Is it time to quit your podcast?
While this is not the most cheerful of podcasting conversations, it is one that needs to be had, as sometimes, what you need to do is pull the plug on your show…
But how do you know that it’s time to call it quits?
From our experience, facing the decision of whether or not to quit your podcast is not something that just happens. There are usually warning signs that precede this event which could be telling you that the time has come to unplug your mic.
In this article, we’re sharing 10 such signs that may indicate that it’s time to make the tough decision to quit your podcast.
1. Your Passion is Gone
Major warning sign Number 1 is if you find that your podcasting passion has gone AWOL! For so many, starting a podcast is a passion project. You loved your niche topic, and you were so excited to get to share it with the world.
You poured your heart and soul into your show, carefully crafted content, spent hours recording, and edited till all hours. You were passionate and that passion fuelled you forward. And now, for whatever reason, that passion is gone.
In some cases, you mind find taking a short break from your podcast is all you need to feel re-energized and passionate about your show once again. (To find out how to take a break from your podcast, check out this post: How To Take A Break From Your Podcast: Best Practices)
But if you find that your passion tank is still dry, it could be a sign that it’s time to quit. Because let’s be honest, if the passion is gone for good, there is really no point in continuing.
2. Your Show No Longer Sparks Joy
Along the same lines of a passion drought, if your podcast no longer sparks joy in you, this is another sign it might be time to quit.
If your podcast no longer brings you joy, you are not going to be giving it your best. This can mean subpar content and a general lack of enthusiasm, something that will not be lost on your audience. If your joy is gone, they’ll hear it. Rather than putting out uninspired episodes and seeing your subscriber numbers dwindling, it may be time to quit.
3. You’ve Run Out of Steam
We don’t need to tell you that launching and then running a podcast is hard work. There’s the writing, recording, interviewing, and editing, not to mention the promoting, engaging, and community-building tasks that a successful podcast requires.
Sometimes, we’ve got tons of energy, our schedule is waxed and we’re happily fitting everything in amidst everything else we’ve got going on.
But then there are other times when the energy levels drop, for whatever reason, and we run out of steam. If you find that happening to you, before you reach burn out, take a step back and do a little self-assessing. If you’ve just run out of steam, have no motivation, and lack the podcasting energy you need to put together your episodes, it may be a sign that you need to quit.
*Concerned you may be nearing burnout? Take a look at this article: Burnout Prevention and Treatment
4. You’ve Run Out of Content
If you’ve run out of things to fill your podcast episodes, this is another warning sign that it might be time to quit. Your chosen topic may only have so much that can be said about it. Rather than trying to scrape the bottom of the content barrel, it would be better to fill the remaining episodes to the brim of your valuable content, and then call it quits.
A podcast that has a great start, solid, content-strong episodes in the middle, and then comes to natural end is way better than having a podcast that starts of strong, but whose episodes get more and more diluted with fluff as the host tries to keep their show going with nothing really left to say. (IMHO…)
5. You Don’t Have the Time
Simply put, if your schedule has suddenly filled up, you have work and family obligations to fulfill, and there is simply no time to spend on your podcast, this is a sign that it’s time to quit.
As you know, podcasting requires time. And if you simply don’t have any to give, there’s not too much you can do about it. You can keep trying to fit everything in, and pushing yourself to keep all the proverbial balls in the air, but you can only do this for so long before you take the physical and mental strain. The best solution for your wellbeing may be to take one thing off your plate, which may be your podcast.
6. There’s No Community Engagement
A successful podcast is one that has a thriving podcast community around it. Your listeners are really the life force of your show. And part of the magic of podcasting is that you can really connect with your listeners and build that special community around your show.
But if you’re doing all the things you need to do to build a podcast community but your show has no audience engagement, it might mean that you need to quit your podcast. But in this case, you don’t have to quit completely, but you do need to quit the way you’re currently doing things and find new ways to connect with your listeners because something isn’t working.
It may mean rebranding, changing your target audience, or even changing the direction of your show, but something needs to change if you want an engaged community to form around your show.
7. Follower Numbers Are Stagnating
If no matter how often you promote your show or what marketing tactics you use, or follower numbers are seriously stagnating and listeners don’t seem excited about tuning in, this is another warning sign.
A ‘healthy’ podcast would be one that sees steady (no matter how small) growth in follower (subscriber) numbers in comparison to the effort you’re putting into growing your audience. If this isn’t happening for you, despite your best efforts on all fronts, some assessment is definitely in order!
8. Follower Numbers Are Dwindling!
Stagnating follower numbers was an indication that some podcast assessment needs to happen, dwindling numbers is a big, flashing DANGER AHEAD sign.
If you’re losing followers, something is seriously wrong. But if you’ve already lost your podcasting passion, and it’s clearly not bringing you joy anymore, then those dwindling numbers are that extra sign that it might be time to quit.
9. It’s Not Financially Viable
Many people start their podcast just for the fun of it. Others hope to turn it into a side or even a full-time hustle. And this is certainly possible! There are many podcast hosts who have successfully monetized their podcast.
Hint: For tips on this, check out this post: 15 Effective Ways To Make Money From Your Podcast
But in some cases, you’ve got to put money into your show to get it to a place where it’s going to give you a lot out and you can turn it into your full-time job. You might hire social media managers, invest in Facebook Ads, or pay for some advertising spots on some top podcasts in order to position your podcast to become something that can financially sustain you. And this can pay off in the long run.
But if you’ve quit your job hoping that your podcast can will pay the bills, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be happening any time soon, this is definitely a warning sign that you should pay heed to. If you’re putting in more money than you’re getting out, it might be a sign that it’s time to quit.
Or at least quit it as a full-time hustle…
10. You’re Only Getting Negative Feedback
Warning Sign Number 10, the only reviews you’re getting are bad ones. Yikes! This is a clear sign that something is very wrong! Whether it’s because you have no passion, no time, or nothing more to say, if you’re not giving your show your best, your listeners are going to notice. And they’re not going to be all that amused.
And if they start to show that displeasure through reviews and ratings, the writing may already be on the cyber wall. If you’re not enjoying doing your podcast, and your audience is not enjoying listening to your podcast, then it may be time to quit!
Related read: So, Your Podcast Got A Negative Review, Now What?
Bear in mind…
Just remember. The above are just warning signs. If you are experiencing some of the above, but you don’t want to quit your podcast, these signs do not mean that you must simply throw in the towel. There are definitely many things you can still do to turn the tide:
- You could take a break to re-strategize. Sometimes a little time away can give us a new perspective and help us see the problems easier. We can then find solutions to fix these issues.
- You could re-brand your podcast. Perhaps your follower or download numbers are stagnating or dwindling simply because you haven’t matched your podcast to the right target audience. A little rebrand magic could do the trick.
- You could start a new podcast. Maybe it’s just that your current topic has run it’s course. You still love podcasting, but there’s nothing left to say with the podcast you have. So bring that one to a close, and start a new one! Pivoting is always an option!
But if it is time to quit, what is the best way to do it?
If you have made the difficult decision to call it quits on your podcast, the next question is how do you quit? Is there a right or wrong way to pull the proverbial plug?
We think there is. In our books, the ‘wrong’ way to quit your podcast is to simply stop putting out episodes. This is often referred to as “podfade.”
FYI: Podfade occurs either when a podcast publishes episodes less and less frequently, and, eventually, stops altogether, or when a podcast that was publishing episodes regularly just stops with no reason or explanation.
We don’t think that the podfade method is the way to go when you do decide to end your podcasting run. We think you should go out with a bang! Record that final episode, say “Farewell” or “See ya later!” to your listeners, tie up any loose ends, and bring your podcast to a close. Use a title that lets listeners know that this is the last episode and you could also use the episode’s show notes to give listeners a clear understanding that this is the last episode.
Or at least for the time being…
Officially ending your podcast gives a sort of closure and a sense of completeness to your podcast. It also lets listeners know exactly what’s happening and so helps avoid any confusion or frustration that they would have felt if they were left waiting for the ‘next episode’ that never arrived.
So if you’ve seen the signs and now realize that they’re telling you it’s time to quit your podcast, it’s okay! And while hanging up your trusty headphones and unplugging your faithful mic may be difficult to do, if it’s what is best for you, at least for this season, then it’s the right decision.
And while it’s hard to say farewell to your podcast community, ending on a high note by recording that finale episode is a great way to close the curtain on your podcasting journey.