How to Keep Your Audience in the Loop If You’re Going Dark

Every now and then, you might find yourself needing to take a little break from Subtext. Not only is going radio silent for a brief period of time perfectly okay, it can even strengthen the relationship with your subscribers.

Taking some time off reminds your readers that there’s a human on the other end of the text messages they’re receiving, and that reminder can be a powerful one. Taking the occasional hiatus reminds subscribers of the level of access they’re getting through Subtext, that they’re receiving real-time texts from real-life people. And sometimes, those people take breaks.

Still, as is the case in any relationship, communication is critical. There’s a big difference, to readers at least, between an announced interruption and an abrupt period of silence.

So, below are just a handful of recommended methods that Subtext hosts have used to let their readers know that they’ll be taking a short break.

  1. Taking time off

When it comes to holidays or vacations, Subtext hosts are encouraged to unplug as they see fit. But if you’re heading out of town, taking some time off or celebrating the holidays, make sure to let your readers know that you’ll be away.

For example, Joe Eskenazi, a San Francisco-based political reporter for Mission Local, let readers know he would be taking a day off to celebrate Yom Kippur with his family.

Joe Eskanazi Yom Kippur text message Subtext
Prior to shelving his phone, Joe lets his readers know he won’t be sending any texts the next day.

2. Sharing personal news

Whether it’s a wedding, vacation, the birth of a child or a surprise birthday gift, feel free to share your news with your subscribers and then enjoy whatever good fortune it is that you’re celebrating.

Below is an example from USA Today’s Kelly Lawler of how that text could look.

Kelly Lawler USA Today Subtext
By sharing her news, Kelly invites readers to share in her happiness and lets them know of her upcoming leave of absence.

3. Feeling overwhelmed

Below is an example from Chad Leistikow, who covers Iowa Hawkeyes sports for the Des Moines Register.

After working on a developing story around the clock, Chad felt exhausted and admitted to readers that he needed to turn his phone off and recharge. If that’s ever the case, let your readers know and then take the time off that you need.

Chad Leistikow Des Moines Register Subtext
Chad explains what led to his exhaustion, telling readers he would be taking a day or two off to relax.

4. Explaining an absence

Despite the best planning in the world, it’s likely that at some point you’ll simply be too busy to use Subtext, and your feed might go quiet for a day or two. When this happens, there’s no need to worry or over-explain, but it will help regain readers’ trust if you acknowledge the hiatus. Below is a great example, from The Tennessean’s Cindy Watts, of how to let readers know that you’re back.

So, whether your break is to celebrate, recuperate or get caught up on something urgent, feel free to take the time off that you need. Just make sure to keep your subscribers updated, and they’ll be waiting for you when you get back.

The Tennessean’s Cindy Watts Subtext Country Mile
Cindy makes brief mention of her absence, and then dives back in with new information.




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