, Kara knows that focusing their energy on optimizing her email list will allow them to capitalize on leads they’re already gaining organically.
Rather than spending a ton of time creating new blog posts, they can focus on leveraging their most successful asset (her high-converting landing page). There are a lot of ways to do this, but the lowest hanging fruit is a deep dive into Kara’s lead nurturing email sequence to find ways to improve deliverability and opens (and, ultimately, sales).
Now instead of pushing content out endlessly, Kara has a plan. They’re going to focus on their email list for a bit, then maybe circle back around and see where else they can drive traffic to that awesome landing page.
Next Steps: Build Your Content Inventory
Now it’s your turn.
Tackle content creator burnout by taking a look at your content inventory and choose one area of focus based on the data.
Get a load of that data to make strategic decisions. It all starts with a content inventory spreadsheet!