The holidays are here, and podcasters are again faced with the dilemma of a holiday podcast schedule. Should you take a break or should you stay with the regular schedule? In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard breaks down how you should plan your episodes for the holidays. They list down important reasons on why you need to stay consistent and offer practical tips on how to do just that. Stay tuned!
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Holiday Podcast Schedule: Take A Break Or Stay Consistent?
We are here to talk about podcasting in any which way, shape or form that you want to use to build your brand. In this episode, we are going to talk about the holidays because this is a question we get again and again.
It’s a bit of a dilemma. People often, especially new podcasters, ask, “Over the holidays if my normal data publishes on Thursdays, should I still publish on Thanksgiving? Should I take a break?” Thanksgiving is easy because it’s the last Thursday in November every year. With other holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, you got a couple of holidays in a row there back-to-back.
The 4th of July is always decision-making too. Those are things that happen here in the US. If you’re international, you have your own holidays that are probably at different times. This is a dilemma that you have. It’s like, “Do I stay consistent with my calendar schedule and my regular scheduled episodes? Do I take a break?”
I have a very strong opinion about this from a long hard experience as a podcaster and also as a podcast listener and that is don’t ever take a break. Be consistent because even though we want to take a break as podcasters during the holidays, we are working hard. I know we have been working hard. I’m looking forward to a long weekend coming up but that’s also when I want to listen to stuff. That’s when I, as a listener, have more time. I want to stock up on podcasts and listen to them over that break.
Let’s think about this from a psychological and sociological perspective. We are headed out to Thanksgiving. We are going to be stuck in the car or an airport all day.
I had a sales call on Zoom with a couple who is going to cohost a new podcast, who you know very well. They were driving a five-hour drive in Florida, within Florida only, to go to their Thanksgiving.Psychologically, being there for your audience on a consistent basis is extremely important. Click To Tweet
People do work. People also need escape because you’re sitting in a nasty airport trying to tune everybody out around you. You might want to have downloaded some podcasts to take with you. I tell this story again and again when I go to events with my good friend and our podcaster, Aaron Young, who has The Unshackled Owner Podcast. This is exactly how I met and connected with him. I was driving to an event. It wasn’t a holiday but I was driving there from California to Las Vegas. It was about a four-and-a-half-hour drive. I had downloaded all of his podcasts too at that time with my iPod. That’s how old it is.
This was back in 2015.
I downloaded them to my iPod. We hooked him up to the car and we were listening to it on our way in. I get to the event and hear this emcee at the event and I think, “His voice sounds familiar. I feel like I know him already.” It took me a couple of days before I realized that he told a story that I heard on the road and remembered exactly.
A part of it was because Aaron Scott Young was the name on the podcast and then he was Aaron Young. It seemed like a common enough name. I didn’t tie the two together immediately. I hadn’t seen a picture of him so I didn’t know what he looked like. I just heard the voice. We connected and bonded because of that travel time. I had listened to probably at least eight of his episodes on that drive. There had been a significant amount of bonding time even though he didn’t know it.
This is a great opportunity for someone to binge on your show and have something where you’re saying, “Even though you’re traveling and it’s a vacation day, I’m showing up for you.” Sociologically and psychologically, that being there for them on that consistent basis is extremely important. We loved that model of podcasting because that’s the way you show the greatest trustworthiness. I’m worthy of doing business with you if I’m worthy to be here for you when you need me most.
The thing is, as podcast hosts who have to do the work of recording and creating the content, it’s a holiday. We can record ahead. Most of us should and do. There are some podcasters that their show is done as a live weekly thing and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that and I’m not opposed to that. What I’m saying now is not going to apply in that situation, though.
Most of us record ahead. We are recording and we want to be a month ahead at least. We have got some podcasters. Shout out to John Livesay, who is one of the most consistent podcasters. He is so far ahead. He has already submitted episodes and we have produced them at Podetize already through April or May of 2022. That might be a little too far ahead. The point is if you get ahead, at least by a month, we get to have our vacation too.
Usually, in September and October, I need the most interesting and exciting people. It’s easy for me to pack my schedule a little bit with extra slots for recording. Typically, in a normal month, I might record five episodes. I always try to record one ahead in case somebody falls through so that I’m always a month or so ahead. I might record eight in September and October just because people want to get in. They are in the mode of promoting themselves. They are back into business after the summer and it’s a great time. I can do that which helps me pack up for the holidays and get ahead.
What I want to remind you is to remember that we are not just podcasting for our listening audience. We are also podcasting for our business growth. Our business growth requires our digital world to be in place. When our digital lives are in place, the computer algorithms don’t take time out for turkey. They don’t have it built into an algorithm that if you skip a Thursday because it happens to be Thanksgiving, that that’s okay in the algorithm.
To use an example from our good friend Merrill Chandler at CreditSense. If you skipped your bill payment because it happened to be a holiday and it was only due on the 25th of November this year, do you think they are going to like that? No, they are going to give you negative points for it. That’s what happens in the algorithm from Google, Apple and the whole entire ecosystem that is our digital lives now. In our digital life, we have to stay consistent and constant because it’s what the algorithm expects of us.
Unfortunately, all the systems are set up for you to be able to record ahead and schedule things to publish on the same day of the week, the same time you always would for your podcasts, videos on YouTube and blog posts on your website if you’re doing that. You better be doing that if you’re a podcaster. All of that can be set up. It’s locked, loaded and scheduled. The software makes it happen so why not?
There isn’t any excuse is our point. This isn’t hard. If you were doing a live show as Tom was referring to before, there is no reason you can’t do a recorded version for a holiday. Instead of showing up live, that’s perfectly acceptable to your audience. The algorithm knows no different. It doesn’t care about that. Maybe your Facebook Live gets a little bit more circulation than it does but the recording being there, you’re still showing up for that audience.The holidays are some of our best growth builders in terms of listener and downloads and/or plays. Click To Tweet
Psychologically, you’re still there for them. You have given them the benefit of your day. You have an opportunity to talk about something interesting. You can record it. Maybe you can do something that you couldn’t do in the live so you can give them something special too. It’s also an opportunity to do something. You may want to think about that and plan ahead.
The last thing I want to point out before we close here is that we have seen consistently year-over-year since we started this business and podcasting in 2014 that the holidays are some of our best growth builders in terms of listener and downloads or plays, as you want to call it. It is not just downloads because they aren’t just downloading it. They are listening to it and listening through. Why do you think that is?
It’s what we said at the very beginning of this episode when I’m going on a break. During the time between Christmas and New Year’s, I go skiing. That’s my thing. A lot of times, I drive there because I like it and it’s a long drive. I want the content to listen to. I have got a lot more time when I’m away like that for me to listen to content. I want to stock up. I want to make sure I’m already getting the episodes that I haven’t been able to listen to recently and the latest ones that have come out too. Maybe I’m even looking for some new shows and content to listen to.
Browsing happens at this time. You’re scrolling through. You’re browsing and looking for new shows. This is an opportunity for you to be seen and found by people who haven’t taken the time to do that before. They are barely keeping up with the regular podcasts that they have subscribed to already but here’s an opportunity. They are looking for something new. It’s the perfect time to do that.
In addition to that, what they are also doing though is escaping and/or planning. This happens consistently between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s that end of the year where you’re taking a break from your business and something that is occurring is called a flow. If those of you know that, you’re having a flow process happening in your brain.
Think about that. When you’re mindlessly driving, your brain is processing. It’s really thinking. You’re finally at a downtime in your business and life where you can allow that flow to happen. When that flow happens, what occurs to you is, “I need to amp up my game on marketing. Maybe I need to try this, this year. I’ll go out and look for a podcast for it. The minute I have a moment, that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing.”
This is a time for someone to plan ahead and start thinking proactively about, “I didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve but I got to make sure that that doesn’t happen next year. Who is going to be my resource?” This is the time when we start looking for something new and we start making changes. If you’re there at the right time with a brand-new episode, what that says to me is, “You’re showing up for me when I need you most and that has an impact on my choosing your show.”
That’s what podcasting is all about. I know a lot of people listen when they are driving. We are recording this episode live to our private Facebook group first, for those of you listening to the show. I have got a comment here that says, “I love listening to content when I’m driving, especially on long journeys.” A lot of us do because who wants to listen to real terrestrial radio and hear commercials over and over again? I gave that up years ago. If I’m going to listen to music, it’s SiriusXM because I don’t want the commercials.
Even when I’m on one of those long trips, if I listen to that same station on SiriusXM long enough, I hear some of the same music recycle or play or some of the same shows where somebody’s guest DJed for an hour and then you hear that again. It’s like, “I have been listening to the station too long. I want to listen to something else. I may as well learn something or be entertained in a different way.”
The other thing we have to remember is that sometimes we need some downtime away from our families. Even though we are taking family bonding time sometimes we need a break and a place to go and be away from that. Plugging in and listening privately gives everybody to give you that barrier and space that you might need. This is why we find listens consistently higher at the end of every year, right around the holiday time. It goes pretty consistently every single year. The only year we didn’t see that happen was in 2020. We didn’t see a significant increase because it was already at a higher pace from the pandemic, to begin with.
There was a much higher listenership we saw all year long. There still were a bunch of new shows launching around that time. There was a spike. Here’s the thing. If you were thinking about taking a break and not publishing over the holidays, reconsider that thought.
We would love to see you stay consistent and constant. It’s something that we say here again because it pays dividends both on the digital life that we talked about and on the connection to your audience or your potential future audience that might be looking for you. That’s a way to feed your brand. We will be back next time with more episodes about all kinds of things in the podcasting space.
This is the life that we live. We are here for you. Hopefully, you’re getting value out of this. Feel free to reach out to us. If you have a suggestion for a topic, we would love to hear it. We are constantly coming up with new ones in our experience with podcasts. We will keep bringing those to you week after week.
Thanks for reading. Happy holidays for whatever holiday it might be for you at the time that you’re reading this. We are grateful to all of you for reading our show.
That’s it for us. We will be back next time for another episode of the show. Have a great one until then.