Podcaster burnout is real, especially among the hosts who try to do everything themselves for far too long. Effectively, it’s the feeling that you want to stop podcasting, or that you simply don’t have a love for the medium anymore. It’s what happens when you no longer get excited about podcasting, and so you find yourself making every possible excuse to avoid creating or even releasing a new episode.
The truth is that recording, editing, and promoting a show can be painstaking work, sometimes with little reward to show for all of that effort. Even if you are making money with your podcast however, podcaster burnout can show up without warning. If you’re finding yourself edging towards the feeling of being burnt out – or you’re even in the midst of it – it’s valuable to consider some ways to get out of the rut and back on the mic.
Identify Your Real Problem
The first step in combating podcaster burnout and preventing it in the future is to figure out what’s causing the problem. There are a wide variety of potential issues that can cause even the most dedicated hosts to get discouraged, so you need to figure out which ones are plaguing you.
Whether it’s a scheduling problem, a passion problem, or simply a technical issue like having trouble with getting your audio to sound good, you need to know what’s making your podcast less of a priority for you. Once you see where the problem lies, you can work on figuring out if it’s worth fixing, or if you’re looking at a legitimate obstacle that could mean the end for your current show.
Closely Examine Your Schedule
One of the biggest causes of podfading (letting your show come to a slow or screeching halt) is just a lack of time. Podcasting is a far more time-consuming process than most might think, especially if you’re actively promoting your podcast on social media, your website, via guest podcasting, etc.
If you’re working a full time job and raising a family too, before you know it you have more work than you have hours in the day. Take a look at your schedule to see if that’s what might be causing your burnout, and if any changes can be made to give you back more hours to work on your show.
If your burnout is due to your regular life being too busy in the short-term, you might want to consider a hiatus. While a hiatus can wreak havoc on your subscriber numbers, it might be what you need to get back to your “regularly scheduled programming.” Another option to avoid a complete hiatus is to dial back the number of episodes you release. Perhaps your twice weekly show needs to drop to one a week, or your weekly show needs to drop to once a month.
Give Yourself a Buffer
Buffers are the ultimate saving grace for some podcast hosts. If you can record three or four (or more!) episodes in a row and get them ready for release, you can give yourself a decent break without having to worry about leaving a gap in your current release schedule. Also see: “Level Up Your Podcast with Scheduling.”
This is clearly easiest for podcasters who are running solo shows because they don’t have to schedule long audio recording sessions with multiple hosts. It’s also easier when you don’t need to rely on current events for discussion. Nonetheless, when it’s possible, batching your shows can be a vital tool for those who just feel like they need breathing room in their schedule.
Consider Offloading Responsibilities
Some people experience podcaster burnout simply because they’re doing too much. You’re not a superhero – you can’t do everything all the time without breaking down.
Sometimes working with another person to handle the things that are driving you crazy, or taking too much of your time, is the best way to have fun podcasting again. There are plenty of excellent editors out there, for example, who might be happy to work with you to ease your burden.
For more ideas, check out our post “How to Manage Your Podcast Workflow” for some ideas on batching and scaling as well as outsourcing.
Reconsider Your Goals
Why are you podcasting in the first place? If you can’t remember, you might have a more serious problem.
Did you start it hoping for a sense of community? If so, you might just need to actively engage with members of your community for a while. Perhaps you wanted to make money and you’re not seeing any returns. If that’s the case, you might need to develop a plan to treat it more like a business and less of a hobby.
Do some soul searching, and think about what you really want out of podcasting, and then reverse engineer how to achieve it.
Change Up Your Format
For some podcasters, it’s the repetition of their current format that drives podcaster burnout. Doing the same thing week-in and week-out can get boring, especially if you’re writing every show yourself.
Instead of getting stuck, why not give yourself one show a month, or a series of shows, to try something different? Do an interview, bring on a guest, or just break your traditional format to read some listener mail. Anything that allows you to shake things up could help reinspire you, and give you a much needed break from the pressure of creating new episodes.
Make a Major Change
This is the most drastic step you can take, yet it’s one that may be necessary when all else fails but you still want to keep podcasting. If you aren’t having fun with what you are doing, and you’re not getting the listenership you want, you might want to rebuild from the ground up.
This could mean finding a permanent or rotating co-host, radically changing the format of your show, or even covering a new topic entirely. This may mean needing to change your show name or creating a brand new show from scratch, but it could be just the jolt you’ve been looking for.
You’re Not Alone
One problem could be that you’re lonely. Perhaps joining a mastermind or networking group could be all you need to recharge your podcasting batteries. It sometimes helps to talk to others in the same boat you are to feel a little better. Your group could also help you come up with new ideas. In fact, they could be a great resource for things like finding editors, social media managers, and other podcasting contractors you need to offload your work.
Like all things, preventing and curing podcaster burnout will take effort. How you manage it is up to you. Just know that you’re not alone, and we’re rooting for you. Your audience needs your show, so we hope that you’ll keep releasing episodes as long as you want to.