So you’ve decided to start a podcast, or maybe you’ve already launched your first episode. Congratulations! Now it’s time to work out your publishing schedule.
Unless some miracle of fame and fortune strikes you, one podcast episode will not bring you the enormous audience you desire; you need to start building a series.
As a new podcast series host, there will be plenty of questions you’ll need answers to, one of which is “how much should I post?” It may not have been something you’ve thought of before, but it can have a significant effect on your popularity.
In the following guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know for your podcast to succeed, whether you’re a novice or a veteran.
- How Often Should You Put Out a Podcast?
- How Much Content Can You Realistically Put Out?
- How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Podcast?
- How Long Does the Average Podcast Last?
- Is There a Specific Length That Podcast Episodes Should Be?
- How Many Episodes Should a Podcast Have?
- Final Thoughts
How Often Should You Put Out a Podcast?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to publishing podcast episodes. It can vary enormously depending upon what podcast genre you’re publishing, the nature of the content, the length of your podcast episode, and your audience’s listening habits. You have to consider who you’re appealing to and what work goes into the podcast content.
Some questions you should consider when thinking about podcast scheduling include:
- Is your podcast entirely self-produced?
- Do you feature guests?
- Is it always the same guests?
- Do you have a different interviewee in each episode?
- Is it a collaborative effort?
All of these questions play a part in determining your podcast frequency.
Naturally, if your podcast is a one-person operation, then it’s far easier to schedule than episodes with guests. The only timetable you need to work around is your own. This gives you enormous flexibility when seeking to publish a new episode. You may even choose to record numerous episodes in one sitting, which you can then publish over a series of weeks.
Working with guests is slightly different, especially if you need a new guest for each episode. Arranging guest availability isn’t always a simple task. Neither is aligning everything with your specific publishing schedule. Don’t let that put you off, however. Some of the most successful podcasts publish content with multiple people. The key is knowing what sort of pressure to put yourself under.
How Much Content Can You Realistically Put Out?
When you have a different guest in each episode, posting often may not be realistic. There can be a distinct pressure to publish as often as possible to gain more traction, but that isn’t a guarantee of success. Quality over quantity is a good rule to stick to, especially when building an audience. Some podcasts only post monthly, and that works for both them and their audience. Remember: burning out helps no one and doesn’t speed up success.
You need to be honest with yourself. This is true even if your podcast is entirely self-produced. How quickly can you turn out content without starting to lose momentum? Your listeners will know when you aren’t enthusiastic about what you’re doing, and that’s the quickest way to turn them away.
It’s easy, especially when working alone, to think ‘I can publish a new episode daily and never get bored!’ but that can get tiring quickly. Even if you’re monologuing into a mic, you’ll find yourself running out of things to say eventually. Be realistic.
Summary: There is no magical publishing frequency that’s going to guarantee an enormous audience of avid listeners. In the beginning, try not to focus so intently on who is listening. Instead, focus on what you can realistically achieve to maintain continuous momentum. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Podcast success is a bit of a long-haul game. Make sure to enjoy creating your content and producing stuff people want to hear. Enthusiasm is contagious!
How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Podcast?
In all likelihood, less than you think. You might think that the biggest expense of running a podcast will be financial, but in actuality, it’s time. The time you take to write it, set up, film it, edit it, produce it, and beyond. A lot of work goes into creating any one podcast episode.
However, it’s likely that you want to know specifically how much it’ll cost to publish a new podcast. To answer that, we’ll need to breakdown the many pieces of equipment you need to get started. Remember that as a beginner, you don’t need everything. It’s entirely up to you how extensive your set-up is.
Let’s start with the most obvious essential: the microphone. The price variance on this part of your set-up is enormous. The audio recorded quality often corroborates with the attached price tag, but this isn’t always the case.
Many laptops come with in-built microphones that can capture audio right away, without you having to purchase anything. Naturally, this free option doesn’t provide nearly the same quality as an actual microphone, but it’s a good way to ease yourself in. Consider the budget available to you and how seriously you aim to take podcasting before investing in any fancy equipment.
Most podcast shows feature an intro or outro, or both! They’re a great way to carve an identity for yourself in the sea of podcast shows now available. They also feel reminiscent of what a TV show may have, which adds a certain professional quality to proceedings.
Having an intro or an outro definitely isn’t essential. Think of it as a nice extra touch. You can pay to have them done professionally or get creative and make your own! Either way, remember it’s your podcast’s content that people want, not the jingle at the beginning.
Something often overlooked by aspiring podcasters is editing software. These kinds of software are often associated with visual media, but they’re just as important for audio. This is especially true if you’re thinking of adding extras like intros/outros or perhaps even an ad reel!
The importance of editing software is also dependant on the content you’re making. Solo streams of consciousness will require far less editing than docuseries or voice-acted fiction. Don’t pay out for expensive software if all you need is a simple clipping feature. For that, use the free software available throughout the internet. Audacity for PC and Garage Band for Mac are good places to start.
How Long Does the Average Podcast Last?
Attention spans have never been shorter. Luckily, podcasts are largely exempt from the curse of short attention spans. They’re often used as background noise for other tasks. Don’t take this personally, your listener’s focus is still on you, there’s so much else they need to do!
It actually works entirely in your favor. More and more of us turn to podcast episodes because we don’t have the time (or desire) to binge television anymore. In general, the length of a podcast episode depends on its content and its intended audience.
The average commute time in the United States is 26 minutes. Does this mean all of your podcast episodes need to be exactly 26 minutes? No, but it gives you a frame to work from. Some podcasts are far longer, with gaming podcasts lasting as long as 144 minutes.
However, the data surrounding podcast consumption can be enlightening. When asked why they don’t listen to podcasts, 50% of United States citizens answered that they felt podcasts were too long. Does this mean you should scrap all of your aspirations to publish length podcasts? No, not in the slightest.
This actually means that you need to make sure the content you’re publishing fits its duration. Don’t stretch topics needlessly so that half of your podcast episode is filler content. Likewise, don’t cram an enormous amount of information into just ten minutes. You need to frame your content effectively.
Is There a Specific Length That Podcast Episodes Should Be?
Worrying about your podcast frequency is one thing, but you need to stay on top of your episode lengths too. You should aim for similar episode lengths throughout. It gives your audience some consistency and makes your overall brand far more cohesive. They know what to expect from each new episode that you publish.
If you’re worried about achieving consistency while juggling different topics that may require varying lengths, separate them up! Create a part 1 and a part 2, maybe even 3 if necessary. Series give listeners something to latch onto. It also provides them with a good reason to tune in next time.
Overly complex podcast episodes will overload your listeners. Overly simplified podcast episodes will make them feel patronized. Find the balance by making your episodes the appropriate length for the topic at hand.
Think about when your content will be listened to and who will be listening. Is it commuters? Stay at home parents? Gamers? Cater to your audience. Do your own market research. See what your competitors are doing. It may be hard to hear, but your content topic may not be quite as niche as you think it is. If you can find a podcast with a similar theme to yours, don’t be afraid to take some inspiration!
Your podcast should be as long or as short as its content requires it to be. Don’t stretch content too thin, trying to reach some mythical ‘perfect’ duration. It will only work against you. Consider having a specific podcast email address for users to send their feedback to. Active communication with your listeners is integral!
How Many Episodes Should a Podcast Have?
Most podcast episodes are broken up into seasons, similarly to how TV shows are broken up. This provides an organized framework to operate from. It’s beneficial for both the producer and the listener. Your podcast scheduling benefits from a finite window, and people know what to expect from any new series of episodes.
There is no hard and fast rule for this. Some podcast seasons only have 4 episodes; others have 20 and beyond. It truly depends on what you’re creating and what you’re trying to achieve. Some people put no limit on their seasons, with a thousand episodes in total succession! It fundamentally comes down to what works for you and your show.
Many hosting platforms, such as Pacific Content, feature podcast directories that enable users to find exactly the content they’re looking for. This separates podcasts into genre, length, or even alphabetically. If you’re stuck on how long your content season should be, find similar shows of your genre and make notes on what they’re doing. You will soon notice patterns that can inform your own decisions!
Much of this information seems vague before you put it into practice, but that’s because ‘podcast’ is such a varied media form. Podcasts started as audible blog posts, but now they are so much bigger and complicated to launch. However, dealing with issues such as show runtime is part of the process.
Don’t let this complexity intimidate you. Social media alone can help you find your audience of eager listeners for even the most unique topics. Also, your email address can provide you with some invaluable feedback from listeners. The key is a balance of research and individuality. If you know what you want to say, and you’ve seen how others have succeeded in saying similar, then you have all you need.