Whether you're planning a holiday break, a seasonal hiatus, or need some time off, here are ways to stay connected with your audience so they will anticipate your show's return.
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1. Set expectations
If your hiatus break will skip more than one episode, I recommend communicating a plan with your audience.
Your plan could be as simple as “we won't have any episodes until we return on _____.” That tells your audience not to expect episodes, but to expect your return during that time.
Or, if you choose to use any of the following tips to stay connected with your audience, communicate that. “I won't be here in the podcast, but I will be active in _____.”
I recommend that you give advanced warning about the hiatus, and release a “Currently on hiatus” miniature episode. When you return, you can remove that episode from your feed.
2. Point to active social account(s)
It's easy to post on social networks. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and such allow you to stay engaged with your audience without requiring high production or preparation.
I don't recommend pointing to every social account you have. Where Pat Flynn is known for saying, “Be everywhere,” I like to say, “Be everywhere you can be well.” Thus, instead of pointing to a dozen places people can follow you and not posting much to any of them, point them to one or two places to stay connected. With very few places to manage, it's easy to post frequently.
This can also be a great opportunity to get better with a particular social network by forcing yourself to use it frequently.
3. Preproduce miniature content
A full podcast episode can be a lot of hard work. During a hiatus, you can scale back your commitment (as long as you've set the expectations with your audience).
Imagine if your favorite podcasts took a three-month hiatus. Would you prefer to hear nothing from them until they return, or would you rather get tiny bits from them to hold you over.
Miniature content can be short podcast episodes, blog posts, an email series, informal videos, live events, and anything else that doesn't take much time but maintains the relationship with your audience.
Such miniature content can be preproduced and scheduled for automatic release during the hiatus.
4. Use an email newsletter/autoresponder
If you don't already have an email list, now could be a great time to start one! You can use your email list for many things, even during a hiatus. Your emails could be behind-the-scenes stories, short tips, or anything else that would be relevant to your audience.
5. Participate in an online community
Whether owned by you or by someone else, participating in a community during a hiatus can be a great way to continue the relationship with your fans. It can also help build your reputation, authority, and influence, which could result in gaining new subscribers.
6. Offer direct contact
You may decide maintaining a public connection with your audience isn't right for you and your show. If you still want to stay connected, consider offering a way for your audience to contact you directly. For example, “If you need help while we're on hiatus, please email us directly and we'll reply when we can.”
7. Pick what's doable and fitting
Going into a hiatus is not a good time to overcommit yourself. These tips I've provided are only options (and I welcome your suggestions in the comments!). Make sure the choice you make is something you can actually keep up with, and that it's an appropriate fit for your audience.
Regardless of what you choose to do during a hiatus, remember the #1 tip: communicate so your audience will know what to expect.
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- I'm going on hiatus until late January while my first son or daughter (we're going to be surprised!) is born.
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