Creating a podcast is one of the most flexible and low-cost ways to share your voice and ideas with the world. You can talk about anything you want, for as long as you want, and there are no gatekeepers.
This freedom does not guarantee you an audience, however – so you need to take listener engagement into account when determining the length and frequency of your episodes.
In that case, how long should your podcast episodes be? Many episodes today are between 20-40 minutes, but there are good reasons to go dramatically shorter. Let's take a look.
Podcasts are Getting Shorter
Since 2018, the median length of podcasts has been gradually decreasing
. The most common length is now around 38 minutes (but of course, there are extreme outliers on both sides).
So, why might this be the case?
Well, a few reasons could be at play. For one, people's attention spans are getting shorter (thanks, Internet). Additionally, many podcast listeners access shows via streaming services like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, which offer "skip forward" buttons that allow listeners to move on if they're not interested in a particular segment.
How Long Should Your Podcast Be?
In general, data shows that human attention is getting increasingly difficult to hold
. Whether that's because our attention span has shortened, or because we are simply too overloaded with content, the fact remains that we cannot expect people to stick around if our podcast is too long.
This isn't to say that your podcast episode length should be capped at a set number of minutes. But you should be aware that, on average, people are more likely to listen all the way through on shorter episodes.
That being said, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The length of your podcast episodes will depend on the topic you're discussing, the format of your show, and your target audience.
Some podcasts – like TED Talks – are designed to be short and sweet, while others are hour-long deep dives into a topic.
If you’d like a specific number to start with, we suggest starting with 2-3 minutes - which is much shorter than what others will recommend to you.
Frequency Over Duration
Although we suggest keeping podcasts short and sweet, there's another factor to consider when determining episode length: frequency.
Podcasts are typically released on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. If you're releasing longer episodes, your listeners may have to wait a while for the next installment – and they may lose interest in the meantime.
Research shows that the current shelf-life of hot topics is around 11 minutes
. That's next to nothing, and it reflects the fast pace of information in the digital age.
So, what does this mean for your podcast?
If you want to keep listeners interested, it's best to release shorter episodes more often. This will keep them coming back for more, and they won't have time to forget about your show.
Are Podcasts Still Attracting Listeners?
Don't let any of this data scare you off from starting a podcast. The fact remains that podcasts are still one of the most popular forms of audio content out there.
In fact, around 93% of podcast listeners
stay with episodes the whole way through – so if you can hook them in, they're likely to stick around.
The key is to find the right length and frequency for your show and to keep your episodes interesting and relevant. With a bit of effort, you can create a podcast that listeners will love!
Create Short-and-Sweet with Shortcast
If you want to make snappy podcasts, but you're unsure where to start, allow us to provide you with the perfect solution. All you need is your smart phone and our Shortcast Club app
Shortcast makes it easy for anyone and everyone to get started with podcasting. Our simple, intuitive interface will have you recording and publishing your thoughts in minutes.
You can easily record 3-minute segments on the go and snip them together into a cohesive episode later on. Plus, you can publish your episodes across major popular podcast networks like Spotify, Apple, and Google.
Get started with Shortcast Club
today and see just how easy podcasting can be!