Research shows that American’s stress levels are rising rapidly. The overwhelming number of folks of all ages who report increased stress is the biggest indicator of the need for self-care practices. Whether you’re a self-care aficionado or you’re learning the term for the first time today, this article shares five practical tips for bettering your mental health that can also be applied to content marketing.
What Is Self-Care?
Let’s start with the basics. The term “self-care” is likely already floating around in your subconscious memory as a buzzword seen in advertisements for nail polish, facemasks and maybe a pizza and wine night. Few people in this world would be opposed to an occasional pizza night in, but true self-care practices reach far beyond some light pampering.
The National Institute Of Mental Health defines self-care as the act of consciously delegating time to do things that “help you live well and improve both your physical and mental health.” NIH also shares that mental health is an umbrella term for emotional, psychological and social well-being – tremendous factors in how we think, feel and act. In an increasingly stressful world, self-care is crucial for maintaining your joie de vivre!
At this point you’re probably wondering how content creation fits into this mix. I have been on a self-care journey, and as ever-evolving and personal as it is, there is a foundation to an effective strategy for improving your mental and physical well-being. Along the way I have noticed my work in content marketing benefits from the same principles. The self-care tips discussed in this article will support your personal health as well as your approach to content marketing.
5 Self-Care Tips That Apply To Content Marketing
Identify your needs and research
Growing your background knowledge on self-care practices is incredibly important. The research aspect may be less on the self-care side of things than it is on the content marketing side, but a combination of looking within yourself to identify your personal needs and researching strategies for accomplishing them will set you up for success. One example of this is recognizing your own personal need to combat your anxiety or make time for more physical activity. Researching the harmful effects of prolonged anxiety and lack of physical activity can be noted as a motivator moving forward in your self-care journey. Additionally, you can find endless resources for addressing anxiety and learn the best types of physical activity for yourself to get started. Knowledge is power, and more information will help you create specific goals.
I identified a need for physical activity as a remote worker who sits at a desk for many hours of the day. I didn’t have any specific fitness goals like losing weight or building muscle; I simply wanted more energy. I found on Healthline that cardiovascular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart,and aside from burning calories, it also boosts your mood and decreases stress. The article from Healthine recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity at least five days per week and at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days per week. Now when I set my goals, I know how much time I want to aim for each day and week. I also know I don’t need to worry about strength training just yet, and I can take steps toward healthy movement that’s right for me.
Identify business needs and research
For content marketing, it’s also crucial to identify your needs as a business and research to fill in any gaps in knowledge and accomplish your goals efficiently. There are many forms of content out there from social media posts to videos, e-newsletters and blog articles. Content marketing plays a tremendous role in how you interact with your audience and reach a wider one. If you need a low-cost solution for low brand awareness and better customer relations, one option is to take your business to social media. The top platforms are free and provide an opportunity to create highly shareable content and interact directly with your audience.
According to a recent blog post by Hubspot, “research shows that over 50% of brand reputation comes from online sociability. Being social leads to greater awareness and simply being known.” You’ll have to keep in mind that your social media success is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take time to hone in on your voice and develop appropriate content across the platforms your audience is on. With research, you’ll find that you need to consider several factors moving forward with your content strategy. Hubspot advises you to consider who your target audience is, what problem you aim to solve for your audience(s), what makes your business unique, what content formats you will focus on and what channels you’ll publish on. Researching in the early stages of business will set you up for success.
Set goals and priorities
After you’ve thoughtfully identified your needs – personal and professional – the next step is to create your goals. The Monday Campaigns recently published an article discussing SMART goals, a strategy used to break down your intentions into specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timebound steps. Ultimately, it helps you to clearly map out your path to achieving your goal. They share that “applying the SMART approach to self-care practices is an excellent way to stay focused, relieve stress and establish a strong foundation of security and self-worth.”
Let’s apply the SMART approach to my goal for physical activity. My specific goal is to increase my cardiovascular activity. Since I’m a beginner, I decided to keep it simple with a daily walk or jog at Healthline’s recommended 30 minutes. The next step is to make it measurable by designating a time slot in my calendar to the activity. At the achievable step of SMART goal setting, you’ll have to ask yourself if you can accomplish this goal. If not, the next step is to adjust the goal to make it more realistic. Finally, you’ll “establish a greater time-frame for achieving your specific goal.” Since I’m a beginner, I think I can ease into this goal by aiming for 15 minutes of walking five days per week. That’s more realistic for me at this stage. The article recommends aiming for a commitment to 24 weeks. Since 15 minutes is not a huge chunk of time in the grand scheme of things, I want to increase my activity to 30 minutes per day after 2 weeks.
Mental Health First Aid from The National Council For Mental Wellbeing shared a list of possible self care goals:
- Take care of your physical and psychological health.
- Manage and reduce stress.
- Recognize your emotional and spiritual needs.
- Foster and sustain relationships.
- Achieve balance in different areas of your life.
These will all contribute to a happier and healthier life, but doing your research in step one will help you create your specific goals and achieve them carefully and deliberately.
Setting content marketing goals
Three Girls’ CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery, wrote an article that helps you apply SMART goals to your marketing strategy for optimum success. She shares that without a strategic marketing plan, “you will waste time and money trying to achieve a goal that isn’t clearly set. Poor marketing plans are a reason many companies fail to achieve their business goals.” She goes on to prioritize goal-setting “prior to thinking about strategy or implementation” as it will help you define aspects of your marketing plan throughout the development process and lead you to clear and strategic execution.
“Think about where you want your business to be at in several years. How much do you want to grow? What kind of revenue do you want to be seeing? While thinking about these questions, lay out your goals using the SMART format.”
Clearly, goal setting is an important factor to achieving success. Mapping out your path has huge benefits in your personal life and in business.
Develop a plan
After you identify your needs and set goals, you’ll be well on your way to constructing a plan. There are a lot of moving parts in practicing self-care and in content marketing, so it’s important to be mindful of each detail.
Very Well Mind shares steps for building your self-care plan in addition to assessing your needs and creating goals. You’ll also want to identify your stressors, plan for challenges and take small steps while considering the different areas of your life that will benefit from changed behavior. The article lists the different types of self-care as physical, social, mental, spiritual and emotional. The article goes on to say that “the demands of your daily life can dictate what type of self-care you might need the most. A self-care plan for a busy college student who feels mentally stimulated all the time and has a bustling social life might need to emphasize physical self-care. A retired person, on the other hand, may need to incorporate more social self-care into their schedule to make sure that their social needs are being met.” Everyone is different, but each of the five types of self-care flow into each other, so as you begin your journey, you may find out more about your specific needs as you explore different changes.
Developing your marketing plan
In Erika Taylor Montgomery’s article, after discussing SMART goal setting as part of your marketing plan, the next steps are developing a SWOT analysis, identifying your target audience and actually creating your marketing campaign. In content marketing, just like in self-care practices, there are several moving parts and finding the flow of each is going to strengthen your strategy.
Ask for help
Along your journey in self-care, you will likely face challenges – that’s okay! No one is perfect and no one has to be. As human beings, we are not meant to face challenges alone. Helping each other is part of the joie de vivre! You are never alone. Whether you need time spent with loved ones, advice from a trusted friend or mentor or even help from a professional, making time and finding the courage to do so will only benefit your well-being. Support from other people can look like a lot of different things.
Study Finds recently presented results of a 2022 study on Americans and their willingness to “ask for help when starting something new and how they rely on their support system in life.” It found that:
Seventy-three percent don’t ask for help before they absolutely need it.
Half of respondents wait to ask for help until it starts to become too overwhelming, eight percent ask when it’s too late and they can’t continue, and 13 percent say they never ask for help at all. Only 27 percent of Americans ask for guidance before they start something new. The survey also found that 53 percent feel held back from achieving certain goals in their lives because they try to go at it alone.
These numbers are devastating! I think most folks would agree that they hope their loved ones reach out in times of need – no matter the issue. Part of practicing self-care is developing your support system and remaining active in them in a healthy manner. You can learn more about the benefits of a social support system and how to build and maintain them in this resource by the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. Additionally, Mental Health America also provides a guide for seeking out professional mental health support. If you didn’t know already, you do not have to be in a crisis to reach out for help.
Asking for help in content marketing
The overwhelming majority of businesses and marketers have a content marketing plan in place. If you lack the time or expertise to develop an effective strategy and create the content, consider outsourcing your needs. A recent article by Marketing Insider Group shared that “over 70% of brands now hire someone to manage their content creation and distribution to make sure it’s professionally executed.” The article goes on to list some major benefits of outsourcing your content creation. This includes:
- Having more time to work on strategy and other business objectives
- Benefitting from fresh ideas and different viewpoints
- Content will be produced and published more efficiently
- Reaching a wider audience
- Testing out a variety of content types
- Proving the ROI of outsourcing
- Executing your marketing strategy and meeting goals faster
Three Girls’ Director of Marketing and PR, Naomi Shapiro, recently wrote an article to help you decide whether or not outsourcing your marketing efforts is sensible for your brand. Let it guide you through your decision-making process.
Be open to trial and error
Finally, be open to trial and error in your self-care journey. Everyone is different, and there is no textbook for navigating life’s challenges. In time, small actions will have a tremendous impact! Your efforts alone are something to be proud of.
The same goes for content marketing. Your business may need a rebrand for whatever reason down the road. The market and consumer needs are constantly shifting, and preparing for those changes can make or break your success.
Do You Need Help With Your Content Marketing?
Need a hand with consistent, compelling content creation? Contact Three Girls Media today for a complimentary, 30-minute consultation to discuss ways we can help make your business shine.