Is There Really A Perfect Podcast Length?

I’m often asked how long a podcast should be and I really hate that question because there is no right answer, just a bunch of speculation.

I’ve heard podcasts that go for 7 minutes right up to 1 hour, talk based podcasts, music podcasts, talk and music podcasts etc. There’s a podcast out there that’ll see you through a workout at the gym or cooking some 2-minute noodles.

The great thing about podcasting is that it’s a flexible medium, which means there is no perfect length. Unlike Radio, podcasters don’t need to run to a strict format to fit in with commercial breaks and news bulletins. You also don’t have a program director breathing down your neck. Nope – as a podcaster, you and you alone decide how long your show goes for.

But there’s one bit of advice I’ll pass on that might help you make a good decision about the size of your podcast.

As a Radio DJ I’ve always been told that the strength of my content determines the length of my talk break. In other words if I have strong content to present then I’ll give it the time it deserves. But if I’m skinny on content, then you can bet  that it’ll be a short talk break.

The strength determines the length.

But all too often podcasters get this round the wrong way. They think “the length of a podcast determines how much content you provide”.  This is putting the cart before the horse and just isn’t the case.

Let’s say you’ve committed to a 30-minute show each week, and one week you’re a bit light on content and only have 20 minutes worth. To make sure you hit that 30-minutes you’ll probably end up waffling to get to time. In the Radio industry we call this ‘padding’ and it’s almost always the worst option. Especially when you can just have a shorter show.

What do you think will annoy a listener more – that your podcast is 10 minutes shorter than usual? Or that you spend 10 minutes explaining something that could be summed up in 30 seconds?

Exactly, listening to someone ‘padding’ is the verbal equivalent of water boarding – an unnecessary torture.

So let me tell you something that might just blow your mind…

People aren’t listening to your podcast with a stopwatch.

Which means they won’t be annoyed if your podcast doesn’t go for 30 minutes or whatever magic time you’ve come up with. All they’re worried about is hearing some useful or entertaining information. They are relaxed about length and it’d help if you were as well.

So don’t try and crack the code for the perfect podcast length, let your content decide!

To get started on your own professional sounding podcast  download a copy of Dan’s new FREE report “Podcast Like A Radio DJ”. Get it here!

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