I recently attended the INBOUND 2015 conference in Boston, and one of my favorite sessions came from Corey Eridon, the managing editor at HubSpot.
In her “18 Hard-Earned Lessons From the Trenches of the HubSpot Blog” session, she discussed one that hit home pretty hard (though I could relate to 99 percent of them from managing Influence & Co.’s blog myself): blogger burnout.
Having been an editor at HubSpot for the last four years, Corey was confident in saying that blogger burnout occurs between months 12 and 16. She displayed a picture of three blue dots representing the content creators of a company, who typically have journalism or English backgrounds; she then clicked to show the other 50 orange dots, which represented the rest of the company.
When you're a blue dot in a sea of orange, being in charge of all things content can be exacerbating at times, and it can feel like you’re pulling teeth to get an article down on paper (or, in reality, in a Word doc). But it doesn’t have to be so exhausting. I’ve learned to overcome writer’s burnout by getting creative with my processes:
I recently wrote an article on how we use Slack, 15Five, and LearnCore for content creation by crowdsourcing ideas from everyone in our company (and it really has worked!). I won’t dive in too deeply as I explained our process in my post, but I actively utilize the tools my team at Influence & Co. uses internally to generate ideas for content for our internal blog, as well as the external publications that our internal experts contribute to regularly.
For instance, Kelsey Meyer, our CEO, just wrote an article for Entrepreneur titled “5 Reasons Why Tech Is the Midas Touch of Content Marketing” as a result of a discussion team members were having in a Slack group about how beneficial our proprietary software was in streamlining our content creation process and how tech fits into the mix as a whole. Once I noticed the conversation on Slack, I spoke with Kelsey about the idea; a couple hours later, she had written a wonderful post on the subject, and the editor at Entrepreneur published it shortly thereafter.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a fairly fleshed-out idea — and when I sit down to write about it, I struggle with the introduction and structure. Then, I remember the process Influence & Co. uses with clients to create content, and rather than sit down to write an entire piece, I brain dump my thoughts in a Q&A, send it off to one of our talented writers, and revise for style and tone before sending it to our editorial team. While I rarely do this, knowing that I have a team behind me that can push me over the hump is immensely helpful.
When I’m struggling to find a new trend or update to write about, I try to get creative with my research. For instance, I often check out a podcast from the Content Marketing Institute called “This Old Marketing” featuring Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. They do an excellent job of discussing the latest in industry news and offer both opinionated and entertaining commentary on each subject.
Another way I find new content ideas is by visiting Inbound.org, a community created by Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO, and Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz. The site allows you to submit and share the best content in inbound marketing. Articles that are truly valuable will get “upvoted” and make their way to the top of your feed, so it’s completely audience-chosen and a great way to spark your next article topic.
Whether you’re part of a content creation team of one or 100, you’re bound to hit a wall at some point. Hopefully, with the help of the rest of your company and some creative research, you can push past it and churn out some exceptional content in no time.
What creative tools or techniques have you used to overcome writer’s burnout? Please share your ideas in the comments!