As a creator, being your own boss has its perks. It means that nothing can stop you from seeing a movie at noon on a Tuesday. But it also means you might find yourself editing a video at 2am on Saturday so it can post by the 9am deadline a brand has given you.
With the lines between their work and life becoming increasingly blurred, creators are facing mental health concerns, including burnout. So much of a creator’s work is documenting their personal life, which includes weekends, nights, and yes, vacations. (Looking at you, travel creators.) In fact, this mounting pressure has led many creators who found fame and success on YouTube to take extended hiatuses or even quit altogether.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Planning your content calendar strategically can prevent self-care from falling to the wayside.
Creating a consistent but balanced schedule, building a content pipeline, and finding new ways to repurpose existing content can help you grow your platform while staying healthy throughout your career as a content creator.
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Consistent content doesn’t have to mean constant
Creators who are just starting out will often hear “post as often as you can.” This constantly-on approach can often lead to a calendar you can’t maintain. Instead of delivering new content everyday, start out slow. One post a week is a good cadence to help you gauge what is manageable. You can always post more when you’re ready.
Creator and licensed therapist Kati Morton is an expert in balance. Her channel explores a variety of topics in mental health and well-being—she even has an entire series exploring burnout. Kati has experienced burnout as a practicing psychiatrist and as a creator. In her own life, she balances work and self-care by incorporating non-negotiable breaks for herself and sticking to a regular schedule of posting new videos on Tuesdays.
Consistency doesn’t have to mean sharing content at the exact same time every week, though. Some creators post at intervals that make sense for the type of content they create. Tech reviewer Marques Brownlee tends to post content in line with major brand product drops or announcements. Immediately following Apple’s September product event, he released review videos on each of the new offerings; timing the content with a news moment allows his content to be readily accessible for viewers looking for timely reviews. Still, he doesn’t post every day, which ensures downtime.
Ease anxieties by getting ahead
Once you’ve established a posting calendar that works for you, apply a forward-looking lens to your posting calendar and establish a backlog of content. As you develop your content pipeline, you’ll be churning out a high volume of posts, but this upfront work is a worthwhile investment. It can enable you to be more selective about brand opportunities. Instead of agreeing to whatever comes your way because you need to make money, you can decide what authentically aligns with your interests and values.
A thoughtful content pipeline can also make it easier to step away if you need a break. Instead of panicking about losing subscribers, you can schedule posts ahead of time or have everything ready to go so all you have to do is hit “Share.” Each time you take a break, you can rest assured that your audience will continue to see new content—consistently.
Take Good Mythical Morning: this long-standing YouTube favorite films their content in advance. In order to publish on the day of a major holiday or birthday, the duo records ahead of the actual event. This schedule enables them to current with cultural moments while avoiding a mad dash to record and edit content.
Other creators who specialize in long-form content often take lengthier breaks between posts. Feature-film length video essays require lots of careful planning and research which is easily enabled by a more spread out posting schedule. Creators like Jenny Nicholson and Kevin Perjurer who specialize in this form of content have found it as an effective way to mitigate burnout and rely on a dedicated smaller audience.
Stretch your content, expand your reach
Now that you’ve worked hard on your core content, make your content work for you. YouTube videos are incredibly versatile. Build a robust content calendar across other platforms that allows you to use your YouTube content in new and engaging ways.
For example, as a YouTube creator, TikTok might not be your cup of tea; short-form content is its own beast, and can be a daunting task for those who are new to the platform. But dedicating time to this growing social channel can help you grow your audiences. Over the course of just one year, the time users spent with the app grew by 48%—and the trend continues to trickle upwards. Over 50% of internet users in the United States are already on the platform; a figure that’s even higher among some generations, like Gen Z.
To expand your audience and leverage existing content in new places, splice and stitch your longer YouTube videos into shorter pieces of content for TikTok—you can even repost them back on YouTube as Shorts for even greater reach.
Attract new fans by getting people interested in what you have to say and prompting them to make the jump to YouTube. Creators like Loren Gray and Baby Ariel who have found success on TikTok have built comparably successful YouTube channels. You can make the reverse happen, too.
Whether you choose to work 9-to-5 or 5-to-9, a thoughtful content calendar—complete with forward-looking preparation and strategic repurposing—can help make sure your career as a content creator survives the long haul.
The balance between keeping up engagement and giving yourself rest can be a tough one to strike. Remember, you don’t need to post constantly to be successful. Take a more measured approach that prioritizes thoughtfulness so you can keep creating the content your audience loves.