The end of the year is fast approaching. Decorations are going up, many of our work projects are winding down, and holiday cheer is starting to trickle in. You may be planning some time away with your family, or some much-needed “me time.”
Or, you may just realize that with everything going on and with all that’s happened in the year, you just need a break.
But as a podcast host, what happens to your podcast when you need some time off? How do you take a break from your podcast?
It can be difficult for podcast hosts to decide to take a podcast break. You’ve worked so hard to build your show, to nurture your podcast community, and you’ve put so many hours into recording great content, that you may worry that you’ll lose it all if you step away, even just for a short time.
And yes, to an extent, these are legitimate concerns. With so many amazing podcasts out there, if yours isn’t available, there are many others listeners can turn to.
But! This certainly does not mean you can’t take a podcast break! You definitely can! You just need a game plan in place that will allow you to take that break without losing your podcast momentum.
And in this post, we’re laying out the foundations of a successful Podcast Break Game Plan! We’ve got all the best practices for taking breaks from your podcast to help you make sure your audience is ready and waiting when you return.
But first..why might a podcast break be necessary?
Podcast hosts may need to take breaks from their podcasts for several reasons. As we mentioned above, the approaching Holiday Season may mean a family vacation without access to all the equipment you need to create your podcast episodes.
But a podcast break may be necessary for other reasons. You may just have too much on your metaphorical plate, you’re feeling drained and you have no energy left to pour into your show. Or you may feel like you’re scraping the bottom of your creativity barrel when it comes to new and exciting ideas for your podcast episodes. These are just some of the reasons why taking a podcast break might be the right thing to do.
Whatever your reason, these strategies will work for you.
So let’s dive right in!
1. Pre-Record Episodes
The first strategy in our Taking a Podcast Break Game Plan is to simply pre-record episodes in advance. This strategy works well if you will only be “away” for a short period, and if you know about the scheduled away time well in advance.
You can then simply add a little extra recording time to your usual schedule in the weeks building up to your time off, do all the editing, and simply schedule the episodes to publish as usual. Your listeners will still get the content they’re after and will be none the wiser to the fact that these were prepped in advance. You get your vacation time, your listeners get to continue enjoying your show, and things will carry on as normal when you return.
2. Communicate With Your Audience
If pre-recording episodes are not an option, no matter which of the following strategies you pick to help you take your podcast break, all of these must be preceded by Strategy Number 2: Communicating With Your Audience.
Tell your audience about the upcoming changes to your publishing well ahead of time. If you’re not going to be sharing any episodes during your hiatus, make sure you clearly let your audience know this. Announce it on all the episodes leading up to your break, and consider even using your last episode title to make it clear that you’re on a break, but like the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, you will be back!
If your audience is prepared for any upcoming changes, they will not be taken by surprise and will be far more likely to stay a part of your podcast community. As opposed to you not giving them any warning, and they simply assume you’ve decided to end the podcast.
So whether you will not be releasing any episodes during your break, or whichever of the following strategies you decide to use, communication with your audience is key to a podcast break that does not hinder your podcasting progress.
3. Republish Audience Favorites
If you would still like episodes to go out during your time away, an easy solution is to share some listener favorites. You know those episodes that really resonated with your audience! Maybe it was a guest interview where the banter was flowing steadily and the content was right on point. Or that live event you hosted with some of your podcast besties? Or maybe it was that really in-depth conversation you had that your audience just related to? Give them another lease on life by releasing these again during your time away.
If time allows, you could even add some of that behind-the-scenes type of content, or questions that didn’t initially make the final cut and share extended editions of those fan favorites.
Again, remember to clearly communicate that these are repeat episodes because you’re taking a break. Let your listeners know when your usual schedule will return again, and you should be all set to take that break without losing your audience.
4. Swop Episodes with Another Podcast
And speaking of your podcast bestie, another way you can continue your podcast momentum, even while you’re on a break, is by swopping some episodes with a fellow podcast host. They can give you some of their episodes to publish while you’re “off the air” and you can return the favor when they are planning a break.
This strategy can work really well if you and your fellow host cater to similar audiences or share content within the same niche or aligned niches.
Just remember to make sure that the other host delivers the same level of quality in terms of content as well as their sound production, and there’s no reason why your audience won’t enjoy this little change.
And bonus, if you do your homework and pick the right swopping partner, you can leverage each other’s audiences. This could lead to serious audience growth as well as increased download numbers for both of your shows, while you’re taking a break! And that’s what we call a real win-win!
NOTE: At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I’ll say it one more time…whatever strategy you choose to use, just be sure to fill your audience in so that they are on the same page, and are never confused by any changes to your podcast format.
5. Release Trailers or Sneak Peeks
If you are able to prepare some content before you take your break, another workable strategy is to create trailers or sneak-peaks, which you can set up to release strategically during your break.
These are excellent ways to recapture your audience’s attention that may have waned slightly during your break and are the perfect way to amp up the hype around your show again.
These sneak peeks could be images or audiograms that you can share via all your social media channels. But you could also consider creating trailers or mini-episodes to release on your podcast itself, particularly as the time to return draws near.
These will help get your community of loyal listeners excited for all that’s in store, but they will also be a great way to introduce new listeners (who you gained from applying our strategies) to you and your show. Be sure to make these trailers fun, but also make sure they are jam-packed with actual value and delivered at your usual high quality.
6. Say YES to Guest Spots
If you’re taking a break from your podcast to clear your head and brainstorm some dazzling new ideas, but you still want to keep your momentum and build your community, then use your break to say “YES!” to some guest hosting opportunities.
Depending on where you are in your podcasting journey, you may already have some emails in your inbox requesting you as a guest host. Line those up to coincide with your break. Let your audience know where you’re going to be dishing up your valuable content via your social media channels, and you’ll still be building your community even while your own show is “off the air”.
But even if you don’t have guest spot opportunities lined up just yet, don’t despair! Use this post to help you Land A Guest Spot On A Top Podcast!
7. Use Your Other Platforms to Nurture Your Community
Your podcast is certainly not the only avenue available to you for building and nurturing your podcast community. While you’re taking a break from releasing episodes, you can make use of all the features social media has on offer.
You can share audiograms of upcoming episodes, fun memes relevant to your audience, or past behind-the-scenes footage of some of your best guest interviews. You could even do spontaneous live Q&A sessions via Instagram, or keep those nuggets of wisdom coming via tweets during your break.
These all serve to keep you and your podcast front and center in the minds of your audience, and are really just excellent ways to keep that relationship between host and their listeners alive and thriving, whether you’re on a break or not.
Whatever your reason for needing a podcast break, whether it’s just to clear your head, rest up, or recuperate. If you’re going on vacation or you want to spend the Holiday Season with your family without any distractions. Or perhaps, you just need some time away to get the ideas feeling fresh and exciting again, taking a podcast break without losing your momentum or feeling like you’re letting your audience down is certainly possible!
Communicate clearly with your audience, let them know what’s happening, and any of the above strategies will do the trick.