Podcast burnout is the leading cause of dead podcasts; and trust me, there are tons of dead podcasts. Realizing that success doesn’t come immediately, takes a lot of hard work and may come in different forms than expected is a huge part of avoiding podcast burnout. That can be helpful to hear, but it doesn’t do much when you are in the middle of feeling hopeless or overwhelmed.
Let’s take a look at why podcast burnout happens, how it feels and what you can do to prevent it.
The Psychology Behind Podcast Burnout
To combat podcast burnout, we first need to know why it happens and understand the state of mind behind the desire to quit.
Let’s look at the stages of podcasting the same way we look at the stages of a relationship.
The Exciting Birth of a Podcast
“We can do this! I have all these great ideas, and I’m just excited to get them out there. Who cares if anyone even listens to the show?”
The start of a podcast is the best part because it all feels like free energy at the beginning. The work isn’t work – it’s fun, engaging and enticing.
The Honeymoon Phase
“We have to figure out a format that works and keep improving. I’m just so happy that we figured out how to post it regularly and got a website up! I can’t wait to record next week, can you?”
It’s scary when you are figuring out all the issues that might halt the production of the podcast, but when you figure them out, cloud nine is right around the corner. The honeymoon phase offers a lot of energy and is very exciting.
Becoming Normal Routine
“Do you want to record a few extra shows this week in case we want to take some time off for the holidays? Have you looked at our listener statistics? We are doing pretty good.”
When podcasting starts to feel like a normal routine, you produce some of your best work. Remembering to inject some freshness here and there can help to keep the show from growing stale and keep you from feeling that it’s burdensome.
The Podcast Becomes a Burden
“Numbers are down this month. I’m not feeling up to recording this week. When do we start making money on this thing? Maybe we should just call it quits.”
This will cross your mind at some point. Life will seem simpler if you only didn’t have to record that podcast. Just like a relationship, it takes hard work and commitment. You can’t just give up the moment things seem hard. Everything in your life that’s worthwhile takes effort and commitment, and your podcast is no different.
Rekindling the Spark
“I really enjoy the parts of the podcast that give me energy. I love the connection I have with our listeners. Numbers go up and down, but if you look at the overall trend, we are always on an upward trajectory.”
Focus on the stuff that gives you energy, and you will find a new way to frame the podcast in your mind. Finding fulfillment in the interactions with your audience or the clever interviews you do is a reward unto itself.
Who Podcast Burnout Hurts the Most
When you feel like it’s easiest to give up on your podcast, that’s true. It’s the easy way out, but who does it hurt? Your listeners have come to depend on you. They wait for your episodes to drop, and even if you only have a few listeners, they rely on you.
But the person that gets hit the hardest when you quit producing your show isn’t your listeners – it’s you.
Your podcast represents you taking a chance on yourself. It’s akin to starting your own business. Is it easier to give up on your small business and get a job working for somebody else? Absolutely! That’s precisely why it’s worth sticking it out with your podcast – because anything worth doing is going to be difficult.
Use Your Audience for Support
You’ve done an impressive thing by taking a chance on yourself with your podcast. The even more remarkable part is keeping it going when times get tough. Record when you don’t want to; even talk about it on your show!
Your listeners are rooting for you, and if you mention how hard it has been to keep going, you will probably receive the support you need to keep things afloat.
Making a meaningful connection with people through your voice is the core of podcasting. It’s what determines your success, and it’s what can save your podcast when things feel bleak.
David Day is the co-founder and co-host of Horror Movie Talk Podcast. When he isn’t watching horror movies he is focused on growing the podcast. Listen to his show Horror Movie Talk here.