Six Ways Marketing and PR Leaders Can Avoid Burnout

May 22 2023

Managing a team of marketing and PR professionals can be stressful. Depending on your role, you’re likely responsible for the team’s performance and outcomes, tracking the ROI of PR campaigns, monitoring online and public sentiment and scrutiny of your client, and coordinating the accurate and effective execution of press releases or other critical communications. This level of pressure can lead to significant burnout which can affect your job performance, mental well-being, and physical health.

Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

One study found that more than half of all people in management positions feel burned out at work. Plus, considering the marketing and communications field has the highest rate of burnout (over 83%) compared to other industries, it’s a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there are some effective ways that marketing and PR leaders can reduce their sense of burnout.

1. Mitigate Crisis Mode

For managers in the marketing and PR space, creating a sufficient work-life balance is difficult. With the world connected constantly through their electronic devices, PR and marketing rarely sleeps. Being constantly pulled into a PR emergency or campaign crunch after hours can be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. Even knowing that your phone could buzz at any moment can be stressful. This constant pressure is one of the most significant factors when it comes to burnout in the industry.

Managing a marketing or PR team means that you have a higher probability of having your personal time interrupted.

While true emergencies will need your attention, not everything needs to be a crisis.

It’s important to set clear boundaries with your team regarding when it’s appropriate to contact you when you are away from the office. There is nothing wrong with letting them know that non-urgent emails will be addressed the next day.

This might also require setting expectations for their time. While it’s great to have a team that is dedicated and passionate about their work, they also need time to recharge as well. Too many managers and leaders push the work-life balance message but don’t subscribe to it themselves. It’s important to set a good example. If someone in your group is burned out, it will slowly leak to the rest of your team and ultimately cause additional stress and pressure on you as a manager.

2. Find Your Peak Performance Hours

Everyone works differently. Your energy levels and performance can fluctuate throughout the day. It’s important to carefully analyze what times during the day are your most productive. Sometimes, simple adjustments to your schedule can result in lower stress levels and reduce the chance of burnout.

Some managers are motivated to show up early and can jump right into their day first thing in the morning. Others need a couple of hours for their morning caffeine to kick in before heading off to a marketing pitch. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand what works best for you. You may need to track your energy levels for a few days. If you need time to get in the grove of work, it might be best to avoid scheduling meetings in the morning. If you lack focus during the afternoon, you may want to hold off on reviewing those sensitive press releases.

It’s not enough to identify your preferred way of working. It’s also important to communicate this to your team so they can adjust their meeting requests and visits to your office accordingly.

3. Revisit Your Team’s Goals

As a manager, you are responsible for driving your team’s performance and setting goals for the year. It’s important to consider that your burnout could be self-induced. On its own, PR and marketing is a high-stress environment. However, you may be pushing your team too hard or setting unrealistic expectations. If this is the case, meeting with your boss can help reprioritize your team’s objectives to ensure they align with the firm’s overall strategic plan.

There is nothing wrong with pushing your team, especially if you are building your own brand and looking to make a name for yourself in the industry. However, burnout can damage your performance and ultimately sabotage your efforts.

4. Embrace Time-Saving Technology and Automation

If leveraged correctly, technology and automation can bring significant relief to managers with complex responsibilities and busy schedules. While there has been a lot of discussion lately around the power of artificial intelligence (AI), there are much simpler and effective tools that can reduce stress and burnout.

As a marketing or PR leader, you need to be able to keep up with the latest news and trends. There is a wide range of tools to intelligently curate the news, articles, and content related to your specific client or market niche. Technology can also be used to streamline and better organize your schedule, freeing up valuable time to focus on important tasks. You can leverage analytic tools such as Google’s Looker Studio to compile and display important metrics that are important for your team to track, such as business goals and media mentions.

5. Prioritize High Value Tasks

There is no shortage of things that a marketing or PR leader needs to get done in a day – you have a campaign storyboard to approve, followed by lunch with a client, and don’t forget about the urgent press releases that need to go out before the end of the day. It’s easy to run at a million miles an hour each day, but you’ll quickly burn yourself out.

To avoid this, make a list of what needs to get done that day and focus on completing the three items that have the most impact on the organization. Lower-priority items should be delegated to other members of the team. This approach can also help you avoid being reactive. Not every request from the team, boss, or client needs your immediate attention.

6. Don’t Forget About Your Personal Development

As a leader, it’s important to make sure your team has the ability to grow and advance in their careers by learning new skills, being mentored, and being considered for promotions. For example, a junior PR specialist might need to be challenged by being given the opportunity to work with a big client.

It’s not uncommon for leaders to put their own career on the back burner while they are focused on their team’s development. This can result in becoming stagnant which can lead to boredom and ultimately burnout. Don’t forget to make sure you are dedicating the right amount of time toward learning new things and getting career development opportunities. Work with a specialized marketing/PR coach and get the best from yourself.


It’s important to address the signs of burnout as quickly as possible.

The longer you let burnout fester, the harder it is to recover and regain your motivation and energy.

While these are some of the easiest methods to alleviate burnout, there are plenty of other options. It’s critical to find the option that works best for you to ensure you have a long and successful career.

Nick Leighton
Owner & CEO, NettResults Middle East
Nick owns and runs NettResults International PR, is the author of the best-selling book, Exactly Where You Want to Be: A business owners guide to passion, profit and happiness, and an Adjunct Professor at Chapman University in California, where he lectures to graduate and post-graduate classes in strategic communication.

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