Creative Burnout: Maintaining High Performance in Content Creation

Creative Burnout: Maintaining High Performance in Content Creation

Neil Young once sang that it's better to burn out than to fade away.

But when it comes to content marketing, the two go hand in hand - creative burnout means the effectiveness of your content will begin to fade (although admittedly, this wouldn’t work quite as well as a song lyric).

That’s because the quality and value of the content you produce will ultimately suffer. Even the very best creatives can run dry when it comes to ideas and inspiration, to the detriment of their output - remember when The Beatles put Yellow Submarine on Revolver?

But in a practice where consistency and quality are both integral to success, how do you keep creating regular, high-value content without draining your creative batteries?

Today, we’re exploring exactly that, sharing some tips and tricks on maintaining quality content output by overcoming creative burnout in yourself and your writing team.

Create a content calendar

Content calendars are an invaluable ideation tool in any content writer’s arsenal.

Creating a content calendar for the months ahead provides you with a whole bank of topics and titles that can be used as starting points to bolster your creative ideas (saving you time and effort during content planning).

Not only that, but by aligning these ideas in your calendar with the most relevant day, week or month of publication, you ensure these ideas will be timely and relevant, too.

The result? Content calendars provide a precious safety net to guarantee ideas remain strategic and targeted, even when your creative reserves are running close to empty.

Agree on an achievable publishing schedule

What’s your current publishing schedule?

If you answered “a few blog posts a month” or “a post every few days”, we have bad news for you: this isn’t sufficient.

Instead, set hard deadlines with objective goals: “we publish 2 blog posts per week”, for example.

Be sure to get the input of all your content team (or anyone involved in your content processes) before laying out these specifics.

For your schedule to have any purpose, it must be achievable, so look to accommodate reasonable deadlines with adequate resources. How long does it usually take your writers to create a piece? What’s the average time of your editing and uploading processes?

Doing this ensures your content team are actively working towards achievable deadlines and, as a result, can better manage their time and effort across the month.

In much the same way as a runner must know the distance of a race to avoid burning out too early, writers should know goals and deadlines to ensure the best possible output.

Your publishing schedule should also help you better delegate content tasks throughout the month.

Working to consistent deadlines makes it easier to stay on top of what’s due at any one time, meaning independent workloads become more manageable and teams are less likely to be overworked.

Batch-create when creativity is high

Fitness freaks might batch-prep healthy lunches on a Sunday evening to ensure precious mid-week evenings aren’t wasted cooking. Couch potatoes might bulk-buy custard creams to avoid going back to the shop later.

Whatever category you fall under (yep, unfortunately, we also fall into the latter), the fundamental remains the same: get it done now to save you the time and effort later.

Applying this mantra to your content creation can be a real blessing when your creative flame has begun to dim.

On those mornings when inspiration is high and attitudes are positive (a minimum of two coffees is often integral to achieving this state), consider striving to get that extra job done - you’ll thank yourself later.

If your whole content team does this, you’ll quickly begin building up an invaluable bank of emergency content to lean on in times of struggle.

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean batch creating entire pieces - in fact, doing this regularly is a sure-fire way to undermine your content’s quality.

Instead, look to conduct smaller tasks in batches - the ones that can seem trivial during burnout but block your content creation processes if not complete. Think briefs, research, image sourcing and like.

Have a plan B

Of course, sometimes creative burnout is inevitable - we’re only human, after all.

In these instances, if you lack a content calendar and haven’t been batch-completing tasks to a consistent schedule, is it time to put away the proverbial pen?

Not at all. Remember: consistency is key to successful content performance.

Instead, have a plan B - a tried and tested backup that you can rely on to fulfil schedules and satisfy audiences even when your creative team have run out of charge.

Our favourite? Updating and upcycling old content!

Showing tired and unloved content some TLC may feel like you’re cheating both your content strategy and your audience but, in actual fact, even the smallest updates can provide major value to both.

Audiences benefit from relevant, accurate and more engaging content that strengthens the authority and trustworthiness of your brand, while your content strategy benefits from best-practice processes and improved organic performance.

The best part? You can achieve all of this without ever having to go back to the content drawing board for new ideas.

Consistent best-in-space content creation is no easy feat - every now and then, we all lack ideas, inspiration and creative motivation.

Luckily, these moments don’t have to impact your brand’s content strategy and blog content success. All you need to do is get in touch with the content experts at Paragraft and let us take care of your creative heavy lifting.

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