Monday, September 5

Make Your First Podcast: Frequency & Length

Once you’ve decided whether your podcast will be in an interview or topic format, the next question is: How frequently should you publish?

How Frequently Should I Publish My Podcast?

My take: It depends on what you want out of your podcast.

If you already have a blog and you currently only publish about once a week then maybe start with once a week or once every two weeks. Do whatever you’re comfortable with.

On the other hand, if you’re comfortable posting, say, five times a week on your blog then you might want to consider trying for twice, perhaps even three times, a week.

The rule of thumb seems to be: post as often as you plausibly can. Why? Because (In my experience as an avid podcast listener) the more frequently you publish the more listeners you will attract and retain.

Keep in mind, though, that a podcast—while it will suck up an inordinate amount of your precious time—will (usually) take quite a few months (or even years!) to start earning enough money to pay for the time you’ve invested.

But podcasting can be quite lucrative (I’ll look at this in another post).

So: Here are a few possibilities:

1. Once a day

Not many podcasters publish seven days a week. Actually, I know of only one, the EOFire podcast. John Lee Dumas is very successful, but doing seven podcasts a week is grooling. Granted, he doesn’t tape one a day, he does 14+1 every second Tuesday. He tapes from early in the morning to around six at night. That’s a long day.

2. Five days a week (Monday to Friday)

This is slightly more common. News podcasts are often only published Monday to Friday (or at least that’s true for Canadian news podcasts!). None of the podcasts I listen to (I listen to around 35 or 40) are five days a week but they do exist. Honestly, it seems to me that this would be pretty much the same amount of work as publishing seven days a week.

3. Three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

This would be much less work than the grueling seven-day schedule, and yet your listeners would regularly receive your podcasts and not have much of a chance to forget about you.

4. Two days a week (Monday, Thursday)

At the moment I only blog two days a week—Monday and Thursday—but am planning on moving to Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Two doesn’t feel as though it’s enough. Of course, that’s a blog not a podcast. And a lot depends on how long your podcast is going to be (more on this in a moment).

5. One day a week (Monday)

The advantage of publishing one podcast a week is that you could even record four podcasts in one day, even if each is an hour long. Then you’re done for the month!

A disadvantage of publishing only one a week is that folks have short memories. If your listeners are like me and listen to a lot of podcasts—and so need a lot of content—then a once-a-week podcast is fine, but I wouldn’t recommend going below this. Publish any less frequently and it’s possible folks will start to forget about you.

6. Once every two weeks or once a month

If you’re serious about podcasting, about growing an audience, about creating another income stream, then—and this is only my opinion—you might not want to publish any less frequently than once a week.

That said, if podcasting is something you would love to do, then do it! Even if you can only publish once a month, don’t let that hold you back. If podcasting is your passion, then that will come through and you’ll find an audience.

Also if you have some sort of hook, you can also get away with publishing less frequently. For instance, if you are well known in your niche—a well known blogger or YouTuber—then you can probably get away with publishing podcasting content less frequently.

How Long Should My Podcast Be?

Of course, this is completely up to you, the creator. But the length of your podcast will likely depend, at least in part, on the kind of content you are producing. For instance, many short podcasts (five minutes or less) give one tip. I listen to one podcast—60 Second Science—that, despite the name—lasts for about two minutes. The podcaster talks about one science fact and restricts himself (or herself) to the most important aspects of the subject under discussion. It’s a good podcast.

On the other end of the spectrum is Dan Harlin’s Hardcore History. The very first Hardcore History podcast I listened to was over three hours long! I think it’s a safe bet Dan Harlin is never going to do one a day!

MacBreak Weekly is another podcast—a video podcast—that routinely goes over two hours. I love it and I’m not the only one, it’s very popular.

In my opinion you can make any length podcast work, from two minutes all the way to three plus hours, and obviously the length is going to have a bearing on how often you can podcast. Anything over, say, 30 minutes and I would imagine publishing once a day—or even five times a week—would be exhausting! Especially if you don’t have a co-host and must do everything yourself.

Are you thinking of starting a podcast? I'd love to hear from you. What kind of challenges are you facing? What do you consider your biggest obstacles?

Have you podcasted? I'd love to hear about your experiences! What worked for you, what didn't. Please share!

Talk to you again Thursday. Until then, good writing!

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