Anybody who publishes content online is going to feel the pressures of creator burnout eventually. Then why do we leave creators to find the solution to ending creator burnout on their own?
An everyone problem needs an everyone solution.
When we discuss creator burnout, it’s usually creator focused. “What can you do as a creator to not get to that point?” This conversation is helpful, but it’ll never solve the problem.
Apologies for the dramatic comparison, but I liken it to the conversation surrounding climate change.
It’s a problem that effects every person, made much worse by corporations at the top setting policies. Yet, the only tangible solution ends up with fingers pointed at consumers using plastic straws.
I’d argue that a true solution to ending creator burnout will be a team effort.
What Can Creators Do?
Firstly, every single creator should acknowledge that they are not immune to creator burnout.
Many of us – myself included – think that they can just keep going without feeling the effects of burnout. That type of approach typically leads to the burnout being much harder to recover from.
Part of accepting this vulnerability is to make it much easier to see creator burnout coming.
Signs of Creator Burnout to Look Out For
- Procrastination (more than usual)
- Comparing yourself to other creators
- Frustration when you try to write/create
- Negative or Pessimistic tones in your content
- Lots of new ideas in brand new niches (Distractions)
Small Steps to Avoid Creator Burnout
- Focus on better sleep
- Start a mini passion project
- Be friends with other creators
- Curate your feeds to remove pessimistic people
But it’s not only up to the creators to approach things better. After all, these platforms are designed in a way to incentivize all the wrong things.
How the Platforms Can Help
The future is full of new platforms that will be designed in ways that help creators. You only need to read about Web3 for a little while to see those initiatives shining through.
But what can our current leading platforms do to make things healthier for creators?
What Got Us Here?
The “problem” with current platforms is that most of them were built with advertising at the forefront of monetization.
The platforms sell advertising space to brands to showcase their ads on or around your content. This siloed approach led to most platforms focusing on a single metric – how long eyeballs are on the screen, or retention.
Of course, uneven distribution of wealth is a big part of the issues we face now as a creator economy. The major platforms take in exorbitant amounts of money, and keep the majority. The payouts going to creators are marginal in comparison to the take-home of the platforms.
Web3 opens up new opportunities in this area, but there are still actions that the current platforms can take.
Creator Support Features
Major platforms can help more creators make a living by implementing things like:
- Tip Jars
- Native Crowdfunding
- Transparent Algorithms
- Direct Sponsorship Connections
- Clear and Constant Communication with creators
- Built in Marketplaces for Merchandise
- Built in Tools for Content Repurposing
And what would be even more helpful would be platforms moving away from the incentives that got us here.
Content platforms should stop:
- Punishing outbound links
- Using momentum based analytics
- Aggressively prioritizing paid content
- Unannounced algorithm changes that effect discoverability
All that being said, no matter what changes come to these algorithms, they’ll “hacked”. Creators and “growth-hackers” will ultimately game the system, and skew the algorithms further to benefit that growth.
Therefore, creators who already have a following can play a major role in re-shaping how we interact with content.
How Successful Creators Can Help
Creators who already have a foothold with an audience can do a lot to help the creators who are just starting out.
If You’re Sharing Advice, Share the Nuance Behind It Too
First, if you are sharing advice with other creators – be honest.
It’s easy to share snappy advice that misses a lot of nuance. These are fine, but be sure to balance that with regular caveats and honest admission of faults, missteps, and muddy details.
No matter how your growth happened, always stay anchored to the luck involved, and don’t mislead those trying to follow your footsteps.
Make Direct Connections
There’s a through-line I see in every creator who amasses a big following. When they first started, they connected with and became friends with other creators who were just starting out. This allowed them to grow together.
Once you grow together, you should go out of your way to reach back down to brand new creators and really dig in to 1:1 advice. Without charging for it.
Some creators go the route of offering “consulting” services, and that’s fine. Those who are willing to pay for it will find you.
But I want to encourage more creators to start conversations at random with smaller creators who impress you. Dig in to what they do, offer advice you have, and lift them up a little.
Do this once in a while, and you’ll help more creators reach the point where organic growth actually exists. Even better, you’ll feel more satisfaction out of your time online.
Rallying the Team is the Hardest Part
Ending creator burnout can’t happen overnight. Chances are, it’s not something that can be eradicated entirely. But making any progress will be a team effort.
Unfortunately, the real work for any team sport is rallying the team together. Putting egos aside and aligning your incentives to win is difficult.
Some players are looking for their first shot. Others are trying to impress varsity scouts. Some, just trying to make a buck.
Put all of that aside, and let’s just try to all help each other win the game.
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This essay was first shared in the “Creator’s Notes” Newsletter.
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