How Long Should You Make Your Podcast Episodes?

Find the ideal runtime for your corporate show.

When we think of a podcast, we usually make the mental leap to long-form content, and episodes that hover around the 45-minute mark…

But if you’re a regular podcast consumer, you’ve probably also encountered plenty of content that leans a lot shorter, and longer than that.

These days, you can easily find podcast episodes that are ultra condensed, at as little as ten minutes, or super immersive, flying right past the hour mark.

So, who’s doing it right? And how can you pick the perfect length for your corporate podcast?

We explore your options below.



Do listeners have time for long-form content?

These days, many of us are dealing with jam-packed schedules, and it can feel like a challenge to manage our day-to-day lives.

Bearing that in mind, you might start to wonder whether folks are finding the time for podcasts at all, let alone hour-long episodes.

Perhaps the best move is to keep things short and sweet?

Maybe not. In fact, the latest data suggests that, when it comes to their favorite shows, podcast fans are willing and able to carve out plenty of room.

Let’s take a look at the stats…

  • 82.4% of listeners are tuning in for more than 7 hours each week
  • 33% of weekly listeners catch 6-plus across those 7 days
  • And the average show is estimated to land between 35 and 45 minutes

So, what does this tell us?

Regular podcast listeners are putting in the time, and with 26% of folks in the US tuning in weekly, one thing is perfectly clear…

Podcasts fans are seriously committed, and audio is an ideal fit for our on-the-go, 21st-century lives.



So the longer the better, right?

As you consider the numbers above, you might start to think that longer is always better. That kind of “facetime” with your audience is huge, after all.

Well, here’s the thing; it’s really not that simple.

At the end of the day, quality should always come before quantity, and the length of your show should be determined by your content — not the other way around.

In other words, filler is never a good idea.

Your listen-through rate (or how long your audience sticks around for) is crucial to your long-term success, and the impression your brand makes on fans.

If your listeners are tuning out, or moving on half way through the episode, they’re unlikely to remember you, and even less likely to come back for more.

When it comes to a corporate podcast, you’re playing a long game. You’re here to foster lasting connection with the folks that give you their time.

Unlike a 30-second ad, which is designed to grab attention, you are faced with the challenge of holding it to the end of that first episode — and through every single season of your show.



So shorter is better, then?

Well, not everybody loves the answer to this question, but here it is…

It depends.

Most of the shows we create hover between 30 minutes and an hour, and the engagement and listen-through rates tell us that (for these shows) this is what works.

That said, some of the podcasts we produce are shorter, but when we opt for a more condensed format, it’s always a strategic move.

For example, each episode of Build It Braver, the small biz series we launched with Amex, is around 25 minutes long.

Here’s why…

  • The length was a fit for the content and format
  • It helped the show stand out in its niche
  • Short episodes work for busy entrepreneurs
  • And we were left with enough time to offer real value

Ultimately, if we’re talking short versus long, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.



Well, how about a mix?

It’s definitely worth noting that some of the world’s most popular podcasts opt for massive variety when it comes to episode length.

To put this in context, let’s take a look at the top-performing series Stuff You Should Know.

Here’s how this show currently ranks on Chartable…

  • It’s sitting at spot number 4 on the Society & Culture list for the US
  • It’s the 13th most popular show in the States overall
  • And it’s in spot number 7 Canada wide

Episodes of this hit series range from around ten minutes, to about an hour in length, and this is probably one of the reasons for its success.

The bite-sized episodes of Stuff You Should Know are part of a series called “Short Stuff” that offers a crash-course format, and ultra compelling content.

Now, if we put ourselves in the shoes of a new and busy listener, what we see is the opportunity to try this show out without making a big commitment.

From the creator’s perspective, this is the ideal moment to get your audience hooked, and keep them coming back for more…

And, depending on your niche and your format, this might be an effective strategy for your corporate show.



Deciding factors

While there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to episode length, there are several questions you can ask yourself to head in the right direction.

Here are a few to get you started…

  • How busy is your ideal audience member?
  • When might they consume your content?
  • What length works best for your show’s format?
  • Are bite-sized episodes a fit for your concept?
  • How often do you plan to roll out new content?
  • And of course, does your budget allow for a long-form show?

These questions should help you get a sense for what works, but they will be hard to answer without a well developed concept for your show.

We might sound like a broken record here, but if you’re looking for maximum impact, it’s time to partner with a team you trust.

A qualified production agency can help you go from rough concept to fine-tuned format — and determine the ideal length for your team, your niche, and your branded show.

To learn more about building a corporate podcast production that works for your business, check out our Ultimate Guide to Audience Growth.