Successful Podcast Tips: How Long Should A Podcast Be?

How long should a podcast be

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As a podcaster, you know that creating engaging content isn’t as simple as winging it. Every episode needs to be carefully planned and executed.

But have you ever wondered how long your podcast episodes should be? It’s a common question, and the answer can vary depending on the type of content you’re producing and your target audience.

In this post, we’ll offer some tips and guidelines to help you determine the ideal length for your podcast. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to optimize your existing episodes, this information will help you create successful and engaging content for your listeners. 

Importance of Podcast Duration

The duration of a podcast can affect its appeal to listeners and their ability to stay engaged. A long podcast may not be as effective at retaining attention as a shorter one. It is important to consider the duration of a podcast and whether it is the best way to deliver the content. Here are three main reasons why the duration of a podcast is important.

You Need to Respect Your Listeners’ Time

When planning a podcast, it is important to consider the amount of time that your listeners have available to listen. You should aim to be respectful of their time by getting to the point and not asking them to commit more time than they realistically have. You should also think about what you want your audience to take away from each episode.

You Need to Be Aware of People’s Attention Spans

It is important to keep in mind that people have short attention spans and are constantly bombarded with information. When planning the content of an episode, it is essential to consider the limited amount of time you have to keep your listeners’ attention and to deliver quality content that will keep them engaged.

You Need to Know Your Content and What Works Best

The duration of a podcast is important because it can affect the delivery of the content. It is important to consider the type of content and how best to present it. 

For example, an interview should not feel rushed, while tips or stories should not be overly long and bore the listeners. It is important to find a balance and determine the optimal duration for the type of content or genre of the podcast.

How Long Should a Podcast Be?

For any podcaster, new or experienced, the answer isn’t always clear-cut, as it depends on several factors, including your audience, the type of content you’re sharing, and your overall goals for the podcast.

It is not a surprise that two podcasts on the same topic can have different timelines, and this is because they have different components that they want to cover, different formats, and different target audiences.

Many experts believe that a podcast length of between 20 and 90 minutes is ideal, as it allows for an in-depth discussion of a topic without losing the listener’s attention. However, there may be exceptions to this rule, and the key is to find what works best for you and your audience.

According to the co-founder of Bumper, Dan Misener, the average length of a podcast episode was 43 minutes in 2018, and in 2019, the average episode length decreased slightly to 41 minutes, which was about 2 minutes shorter than the previous year. It is not currently known with certainty what the average length of a podcast is at present, as data is still being collected. 

However, it is possible that the average length has remained relatively stable or has only decreased by a few minutes. The time shown above is just an estimate since the average length of a podcast can vary a lot.

But it seems enough to be a sweet spot for some podcast episodes with deep-dive content without losing your listeners’ attention.

Shorter podcasts might be better for podcasts about lighter topics or for people who have a shorter attention span. On the other hand, podcasts that are on the longer side might be better for in-depth interviews or stories.

Factors to Consider when Determining the Length of a Podcast

Source: Pexels

Your Audience

Depending on the topic and format of your podcast, your audience may have a shorter or longer attention span. Consider what length will be engaging for your listeners without being too long or too short.

Type of Content and Podcast Format

The type of content and the format you want your podcast to take also help you determine an appropriate episode length. For example, if you want to include many interviews in your podcast, a medium-length episode might be best so that you have enough time to dive deep into each conversation.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on covering shorter stories or quick tips, a shorter episode length might be more appropriate.

Frequency of Release

The frequency of your podcast episode releases can also affect the appropriate episode length. If you release episodes frequently, such as daily or weekly, shorter episodes may be more suitable to avoid overwhelming your audience with a large time commitment.

If you release episodes less frequently, such as monthly, you may have more flexibility with episode length.

Your Schedule

Finally, it’s important to consider your own schedule and how much time you are able to devote to creating podcast episodes. If you have limited time, shorter episodes may be more feasible. On the other hand, if you have more time and are enthusiastic about a particular topic, you may want to consider doing a longer episode to thoroughly explore the subject.

Common Podcast Episode Lengths

As we mentioned, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding podcast episode time. It depends on your particular podcast, your audience, and the content you’re sharing. That being said, here are some common podcast episode lengths and what type of content they tend to work best for

Short Episodes (5-20 Minutes)

This might seem like a really short amount of time, but it can actually be enough time to deliver quality content, especially if you’re covering lighter topics. Short episodes can be great for things like daily news updates, quick tips, or short stories. 

Most importantly, they can be easier for your audience to consume, which is especially important if they have busy schedules. 

Examples of podcasts that release short episodes are The Daily by The New York Times and TED Talks Daily.

Medium Episodes (20-40 Minutes)

A medium-length episode falls somewhere between a short and a long episode. It’s long enough to cover more in-depth topics but not so long that it feels like a commitment to your listeners. 

This length can be good for things like interviews, roundtable discussions, or solo shows. 

Some examples of podcasts that release medium-length episodes are CFO Talks

Radiolab, and Financial Management.

Long Episodes (40 Minutes+)

Long episodes give you plenty of time to really dive deep into a topic. This can be great for things like in-depth interviews, panels, or series. Just be sure to keep your listener’s attention span in mind. If an episode feels like it’s dragging on, your audience will tune out.

Some examples of podcasts that release long episodes are Decoder with Nilay Patel and The Lowe Post.

Advantages of Shorter Podcasts

People are busier than ever these days. According to a recent study, the human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds in 2015. That means a shorter podcast is more likely to keep your audience engaged. Here are some other benefits of shorter podcasts:

  1. Shorter podcasts are easier to produce.
  2. They are more concise and to the point.
  3. Shorter podcasts are more likely to be listened to all the way through.
  4. Shorter podcasts are easier to share with others.
  5. Shorter podcasts are more likely to be remembered.

Advantages of Longer Podcasts

The fact that people have shorter attention spans doesn’t mean that longer podcasts can’t be successful. In fact, there are some advantages to longer episodes, such as:

  1. You have more time to dive deep into a topic.
  2. You can include more content, such as interviews, stories, or tips.
  3. You can build more of a rapport with your audience.
  4. Longer episodes are generally more engaging and interesting.
  5. You have more time to promote your podcast.

Conclusion

The optimal length for a podcast will depend on various factors, including the type of content, the preferences of the target audience, and the format of the show. There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some general guidelines that can help determine the best length for a podcast. 

By considering these factors and using tips and strategies, it is possible to create engaging and enjoyable content that resonates with listeners and helps the podcast succeed. Whether starting a new podcast or refining existing episodes, these tips can help create content that resonates with the audience and helps the podcast thrive.

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