How To Deal With Content Marketing Burnout?

I feel for content marketers out there. Depending on our roles, we not only need to plan content strategy, but also need to create and syndicate content as well. People come to us with various questions: What content do we have? Where should we place it? What content needs to be created or updated for product launches? Some even wonder about our value propositions and branding guides? Some of the requests really aren’t even the content marketer’s job, for Pete’s sake.

We are expected to wear multiple hats. And to do our jobs well, we somehow need to know a little of everyone’s job and understand their wishes, in addition to our own. As a content marketer in a big corporation, we likely are invited to all sorts of marketing meetings. Then, we are in meetings all day and end up not having time to do our real job until late at night.  With a constant need to be churning out content, a lot of us are on the edge of burnout.

Everyone deals with burnout differently. I discovered that burnout needs to be addressed professionally (at work) and personally (self-care).

Dealing with burnout at work

Have a content marketing plan

No matter what your role is, you should have a plan on what you want to accomplish.  This can be a team’s content marketing plan or your own deliverable list for a quarter or a month.  Make sure your management and internal stakeholders know what your deliverable are for next 2-3 months. Then make sure your tasks and activities support your plan. However, there are always last-minute surprises which need to get done. Leave a buffer and allot some time to ‘emergent’ tasks so they won’t impede you from completing the deliverables you committed to.

Deprioritize

Sometimes, there really aren’t enough hours in the day (week, month…) That brings us to the topic of Deprioritization. It’s important for you as a team player to chip in on last-minute requests if they are required for the team to be successful.  But time is a finite resource so, at some point, it’s important to discuss with your management and internal stakeholders if some deliverables can be pushed out or eliminated. I worked in the corporate world for a long time. My management and stakeholders expected me to get everything done yesterday. There is a time when you need to take a stand for yourself, especially after weeks or months of long working hours.

Delegate or Hire help

Another way to deal with burnout is to delegate or hire outside help. Can you delegate some tasks? If you have budget, can you hire contractors or agencies to do them?  Sometimes we are so wrapped around getting things done, we forget to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also, it’s important to build a network of freelancers or agencies that you can tap into.

Say “No”

Saying ‘No’ is probably the hardest part for all content marketers. We don’t want to say “No” to our customers. We don’t want to let them down. When we are overwhelmed, it’s important to say “No.” But, there’s an art to saying ‘no’ without using the word ‘no. Typically, you can say something like ‘We could do that BUT it would mean not being able to do (some other high priority or committed task).’ Then, offer alternative suggestions to help them.  Recommend solutions such as other people or groups or proposing a different deadline. You don’t want to be thought of as a naysayer, so work on saying no to the immediate request while trying to work towards an overall acceptable solution.

Dealing with burnout at a personal level

Exercise

A 90-minute yoga or intensive workout does it for me.  Sweat is the best remedy to deal with stress and burnout. When I worked in the corporate world, I would go for a 30-min walk between meetings, just to get some fresh air and clear my mind.

Let it out

Another great way to deal with burnout is to vent. Talk to someone (you can trust) and just let it out. Curse like a drunken sailor if you need to. Get it out of your chest. Yes, it does feel better afterwards. But be careful not to say anything disparaging about specific people, that often comes back to haunt you.

Walk away and make time for yourself

Sometimes I will make a conscious decision to walk away from the intense work environment. Just go somewhere to take the mind off anything content related. This can be a hike, a relaxing in a coffee shop or even some splurge-retail therapy. Just a simple walk-away for several hours (of course, several days would be great, if you can manage it,) is a nice distraction. Clear your mind, count your blessings and remind yourself not to stress out; this is not a life and death situation. Don’t take it so seriously and personally. Take a deep breath and, when you’re ready, go back to the grind again.

I understand that it’s not easy to deal with burnout, especially we are connected all the time. I have come to realize that we need to deal with burnout proactively at both a professional and personal level. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. You need to try and find what works for you.

How do you deal with content marketing burnout? Share your tips in a comment section.

 

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What does a Friend Request have anything to do with PokemonGo?

Even if you don’t play Pokémon Go, you probably have heard that it’s taking over the US (and the World) since its recent debut. It’s a game app in which you walk around to capture virtual monsters using your phone. It combines “the mobility of the Game Boy, the physical fun and exercise of the Wii and the exciting new experience of location-based augmented reality 1”.

I went to the dark side, joining my husband and my kids in hunting for wild Pokémon (Pocket Monsters). We, as a family, went on several outings to local parks for Pokémon hunts. The boys rode their bike in our neighborhood for the first time in years just to search for monsters and we met many neighbors we’ve never seen before. We exchanged tips and tricks on how to quickly level up our characters and which places are best places for finding Pokémon and then compared the unique monsters that we captured. It’s a wonderful all-inclusive, family and social bonding activity. We are part of the global Pokémon Go craze!

PokemonGo Fun

 

In the middle of intensive Pokémon hunting, I got an unknown friend request.  It took me a while to remember that she was a colleague of mine when I worked at KPMG 20 years ago. Min Min connected with me via Facebook and we started chatting online. Unknown to me, she is an avid hiker and photographer. Like me, she also uses her phones to capture pictures of wildlife. She too needs to pay attention to discover them on her hiking trails. She captures beautiful images of frogs, grasshoppers, butterflies, birds and the like. She is also in the hunt, but she has great fun capturing non-virtual monsters rather than computer generated ones.

Both of us are in the hunt in different ways. She completely emerges herself into the real world, while I view the world with a touch of augmented reality. She relies on serendipity to find her monsters, while I use the app and Pokevision (a website to tell you the specific locations of monsters near you).

When I stop by a place to capture monsters, I look up on my phone. When she stops by a place, she looks down into the grass, between stones and trees.

Min Min Chung
Images by Min Min Chung

Here is the biggest difference: I rush from place to place to capture as many monsters as possible and strive to move up my level as high as possible in the shortest period. She slows down, takes her time to find her monsters and enjoys the scenery along the way.

After e-chatting with her and checking out her wonderful photos on FB, I decided to take a break from Pokemon Go. Plus, my eyes hurt from looking at the tiny screen all the time. For the first time in about a month, I am going to the park….just to go to the park. Life is not about virtual or augmented reality, but a reality to be experienced and embraced. It’s time to be present in the real world and rediscover the real wildlife around me.

Note: It was great connecting with you again, Min Min. We will go hiking together when we meet again.

Footnote 1: Pokémon Go and the Power of Social Influence quote from Jeremy Worker

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