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.
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.
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
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.