Christmas is on its way. In fact round my neck of the woods there are dozens of homes already fully decorated ready for Christmas and as I’m recording this it’s not even the middle of November.
So if you’re wondering how you are going to get ready for Christmas with your podcast - then grab a brew because here are my top tips.
To break or not to break.
One of the hardiest of hardy perennials when it comes to podcasting is the question "should I release my episodes as normal over Christmas?"
And because it’s podcasting I’m afraid I’m going to answer in my favourite way. Yes - it depends.
Normally over Christmas podcasts can see a dip in listening numbers as everybody spends a bit more time with their family and friends. Time is spent socialising rather than working and let’s be honest most of us will choose to have a bit of down time over the Christmas and New Year break.
Importantly routines are out the window. So that weekend long run where you stack up your podcasts to listen to might not happen. The commuting to work when you listen to your podcasts, doesn’t happen.
Routine is such a part of podcast listening that when people’s routines go out the window, often the podcasts do too. But the good news is that it’s only temporary and when the routine returns more often than not so do the habits.
But it really can’t have escaped your notice but 2020 isn’t the same as any other year we’ve had. So far.
I am many things but I am not a fortune teller, so I can’t predict exactly what Christmas will look like this year, if we’ll be able to see our families or not. But I am confident in telling you it’s going to be different.
Firstly the Christmas routine is out the window. Christmas parties are not happening and I doubt very much the big family gatherings where you travel halfway across the country to spend time with aunts and uncles you only see at weddings, funerals and Christmas gatherings are going to happen either. Who says the pandemic is all bad hey?
So people are more than likely staying at or closer to home. More chance of keeping that normal (whatever that is) routine going.
The home working revolution that 2020 has brought to us all also, I think, means we don’t need to worry about people not listening on their commutes over Christmas.
There was a drop off in listening numbers when lockdown came in force back in March but once we’d all begun to get our heads around being at home, home schooling, ditching Joe Wicks and finding our “new normal” podcast listening came back up.
We’re all pros at being at home and making sure we don’t miss out on listening to our podcasts.
All this means the usual - “there’s no point because nobody’s listening” argument might not be as valid as it normally is and you might therefore want to think again about what you are going to do content wise for Christmas.
Secondly this year has been weird. I know I’ve already said that but it’s relevant to this next point.
This year has seen a lot of people go through all the emotions. At least twice. Your podcast, your voice might be the thing that’s helped somebody stay grounded, connected and sane. And I say that even if you have a podcast which has nothing to do with wellness or mental health. Your consistent content could be the thing that has given your audience a sense of “everything’s going to be ok” because you’ve been that certainty each week. That slice of normal when not much else has been normal.
Christmas is a time of heightened emotions and inevitably those emotions are going to be a notch higher this year.
Putting out a podcast on your normal podcast day could well help your audience get through their Christmas a little easier.
Now, I didn’t think I would be bringing up Brexit here, but that is also something to keep in mind. The UK left the EU in January 2020, under the Withdrawal Agreement, the transition period lasts until 31st December 2020 and from 1st January the UK will be fully out of the EU - with or without a deal.
I’m not here to say whether this is a good or a bad thing, but it will potentially affect a lot of businesses and potentially your audience.
If this is something in your realm you probably want to be on top of what is going on. And telling your audience too otherwise this could affect your reputation and authority.
Personally I will not be taking a break in publishing my podcast this Christmas. Even though Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are Fridays - my publishing day.
But I will be making the content appropriate for the time it comes out. This goes back to the planning “Why am I talking about this? Why am I talking about it now?”
There are some ways you can make your life easier when it comes to Christmas publishing.
First off, plan your episodes in advance as much as you can. That way you can batch record, edit, upload and schedule them before you shut your computer down for Christmas.
Boom job done.
Secondly you can put together a best of episode.
This might sound like an easy cop out, but unless you have been taking notes of where your best bits are in your episodes be prepared to be searching for hours in a needle in the haystack type way. When I left radio I made a showreel or demo (yes it’s out there on the internet, no you don’t have to look hard for it). It’s essentially a best of, but because I hadn’t collected these moments along the way it took me weeks to find the bits I wanted. There’s still bits I can’t find.
But a well crafted best of with some new content - you talking about what was said, new thoughts etc can really sound good. And if you’ve got lots of great content you can do this across the two weeks!
Of course you could take your best of and mix it up with the bloopers and the outtakes assuming you saved them. It’s a nice light-hearted way you can connect with your audience in a different more relaxed way. I do love a blooper tape. If you are going to use guest bloopers - please make sure you have their permission. It’s all well and good putting your mistakes and slip ups out to the world, other people may not find it quite as funny.
A reflection and a look ahead episode
I’m loathe to say you could make some predictions for 2021 because the majority of people who made predictions this time last year might not want to listen back to those episodes. But actually looking back at key events and trends from this year and what you think might happen next year (in your area of expertise) is fun and you don’t have to take it too seriously.
And if you want to take a break over Christmas - take a break over Christmas. Rest up, recharge, eat too much and be ready for whatever 2021 brings our way.
Don’t forget if you want to get ahead with your podcast planning my podcast planning toolkit is on pre-sale and you can make sure you're first to get it by heading here