What To Do During Your Podcast's Season Break
Taking a break from podcasting can be good for your health. But how well will you spend your downtime? Here are 10 smart on-break activities that should make your next season even stronger.
I am a huge fan of breaking your podcasting efforts into seasons. And to be clear, I’m also a fan of taking long breaks between seasons. Not all of my fellow podcasting pundits agree. Many adopt the position that podcasting is akin to blogging and that new episodes should keep coming out on schedule. To them, I say: Hey, you do you.
Me? I like breaks.
This is less of a choice for the many podcasters who directly tie income to the release of new episodes. For those podcasters making a good living running ads or working under sponsorship arrangements, they lack the flexibility of choosing when to take a vacation from podcasting.
But for the rest of us, we can take breaks. Some of us -- like the guy behind this podcast -- are a little too good at lying on the couch all day and binging obscure foreign television shows when we don’t have anything pressing. Fac et aliquid operis, ut semper te diabolus inveniat occupatum, doncha know.
So if you’re like me and are looking for a little guidance to direct some of your chill-time activities, I have just the thing. Or ten things, rather.
10 Ways To Not Waste Your Podcast’s Season Break
These are in no particular order. And if they seem a little Evo-centric, there’s a reason for that. You’ll see at the end.
1. Cleanup your podcast feed.
I recently talked about advanced RSS feed management for podcasts. That’s the perfect project to tackle while you’re not putting out new episodes. I could use some downtime make my main feed more attractive (and less overwhelming) to new potential listeners.
2. Put the final touches on your website.
If you also hastily assembled a website at the beginning of the year at the same time as you were putting out lots of podcast content, you might have cut a few corners. Yes, you got the fundamentals right. But there are extra bells and whistles you chose to skip. A break is a great time to refocus on just your website.
3. Spend some quality time with Google Search Console.
Without opening the SEO can of worms, I think Google Search Console is one of the most undervalued “SEO for normal people” tools. Having a better understanding of how the pages of your site appear in search is critical to your ongoing success.
4. Hire a professional to help with the branding of your show.
I’m a big fan of tools like Canva that enable me to pretend I’m a designer, but I’m no designer. But with +310 episodes under my belt, my brand has a certain sound and style to it. Now is the time to bring in a professional designer to make sure the visual aspects accurately represent that.
5. Replenish the content well.
This what most producers say they are doing on the break. Your job is to make sure you do it. So break out a brand new scratchpad -- digital or physical -- and start collecting ideas for topics, angles, guests, or whatever it is you need to make a rich library to pull from when you start your next season.
6. Put out bonus episodes.
The world doesn’t stop because you’re on a season break. Chances are, compelling news or some other topic worthy of timely discussion will happen during your hiatus. Don’t fret! Thanks to our friends at Apple Podcasts, we can tag episodes as “Bonus” episodes and release them as needed. No need to hold the info until you come back, or rush your return to capitalize on changes to your industry.
7. Lock-in guest appearances for yourself.
When you're producing a daily show like mine that takes 3.5 hours each day, it's hard to make the time to promote yourself or your show. But when you don’t have that commitment because you’re on break, you can easily afford the effort to reach out to see if you can be a guest on other shows. Your show and its episodes are still listed on the podcast directories, so new people discover you or your show from those appearances can still subscribe, right?
8. Upgrade your equipment.
If you've been making it work for some time now, but you also know you could do better, a break is a great time to evaluate your podcast equipment chain. Maybe it’s time to ditch that noisy mixer you don’t need for a super-quiet and simple interface. Maybe you need a better video camera if you giving fans behind-the-scenes access to your recording process. Maybe you need better sound conditioning in the area of your home you’ve carved out for a studio.
9. Upgrade your software.
If you’ve been using the same free audio software for a very long time, a break is a good time to use the free trials provided by professional DAWs (digital audio workstations.) Without the constant pressure to create new content, you’ll have plenty of time to get through the learning curve that’s kept you in your current rut. Or perhaps you picked up a really cool plugin bundle on sale and you haven't had the time to dig into all the great things it can do for your sound. A podcast break is a great time to re-invest in your engineering process.
10. Gain some perspective and relax.
We all take breaks for different reasons. For me, a big one is to just do nothing. So don’t forget to do that while you’re layering in all the other activities I laid out for you. Mental health is important to me and taking regular breaks from my daily podcasting activities helps me maintain my calm.
How practical is this list? Uber practical. So much, in fact, that I’m calling an end to Season 2 of Podcast Pontifications. Effective right now, I’m on break. Woot!
Season 3 of Podcast Pontifications will begin sometime after my birthday, which is in June. I had planned on taking a break the entire month of June, but decided to advance those plans. The ideas I listed out seemed too compelling not to start right away.
So keep your eyes on PodcastPontifications.com. Lots of back-episodes and articles if this is your first introduction to my show. I have 310 episodes to keep you full of ideas. Lots of changes coming to the site in the next few weeks that I’m excited to get started.
In the meantime, be safe, stay well, and I shall be back soon with season three of Podcast Pontifications.