A question that often pops up for new podcasters is how long should an episode be? At first, it seems like a simple question, but depending on the content of your show, your interest in monetization, your own audience, and even yourself, the answer can differ greatly. It all depends on what you want out of podcasting!
The best rule of thumb is to think about your content. If you’re creating an interview-style podcast, do you want to spend a lot of time with your guest or keep it short and sweet? How far into the stories do you want to venture, or do you want to ask rapid-fire questions and get equally quick answers?
The flavor of content heavily impacts the length of your episodes. An in-depth story with weaving lines may be better suited for hour-plus long episodes while breaking industry news is better in short and frequent bursts.
You also want to keep your audience in mind when deciding on the length of your episodes. Is your ideal audience entrepreneurs always on the go? Then it might be better to create bite-sized content that they can consume quickly while moving through their day. Do you want to reach folks looking to improve themselves or learn something new? Then your show, and audience, might benefit from a more detailed and long episode. Step into the shoes of your ideal audience and ask how much time do you want to spend with me today?
If You’re Monetizing with Ads
Another factor that can notably impact your episode length is whether or not you’re interested in monetizing your show. Podcast advertisements can be placed in either the “Pre-Roll”, “Mid-Roll”, or “Post-Roll” positions. Each of these positions typically has a different CPM (cost per 1 thousand downloads), with Mid-Roll often having the highest with Pre-Roll and Post-Roll, especially, a bit further behind. If you’re planning to monetize your show, then a longer episode format might be better as you can take advantage of all three positions.
On the reverse, a short episode with a Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, and Post-Roll might be exhausting for your audience. They may not fully enjoy the episode, or your podcast, if they feel that more time is taken up by ads than your content. Longer episodes with the same amount of ads are much more palatable for your audience. In fact, the ideal amount of ads in a single podcast episode is about 3 to 4 ads (more if your episode is longer than 30 minutes!)
If You’re Not Monetizing with Ads
If you’re not interested in monetizing your podcast with advertising, then you do have a bit more flexibility in the length of your episodes. You don’t need to factor in audience fatigue or the balance between ad breaks and content.
However, monetizing with ads is not the only way to earn revenue for your craft. You could create bonus/exclusive episodes that are much longer in length than your typical episodes, and grant access only to your subscribers. Perhaps an uncut version of a guest interview or a special single story in your ongoing narrative.
The length of your podcast episodes is ultimately up to you and what you want to achieve with your podcast! There truly isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this question as it depends on your podcast, your audience, and yourself. Trust in your own process and you’ll find success!
Interested in starting your own podcast? Check out what RedCircle has to offer!