Summer Podcast Problems Pt 2. Holidays; yours, your listeners and your guests.

This week I’m going all 1980s Madonna and let’s throw in a bit of Judith Chalmers too because I’m talking about holidays. (In my research I was stunned to discover that “Wish You Were Here…?” ran for almost 30 years from 1974 until 2003, but that is 100$% irrelevant.)

But this year, of all years, when it comes to holidays it’s all a little bit different and that is going to have a knock on to your podcast.

First of all, holidays are going to affect your podcast in a few ways.

You’ve got a holiday booked, your audience is going to have a holiday and your guests, if you have them, are going to have a holiday.

Now I know there may not be quite so much flying off to exotic locations this year but even if people are holidaying away in the UK or holidaying at home with a staycation I say holidays are a state of mind which means work is not going to be high on the list. Or at least not until the children start acting up, then the rules are out of the window.

And this year there I think there will be more holidays taken by more people, rather than the traditional two weeks off in August. I’m predicting more mini breaks, more long weekends of catching up with family and friends, and more down time after what’s been a strange old time. And these regular interruptions to your schedule, your listeners schedule and your guests schedule may bring on a few headaches for you.

But never fear I am here as your podcast headache paracetamol. Or something.

Holidays and You

Let’s start with you and your holidays. Holidays are a state of mind so even if you’re not going “away away”, you will be having time off won’t you.

If you know you’ve got a summer of catch ups, mini breaks and a week away somewhere booked then you need to start thinking now about planning your podcast.

As always you have options.

  1. Take a summer break. There is nothing wrong with having time off from your podcast. If you know that something has to give over summer and that something is your podcast then go for it. But don’t just stop. Don’t just leave your audience hanging and unsure what’s going on because that’s not fair on the community you’ve built up and will damage the relationship you’ve worked hard to grow. Instead plan when your podcast will pause and tell your audience what you are doing and when you’ll be back.

  2. Get your audience to sign up to a wait list so you can email them when you are back a gentle (or not) reminder that you exist again. Having a break allows you to refresh yourself on your holidays and also allows your listeners to refresh themselves too. Of course if your podcast is season/series based then this all becomes a lot easier, you just plan your podcast series around your busy and less busy times!

  3. Do shorter episodes - summer quickies to take away the pressure of the podcast production. Again tell your audience what you are doing and why, as well as when “normal service” will resume. I quite like the idea of a slight change in format to fit the mood of the season. It’ll keep you fresh and fit in with your audience.

  4. Get more of your podcast outsourced. Hire an editor, a producer, a VA. People who can do the faffy stuff for you and free up your time for holiday fun!

  5. Get planning and recording now. Batch up all your summer episodes in advance so you don’t have to think at all about your podcast over the summer. This is easier said than done if you have guests to coordinate, but nothing is impossible is it. OK some things are technically impossible, planning your podcast isn’t. Especially if you buy my podcast planning toolkit! #shameless

  6. Carry on as normal and drop something else! It doesn’t have to be your podcast that has to change, other parts of your life and business can be streamlined to give you more time to podcast!

Holidays and your audience

Just like you, your audience is no doubt in need of a summer holiday, wherever that might be.

And just like you they are probably thinking about a bit of a wind down. So you need to take this into consideration. So how do you do this?

Well first things first is don’t worry. A dip in listeners is something everybody sees and expects. At Christmas podcasters traditionally see their audiences drop as everybody spends two weeks eating, drinking and being merry; or they’re spending time with their families. Routines are certainly out the door - what other time do we eat chocolate for breakfast and not worry one iota?

In fact it’s such a thing that even the people who measure radio audience numbers don’t bother counting over the festive fortnight!

I predict this summer will be a similar feeling to Christmas. We’ll hopefully have the freedom to see people - friends and family we haven’t seen and even get away for a week or two.

This means more weekends away for visits which means a bit more disruption than normal - and summer disruption generally means children at home rather than school or university AND covering work gaps for colleagues' holidays.

So what can you do? First off just be aware of this and understand it’s not personal if your numbers dip.

Second of all, are there ways you can make your listeners' lives easier and keep them listening to the podcast? Some of the tactics I discussed earlier for keeping you sane while getting your podcast out over summer actually translate really well for keeping your audience sane too.

Taking a break - so they don’t think they’re missing out

Shorter episodes - so it’s not such a big commitment

Again though - don’t feel as though you have to do this - I will be carrying on this podcast throughout summer. It helps with my content and helps give me a focus. I also enjoy it. I am prepared though for my listener numbers to drop. But the good news is most of my podcast episodes are pretty evergreen and can be listened to at any time - so I’ll keep posting the links out later in the year.

Holidays and your guests!

There’s a very good reason August is (or at least used to be) called silly season in journalism. Everybody goes on holiday. Parliament was in recess so no politics stories, businesses were experiencing summer breaks so fewer business stories and as such the dafter news would make it higher up the running order.

I hated summer when working in radio. a) I would always end up on the late shift or working earlies on a weekend, b) trying to find strong interesting stories was harder

c) Trying to find a guest to come on that wasn’t on holiday/dealing with kids at home/at a BBQ/at a wedding/at a party was even harder.

And if you’re looking for guests for your podcast you need to consider doubling your lead time because of the inevitable summer shenanigans.

Of course that’s not to say guests won’t come on - it just might take a bit longer than normal to get a time and date that works for you.

Get those requests in now! Don’t leave it too long or you might be interviewing your pet - or maybe even a cuddly toy.

Essentially summer just needs a bit of extra consideration and planning. The great news is that my podcast planning toolkit does just that. And if you need that extra 1-2-1 help to get planning you can also book a planning session with me too. 3 hours to get your podcast planned for the next couple of months. Perfect.

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