Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about the length of your podcast.
“What’s the ideal length for a podcast episode?”
Man, if I had a pound every time someone asked me that! But my answer is not straight-forward and I often reply back with,
“As long as it needs to be, no shorter, no longer – it’s up to you.”
A puzzled look ensues, mostly with a head tilt, you know like the kind you see on an inquisitive puppy.
Let me break it down for you,
You’re the boss
This is your podcast. You don’t have a broadcaster or commissioner breathing down your neck to tell you that it has to be 24.59 minutes long. One of your podcasts might be half an hour, the next twenty five minutes.
Why not give yourself a benchmark? I tend to start off planning my podcast with a length in mind and then base my episodes around that. I don’t stress if they’re under or over that length because…
You know your audience and what sounds good
You’re not daft, you’ve got a good ear for a podcast (if not, why are you podcasting? Go and listen to some podcasts!), you know what sounds good.
Use your judgement on length. For example if an interviewee is waffling on, perhaps on a subject that’s unrelated to your podcast – cut it, they haven’t answered the question that well – cut it…your audience isn’t going to find it useful / entertaining…
On the other hand if the interviewee describes a beautifully deep, personal, funny, moving (keep adding all the nice words…) story – don’t cut it!
When you’re deciding what to keep or ditch from your episode, ask yourself
“Does it fit my podcast?’
“What is my episode about?’
“Will my audience love it?’
It depends on the frequency
A monthly podcast will probably be longer than a daily podcast – this could be down to your time commitments, the content generated between episodes etc. Put it this way, would you listen to a monthly podcast that’s just four minutes long?
But what about commutes?
You may have read articles that tell you that the length of your podcast should be based around the average commute time. Your listener likes your podcast to start when they set off for work and be done and dusted by the time that they sit down at their desk. Urgh, there’s so much to unpick here. Firstly, this blanket statement can’t possibly be applied to all audiences – you know your audience best – they might not even commute!
Secondly, stats say that people love podcasts because of the flexibility at which they can consume them, for example being able to pause them and pick them up again later. Which leads onto my final point, if your content is engaging your listener they won’t mind having to consume it in a few sittings.
I saw a dead good analogy of this on twitter the other day, from the band Lancashire Hotpots (by the way, if you’re from Northern England have a little listen to these lot – funny as owt!)
It’s @ChartMusicTOTP , the one I’m listening to at the mo is only 3hours long. It’s not commitment for me; you don’t need to read a book in one go, why do the same for a podcast? And if it’s good, you want it to last as long as possible 😀— Lancashire Hotpots (@thehotpots) February 26, 2020
To be incredibly obvious and cheesy AF, it’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it.
There is no ideal length for a podcast episode but don’t make it longer or shorter than it should be!
This is part of series of Vic’s Podcasting Tips, Vic being our founder! Read what we’ve published so far, right here.
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