Deciding the Duration of Your Podcast: A comprehensive guide on understanding your audience, show format, and production capacity

Source: Artlist

Composing the perfect podcast can be a intimidating endeavor, and among the questions budding podcasters ask is, “how long should my podcast be?” The response to this question is a lot less black-and-white than you might expect – there is no definitive answer, and it’s going to rely heavily on a variety of factors.

Primarily, audience preference plays a critical role in determining the length of your podcast episodes. The professional executive probably longs for a short, concise episode they can consume during their business maneuverings, whereas someone on a leisurely walk might prefer a more extended, engaging conversation. Knowing your prospective listener base and understanding their listening activities is essential.

Your show’s format is another significant determinant of its length. For instance, our podcast, Tech Talk Y’all, consists of multiple segments – Tech News, Weird and Wacky, and Tech Recs. This variety allows for a more lengthy episode without risking listener boredom.

Keep the complexity of your topic in mind too. Attempt to squeeze a dense, complex topic into a five-minute podcast, and you’ll leave your audience feeling even more confused. Conversely, stretching a simple subject to fill a lengthy time slot can turn your content dull and tedious. Contemplating the complexity and depth of your topic can guide you to find the sweet spot for your podcast length.

Podcast metrics can also be illuminating. Observing listener engagement levels and pinpointing when they taper off can offer valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. Examining the statistics of your previous episodes might help you discern trends – which episodes perform well and why, and where you’re losing your audience.

Finally, assess your production capacity. If you’re short on time or resources, a streamlined, unedited 10-15 minute podcast might be ideal for you. But if you have the luxury to invest in quality and detail, a more elaborated, refined, and longer episode might serve your audience better.

In conclusion, the optimal podcast length will differ greatly depending on numerous aspects – your audience, your chosen subject, your parsing of listener metrics, and your production resources. As such, it’s not about settling on a fixed number for podcast length but about framing strategies and making a knowledgeable decision based on those strategies. Podcasting is not a one-size-fits-all strategy, and it’s crucial to find what works best for you and your audience.

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