We’ve all heard it so many times before, but it still bears repeating: Great content is a significant factor in any marketing strategy.
Ideally, you should be sharing other people’s content while creating and sharing your own, too. In this blog post, let’s focus on how we create our own content — or, to be more specific, how to deal with times when, for whatever reason, we can’t.
I believe it was Mark Twain who once said, “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.” I’ve taken this to mean that the best way to write — whether it’s an article, an essay, or a blog post — is to just let the ideas flow; to not worry at the onset that they’re not coherent or making any sense yet.
That is exactly how I approach writing. I work with the barest of outlines, writing ideas and thoughts as they come, no matter how confusing or messy they end up looking like. Eventually, I would take a look at my article, read it top to bottom, and then make a wave of revisions and adjustments; at the end of the process, once my article starts to read like it has a complete idea, I go over it again and make some last-minute adjustments and corrections. (Thank God no one else gets to see my drafts!)
Anyway, I’ve found that method to be highly effective — heck, it seems to be working well for this blog, too! The key there, of course, is to let the ideas flow continuously, putting them on paper (or typing them in a word processor document) and pinning them down before they can even find the opportunity to get up and leave.
The problem, however, is when the ideas stop freely flowing.
Regardless of the way you approach content creation, it still takes a great deal of time and effort to get it done. When you’re regularly putting out content, the pressure is doubled; you need to get everything accomplished well before the deadline, which sometimes means forcing every last drop of creative juice out of yourself until you end up with output worthy of inclusion in your content marketing strategy.
This typically leads to stress and burnout, which is understandable. Anything done repeatedly over an extended period of time will eventually lead to the person getting stressed, unless stress reduction techniques (such as exercise, meditation, or calming music) are set in place.
Of course, there are other ways to remedy the stress that comes with creating content. Here are a few of my favorites — they’ve worked really well for me so far, and I hope they’ll be helpful for you, too!
5 Best Practices for Relieving Content Creation-Related Stress
1. Rest your mind
Before anything else, remember that content-related stress is pretty much the same kind of stress you’d get after any mentally taxing activity; thus, it stands to reason that the typical stress-relieving techniques that apply in such situations would work just fine here as well.
2. Determine whether it’s still worth it
Of course, when you put effort into generating your content, this means you’re expecting to get results. However, if despite your best efforts, you still aren’t getting the numbers that you’re targeting, it may be the right time to rethink your content strategy.
Take a look at your present content marketing channels, isolate the ones that aren’t bringing you the right results, and get rid of them, pronto. You can verify this by taking a look at your website’s analytics. From the statistics there, you’ll be able to identify which of your content are bringing you more leads, and which are underperforming.
You may want to consider changing formats to spice things up — for example, a video might be able to accomplish what an infographic can’t successfully convey.
3. Pace yourself according to realistic limits and expectations
Sometimes, the feeling of being overwhelmed actually comes from unnecessarily intense pressure that you may be putting on yourself. Do you think your goals for content creation are not realistic? That’s more than likely to be a clear indicator that you should take it easy. After all, there’s only one of you, and if you lose that creative spark completely, it’s very hard to get it back.
Don’t be afraid to reduce the amount of content scheduled on your editorial calendar. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure at content writing — heck, I’ve had to slow it down with the content writing myself a couple of times in the past — it just means that you may be setting unrealistic objectives (and that you’re only human).
4. Learn how to take content creation shortcuts
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Nobody said that creating content means having to start from scratch all the time. That’s just one of the many content creation shortcuts you can take to keep your stress at manageable levels. Another way is to use content templates for repurposing your old content; all you need to do is find a new angle to the content, and you’re all set. You can also opt to buy private label rights content that you can simply rewrite rather than starting from scratch. Lastly, you’d save a lot more time and energy by making good use of automation tools for scheduling and publishing content.
5. Hire a professional to help you get the job done
Sometimes, the best way to deal with a seemingly impossible mountain of work is to find someone willing to do it with (or for) you. You can outsource your work to a capable content writer who is receptive to your ideas and instructions (and at the same time, confident enough to share their own).
Content creation can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is to follow the 5 best practices above (or the quick stress-busting tips in this infographic and you’ll never have to worry about stress again.
Liz Azyan is a digital consultant who helps public organisations and businesses add value to their products and services through smart digital solutions. She has been awarded the Google Fellowship Award for her work and initiative in the arena of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship. She has also been listed on several lists around the web as a top digital expert by her peers and industry leaders.