Does the thought of taking a break from your blog make you feel bit anxious and nervous? Or is that just be me? It takes consistency to build up the momentum it takes to grow your readership. And taking a break? Feels like you might lose some of that momentum (and readers).
So if you’re experiencing any anxiety or fear about stepping away from your blog and content, it’s completely normal. It can be really hard to let go of that feeling – especially when you’ve been kicking butt on your content lately and are finally starting to see some traction in terms of growing your community, visibility and engagement.
I've been there – so afraid of losing your audience or getting out of the habit of posting content regularly that I feel like I can't ever take a break.
The best way to overcome these feelings? Feeling like you’ve prepared so that it looks like the machine is still running even though you’re not at the wheel.
Keep on reading for my 5 best tips on how to take a break from your blog! The whole purpose is to get you prepared to take a guilt-free, stress-free vacation from your blog and content and to use that free time however you choose. And since we're near the Holidays, may I suggest delicious afternoon naps, very loud dinners with family and friends, or baking dozens upon dozens of holiday cookies (send some my way, please?)
My 5 Best Tips for Taking a Break from your Blog (or Content)
(1) Prepare Ahead of Time
Feeling like you’re prepared before you take a break from your blog will ease all of those anxious thoughts and feelings like, “Am I going to lose all my readers?” or “How will I start up again?”
You’re in a great place knowing that you want to take a break so you have the chance to prepare for it.
Another tip? Go Dateless!
On your blog that is! Why unintentionally turn your audience off of reading posts that you published in the past that are just as relevant today? It also helps when you’re taking a break from blogging so it doesn’t look like you’re one of those people who posted for awhile and then vanished into thin air! In WordPress, you can do this by going to settings -> permalink and changing the structure of your links and then there should also be an option in your theme to stop displaying the dates of your posts (where it depends on what theme you’re using).
(2) Take Inventory of What You Need
Create an editorial calendar that covers the time period when you're going to be away from your blog. This will make it easier for you to create the content you need to for the slots that need to be filled.
(3) Get creative and resourceful with how you fill your empty “content slots”
Taking a 4-week break? Maybe it feels like you have to write 4 blog posts with corresponding newsletters and social media. And then you get into a downward thought spiral about how much work that’s going to be. And then what about the content you’ll need when you get back? Shouldn’t you have something pre-prepared for that too?
You don’t necessarily have to create new content for each slot – but you can get creative with how you fill those slots!
- Pull from your content ideas folder (you know those half-written pieces you have in computer folders)
- Organize a blog or newsletter takeover! Set up a reciprocal guest post exchange (using new content or content that’s already been published but not to your audience)
- Find some of your hall of fame social media posts from Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram. You know those ones where you just started writing on a question or topic and couldn’t stop? These can be repurposed easily into blog posts.
- Created a pdf or opt-in? Write a blog post around that by pulling out the main parts. Then your opt-in becomes the content upgrade. Filling your content calendar and building your list at the same time? Win-win!
- Created a webinar or presentation? Transcribe the best parts and structure into a blog post.
- Do a round-up post of your favourite resources on a particular topic.
- Guest bloggers – Know some people who would be a great fit for your audience? Ask if they’d like to post something or go into a Facebook group and pose the question: “I’m looking for guest posters on [insert your website]. I write about x, y and z. Please comment below or pm me know if you’d be interested!” Schedule their posts for the days you normally publish. You get coverage, they get exposure and your audience gets a new post. Wins all-round!
- Leverage old posts – Sure there are some people who will remember when you feature an existing post on your social media channels or newsletter, but most will not. So print out a calendar covering the time that you’ll be away and map out what content you’re going to distribute through your channels.
(4) Set aside some time during your break for content
I promise this isn't the bait and switch where I tell you to not really take a break! Here are a couple of easy things to do during your break that'll make it go much smoother!
- Respond to comments a couple of times a week: Even though you’re on hiatus, pop in and respond to comments a couple of times a week. Set a timer and dedicate 10 minutes to just responding.
- Keep a journal to write down any content ideas or free write: You're going to be amazed at how creative your become without the expectations and deadlines you put on yourself. Take advantage of this by keeping a journal during your off-time to note down any content ideas as you get them!
(5) Have a comeback plan
Took a break without preparation? Life happens! Here's how to mount a Britney Spear's level come back with your content in 30 days or less.