Podfade is a term that you may have heard before. We’ve even used the term before when talking about personal bandwidth. But what is podfade? How can you overcome it? How do you avoid it in the first place?
Podfade is a specific name for the burnout that comes from podcasting. Podcasters who experience podfade may be exhausted from the process itself, or they may be having trouble coming up with new ideas for episodes. This results in long absences, or may even bring an unintentional ending to the podcast itself.
Podfade is also a symptom of external issues like declining health, or family/work-related issues. Anything that’s overwhelmed the podcaster to the point of not being able to devote energy to their podcast can cause podfade.
It’s important to note that podfade is not a moral failing, or something to be ashamed of. Podfade can happen to anyone, regardless of what their podcast is about, the size of their audience, or how much content they put out. If you’re suffering from podfade, don’t beat yourself up over it. We’ve got some tips here to help you get back on your feet, and how to avoid podfade in the future.
How much time each week are you spending on your podcast? What is the volume of content that you’re producing? How long do you spend on social media promoting everything? Look at how much time you’re dedicating to your podcast each week, and see where you can cut back.
Maybe instead of publishing a thirty minute episode each week, you cut back to ten or twenty minutes. Or maybe you cut back to an episode every other week. Look for places that you can cut back a bit with your content, and make the appropriate cuts.
When making these cuts, keep your listeners in the loop and inform them of the upcoming changes. We’ve maintained before that you should keep your content as steady and as consistent as possible, but with podfade you may have to deviate from your usual schedule. Keeping your listeners in the loop lets them know what to expect in your upcoming content, and will keep your listeners tuning in.
Preventative measures to take: When coming up with your schedule for your podcast content production and promotion, take into consideration how much time it takes to produce each episode. Try to keep your schedule manageable by starting off slow – with shorter episodes or longer lengths of time between each episode – before expanding. It also doesn’t hurt to have a few episodes’ worth of a backlog just in case you have a publication date where you fall ill or have external issues preventing you from working on your content.
Whether you’re a solo podcaster or part of a podcast production team, you may have to call in for reinforcements if you’re experiencing podfade. This will take some of the burden off your shoulders, so you can turn your attention to issues that require your immediate attention.
One way to make this work to your advantage is to reach out to your podcast peers to see if they’d like to host a guest episode for your podcast. This gives you content to publish that you have to do little (if any) work on, and this also promotes your fellow podcaster to an audience they might not be reaching.
You can also reach out to your podcasting peers for help with editing, or social media promotion. With these tasks, you can also offer promotion on your podcast in exchange for their assistance, but be aware that you may have to pay them for their assistance as well. (If money is not an issue, there are quite a few podcast production companies that can also handle things like editing and social media promotion.)
You can also take advantage of automatic posting and scheduling tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck, or the tools built into your podcast host’s platform. This allows you to create content in bulk and schedule everything at the same time, so that you can do everything during one session and then leave it be for a bit.
Preventative measures to take: Delegation is a lot easier when your podcast team is more than one (or even two) people. Consider, when starting your podcast, working with a few people to produce the content so that the workload is spread out a bit instead of being on just your shoulders.
Along with delegating actual tasks, you can turn to podcasting peers and industry resources for tips and tricks that might make podcasting easier for you. Learning everything from scratch, cleaning up mistakes that could have been prevented, and having an inefficient process…all take the joy out of what you love about podcasting. Join a few podcasting groups (like Podbean’s Podcasting Smarter) and don’t hesitate to ask questions and reach out for help. Listen to some podcasts or watch some helpful videos on areas you want to improve. A resource like Podbean’s Podcast Academy is just one of many out there to help you navigate all the pieces of podcasting with ease.
You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
This may seem like a weird proverb, but look at it like this: if you’re constantly putting everything you have into producing your content, what is left for you to do things like work, or cook dinner, or entertainment? If you only have so much energy in a day and you put all of it into one task, it leaves the other tasks to suffer.
When it comes to creating your content, you have to keep in mind that you can consume things – enjoy things like movies, or music, or books, or whatever it is you love doing – with the intent of simply enjoying them. Not everything you consume has to be related to your podcast. At some point, you need to take part in activities and such simply for the sake of doing so, and without having to analyze each bit of it so you can break it down on your podcast.
So this is us giving you permission to go watch a movie, or play a game, or just mindlessly scroll through Twitter or TikTok just for the sake of enjoying yourself. Not everything you take in has to be for your podcast. Not every Youtuber shares every piece of drama they hear, or shares every game that they play.
Go back to what inspired your podcast in the first place, that thing that gave you that spark to start producing your own content, and experience it again. Find that original inspiration and let it inspire you again to keep going.
Refill your vessel so you can continue to serve from it.
Preventative measures to take: During each episode production cycle, take some time to simply enjoy content for what it is. Not every movie needs a review. Not every piece of discourse needs to be commented upon. Take some time for yourself. It’s okay. We promise.
Know When To Hold ‘Em, And Know When To Fold ‘Em
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a big driving force for a lot of people today. This drives people to buy things, go places, and pursue experiences because they’re afraid of what they’ll miss out on if they don’t do so. This can also be a driving force for podcasters and the annual menace of the podcast conference.
Podcast conferences are a great place to network, and meet up with other podcasters, and even meet the team behind your podcast host (like Podbean)! However, overdoing the convention trips can lead to podfade, especially if you’re pursuing conferences as a way to curb your current podfade case.
Don’t feel compelled to attend every podcast conference. While going big at a conference has the potential to level you up as a podcaster, it can absolutely have the opposite effect if you’re in the podfade zone. Think about why you’re going, your goals, and what will serve you best. Another reason podcast conferences can up the podfade anxiety is that you hear about a million great ideas and see what others are doing and become overwhelmed. Be selective about how you filter the information you hear, realizing you don’t have to do it all tomorrow. If you take away 1-2 simple tips to implement or a new relationship or two, you are likely to get more out of an event than if you feel you need to attend every session and start doing everything you learned right away.
At the end of the day, your podcast is about the topics and experiences you enjoy. Turn your focus more towards those topics, and seek out other networking opportunities such as virtual events or local get-togethers. Remember that as much as podcasting conferences can benefit you, there may equally (or more so) be events within your niche that will connect you with your audience and purpose.
Preventative measures to take: No, you do not have to go to every convention. Focus on one big con for the year so you can put more energy and focus into them and your podcast, instead of spreading yourself out too thin over multiple conventions.
Hiatus: The Do’s And Don’ts
When people say “hiatus,” minds automatically go to the podcast we really enjoyed that went on hiatus back in 2017 and still hasn’t come back. Hiatuses, however, are not always bad, and do not always end up as a meandering ending for podfaded podcasts. A hiatus can help you take some time to realign your goals and make adjustments to your content creation strategies so you can come back stronger.
There are smart choices to make when choosing to go on hiatus, so here’s a list of do’s and don’ts:
- DO give a specific date that you’re coming back. A specific return date gives assurances to your audience that you’re not quitting for good, and that this is simply a break. Take stock of how you’re feeling, give yourself a week more than you’re thinking, and let your audience know that you’ll be back.
- DON’T spend the entire hiatus working on your podcast. A hiatus gives you time to make adjustments to your podcast, but you also need to give yourself room to breathe and rest. Take a break from your podcast so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.
- DO give other hobbies a go. Take some time to create for the joy of creation, instead of always creating with publication being the end goal. You don’t have to be a professional, and it doesn’t have to turn into a whole new life direction, but give other hobbies a try. Pick up something like painting, or sculpting with clay, or some other hobby that has you working with your hands, and give your mind a break.
- DON’T, DO NOT, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT start giving away your podcasting gear and cancelling your podcast hosting account because you think you’re never going to podcast again. Look, we’ve all been there. Frustration’s at an all-time high, and you think, “I’m sick of looking at it, I want it gone,” so you go and either give it away or sell it online. Then months later, you think to yourself, “Man, I wish I still had that thing so I could give it another go.” Do not go down this road with your podcast equipment. If you think you’re done for good, pop it into storage for a while. You never know when the urge will strike again.
Preventative measures to take: Incorporate seasons into your podcast! These are built-in breaks that allow you to walk away from your podcast for a bit, and give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of it all. While it may seem like no fun to cut off the audience after a dozen episodes and you’re getting into the swing of things, a season break will let you rejuvenate and recharge your creative batteries to get back into the swing of things!
Podfade can happen to any podcaster, no matter their size or reach. The important thing is to know when it’s time to take a break and let yourself rest, and how to adjust your workflow to keep yourself from burning out.Curious about more podcasting resources? Check out the rest of our blog as well as our Youtube channel for more podcasting tips and tricks!