Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Blogging Burnout - How It Feels and What To Do

You're either here because you're feeling it or you're wondering if you are - blogger burnout. 


Burnout is a term used generally across all career paths. It's a reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterized by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability. 


What does it feel like? How do you know if you have it? Some common signs and symptoms associated with burnout are:


  • Alienation from work-related activities - does blogging feel increasingly stressful and frustrating?
  • Physical symptoms - are you getting headaches or experiencing digestional issues?
  • Emotional exhaustion - do you feel drained, unable to cope, and tired?
  • Reduced performance - do you feel negative about tasks? Are you having difficulty concentrating and often lack creativity? Do you lack the energy to get simple tasks done?

And while blogging is a hobby for many people - if you're taking it seriously you treat it like a job. A job in addition to your full-time gig, whatever that may be. For many, although blogging is a side job, it's the job they're more passionate about. On the backend, it's a lot of work around the clock for people who interact with your page to see a pretty photo on the front end. 

Why Do Bloggers Experience Burnout?


It Can Feel Thankless


It's work and it can be tiring! It can sometimes feel like you're putting a lot of time and effort into something you don't get a lot in return for unlike, for example, when you go to a corporate job and you're paid consistently and on time for the work you do.


You're Comparing Yourself to Others


When you're comparing yourself to others and trying to 'keep up with the Joneses' it can often feel like you're behind. If someone has consistent in-feed posts, TikToks, blog posts, paid collaborations and looks put together on Instagram Stories and you don't right now - it can feel like you're behind. 

You Could Be Trying to do Too Much All At Once


You might be trying to create a lot of content every week but with all the mediums you're trying to use but you're coming up short in engagement or page growth. 

You Might Not Be Surrounded By Supportive People


The people in your life who knew you before you decided to create your brand might not be totally supportive of your goals and dreams. Having to constantly explain and justify why you're putting some much time and effort into blogging can feel like ANOTHER job at times. People might laugh, tell you that you're wasting your time, not understand what you need to do or how you budget your time and it can feel really lonely. 

There's Other Stuff Going On In Your Life That Feels Heavy


Separate from any personal trials and tribulations you may be going through - there's a lot of heavy stuff going on in the world. Whether you watch or don't watch the news, whatever your political opinion is or your views on COVID - ALL of those outside factors play into your daily life. All of those things coupled with different things going on in your life alone - it's a lot! It comes in waves and it can be inconvenient and confusing. 




You're Burned Out - Now What?


Do Some Soul Searching


Let's break down what you're feeling, how you're feeling, and what else is going on around you. Reading this post is the first step! Taking a step back, taking deep breaths, and thinking through what is making you upset at the moment will help you come down off the height of your emotions. 

Are you feeling overwhelmed, tired, upset, frazzled? Is it a person? Is it a deadline? Is it that your smoothie has unflavored almond milk instead of vanilla flavored? Let's take some time off from anyone or anything that's making you ~wig out~. 

While you might not be able to take time off from your corporate job or being a mom may be nonnegotiable or impossible right now, there are areas of your life that you can temporarily pause for your mental health. 


Take A Break


Now that we know we're at a spot where we can take a break - where do we start? Sometimes taking a break from the news is what you need. Or giving your body an extra rest day from your workout routine. Or taking a week off of Instagram to decompress. Maybe you switch your article posting to once a month or every other week while you feel your feelings and take a mental break. Maybe your cadence of posting on Instagram decreases for a few weeks, there are a lot of avenues to take that can make you feel better!

I have taken a break from blogging a few times in my life and let me tell you - I am stronger for it. Sometimes you need to lounge around, eat what you want, and binge TV. When my dad passed away, when I've lost a job, when I have gone through breakups - I took breaks from blogging. I really can't emphasize this enough: IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY!

Instagram, TikTok, your website, will ALL be there when you're ready to come back. 


Focus On What You're Good At


When you've had time to separate yourself from what was upsetting you, now we can begin to adjust your routine so that in the future you can do what you can to prevent burnout. At the beginning of the pandemic, I wasn't inspired to write on my website. I was overwhelmed and had no creative juices. In April, June, and July, I only wrote one blog post a month. In the month of May, I wrote nothing and that's okay! There was a lot going on outside of my control and the best way I could cope was to put my website on the backburner. 

If you're really frustrated with your engagement on TikTok or Instagram before you go blaming the algorithm, maybe your content is forced or unoriginal or unengaging. For me, I know I need to take a break when I can't come up with a caption off the top of my head for a post. 

I know for me, TikTok is my weakest link at the moment. Video editing in general really. While I like to experiment and I know I will only improve with practice, it is not the main focus of my weekly content shooting and planning! I know for my sanity I need to focus on consistently creating a few mediums and then creating my weaker links when I'm extremely inspired to or have a good idea I want to try. 


Build Self Care Into Your Routine


Pick a few nights a week where you don't blog. Don't engage with content, don't answer emails, don't scroll, don't brainstorm. Just be present. For me, right now, that means leaving my phone in the other room when I'm with my mom and cooking or watching a show. When I'm at my apartment that means turning all the lights off and sitting in the dark while watching a show or painting my nails or getting a workout in or getting a spray tan. Everyone's self-care will look different but nonetheless, it is important.

Usually on the weekends, although I shoot content and might get a blog post drafted, I tend to stay away from engagement and posting on Stories. Giving myself grace on the weekends and a night or two a week allows me to decompress and experience life outside of social media. 

By batching content and planning my week -  I am able to plan my self-care ahead of time and that also gives me breaks and relaxed time to look forward to especially when I feel stressed or anxious.


Find Blogger Friends


If you find yourself getting frustrated with people in your everyday life that don't want to talk about blogging, don't understand blogging, or aren't supporting your goals? My advice is to make genuine connections in the blogging community. This really helped me not only expand my knowledge base and network but also drastically improved relationships with people from my life who weren't apart of the blogging world.

Although blogging is something you're really passionate about, I like to look at it like this: if someone in your life only talked about work and they worked in a field that you had no knowledge in, how would you feel? I would be bored and over it! So focusing your time with family and friends outside of Instagram on being present is helpful for those relationships and your mental health in the long run. 

How do you make blogger friends? It takes time and genuine intentions. Look for other content creators in your area that have similar niches and following sizes to you. Build a relationship by supporting each other and see what happens! I've also met fellow content creators from all over the country and sometimes the world! I'm hoping that when it's safe to travel again that I can meet them and check out some cool places!


Keep Trying and Don't Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself


You're not going to be good at everything. And you're not going to be good at everything right away. I wish you could have seen me talking on Instagram Stories three years ago when I started Mimosas & Lipstick. I was so awkward and paused a lot and had bad lighting and wasn't telling a story. It was rough. Luckily, at the time I had a lower follower count. This meant that it was a smaller stage but also that the people that were following me mostly knew me in real life already. 

I practiced and showed up and tried and now I can tell you a story in 4 slides or less! Do I drag it out sometimes still? YES. Do I still mess up? SURE! But that's life! 

If you're wondering why you're putting so much effort into blogging and haven't met your goals yet - that's okay! I really cannot put enough emphasis on the fact that everything takes time! However, being frustrated is normal. over the two and a half years it took me to reach 10,000 followers, I got frustrated a lot. I would lose hundreds of followers or work really hard on a series that didn't get the reaction I anticipated or I would get turned down from a collaboration all my friends were landing easily. There are waves of doubt and distress and fear, but I'm telling you that when you give yourself a break and some slack you're going to come back stronger and better than ever. Making sure your mental health is taken care of ensures that your content and interactions with others will be truly a reflection of your best self! Don't discount the feelings of your only employee - you! 


Whatever effort you put into something is what you will get out of it across the board. So If you put in the work, make sure that you're being self-aware, and that you're improving over time, you're going to get there. I have other articles with tips in this series for helping with content creation, growing a following, product trade partnerships, paid partnerships, and more that you can access here

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Content Creation Process

 


Content creation - for someone who isn't used to the behind-the-scenes of blogging that can seem like a flowery term. When in reality, it's the tip of the iceberg! Creating content is a time-consuming and at points seemingly all-consuming hobby that requires discipline as well as organization.


In this installment of the blogger tip series, I am going to walk you through a usual week for me and how I create content throughout the week while also having a full-time job. 


Saturday and Sunday: One afternoon over the weekend depending on my schedule, I batch my content for the week. Depending on different PR packages or partnerships that I received in the mail over the weekend, I prioritize what I shoot with a friend based on due dates, creative inspiration, and overall content spread. I usually shoot between 2 and 4 looks (sometimes I push to 5 or 6 but I usually end up not liking one of the looks and I become mentally exhausted!). I tend to shoot almost 50 photos to make sure I have tons of options and can potentially reuse the outfit at a later time if I am unable to shoot content at a later date. 


  • Partnership Due Dates: I have a running to-do list, (and soon a planner!) that has all due dates. Whether the campaigns are ongoing, one-time, or they have to approve drafts, it's all on my to-do list. Sometimes if I have a lot of content due, I will also take some photos throughout the week during my lunch break as well.

  • Creative Inspiration: I want to be sure to offset any partnered or sponsored content with looks I pull from my closet or something I bought. I started this page because I loved pairing items of clothing together and although I love all the outfits I share, I want to be sure that I stay grounded in why I started this page! Having a blend of content also diversifies your feed and allows you to connect with your audience in a multitude of ways.

  • Content Spread: Although my in-feed posts show in followers' feeds separately, I want to make sure my content is diverse. I try to avoid posting similar outfits too close together or similar backgrounds. For example, I like avoiding posting two photos in a row with my couch as the background. 
I try to share a static post one on Sunday's depending on what I'm sharing that week. This image has to be edited in Lightroom, loaded into the back end of LikeToKnow.it, has topical hashtags added to it, and be loaded into my Instagram drafts. Once the post is live, I engage with comments and share the post in my Instagram Stories.


Monday and Tuesday: With the start of the workweek, I focus my day around my 9 to 5. So that means answering DMs, comments on posts, and engaging with other blogger's content before work, on my lunch break, and when the workday ends. I'll answer emails, follow up to emails I've sent, engage with content across channels, check metrics on my website and on the backend of LikeToKnow.it, and get on Instagram Stories throughout the day.

I use these evenings to finalize blog posts for my site since I have a goal of getting them live on Wednesdays. This allows time for me to draft copy, revise, edit, and publish. I also have to code the back end of my website and make sure that everything is linked for ease. I want to give myself enough of a time cushion in case something comes up where I may need to redirect my attention or allow myself grace if I'm not in a creative mindset.

I try to share a static post one of these and then a Reel either Tuesday and/or Thursday depending on what I'm sharing that week. This image has to be edited in Lightroom, loaded into the back end of LikeToKnow.it, has topical hashtags added to it, and be loaded into my Instagram drafts. Once the post is live, I engage with comments and share the post in my Instagram Stories. All reels shared on Instagram are first edited in InShot, posted on TikTok, and then shared to Instagram. 


Wednesday: Still a weekday, so I adhere to the 9 to 5 full-time job and blogging before, at lunch, and after work. I'll answer emails, follow up to emails I've sent, engage with content across channels, answer DMs, check metrics on my website and on the backend of LikeToKnow.it, and get on Instagram Stories. 


I try to have my blog posts go live on Wednesdays. Just something I've always done since it's the middle of the week. I make sure the cover image is uploaded, that all the links are added to the post, published, and then linked on my helpful links page that is the link in my bio at the latest Wednesday morning.


I have an in-feed post the coincides with this so making sure that this photo is coded from edited, LikeToKnow.it, I have topical hashtags selected, and loaded into my Instagram drafts usually at the top of my lunch break. I then engage with other creators' content before pushing my post live. I engage with the comments on the post and share this post to my Instagram Stories as well as the blog post with a swipe up link. 


Thursday: Historically for me, this has been one of my lower engagement days. So I use this day to focus on catching up on emails, answering DMs, check metrics across my website, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and the backend of LikeToKnow.it in my off time.


I try to share a Reel either depending on what I'm sharing that week. All reels shared on Instagram are first edited in InShot, posted on TikTok, and then shared to Instagram. These are a newer medium I'm working with so they don't come as second nature to me as say content batching, blog articles, and static posts on Instagram.


Friday: Finally - the weekend! I do the usual morning check-in's across my email, Instagram, LikeToKnow.it, TikTok, and my website. I would also like to get on Instagram Stories throughout the day as I can. I'll share a static image to kick off the weekend and make sure to engage with content across channels. On stories, I may also reshare my blog post for the week with a swipe up link to take the reader directly to the landing page. 


Saturday or Sunday: Just like last weekend, one afternoon over the weekend depending on my schedule, I batch my content for the week. Depending on different PR packages or partnerships that I received in the mail over the weekend, I prioritize what I shoot with a friend based on due dates, creative inspiration, and overall content spread.



And just like that, the process starts all over again! A big way I save time is through batching. That helps prevent any same-day turnaround which often gives me anxiety. I also allow for times throughout the week where I do not have to blog. Although I love it, blogging burnout is real, just like burnout in any other part of your life. So if there's a day when you do not have it in your to blog or you need to take a weekend or week off - do it! Your audience will be there for you and only want the best for you! Some other tips:


  • Don't just share to share. Make sure that your content whether it's a TikTok, static post with a caption, Instagram Story, or blog post, has value to your audience that is universal while also personal. Creating value encourages others to engage with your content and they'll feel bonded to you. When you're getting your start, look to other bloggers for inspiration on universal sharing versus complaining. Sharing a hardship you have face so others don't feel alone takes a lot of guts and you will be helping others! However, make sure that you share what worked for you or resources for others in a similar position to use.  For example, when I share the grief of losing my father or anxiety or being single, I share that I'm feeling this kind of way, I share a story that recently happened to better frame the feeling and example what I'm going to do about it. Just getting on and complaining about a problem with not resolution does not help anyone. This also alienates your audience. 

  • Utilize all features of Instagram in a natural way that fits with your content and brand. Utilizing the platform to your best ability will help with your content's Impressions and Reach. However, there are going to be ups and downs in the algorithm regardless of what you do. Content creating has a lot of outside factors that attribute to engagement that you have no control over. It's my advice to never complain about the algorithm being the source of why your engagement is bad to your audience. The fellow content creators who follow you will roll their eyes and your audience may be unsure what it means. The algorithm can be tough, but it is not the source of consistent low engagement. That comes in time after cheating the system or trying to find a back door to reaching your goals. 

  • Another practice that is frowned upon is when content creators tag other content creators in their content when they had nothing to do with its creation for more Impressions and Reach. It's really agitating, disingenuous can alienate your network of fellow bloggers. 

  • Build relationships and network with other content creators in an organic way. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone follows me and immediately DMs me that they love my content and want to connect. It's really disingenuous and has the opposite effect of what they wanted the message to solicit. Continuously engage with someone's content in their feed and stories to build trust and a relationship. Everything takes time. You wouldn't walk up to a random person and tell them you want to mutually support each other in real life - so why do it on the internet? Show that you want a relationship, don't tell.

  • Make sure to get on Instagram Stories on a weekly basis to show your face. Share your outfit, a new recipe, or a show you're currently watching. Sharing different real parts of your day helps you connect with your audience. I also really like putting up question boxes and polls. You don't want to overdo them, but they can also give your followers a chance to feel heard which goes a long way. 

  • Keep a running list of different content ideas in your phone. Sometimes an idea might come to me before bed or when I'm out with friends so I write down the thought in my running content list so that I can come back to the idea when it's time to create! Also, if I'm babysitting or waiting for an appointment, I may draft portions of a blog post in notes to make sure I'm best utilizing my time and also getting ahead of the deadlines I set for myself. 

  • Allow wiggle room in your content creating schedule when you can. At the end of the day, if you're blog post gets pushed to Friday or next week, it will not be the end of the world! Remember that blogging is supposed to be fun. Odds are, you're doing it as a fun creative outlet, so try not to be too hard on yourself, especially when trying new content mediums. Give yourself grace!

Lastly, my biggest time is to remember that it takes time. Instant success doesn't exist. We live in a world where everyone wants everything instantaneously and that doesn't coincide with building a brand from the ground up. You are only going to get what you put into it. If you nurture and grow your brand over time, the success and new milestones will mean so much to you. 

Oppositely, if you're buying engagement and followers, participating in engagement groups, and 'faking it till you make it', your brand is fake. Followers and fellow content creators can spot it a mile away and you're only letting yourself down. 

Give yourself time, and remember that it's okay to take breathers and breaks! You're only human. If you have any questions about this post, always feel free to reach me via email or Instagram DM. I have other blogging resources on my Blogging Tips page as well that are always accessible. Happy Blogging! 

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