How to Avoid Content Marketing Fatigue

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exhaustion.

Image by Jessica Darliingx

The great content marketing debate over quality information versus frequency raged on last week.

Following the debate I realized content burnout is an issue I suffered from in the past and resolved. Here is my answer to the inevitable issue of burnout.

It’s not enough to trudge through the hard times and make it to the other side. Sometimes the desert is wide and vast. Letting your content publishing wane and eventually go fallow becomes tempting.

Instead, build a repository of evergreen content to avoid fatigue, much like you would grow a savings account in case of hard times.

Back-up content empowers you to have a bad week, and throw out or refine content to meet a schedule.

A repository allows you to change direction mid stream to meet a news cycle. For example, last week’s content debate post was actually written in early November. I had scheduled it for this week, but moved it up since content marketing had suddenly become a hot topic.

You can even take a break from feeding the beast.

Dirty secret: I have written five blogs for this site in the past three weeks. In total, I have posted 11 times during that same period.

Knowing I was getting tired towards the end of the year, I used repository posts so I could coast through December and recharge. Meanwhile this blog isn’t missing a beat.

How to Build a Repository

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My blog repository moving forward into the New Year

A content producer has to break free of the daily production of today’s content.

It’s not that you can’t write or draw or shoot every day. I’m an every day writer, and sometimes I end up publishing a post that morning or over the next week because it’s relevant.

But, when you create every day for that day you put yourself at the mercy of the human condition. That’s going to lead to bad content sooner or later.

This is true whether you are an individual blogger or a team producing a wide variety of content for a brand.

You need a repository so that when your daily writing is off, you can pull one out of the proverbial savings account.

Building a repository requires a short period of extra hustle and content creation. Like all things in life, you have to do the work, sooner or later.

Set aside a vacation day or two to simply produce content. If you are a company, hire the extra talent or reallocate your staff’s time on a down week to generate the extra content. This is something we are actively working on for my client Vocus’s blog, and by year end we will have a two-week repository built up.

Brutal?

Maybe, but if you want breathing room, you have to make a sacrifice somewhere. If taking a day or two off to get ahead is too much, consider creating extra content on the weekends for a month or so.

Need ideas? If you’re smart, you’re already keeping a running list of ideas on your phone or on a notepad that pop as you go about your work day. If I’m ever tapped out for topics, I simply read the list and pull one that appeals to me.

Build up roughly two-three weeks worth of extra content. Schedule it out.

When you have rough works, schedule them for the future, and then refine as you get closer in.

Pace Yourself

Turtle
Image by annfrau

Delivering quality matters a great deal to me, much more so than publishing every day or more.

Set a reasonable schedule. I’ve seen some writers degrade their effort with lesser quality posts to satisfy or boost frequency.

For example, I post here four times a week. I usually write six or seven days a week, and at any given time, one of those posts ends up on another blog. Looking honestly at my content I know that two out of six posts need refinement, or are just outright crap and should be deleted.

I’m not afraid to delete bad posts anymore. That’s the freedom a repository has given me.

I realize that Google rewards frequency, that to succeed in today’s bloggy world and achieve top rank you have to publish every day, and for newer blogs, even twice a day or more. Publishing for the sake of publishing to make Google happy or jack up your AdAge score is shortsighted, in my opinion.

You know what? If you are building a comprehensive marketing effort that targets a particular type of reader, the need for frequency is irrelevant.

What matters is delivering consistently valuable content for your stakeholder.

If your content is less frequent yet consistent — say two or three times a week — and hits home, your stakeholders will reward you with loyalty, consistent repeat visits, and most importantly grassroots word of mouth in the form of social shares, email, and plain old conversations.

Your pace makes or breaks you. Be smart.

What would you add?

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  • http://twitter.com/joannefritz Joanne Fritz

    Were you watching me, Geoff? That picture looks like me yesterday…LOL. Fortunately, my platform leans heavily on evergreen material so that saves me frequently. I’ve also been developing an active group of guest writers. That frees me up to cover more relevant and timely sector news. I think it’s important to realize you can’t do it alone, especially if you’re covering a big topic. Thanks for writing about this problem of content fatigue and providing many good suggestions.

    • geofflivingston

      Hahahahaha, I’m so tired. You are lucky that you can use evergreen materials. I am sure you feel this strain as a long term writer. It’s smart to use guest writers!

  • http://pioneeroutfitters.com/AlaskaChickBlog/ Amber-Lee Dibble

    Sigh. All I can say in response is that I AM TRYING! LOL, I want the posts I write to be valuable to the folks that read them. Be it for their own pleasure or for that piece of information they just couldn’t find on (or easily enough on) the website. I am working to allow people to really know us, not just a pretty “store-front” image, but the real life effort that goes into every move we make. To me, that means honesty.

    I received a phone call this morning saying our “Contact Us” form was all html and basically not there, as well as he found us on page 6 of the Google search for a reasonable term. (Sigh.)

    Back to work!

    • geofflivingston

      You know, you can’t win every battle. Forward progress, my friend, forward progress!

  • http://twitter.com/Soulati Jayme Soulati

    Do you post at the same time every day? From where do you get blog fodder? Maybe you can answer that latter Q in Bloggers Unite! as I asked that today and as per this post, the answer is tres relevant! Thanks, Geoff…impressive on the repository; you’re likely one of few who do it, too.

    • geofflivingston

      Thanks, I get the blog fodder by taking notes of striking ideas as I go about my work. So things that are prescient that aren’t necessarily being talked about. I tend to avoid commonly blogged topics intentionally to differentiate.

  • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

    I second Amber’s “try” :) It’s awesome when you can get the time and brainpower to stockpile some posts. I did that recently, I cranked out a bunch of posts on one weekend and filled up most of a month. Now if only someone could figure out a way to stop those months from rolling by so fast…

    • geofflivingston

      No doubt. The time flies too quickly. I am actively rebuilding my repository as we speak for January!

  • http://twitter.com/ExtremelyAvg Brian D. Meeks

    I’ve built a repository in the past and it has been helpful. When I’m using my blog to write novels, though, I avoid the temptation to “save” content, because I know how I am.

    Yesterday, I added 2255 words to my novel last night and I could have easily broken it into two posts, but then I might have gotten lazy, today and written nothing.

    Still, as a general rule, having some extra posts is always a good idea.

    • geofflivingston

      Yeah, novel writing is a different game altogether. I haven’t written one in eight years, so maybe that’ll be a new gig, but I can’t imagine blogging through that. My way of saying, you amaze me!

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  • http://twitter.com/SocialBttrfly Alexandra Bornkessel

    Thanks Geoff! I would add that having a content production plan is important–as well as a content digestion plan. Both can free you from the stress of NOT having one and remove that constant feeling of guilt from being unorganized or behind.

    Scheduling time for reading, and for reading from specific sources is something I realized I need to refine today and wanted to share the tip with others who may relate.

    Cheers,
    Alex

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