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Episode 116: How to Create Meaningful Content without Burning Yourself Out

Content marketing is a fantastic way to build relationships with the people we want to serve. At the same time, it can be a straight path to burnout without the proper support. Today we’re talking about the Content Cycle and how understanding its phases can support you at every stage of your content journey.

116: How to Create Meaningful Content without Burning Yourself Out

When content is a significant part of marketing your coaching business, burnout is a genuine threat. In my experience, regularly creating original content for your people takes a lot of time, energy, and, in some cases, money. That's why it's essential to be mindful of our content creation process.

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Show Notes

When content is a significant part of marketing your coaching business, burnout is a genuine threat.

In my experience, regularly creating original content for your people takes a lot of time, energy, and, in some cases, money. That’s why it’s essential to be mindful of our content creation process.

Today we’re exploring how to design a system that supports you in creating content through the lens of what I call the Content Cycle. Developing a deep understanding of that cycle has been a critical tool for me, and it’s my secret to creating content without burning out.

I truly hope that learning about the content cycle will be a freeing experience for you and that it will help you approach both content creation and consumption mindfully.

As you reflect on the cycle in your business, if you find yourself stuck and want a little bit of guidance on breaking through, send me a DM on Instagram (@CoachWithClarity). I’d love to hear your stuck points and see how we can work through it together. Enjoy the episode!

Topics covered

  • The role of content marketing and relationship marketing in my business
  • How you can benefit from understanding the content cycle
  • Managing the risk of getting stuck in content consumption mode
  • Creating a system to help you actively integrate the content you consume
  • How I create mindful space in the content cycle
  • My approach to content creation
  • Communicating about your content
  • How to use an anchor piece of content

Resources mentioned

Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!

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Want to work together? Learn about Coach with Clarity here!




Well, hello, my friend. Welcome to the Coach with Clarity Podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough, I'm your host, and I am so glad you are here with me today. It is a gorgeous Saturday afternoon here in New Bern, North Carolina when I am recording this episode. And yes, I am here working on a weekend. But I actually really love creating content and recording my podcast episodes on the weekend. Because my office in downtown historic New Bern is really quiet, I think I might be the only person on the entire floor. And so I love coming in on the weekends, I love my little office every time I walk into it, it just makes me happy. And so quite honestly, it doesn't even feel like work. When I come here, spend an hour or so creating new content, new podcast episodes, new downloads, all of that feels fun, especially when I imagine that you are literally sitting in the chair right in front of me. It's this really cute black and white striped upholstered chair. And I really do imagine that you are sitting right there. And we are talking about whatever topic it is I'm sharing about today. Now, of course, if you were here, it would definitely be more of a dialogue, not a monologue. And I would be able to answer any questions you had in real time. But since we can't do that, as you're listening today, if you notice that you have any thoughts, any questions, anything you want to share, I would absolutely love to hear that. And the best way you can share your thoughts, your questions your ideas with me, is by following me over on Instagram, I'm @CoachWithClarity, and you can send me a DM or leave a comment on one of my posts, I would absolutely love to continue the conversation with you there. Or if you're not on Instagram, feel free to email me at I would love to hear what you think of the show and if you have any ideas about things you'd like to learn more about on future episodes. 


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Click to read the entire transcript

So today, I'm really excited because we are going to cover something that I think is super important for those of us who create content as part of our marketing plan. Content marketing and relationship based marketing are the two primary ways that I market my business. So relationship marketing is exactly what it sounds like. It's building relationships with people in the entrepreneurial space. Sometimes they may become my client, more often than not, though, they become a trusted referral source. And so building relationships with people is my number one strategy when it comes to marketing my business. And connected to that is content marketing. Content marketing is where we share information, whether it's in a blog post, or a podcast or some other medium. And that information serves our ideal clients. Now, I think they're highly connected, because we can use content marketing strategies to build relationships with the people we want to serve. And that's been one of the best parts about hosting a podcast is that I have been able to use this platform and create content and build relationships with you, with my guests and with the greater Coach with Clarity community. So while I may talk about relationship marketing and content marketing separately, I do see them as being linked, or at least the potential is there to use your content to build deeper relationships. And that's why it is so important to have a strategy around creating meaningful content without burning yourself out. Because I can tell you from personal experience, creating original content for your people on a regular basis can take a lot of energy. Sometimes it can take a lot of time. Or if you're outsourcing it, it might take a lot of money. And so that's why we want to be really thoughtful about our process for creating content. So we do it in a way that maximizes its value without requiring more time, energy and money than we're willing to invest. Because when we are overtaxed in any one of those areas, we're either spending too much time, too much energy, or too much money. That is a recipe for burnout. And it's going to keep you from being able to create consistent content. So that's why today we are exploring how to create meaningful content without burning yourself out. In order to create a system that supports you in creating content, I first want to share with you what I call the content cycle and there are four C's to the content cycle. When you know and understand the content cycle, it becomes easier to situate yourself to create really valuable content time and time again. It's also important to understand the relationship between the four C's in the content cycle, because sometimes it's hard to do more than one C at a time. And we'll dive into that as I walk you through the cycle. So let's start with the first C of the content cycle and that is consumption. So when we consume content, we are the recipient of whatever information we are gaining through whatever medium we're using. So if you are reading a blog post or a book, if you are listening to a podcast, watching a YouTube video, watching a tutorial, anything you're doing where you are receiving information, you are consuming content. When I started my business back in 2016, I did a lot of content consumption, I was trying to figure out and literally teach myself how to start and grow my own coaching practice. And so I was highly reliant on content, mostly free, though some paid. And then I was consuming all of this content in an effort to learn what the best practices were when it came to starting and running an online coaching business. So I want to say right off the bat, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this phase of the cycle, each one of us will go through phases in our business, where it is appropriate to anchor ourselves in the content consumption phase of the content cycle. The issue I see, though, is that many entrepreneurs and many coaches get stuck here, they're constantly looking for answers, they want to do things the right way, they don't want to make a mistake or to fail. And so they think if I can just learn more, then I'm going to be okay, then I can move forward and I won't screw things up. And this can lead to overconsumption, and overconsumption can lead to overwhelm, overwhelm can lead to paralysis, and then we don't move forward. So that's why it's really important that when we enter the content cycle at the consumption phase, we carve out time for the second phase of the cycle, which is content connection. This is the point where we are integrating the content or information we've received. So instead of just listening to podcast after podcast, instead of just watching YouTube video after YouTube video, we are pausing to actively integrate all of that information we're receiving. We are weighing it for its relevance to the work we do. We are mining it for those nuggets that we can incorporate into our businesses. And we are being really intentional about selecting what additional content we may need to consume in order to fill in any gaps. Now, there are some lucky people out there for whom this content connection phase is automatic. When they listen to something or when they watch something or read something, they are automatically thinking, “Okay, what of this do I want to take and apply? What of this do I want to leave behind? What might need to be modified for my use?” And for some people, they do that automatically. But for most of us, we need to actually create a system that allows us to critically examine the content we're consuming and to decide, “What do I want to keep? What do I want to modify? What do I want to release?” and that is the connection part of the content. We are making our own connections between different pieces of content we're consuming, and we're figuring out how to make it work for us. When we have a really clear protocol for integrating that knowledge, it prevents us from getting overwhelmed and burned out. In fact, I was talking with a friend of mine, a colleague, who mentioned to me that when she gets stuck in the content consumption part of the cycle, she finds that not only does it make her feel overwhelmed, she's also comparing herself to all of the other coaches and content creators out there. So in addition to feeling completely overwhelmed and paralyzed, now she's also judging herself for not creating content that's as powerful as what she's consuming. And so you can see we can really get ourselves in a vicious cycle here, where we're constantly consuming, and we're not making those connections and deciding for ourselves, “What of this resonates with me, and what of this can I leave behind?” That's why the content connection phase is such a critical part of the content cycle. So when you are consuming content in an effort to learn something new, or to gain a new tactic to use inside your business, once you've read that blog post or listened to that podcast or watched that video, I really encourage you to take a few minutes and establish some connections. Whether you write that down in a journal or you use your notes app on your phone, whatever works for you, but jot down the key takeaways that you found useful from that content. And think about if, when, and how you might want to apply that suggestion, that strategy, that tool in your business. This does not have to take a huge amount of time, I promise. I'm not asking you to write a book report on a blog post. But I am asking you to give yourself two or three minutes after you consume a piece of content to make those connections. Note any takeaways, any aha moments, any tools or strategies you might want to apply in your business. Note anything that didn't sit well with you, that rubbed you the wrong way, and that you wouldn't want to incorporate in your work, jot down any additional reflections or notes. And just give yourself a beat before you move on to the next blog post or podcast episode. I have started a practice recently, where after I listen to a podcast episode, before I move on to another one, I literally press the pause button on my phone or in my car, and I just take a breath, I take a beat, I give myself a moment to integrate that knowledge. Sometimes I'll do it formally, I’ll jot down those takeaways and those tactics, sometimes I'll open up the Voice Memo app on my phone and leave myself a voice recording. But I really slow the process down so that I'm not just binging content, without leaving that room to make those connections and to encourage integration. So if you have a habit of listening to podcast episode after podcast episode, or if you have your YouTube set up so that it automatically follows with another video, I would invite you to join me in just pressing the pause button, if only for a few seconds, where we create some mindful space between each piece of content. Because in that space, then we can decide “How do I want to use this?” and “Do I really want to rush into something new?” Oftentimes, we get that sense of overwhelm, because we are rushing right into the next thing right into the next episode or video or blog post. And that can be a lot. So I encourage you as you're doing this content connection phase of the cycle, take a beat, allow yourself time to really think about what you've just read or heard. And then you can decide if you want to go back and consume another piece of content. Or if you're ready to move to the third phase of the content cycle, which is creation. This is the point at which you are creating your own content. And I placed it after the content connection phase on purpose, because much of the content we create will be informed by what we've already learned and what we've experienced. That's why it is so important to give yourself time to create that integration from the content you're consuming and the experiences you're having. Because that will enhance your content creation. Now I know when I talk about creating content that can seem like a really huge task. And actually, I would suggest if you haven't already listened to Episode 95, which is my interview with Abby Herman, all about what content actually is, and how to create content in your business. Definitely check that episode out. Abby is a phenomenal resource when it comes to content. It's why the name of her business is The Content Experiment, that's also the name of her podcast, which you should definitely check out. But I think you'll find in Episode 95, Abby provides a really dynamic and broad ranging definition of what content is. And while yes, it may be a fully produced podcast episode, it may also just be a one sentence response on a social media post. So definitely set aside a little time to listen to Episode 95 of the Coach with Clarity Podcast, I think you'll find it really helpful. I also find it helpful to have some systems that I can follow when I am creating content. And I know I've shared in the past my approach to creating content for this podcast. It starts with brain releasing all of the ideas I have for possible topics. Some of those I create, some of them are based on feedback I get from you, which is why I love hearing from you so much. I can't tell you how helpful it is to know that there's a specific question or issue you would like to see explored on the podcast, because that gives me a running start when it comes to creating content, versus staring at a blank Google Doc on my computer screen, wondering what it is I'm going to talk about this week. So definitely keep the ideas and feedback coming. But once I have a list of possible topics to explore in the podcast, I then create an editorial calendar, so I have a rough idea of what I'll be covering over the next two to three months. And then I record my podcast episodes a few weeks in advance, ideally. Tthere have been times where I've cut it a little closer than that. But I do try to batch record episodes, and have a few done at a time, whether it's solo episodes or interviews. I do try to get my episodes recorded a couple of weeks before their release date. So once I know the topic for the episode I'm about to record, I then create a very rough outline. I am not one to script my episodes. I've tried that before, way back with my first podcast Work Your Inner Wisdom. I think some of those earlier episodes were 100% scripted and it was essentially me reading into a microphone. Now I'm a pretty good reader, I credit my Bachelor's in Dramatic Arts for that. But even still, I can always tell when someone is reading from a script versus speaking a little extemporaneously. So that's why I like to have a general outline where I have the basic bullet points, I know what it is I want to talk about, but I haven't fully scripted it. I trust that if I am looking at this chair and imagining that you are sitting in it, I can simply speak to you about a given topic and I'm going to hit all the highlights because I've written them down in advance, but the how and the details those will come after I hit record. So knock on wood that's worked for me so far. And if you are a podcast or video creator, you might find that works well too. Now with blog posts, I definitely find outlining to be helpful. Now once I start writing, sometimes I find that a section needs to be earlier or later. Sometimes I move things around. But it's always helpful to have a general outline to start with. Then once you've created that piece of content, whether it's a blog post, or a podcast episode or a video, there are countless ways that you can repurpose that content and share it with your audience. This is also something Abby talks about in Episode 95, so go check it out if you haven't already. But keep in mind that that one blog post or that one podcast episode can become multiple social media posts, or Twitter posts, you can create relevant Reels or Tik Tok videos about it. So that one piece of content can be leveraged on multiple platforms in different ways in order to get your message out to the most number of people. 

And now I'm starting to head into the fourth phase of the content cycle, which is communication. Once you have created that piece of content, you're going to want to share it with them. And that's the communication phase of the cycle. That's where we are taking the content we've created and we are disseminating it so that people can watch read or listen to it. And that's also why content repurposing is so important, because it helps us spread the word about what we've created. Now it gets a little meta here, because as we're communicating about our content, we're creating new content around it. As I'm sharing about this podcast episode, I'm creating a social media posts to do so. So we get a little meta here. This is where the content creation and content communication phases can kind of circle back on each other. And that's totally fine. Now, you may have created an anchor piece of content. This is something that you are constantly directing people back to it could be a solo podcast episode or maybe it's a series of episodes. As an example, when I launched the Coach with Clarity Podcast back in 2020. I created the Getting Started series. So basically episodes 3 through 13 are designed to walk people through exactly how to start a coaching business. I have some coaching calls interspersed in that series as examples of the content that I was talking about in previous episodes. But I essentially created a mini series within my podcast and that has become an anchor piece of content for me that entire series, also oh right back in 2019, I published my first book ACT On Your Business. Now that was a significant piece of content, I mean, a book, my goodness, and I am still talking about it today. Just this week, I did several podcast interviews on other people's podcasts, all about my book and the three M's. So even three years, three and a half years after publication, I am still communicating about that piece of content. And that's the beautiful thing about creating content is that you can always promote it, you can always communicate about it. Sure, there may be some blog posts that you might want to update. Or if the information is completely outdated, maybe you create a new blog post or podcast episode. But if it's not, if it's good, solid, fundamental information that is always true and always relevant, you can continue to communicate about that piece of content in perpetuity. 

So in summary, the four phases of the content cycle are content consumption, content connection, content creation, and content communication. And we can continue going round and round in this cycle in our businesses. The one thing that I want to point out to you, is if you can envision this cycle, and these four components and arrows kind of going between them to create that cycle, you'll notice that content consumption and content creation are across from each other. And there's no arrow that leads directly from one to the other. And that is by design. One of the things that I find in my own content creation experience is that if I am still trying to consume information, while I am in creation mode, it doesn't work, I get overwhelmed, I get stuck, I get blocked. And I find that I have to turn down the volume of other people's voices, other people's content, in order to really pour into my own. When I was writing my first book, I basically stopped reading self help books, personal development books, business books, I had to do that. Because when I didn't, when I first started writing the book, and I was still consuming other people's content, I was facing exactly what my friend described, I was comparing myself to what other people were doing and what other people were doing, presumably better than me. And I was getting distracted, I was getting pulled away by a new idea or a new concept. And it took me away from my own ideas and my own creative voice. So what I would suggest to you is that when you are in content creation mode, you may need to really turn down the volume dial on other people's voices. Now, when I was writing my own book, I was still reading and I was still listening to podcasts. But I found that they could not be business related, or self development related. I read a lot of fiction, actually, while I was writing my own nonfiction book. So I'm not suggesting that you can't consume anything at all. But you may want to limit how much you're consuming in a similar field or topic. Then once you are moving out of that content creation phase, you can then return to content consumption from a really intentional place. So I hope sharing this content cycle with you has been helpful, because for me, being aware of that cycle, and understanding when and how to enter into and exit from each phase is what helps me create content without feeling burned out. I know that there is a time and a place where I will create content, I can batch that content. And I can also delegate some of that to other people who support me. That's where working with copywriters and social media managers can be extraordinarily helpful. And I also know that when I'm choosing to consume content, I have a system in place to help me integrate it, to help me make those connections, which then informs new content that I create. This is my secret to creating content without burning out and I really hope that you find it helpful as well. And with that, let's head into this week's Clarity in Action moment.

This week's Clarity in Action moment is brought to you by the Coach with Clarity Mastermind. Now I am super excited because we are just about to start the next cohort of the Coach with Clarity Mastermind, and I literally have one space left. The Coach with Clarity Mastermind is intentionally designed to be an intimate container no more than six coaches in a cohort. And we will be spending the next nine months together, helping you grow and even scale your coaching business. The Coach with Clarity Mastermind includes monthly private coaching with me, so you and I will get on a zoom call, or if you happen to be in New Bern, North Carolina, we can meet in my office. But we will meet monthly where we will really fine tune any strategies you're working on, any offers, it's really a time to dig deep in your business. Then every month you'll also be in community with the other members of your cohort. And you'll have an opportunity to both receive feedback from them about any issue or question or challenge you're facing in your business. And you will also be able to share your wisdom and feedback when they ask questions about their businesses. The Mastermind is really set up to honor the strengths and talents and experiences of every single person in the Mastermind. You will also be invited to quarterly workshops that I curate, I invite an industry expert in to provide a half day session about a topic chosen by the Mastermind. And this is not just some long three hour training. No, these are workshops where you will walk away with tangible plans that you can incorporate into your business. Past workshops have been on messaging and positioning, so getting really clear on how you talk about what you do and the places where you should be talking about it. We've had workshops on branding, on marketing, they are so powerful, and they are available to the members of the Coach with Clarity Mastermind. And then of course, between sessions and workshops, you'll have full access to me via email and Voxer. And you'll also be able to communicate with your cohort via a private Voxer thread as well. So the Coach with Clarity Mastermind is really designed to be a wraparound program to support you over the course of nine months. As you grow your business and step into your leadership potential. It is one of my very favorite experiences inside Coach with Clarity. And I would love for you to join us. Again, we have one spot left. So if you are feeling called, head to, that's mastermind A-P-P and complete a brief form, then you and I will hop on a zoom call and we'll explore whether the Mastermind is the right next step for you in your business. So again, head to to learn more, and to apply for that final space left in the cohort. 

All right, my friend for this week's Clarity in Action moment, I want you to reflect on the content cycle: consumption, connection, creation and communication. I want you to note if there's any point in that cycle, where you tend to get stuck, or you tend to get overwhelmed. And then based on what we've talked about, in today's episode, I want you to think of one or two strategies that can help you get unstuck. So for example, if you find that you tend to get in a consumption loop, where you're constantly consuming new information, but you're not really doing anything with it, then maybe your next strategy is to take a mindful pause after you listen to a podcast episode, or after you read a blog post and just jot down your key takeaways from it. So again, we're moving you out of the consumption phase into the connection phase. And then once you've hit that connection phase point, you can then decide, “Do I want to go back to consumption? Or am I ready to create something of my own?” If you find that you're getting stuck inside the creation phase, you are having writer's block, you're drawing a blank, you just don't know what to create, then you may want to assess your consumption levels. Are you over consuming right now? Are you feeling overwhelmed by other people's thoughts and content? Or maybe you're under consuming? Maybe there are specific topics that would benefit you to learn more about because it would inform your content creation. So if you're feeling stuck on the creation level, I encourage you to examine your tendencies around consumption. Because oftentimes in there, we can find a solution or strategy to get us unstuck and back into creating. Those are just a few examples. If you find that you have a different stuck point and you want a little bit of guidance on how to break through, again, come find me over on Instagram @CoachWithClarity, send me a DM, I would love to hear what your stuck points are and together let's see if we can't work through it. I truly hope that learning about the content cycle is a freeing experience for you that it helps you put things together and helps you approach both content creation and consumption, in a mindful way. 

And I will tell you I have really enjoyed creating this piece of content for you this week. It really is one of my favorite things to talk about. And I want to thank you for consuming it, for listening to it today. I encourage you to pause and take note of any key takeaways or aha moments you had while listening to this episode. And of course, if you'd like to share those with me, I really hope you will over on Instagram @CoachWithClarity. Meanwhile, I am going to get started on planning the next episode for you. And if you are subscribed to the Coach with Clarity Podcast, that episode will automatically drop in your podcast feed on Mondays. If you are not following or subscribe to the Coach with Clarity Podcast, be sure to take literally 10 seconds to do so today. In your podcast player there may be a Subscribe or a Follow button. Just hit that button and now there you go. You're following the Coach with Clarity Podcast and you will get new episodes in your feed every week. And until next week, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.



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