Sit down for a minute, kids. We have something serious to discuss with you.
While we dearly love to give advice on content topics like good email marketing and share photos of our adorable pets, we have no problem tackling the tough stuff on our blog, too. And this post is about something very important to us that is not always easy to discuss: mental health.
“Okay, so mental health is important to you. But you’re a content and copy studio. Why discuss it on your site?”
Fair question. Suffice it to say that the shitshow of 2020 was so harsh and long-lasting that it started to impact our work. (Jess here: Latasha in particular had to endure so many stressful family crises, one after the other, that I’m not sure how she made it through each day. Her strength is awe-inspiring.)
Basically, the answer to the question is that mental health matters to us. We’re talking about it because we’re sure we’re not the only ones who struggled to maintain over the past year and a half. You just might need guidance on balancing mental health with creating content. And that’s what we’re here for.
*Disclaimer: Please remember that we are not mental health experts, although we may play them on TV. We want to discuss mental health as it relates to our jobs as content creators.
First, reevaluate your online presence
You don’t have to be online 24/7. You don’t have to physically be online all the time to maintain an online presence. Your opt-ins, social media engagement, and blog post views can keep working their magic without you constantly checking your numbers.
That means that you can cut the internet out of your life when needed. Bold strategy, we know. If being online is making you feel anxious, stressed out, or negatively affecting you in any way, give yourself a break. We promise the world won’t end, and your business will be okay.
If the thought of leaving emails and messages and comments unanswered online makes you panic, have a backup plan. Assign someone on your team to monitor and reply when necessary (or maybe hire a new VA who can help if you don’t have someone already). Set up a temporary out-of-office message.
Also, if you take a break that lasts longer than a few days, be prepared for your numbers to dip. Your site traffic, engagement, follower count, video views, etc. Remind yourself that it’s okay. And you can employ some strategies to prevent your numbers from taking too deep a dive.
Work on and schedule content ahead of time
If you know us, you know that we are huge fans of planning ahead. Planning ahead reduces stress and makes it easier to stick to deadlines. (We love a good deadline, because deadlines = boundaries!)
When you plan, create, and schedule your content in advance, that means you don’t have to waste as much time online. Time frantically searching for a blog post topic or a decent social media post idea at the last minute. Time spent wondering if your content is relevant or outdated or off-brand.
Take our oft-repeated content planning advice, please. Brainstorm content by quarter, outline it and get started two months in advance, and finalize drafts about a month ahead. Once it’s fully drafted a month ahead, then schedule it. Boom, you’re done.
Have backup content ready
Though we suggest not scheduling content too far in advance, which can cause more work when you have to go back and edit things (we’ve learned this the hard way multiple times), we do recommend having a cache of backup content handy.
What kind of backup content might you have ready to go? Tutorials, in-depth FAQs, ultimate guides on a specific topic, checklists, and case studies are just a few examples. These are all, by the way, examples of evergreen content, too.
Your backup content should stand the test of time with minimal edits and updates. When you’re taking an emergency break from the internet or stumped on what content to share, pull one of your backups from the vault, read through it for accuracy and appropriateness (don’t skip your publishing process) and then send it into the void.
Let someone else take the reins
Can’t muster up the energy to bring yourself back online? We’ve been there. We get it. If you’re not ready, give yourself more time. If you’ve already followed our other advice about scheduling in advance and sharing evergreen content, you can also let someone else take over content duties for you.
If you work with a team, maybe that someone is a writer or editor or social media specialist. You might even hire a freelancer or contractor to handle content in the interim.
If you run your biz solo, think about partnering up with people in your circles to take over your social media or publish guest blog posts. These strategies are great because you expose your brand to a new, complementary target audience and keep your online presence…well, online.
Be honest about taking a break
Look, if you’re struggling and need a break to care for your mental health, it’s perfectly okay to be honest about it with your clients, audience, and social media followers. Anyone who doesn’t understand — or pretends to be accommodating but badmouths you behind your back — is someone you probably shouldn’t pay attention to. Or work with.
You don’t have to dish out every single personal detail to strangers online, but being transparent about your mental health can feel cathartic. (Latasha recently shared about her mental health journey on her personal Insta.) Plus, lots of people are feeling the same way! They’ll relate to you. You might even inspire someone else to take a much-needed break of their own.
Create a short and sweet message about your hiatus and pin it to the top of your Facebook page or Twitter feed. Share it in a post on Instagram. Post a little disclaimer on your website’s contact page and use it as an automated email message. That way your audience knows that you haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth.
Make the most out of your time online
When you are ready to come back online, come back with a purpose. Have a task or goal to focus on so that you don’t spend hours doom-scrolling news feeds. Turn on screen time notifications or app limits if that helps you stay mindful of your time, too.
We hope that this posts reminded you that:
- While beneficial for your biz, the internet can be a huge energy suck
- You can take a break and keep doling out content
- You’re not alone
Take care of yourselves, okay?