Did you your autoimmune disease flare up causing you to stop blogging for three months?
Did you get a new day job that took over your life causing you to take a break from posting regularly on Instagram?
Did starting grad school take way more time than you thought causing you to stop almost everything including emailing your list for the last five months?
Whatever it was, you felt you had no other option but to take an unplanned break and now you’ve found your footing. You want to return but you don’t know how to do so gracefully. It’s been months and you feel guilty and wonder how your followers are going to react.
Are they going to be upset? Are they going to ignore you? Are they going to think you’re just going to disappear again?
Let me ease your mind.
Your followers are busy with their own lives. Your super duper ‘check all the time to see if you’ve posted new content’ fans will have noticed that you’ve been absent. They might’ve even checked in with you to see if you’re okay.
But most of your followers are overloaded with their own lives to notice your absence in their inbox or on Instagram.
They’ll just be happy when you reappear with great content.
So, how do you come back?
Do you need to acknowledge your absence? Do you need to apologize? Do you need to come back with a party or some over-the-top content to grab your followers attention?
I’ve been asked these questions by probably 100 clients over the past eight years of running my consulting business, so let me tackle this once and for all.
Here are three suggestions to help you return after an unplanned break:
1. Jump back in without apologies.
Your followers don’t want your apology. They want you to get back to the content they love.
Like I said above, the people reading your blog or subscribed to your email list have overwhelming lives of their own. They probably haven’t noticed your absence, so don’t make it more obvious with flashing lights and long apologies.
Instead, create valuable, entertaining content for them. They will appreciate that more than an apology about how your day job is draining all your energy and you broke your toe and you’re taking care of your sister’s cat while she’s backpacking through Europe and you’re sorry for not emailing for the past three months.
Think about the ‘I’m sorry for not posting’ apologies you read. Don’t they fall into the annoying category?
Don’t stumble into that trap.
Just jump back into posting your regular content.
2. Don’t overthink it.
Many of my clients who have taken an unplanned break think they have to come up with Beyonce-at-the-superbowl-like comeback content for the first thing they post when they return.
This keeps them from posting because they can’t think of the “perfect” thing to post.
It doesn’t have to be the most brilliant piece of content you’ve ever posted. It should be good and offer value, but don’t stop yourself from moving forward because you haven’t created the best blog post of all time.
After a break, your first Instagram post or blog post or email to your list should look like the content you created before the break. Write something you’re used to writing or take a photo similar to the photos you uploaded before you stopped posting.
You want your followers to see the content and think, “yep, that’s so-and-so.” It should work with your brand.
3. Come back with consistency.
So you took an unplanned break? Sh*t happens. (Yeah, I just cursed. This is serious!)
I get it. For the past three months, I’ve had to change medications about six times and it has taken a huge toll on my health. I never thought I would miss a week of blogging, but I had to prioritize my work and Sunday Society was my absolute priority.
I finally have my medication under control and I’m back!
When you return, decide what consistency means to you. Emailing every week…blogging every other week…posting on Instagram three times per week.
Establish that rule for yourself and stick to it.
Don’t disappear again for another three months.
If you keep disappearing and reappearing, you become an untrustworthy brand and when you ask for money, your followers are going to decline because they don’t know if you’re actually going to be there. They don’t know if you’re going to deliver on your promises.
Coming back with consistency is key to returning with grace.
If you do these three things, you can return with confidence.
The bottom line is get back to work…the world needs what you have to offer.
Have you taken a unplanned break? What was your experience returning to blogging or emailing your list or Instagram or Facebook?