As the podcasting industry becomes more popular, podcasters are looking for new ways to make their podcast the best it can be. If you are curious about what’s the ideal podcast length, the answer is not so simple.
With so many podcasts being released each week, you are facing tougher competition. This shouldn’t scare you. Instead, it should inspire you to analyze important aspects of your podcast, such as the ideal podcast length.
Each podcast is unique. You may have the same topic as another podcaster, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow their ideal podcast length and structure. Finding out your sweet spot depends on a lot of factors, such as a thorough understanding of your content, audience, and topic, rather than choosing just a number on the clock.
Although finding your ideal podcast length is not a walk in the park, it’s an investment that will pay off in time. In order to help you find out what the answer is regarding your ideal podcast length, you have to know important strategies.
Tips to Determine the Ideal Podcast Length
Keep these tips in mind if you want to know how long your podcast should be. When you find the perfect length, it would be easy for you to build a loyal audience and earn money through your passion.
Know your topic
There is no perfect podcast length that covers all topics. It can vary depending on your subject. Always think about the points you want to share in your episodes. There are topics that take longer to share because you need to provide background information, and there are also topics that your audience is more familiar with. With topics like these, you don’t need to lay a foundation or make a long introduction script to get your point across seamlessly.
Knowing what your niche is can also help you choose your ideal podcast length. Look at other shows that have the same topic and structure as yours and compare their general length. It will give you a working time frame so you can gauge your episode length. A good rule of thumb podcasters should know is to keep the podcast short enough so the audience won’t get bored but also long enough to share relevant information.
Understand your audience
Figuring out who listens to your podcast is something you have to do if you want to know your ideal podcast length.
This is because your listeners are the life source of your podcast, and the length of your episode should match their needs. One of the best tips to starting a podcast is to know the interests of your audience. For instance, if they love listening to podcasts about meditation since it’s an area of their life they want to improve on, they may listen to longer and content-heavy podcast episodes. But if your listeners just want to lift their mood, shorter podcasts are recommended.
Know your audience’s listening habits
This is another vital strategy to determine the ideal podcast length. Knowing where and how your audience listens to podcasts will give you an indication of how much time they have for your show. This important piece of information may seem hard to obtain, but there are many podcast platforms that can give you this data. If you want to take the extra mile, you can do a survey that is specific to your podcast audience. This will tell you the time they have during their commute or at home so you can tailor your ideal podcast length to their free time.
For instance, the average length of commute in the US is 27.1 minutes. This solid figure can be your baseline. But if your audience usually listens to the podcast at night before they go to bed, you can have longer episodes since your audience has more time on their hands.
Examine your capacity
All the strategies in determining the ideal podcast length will be in vain if you don’t take into consideration your capacity as a host. This isn’t a measure of your skills as a person, but your free time and your productivity for your podcast. You must keep your episodes within that zone since if you go over that, your energy level may be depleted, and your audience will notice that.
If you sound like you are drained or not completely committed to your podcast, your audience will lose interest. This is why it’s always important to know your skills as a podcaster and find out what your capacity is.
Have a cheat sheet
The ultimate podcast length has little to do with finding out the perfect hour, minute, or second, but rather with understanding your audience and yourself, as well as how you can meet the needs of your listeners.
This means that the ideal podcast length of each episode should be relative to the valuable content you want to impart rather than the time. Finding out the ideal podcast length comes down to your overall creation and editing process. This is why you have to create a cheat sheet that you can use to guide you when it comes to planning every episode. This will make it easier for you to ensure that each content is packed with valuable information that leaves your audience wanting more and not constantly checking the clock.
Your cheat sheet should include important tips like the ones listed below.
Leave out the unimportant stuff
This tip is very simple but hard to follow. During your editing process, if you are questioning whether or not something is worthy of keeping, most often than not, you probably need to scrap it out. You should also remove filler words like “um” and “ah” to save more time. All dead air should also be removed.
Always remember who your audience is
Always keeping in mind who your audience is as you are creating your content is an effective way to ensure that every episode contains important content that your audience will appreciate. When you are editing your podcast, think about what your audience needs and ask yourself on every podcast section if your audience needs to hear the topics you are sharing. If the answer is yes, then keep the audio.
Do not be self-indulgent
While it’s your show, you should keep yourself out of the equation if you want to get the ideal podcast length. Carefully scrutinize your podcast and know whether you’re just talking for the sake of talking or really sharing something worthy.
If you are not vigilant, your podcast may seem self-serving. While recording, you may become lost in your thoughts, and you may ramble. When this happens, your podcast may sound like you’re just showing off rather than giving your audience something important to think about.
In a natural conversation with another host or even just hosting a podcast alone, it’s easy to become off-topic. Your podcast needs to remain focused, and it’s in your best interest to stick to your topic since it’s what your listeners turned in for. While deviation can be great at times, you must make sure that the path you are taking will increase your content value.
Other Factors to Keep in Mind
When you are a podcaster, you can easily look at formats and structures from the world’s top podcasters. Unfortunately, you can’t simply copy the ideal podcast length of another podcaster since the statistics are all over the place. Here are more factors to keep in mind when deciding your podcast length.
Let your content guide you
The bottom line of deciding what your ideal podcast length is your content. If each episode is 2 hours long, but everything is solid, then it’s perfect. There’s no need to shorten it to an hour or prolong it by 30 minutes since you will only be putting up roadblocks so you can make the best podcast possible.
The best part of podcasting is you don’t have to play by another person’s schedule. There’s no point in being so wrapped up by the minute. Podcasts are on-demand content so make your podcast as long or short as you need.
Try to be uniform
One question you may have on your mind is if you should keep all your episodes the same length. The answer is simple: do not stretch out your podcast or cut it short if it’s not worth it.
There are benefits to making all your episodes consistent. For example, your listeners will expect your episodes to have the same length range.
Once you finally have your system and routine in place, you may find it easier to make your episodes a similar length because this is how long it will take to present your information. While you can deviate every now and then, you don’t want to shock your listeners with your eclectic episode lengths since it will give people the impression that you are poor at planning.
Is There Anything Wrong with Overly Long Episodes?
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, one of the most successful podcasts in the world, has been downloaded more than a hundred million times, according to his website. His episodes are around 4 to 6 hours long. Considering this, there’s really nothing wrong with having a long podcast as long as the content is interesting. If you plan on making your episodes long, make sure it’s not dragging.
What Do You Think Is Your Ideal Podcast Length?
There really is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the ideal podcast length, and your journey in figuring out the best length for your podcast will be unique. We can help you in creating or improving your podcast! Submit your project now.