cf #25: content fatigue is real, and here's how to deal with it
Welcome to contentfolks—a fortnightly newsletter with short lessons & ideas about content that makes a difference, sparks action, and truly serves its audience. Thank you for being here!
The term ‘content fatigue’ generally describes the exhaustion we get from being surrounded by new! content! at! all! times! and struggling to keep up with it.
…but have you ever experienced ‘content fatigue’ as a creator?
It’s an unpleasant feeling that shows up when you spend weeks, months, or even years thinking/talking/writing about the same topic. If left unaddressed, it can morph into burnout—and you might eventually even want, or need, to quit jobs or clients over it. Been there.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to avoid content fatigue and/or deal with it productively. I’ve got you. Keep reading 😉
Is content fatigue even a thing? (Yes.)
Back in June, as I considered my next career steps, I made a list of what had kept me happy vs. caused unhappiness in previous roles.
It’s a useful exercise I recommend you do every once in a while, even if you’re not actively thinking about changing jobs. At the very least, it helps clarify what you love (and hate) doing, and what you should do more (and less) of.
The feeling I described above as ‘content fatigue’ came up in my top three causes of past unhappiness; but I had never heard anyone else complain about it, so I thought maybe… it was just me?
I figured I’d ask around:
As you probably guess from the number of replies I got, ‘content fatigue’ (and its close cousin, ‘topic fatigue’) definitely affect a lot of content folks out there.
I’ll be honest, it felt reassuring to know I was not alone.
💡 A practical example 💡
Okay, so: the feeling is real. How do you deal with it?
I put together all the recommendations I got and found the following patterns:
Some of these may be easier said than done (not everybody has the budget to bring on new writers or can afford to move on from a current job), but a few solutions here apply to pretty much anyone:
Talking to customers is always a source of fresh insight and will often make you see a topic in a completely new light. Also, a customer’s enthusiasm for your product/service may help reignite yours. Here’s some practical advice to get started.
Focusing on the goals your content achieves can work wonders on motivation—especially when you’re so caught in a plan-write-publish cycle that you temporarily forget why you’re even doing it in the first place.
Finding unique angles to keep it fresh is valuable advice, but not specific enough. Tip: look for a playful angle*** and run with it for a bit, even if it never makes it past the draft stage.
***I once got so tired of writing about heat maps that I spent an evening mocking up a page about wheat maps instead. Obviously it never went anywhere, but it made for a good mental break:
If you have some time, I recommend checking out the entire LinkedIn thread: it’s full of additional advice and pro tips from great folks, and it’s generally good for the soul.
One final thought…
I don’t really see contentfolks as a news-letter, because I don’t tend to share news, updates, or timely links. I think of it more like a letter-letter I send out to my content pals, wherever you may be.
So if you know content fatigue and have some good tips to deal with it, or you’re right in the middle of it and just want somebody to vent to today, send me a letter-letter back. My inbox is open 😊
🇮🇹 PS: I’m taking a break in the next few weeks that will involve copious amounts of pizza, pasta, and gelato. I’ll be back on Sept 29! 🇮🇹