I’m not trying to be coy or mysterious, but here’s the deal; there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the ideal length of a podcast will vary depending on the topic, format, and target audience. However, there are a few general things to keep in mind when determining the length of your podcast:
- Your target audience: How much time do your listeners have? If you’re targeting busy professionals, you may want to keep your episodes short and to the point. You may have more time to fill if you’re targeting students or retirees.
- Your topic: Some topics lend themselves to longer discussions, while others can be covered in a shorter amount of time. For example, a podcast about current events may need to be longer than a podcast about a specific book or movie.
- Your format: If your podcast is an interview, you’ll need to factor in the time it takes for your guests to answer questions. If your podcast is a solo show, you’ll need to keep yourself engaged and interested for the duration of the episode.
Ultimately, your podcast should be just long enough to fit the good stuff.
If you’ve got 60 minutes of killer content, but you are under the impression a podcast shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes, trying to cram 60 minutes of content into a 30-minute podcast will sound rushed. The opposite is true as well. Let’s say you have a podcast that typically runs 30 minutes. If you’re doing an interview, and after 15 minutes you’ve covered everything you want to cover, trying to stretch for an additional 15 minutes will sound significantly less compelling (and likely repetitive).
When I was doing the Living in Las Vegas podcast, it originally clocked in at about two hours. When I shortened it to one hour, the number complaint I received was it wasn’t long enough. In other words, longer podcasts are attractive. (See Joe Rogan.)
Here are some additional tips for determining the length of your podcast:
- Start with a shorter episode: It’s better to start with a shorter episode and then add more content as you get more comfortable with podcasting. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and will give you a chance to get feedback from your listeners.
- Be flexible: As I said, don’t be afraid to change the length of your episodes based on the topic or the feedback you receive from your listeners. If you find that an episode is too long, you can always edit it down. If an episode is too short, you can always add more content.
- Don’t worry about the competition: Don’t worry about how long other podcasts are. Focus on creating the best podcast you can, regardless of the length. Your listeners will appreciate your content, no matter how long it is.