A Musician’s Guide to Avoiding Burnout

Social media has made it possible for just about anyone to pursue a career in music. There are so many platforms now that allow you to market directly to your target audience, and more than ever, you’re in the driver’s seat of your career. Sure, labels can help with big picture marketing strategies, but when it comes to developing a fanbase, that’s all on you. And that can be an exciting thing! You can be your authentic self and tap into various niches on different social media platforms, building long-lasting fan relationships with people who are truly interested in you and your music. 

That journey to building a dedicated fan base can take a lot of time and effort though. And even if it’s something you typically enjoy doing, the energy that you put in can really start to take a toll. You put hours and hours into your strategy, perfecting your content, stressing over the right time to post, watching your notifications like a hawk, constantly scrolling through feeds trying to find new fans and new ideas; it’s on your mind all day, every day. 

That’s when the burnout hits. You’re exhausted. Even when your ideas and strategies are working, you’re stressed out. What if people stop caring? What if my next post gets no views? You’re already putting all your time into this, but if you can just focus a little more and try a little harder, results will be better and you can finally relax and take a break. Success is a moving target though, so the cycle repeats itself and the anxiety and exhaustion never end. 

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are plenty of actions musicians who market themselves online can take to manage and avoid burnout.

Make a Plan

Getting organized and working ahead of yourself is the first step in preventing the chaos and stress that can cause burnout. Every month, sit down and think about, realistically, where you’d like to be at the end of the month in terms of growth. Then work backwards to determine the steps you’ll need to get there. This doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed - think of it more as an outline. Then at the top of every week, reference that outline to determine the individual tasks you’ll need to tackle that week.

This way, not only do you avoid starting from scratch every day, but you’re forcing yourself to think of the bigger picture in your strategy, making sure everything you do is moving you closer towards your goals.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

With so many different avenues available for you to connect with fans, it’s easy to think that you have to include them all in your strategy. And that makes sense - name any social media platform and there’s surely a long list of artists who have found fame from it, so why shouldn’t you cover your bases and be active on all of them?

Not to state the obvious, but you only have so many hours in the day. So instead of splitting those hours between 8 different platforms, focus only on the ones that suit your voice, brand, skills, and most importantly, your target audience. For instance, if you and your fans are under 30, there’s probably no need to waste your time on Facebook. And if you’ve got a quick wit and your fans value fun banter, Twitter might be a great platform to include. So figure out which platforms your fans are using and which ones you’re most likely to succeed with, then lean into just those.

That doesn’t mean you need to completely ignore all other platforms though, which brings us to our next point…

Repurpose What You’ve Got

Don’t be afraid to reuse content. The internet is vast and even a viral video will only be seen by a fraction of it. So, maximize your potential by reposting your content wherever it makes sense. Your TikTok videos can and should go up on Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, and Instagram posts can be automatically shared to Facebook and repurposed on Twitter. That way, you’re covering multiple platforms without doubling up the time and effort by creating specific strategies for each.

You can repurpose what you’ve got on a single platform too. Let’s take TikTok as an example. People are getting bombarded with an endless feed of content on their For You Page, so even when they watch and engage with your video, they move on quickly to countless others right after. Use that to your advantage and create multiple videos out of one piece of content. Experiment with different hooks, different sounds, and edits. Most users won’t be seeing each video one after the other, so there’s no reason to worry about creating fatigue or annoying your fans and potential fans. 

With this, one piece of content can stretch much further than a single post, saving you from having to think of and create brand new content for every post.

Schedule Your Time 

Another important piece of the puzzle to avoiding burnout is to schedule your time. It’s so easy to jump back and forth between a million different things throughout the day, but that doesn’t give you the time to really dig in and get focused on each thing, often leaving you feeling like you haven’t really done anything more than surface level tasks at the end of the day.

Instead, break your work day into different chunks of time:

  • Planning - Set time every day to either work through you big picture plan for the month, or to specify the smaller weekly and daily tasks within that plan
  • Content Creation - Take the content ideas from your plan and set a regular time every day or week to film. This way, you can be more mentally prepared every time you sit down in front of your camera.
  • Engaging - Communicating with your fans outside of just the content you post is incredibly important, but can also be incredibly exhausting. Set one hour every day to look through and respond to your notifications and messages, as well as to engage with other users’ content. Engaging online is still a form of socializing, and requires a certain level of energy, this can save you the stress of having to be “on” at all times. 

Take Time Away

This may very well be the most important thing you can do to avoid burnout. Even though your music career is your passion, it’s also very much a full-time career. So make sure you’ve got a healthy work/life balance. In your plan for every month, make sure you’re leaving plenty of room to disconnect. Turn off notifications and meet up with your friends or binge a new show. 

All the progress you’ve made won’t disappear if you look away - your fans will still be there in the morning. Take care of yourself so you can have the energy to be there too! 

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