Even the most seasoned podcaster can make the mistake of thinking that podcasting is a one-way street. That’s not surprising. We, the podcaster talk. And they, the listener… listens. Not in real-time, so we don’t get immediate feedback. And most listening happens on apps that don’t provide any way to like or comment on episodes, stape behaviors of social platforms that are strikingly absent from podcasting.
Yet the transactional nature of podcasting remains, and it’s very much a two-way street. It’s just that the bidirectional flow of give-and-take isn’t communication-based. Yeah, that sounds weird. Let me unpack that.
I Give, You Take. But Also You Give, I Take
The give I offer you on Podcast Pontifications consists of future-positive, forward-thinking episodes/articles focused on philosophical questions about podcasting and ways we podcasters can work together to make podcasting better.
You take that information, consider it, and sometimes put that insight into action on your show to make your podcast better, thereby increasing the overall “betterness” for all of podcasting.
But you also give me your attention. You give me your time. You give me your comments on the newsletters I publish via Substack or you give me comments on the articles I post on PodcastPontifications.com. You give me likes, comments, and retweets on the content I share on Twitter. You give me comments while you watch what I have to say during the live recording of the show on LinkedIn Live.
I take all of that from you and add it to my Reasons To Keep Doing This pile. And that’s a very important take.
But it’s also important for me to take a break.
Taking A Break Now Lets Podcasters Give More Later
Going on break for the next couple of months is good for my mental health. That means it's going to be good for you when I come back in January 2021. And yes, I’m coming back in January.
The other reason I take a break is a selfish one if I’m honest. I take regular breaks from my show because I can.
I'm not making two and a half pennies every time a download happens. There isn’t an ad sales rep sweating the fact that they can’t sell ads for me if I take a break... because I have no ad sales rep firm. In fact, there isn’t a direct correlation between me publishing an episode and me receiving tangible, direct monetary compensation for my efforts.
You may not be in that situation. If podcasting is your lifeblood and you can directly correlate consistent, regular episode publishing to life-changing or life-enabling income, you may not get to make such an easy choice. Especially not a two-month-long break!
“Won’t Someone Think Of The Downloads!”
To many podcasting pundits, taking a break from producing episodes is anathema to show success and will result in a loss of listeners. I don’t buy most of their arguments.
Yes, I will concede that I will see a dip in downloads of my episodes while I’m on break. Of course I will! I'm not producing new episodes, so there won’t be new content to download. But… so what? Downloads are a bullshit way to gauge the size of your listening audience. Downloads tell lots about computer-to-computer interactions but offer very little in regards to human-initiated podcasting activity.
Yes, I expect to see a dip in my reach during my break, for mostly the same reason. If I’m not producing episodes, you have fewer things to share. If I don’t write fresh articles, my chance of discovery on new topics or trends is non-existent, so I’ll have less of a chance of showing up in search results.
And yes, I know there’s a risk that someone brand new to the podcast, perhaps finally following your recommendation that they listen to the show (something I remind you about on every episode!), will have missed the notice that I’m on break and assume that I’ve abandoned the show. This episode should help mitigate that, but it’s still a risk that I won’t keep new subscribers.
But the core listeners will stay. That’s not conjecture. That’s a fact based on the other times I’ve taken breaks on the show. My core listeners will stay and, just as soon as I resume producing regular content, downloads and reach will start climbing back to the levels they were before. And growing beyond that, interestingly enough.
Taking A Break Let’s Me Explore New Content Ideas
Even though I’m taking a break from the daily production of Podcast Pontifications, you’ll still see plenty of content from me. I have some bonus content ideas that will only be shared with those who’ve signed up for a membership at BuyMeACoffee.com/EvoTerra. If you feel that promise is worth $5, sign up.
I also have a few guest appearances on other podcasts lined up. And yes, I would be happy to be a guest on your podcast, even if it's not about podcasting! I'm happy to come on your show and share knowledge, wisdom, information, or just debate something with you.
You'll still get plenty of tweets from me that are relevant to the future of podcasting or when cool new news breaks about podcasting. I’m @EvoTerra on Twitter.
And as I’ve said for the last several weeks, the podcast feed itself will remain active. Several listeners to Podcasts Pontifications will be sharing their thoughts and ideas on the future of podcasting right here in the feed. So no, don't unsubscribe. And if you’d like to pontificate as well, just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll tell you how to make that happen.
Finally, because I don’t say it enough: Thank you for listening to Podcast Pontifications. More episodes and articles from me will resume in January 2021. Here’s to your own mental health as we all try to put 2020 in our review, yeah? Yeah.
Enjoy the fresh voices in the podcast, check out all the alternate places I’ll be sharing content listed above, and I’ll back in 2021 with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.