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5 Ways to Resolve Creative Inbound Marketing Burnout

Posted by Loree O'Sullivan

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Raise your hand if you've ever experienced a serious struggle with creating inbound marketing content.

Pretty much all of us have experienced creative burnout at one point or another. This syndrome can result in hours of sitting at your laptop that only result in half a blog. Many of us have missed internal deadlines because we just can't get the creative juices flowing. It's frustrating to be unable to create content efficiently, especially since it's the engine of an inbound marketing program. 

Every Inbound Marketer Hits a Wall!

If it makes you feel any better, almost every inbound marketer hits a wall every once in a while. Sometimes, we hit it a few times a week. Other times, we hit it for weeks on end. Relax. It's okay, and the best inbound marketers have tools to help increase productivity when they're just not feeling very productive. 

While we can't solve creative burnout, we can offer some tried-and-true productivity tips for efficiency. In this blog, you'll learn five practical content marketing tips to help you forge ahead when you'd rather be reading Buzzfeed. 

1. Be Ritualistic About Your Needs

Is your word processing document open? Did you start your productivity timer? Do you have a mug of coffee within arms reach? Let's go.
 
Create a ritualistic approach to content creation. If you sit down to write without your drink or internet access, you'll need to get up. Each disruption during your writing time can extend the time it takes to create a blog, landing page, or other forms of content.
 
Productivity tools can vary significantly between marketers. Whether you prefer a super-clean, distraction-free interface for writing or 17 open tabs, understanding your preferences is the first step towards building a content creation ritual. 
 
To learn a bit more about some of our favorites, check out 17 Productivity Tools Inbound Marketers Need.

2. Create a Conceptual Outline

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a little messy about creating outlines for blogs. I've been marketing long enough that I know I don't need an outline for blogs, while I do need one for eBooks or other long-form types of content. 

However, I always, always create a conceptual outline. It saves me from writing too many words, rambling, or getting halfway into a blog and realizing "what's the point?" All of these situations can occur without a conceptual outline, and they waste a lot of time. 

For every piece of content I create, before I start writing, I jot down a few key concepts. They include: 

  • Working title
  • Target word count range (such as 600-1,000)
  • Topics to be covered
  • The "key point" of the blog

Once this is done, you've got a solid idea of what you're going to say, and how you're going to say it. Your job now is just to fill in the blanks.

3. Have a Sourcing Routine

Some inbound marketers prefer to research first. They open all of the sources they intend to use in tabs, and copy-and-paste the links in the document. Before they begin writing, they have some idea of how they'll connect the data, research, and expert quotations to their content. This methodology is almost certainly the most efficient if you don't know the topic you're covering very well. It can ensure better accuracy, and minimize revisions. 
 
Other writers prefer to source last. They'll build the "framework" of a blog, and flesh it out with expert quotations and data in the editing stages. This approach can work well if you're an expert on the topic you are writing about, and plan to use sources to add credibility to your content.

There isn't a right or wrong way to approach sourcing for a blog. In fact, you may prefer to use one approach for some content, and the other at different points in time. However, I think the important thing is to know how you'll approach sourcing citations before you get started.

4. Work in Reasonable Bursts

If you've been sitting at your laptop experiencing feelings of despair and minimal productivity for the last hour, it's time for a break. It can be mentally exhausting to approach creative tasks like creating content for long periods of time.  Copyblogger advises writers to "go play with their dog" if they're experiencing feelings of stress about their productivity level.  Typically, I take a break from creative work approximately every 25 minutes.

Within focused sessions, don't let yourself get stuck. If you're unable to finish a paragraph, abandon it and move onto the next. Coming to a full stop at any point during the creative process can lead to a mental rut. Maximize your working sessions to the fullest extent possible. If you're truly stuck, there's a good chance you'll be able to work through it after your next break.

5. Give it a Rest 

I always, always try to let content "sit" for an hour before I publish it. This is especially important for small marketing teams that don't have a dedicated or expert editor on-staff. Allowing your content to "rest" for an hour before you publish it allows you to catch errors that aren't apparent at first-glance. 

Taking a mental break from content allows marketers to approach their work with better objectivity. Avoid being in too great of a rush to hit "publish." Trust me, this can only lead to mistakes.

Have you ever experienced creative burnout when it comes to content marketing? What are the tools and mental processes you use to break through a rut?

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Topics: content marketing

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