Podcast Episode Length & Frequency
One of the most common questions I get from new clients is: how long should our podcast episodes be … and how often should we publish them?
Let’s start with length.
If you’re a regular podcast listener, you know that there’s no standard length for podcast episodes. Some are just a few minutes long, some are as long as two hours or even longer! The length depends on the type of podcast and on the audience’s needs.
For example, if you’re producing a sales enablement podcast aimed at your sales force … and episodes feature sales leaders and top salespeople talking about how they win deals, how to handle objections, and so on … you probably want to keep the episodes relatively brief, because salespeople are typically busy and on-the-go and are looking for quick tips and information that will help them close deals. They’re probably not going to be as interested in longer, 30 minute to and hour episodes about bigger picture stuff.
On the other hand, if your podcast is customer-facing, you might have more leeway. Chances are, your listeners will keep listening as long as they find the content engaging and interesting. And it might depend on the topic of discussion. Some topics might require more time to really get into … or if an episode features multiple guests, it might run longer to give everyone a chance to talk.
Another factor in episode length is how often you publish new episodes. As a rule of thumb, the less frequently you publish, the longer the episodes should be … Because the audience is waiting longer for new episodes, they’ll expect more and probably be willing to spend more time listening. Conversely, the more frequently you publish, the shorter episodes can be.
But again, there are no set rules when it comes to this stuff. I advise new clients to start by publishing episodes twice a month, or every two weeks … because that’s often enough to grow a content library and to not make listeners wait too long … and twice a month is a good way to ease into podcasting without feeling overwhelmed by trying to pump out a new episode every week. But once the podcast is up and running, the goal should be to work toward publishing new episodes weekly. That’s the ideal.
As for episode length, our new clients typically start out aiming for around 15-20 minutes. That’s long enough to have an in-depth discussion, without putting too much strain on the host and guest. But the length isn’t set in stone. It’s not unusual for our clients to soon begin recording interviews that run 30 minutes and longer … because once you get going with a really good discussion, time tends to fly.
In the end, it all depends on your audience’s needs and expectations. We strongly encourage our clients to ask for feedback from their listeners about all aspects of the podcast, including episode length and how often they publish. If you’re publishing twice a month and keeping episodes to around 15 minutes, but your listeners tell you they want more content … that’s a good sign that it’s time to ramp things up to start publishing weekly … and to experiment with longer episodes.
Bottom line, start with a publishing cadence and episode length that work for you, and then adjust as your podcast grows and evolves.