Podcast editing

How to edit a podcast

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Introduction

Editing a podcast can often be a hurdle for people launching a show and you may ask yourself where to start and how to edit a podcast. In this post, we’ll take you through the basics and gives some hints and tips for editing your podcast.

Is podcast editing difficult?

Yes and no. Learning to import an audio track and just slice and trim is not that complicated. If you’ve used any type of timeline-based tool it will come naturally. Even complete beginners can learn to do this process in a few hours.

The difficult part is learning how to edit in a way that flows naturally. In fact, the mark of a great edit, whether video or audio, is that the viewer or listener doesn’t even notice it. For podcasts, the aim of the edit is to remove anything that is either overly long or any sounds (clicks, beeps, whistles etc) that detract from the listener experience (LX).

Is editing the same as post-processing?

They both fall into the same camp but they aren’t really the same thing. The edit is about creating a narrative flow by removing, adding or moving around parts of the audio. Processing is generally the next step and involves enhancing the audio so it sounds as rich and clean as possible.

What tools do I need to edit a podcast?

The great thing about editing a podcast is that there are tools available that are completely free. They may not have all the bells and whistles that a pro application has, but for beginners, many of these tools will work just fine.

What is a DAW?

While you’re researching audio tools to edit your podcast you may come across the acronym DAW. DAW stands for digital audio workstation and is just a fancy way of saying audio editing app.

A selection of tools to edit your podcast

As I said above audio editing programmes cost anything from free to a few hundred pounds/dollars. Unless you’re a pro, you may find the more advanced and costly apps difficult to use. If you’re just getting started a free or low-cost option will probably suit your needs.

Free podcast editing software

Audacity

It’s free and easy to use and has a number of useful tools like loudness normalisation and noise reduction. It may not be the prettiest looking application, but it definitely does the job.

Garageband

If you have a Mac then Garageband comes as standard. Like all Apple products, it’s designed to be intuitive.

Paid podcast editing software

Adobe Audition
Platform: Mac/Windows

Available on a monthly subscription basis, Adobe Audition has the tools you need to take your podcast editing to the next level once you have learnt the basics.

Reaper
Platform Mac/Windows

Reaper is a fully digital audio production tool. Like Audition, it’s better suited to more advanced editors.

Pro Tools
Platform Mac/Windows

Pro Tools is definitely an advanced solution and is used in many commercial audio environments.

Logic Pro
Platform Mac

Apple describes Logic Pro as a natural progression or graduation from Garageband. Like Pro Tools, it has all the tools you’d expect of a pro-level DAW.

Which podcast editing app is right for me?

At the end of the day the tool that is right for you will depend on a number of factors:

• Your experience level
• The platform you use – Mac, PC etc.
• Your budget

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s the tool that you feel works best for you. The one that you find easiest to use and has a workflow that is efficient. Most of the DAWs that aren’t free have trial periods that let you play around a get a feel of the application. If you jump into a pro-DAW and find it intuitive and suits your work style great, if a free tool with a shallower learning curve is more your speed then that’s great too, it really doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy the process.

Why recording quality is important

The one thing that’s really important is to keep the quality as high as possible throughout the process of recording, editing and distributing a podcast. If you’re capturing audio on a low-quality mic you’re going to have a low-quality final product. No matter how fancy your DAW is, there is only so much you can do in post-production.

If you’re taking the time to book an amazing guest, plan and record an engaging podcast but the audio isn’t great or there is a lot of background noise then ultimately you’re making the post-production more difficult and reducing the quality of the listener experience. People are unlikely to listen through or subscribe to a podcast that doesn’t sound great, no matter how engaging the subject matter might be.

Less is more when you edit a podcast

The skill of editing, apart from creating a natural flow to the podcast, is to understand that less is more. It can be really tempting to think that because everything is important and interesting to you, it will often be for the listener too. If you’re editing your own podcast it’s key to be ruthless and cut out any fluff. Yes, podcasts are long-form content, but that’s not an excuse to not provide a tight and engaging show. Too often ego takes over and you end up with a show which is woolly and long-winded which will just turn off.

If you’ve recorded an hour show but there’s only 30 minutes of great content then cut out everything else. Editing is often as much about what you leave on the “cutting room floor” as what you keep in. Your audience will thank you for it and are far more likely to share or recommend something that is enjoyable to listen to.

Make it flow

The edit is where you get to create your narrative. It needs to have a beginning a middle and an end. It needs to grab people at the start, engage them through the middle and give them a great conclusion at the end.

This is the creative part of editing and to some degree the most difficult as, while there are basic rules of storytelling, there’s many ways to structure your show.

If you’re just starting out don’t worry, it’s better to just get your show out there than ending up overthinking it. Perfection is the enemy of action and it’s better to see your podcast editing as something that will evolve and improve over time.

Paying for professional podcast editing

Should you pay for a professional to edit your podcast? Editing is an art form, it’s reasonably straightforward to learn the basics but difficult to master. Cutting up clips and rearranging them is simple, but removing annoying sounds, mixing and processing so that the audio sounds crisp and rich requires a very good ear and a knowledge of how to implement a processing workflow and use high-end tools. For individuals starting a podcast, this type of pro editing isn’t necessary, however, for businesses and brands, it’s important to achieve this level of audio quality as it, like all external marketing, affect how customers perceive your brand.

Even if you are an individual starting a new podcast it may be worthwhile paying for professional podcast editing. This is because often editing or the technical aspect of content creation can become an obstacle. Paying for someone to edit your audio means you can focus your time on the creative aspects like finding engaging guests, selecting interesting themes to discuss, structuring your show and interacting with your audience. Knowing that you can send off your audio recordings and have them professionally handled will allow you to spend time on other tasks and also gain the advantage of having an experienced expert make your audio sound as high-end as possible.

The Podcasterists can help

If you’d like help editing your podcast we’re here to take care of that with our team of pro audio editors. We’ll even manage your hosting and distribution to free up more of your time to create amazing shows that your audience will love.

Drop us a line at team@thepodcasterists.com or book a call with us below.

 

 

 

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