Christmas is just over 3 weeks away.
And whilst I’m only in mild panic mode about Christmas (mild, who am I kidding?) You can’t escape Christmas - I mean here I am talking about Christmas right!
But should you be talking about Christmas on your podcast?
Obviously it’s a podcasting question so the short answer is always - “it depends”.
This is the slightly longer more thought out answer.
Firstly here’s why you might want to talk about Christmas.
Because it’s playing on your listener’s mind.
To be honest you could take out the word Christmas and replace it with any topic or theme you want. It’s still the same questions you want to ask yourself before committing to doing an episode about it.
Why is this topic important? Why is it important now?
So if you are thinking about talking about Christmas make sure you understand why it is important to your listener and why you should be talking about it now and not 2 weeks ago or in 2 weeks time.
You’ll know if you’ve been listening to the podcast I’ve been talking about Christmas a lot. I’ve mentioned whether you should have a break over Christmas, whether you should start your podcast this side of Christmas and now whether you should mention Christmas.
Next week I’ve got Christmas presents for podcasters as my planned episode. But of course we all know what happened to all my planned episodes in November! You’ll have to listen in next week to see if it actually happens or if new inspiration hits me while I’m putting up the Christmas decorations.
So you need to think about what your listener is experiencing right now that they need help with? Is it overwhelm? (that feels like a common experience right now!) Is it winding down for Christmas? Is it escaping Christmas? Is it sadness of an unusually quiet Christmas? Is it uncertainty of lockdown rules? Does your listener even celebrate Christmas?
If you can’t answer these questions you need to re-examine and go deeper into who you are talking to and why you are talking to them on your podcast.
But if you can identify the pain your listener is going through and the solution you can offer them and they’re Christmas related then go and talk Christmas on your podcast.
I would also suggest if you are doing a podcast that is ongoing and not a series then talking about Christmas (or other current events) is actually a good thing to do because it shows you are current with your listeners.
But, unlike social media, unlike radio and TV - your podcasts stay around forever. This is why podcasts are great. You can fill them with evergreen content and keep referring back to them.
If that’s what you are doing or plan to do I would use seasons/series as a way of doing this and batch your series into themes. I talk about this in my planning episodes which are episodes numbers 29-32 (4th September onwards). And of course that is evergreen content which I’m referring you back to. So evergreen content doesn’t have to be only in podcasts that are in series. This is getting confusing.
And if I was putting out a series then I would be taking my series break over Christmas. It’s a natural pause for a lot of people ready to start again in January.
So in this case with the evergreen content series there is a good reason for not talking about Christmas when everybody else is.
But if your theme for your series naturally covers some of the Christmas themes and your episodes are coming out in November and December then talk about it.
It can probably be summed up really well by a message that was on the back of my BBC ID badge.
It simply says:
“audiences are at the heart of everything we do”.
It’s one of the core values of the BBC.
The message is perfect and one I still keep in my mind at all times. All the questions you need to answer about what you are doing with your podcast need to be answered by your audience.
Now I’m not saying you need to ask every single person who listens, but you need to get inside the head of your listeners and ask yourself “what will this person gain from listening to this podcast?” “Is it what they need to be hearing right now?” “What problem will this solve?” “And why are they in this situation now”
If you can answer all those and Christmas is something you should be talking about then talk about Christmas.
If you can answer all of them and Christmas isn’t something you should be talking about - whether you’ve got an ongoing podcast or a series - then don’t.
Don’t feel pressured to shoe horn Christmas (or any other topic) into your podcast because it’s trending on Twitter or everybody else is talking about it.
Your audience is turning up for you and the problem you solve for them. If that’s not Christmas then don’t give them Christmas. It’s like going to your favourite curry house and expecting your favourite Lamb Bhuna - but when you get there the restaurant is now serving fish and chips. It doesn’t matter how good those fish and chips were - you went there wanting Lamb Bhuna. There’s always a moment of disappointment and you probably won’t go back even if next week Lamb Bhuna is back on the menu.
So to sum up - should you talk about Christmas on your podcast? Yes, but only if it’s what your audience wants to hear.