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Content marketing leaders often learn about burnout firsthand. Photo: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

How Are Content Marketing Leaders Managing Workloads?


  • One Content Marketer’s Experience With Burnout
  • A Glance at What Causes Burnout Among Content Professionals
  • Practical Burnout Advice from Your Content Marketing Peers

When meditation company Headspace surveyed more than 2500 workers in the US and UK recently it unsurprisingly confirmed what many already know: employees are stressed out. The report revealed 42 percent feel ‘burned out’ or ‘extremely burned out’ by work.

The mood isn’t all that different in marketing, media, and creative industries. Everymind, which works to reduce mental ill-health, led a 2018 survey of these industries and found:

  • nearly half of employees work more than eight hours a day
  • a third work weekends at least once a month
  • and 75% have worked while physically or mentally unwell.

Many of you are probably reading this while thinking, “there’s no other way”.

There has to be.

Corina Leslie is the public relations manager for ZeroBounce, an email validation company. She has been with the business from the beginning. “We had to start building a brand from scratch. In my first year, I didn’t take any days off — weekends, summers, holidays, even Christmas day. I was in front of my laptop all the time.”

Tarah Darge has had a similar experience. She is the head of marketing at Time to Reply, an email analytics startup in Cape Town. “I wear many hats and often feel I have an overwhelming amount to do and mountains to climb. That’s especially true now we’re working remotely — and managing my assistant as well as a team of freelancers is tricky.”

For Corina, the constant work took a toll. “My energy and enthusiasm were tremendous,” she says, “but a year and a half into my new role, I started noticing signs of burnout. Memory problems, anxiety, poor sleep.”

Why Do Content Professionals Burn Out?

You probably have a similar story to tell.

Companies want a lot from their content marketing managers, says Nathan Sebastian, a content marketer at GoodFirms, which provides research and reviews for software buyers.

“High expectations are not limited to the quantity of work in a day. Content marketing managers are constantly expected to come up with something creative and unique to get maximum results on online platforms. More often than not, work pressure leads to burnout.”

“An evening or weekend without work won’t be detrimental to your output.” — Hung Nguyen, Smallpdf

Of course, burnout is far from unique to those who produce content.

But it’s not going away, because some companies only play a volume game in publishing, hoping it will create sales.

Here’s how content professionals are managing the risks for themselves and their teams.

How Content Marketers Like You Stay Ahead of Burnout

Let’s start with individual content professionals.

“The best tip I have for my fellow content marketers is to leave work at work, says Hung Nguyen, content marketing manager at Smallpdf. “Marketing opportunities are infinite — and it’s crucial to find a stop to your workday. I don’t check our company’s SEO analytics dashboard when it refreshes every day at 8PM if I’m no longer in the office, answer LinkedIn notifications during the weekend, or export screenshots of catchy microcopy to my backlog if I’m off the clock. These are all activities that I’d been guilty of doing in the past.”

“Bottlenecks happen for many reasons. Don’t let process ambiguity be one. With a clear roadmap, staff know what’s expected of them and when.” — Elise Moores, Fast Capital 360 / Kantaloupe

Hung believes many people don’t feel burnout until it’s too late. “The more overtime you do, the less productive you become, and the more work you end up pushing to the following day. And the cycle repeats itself,” he says.

After Corina’s burnout encounter, she started taking Sundays off and going for walks in the woods. “Then I started working less on Saturdays, too, and on the weekends, I go to sleep without setting an alarm,” she said.

Corina also swapped PR and marketing books for novels, began swimming at a pool near to her house, and started going on short trips with her husband. “I always get back to work with renewed energy and notice how much more productive I am after a break,” she says.

Tarah agrees with this approach. “I really try and take my weekends off. I sometimes feel guilty about the volume of work — but I know I function best when I’ve had a day or two of rest.”

Tarah says she now will ask teammates to pitch in ideas for blog posts or share webinar hosting responsibilities when her plate is full. Her other tips include making use of freelance writers to help with content production and trimming content and newsletter subscriptions to avoid information overload.

“High-performing teams don’t have to go hand-in-hand with stress and burnout.” — Joanna Zambas, CareerAddict

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