Whether you’re looking for tips before editing your first podcast episode, or have been at this for a while, the editing phase of creating your podcast can take up a LOT of time! This post aims to give you some useful strategies to help speed up this process and help make your overall podcast production process as efficient as possible. The less time you spend editing, the more time you’ll have to create epic content for your show!
To help you maximize your productivity, we’ve compiled 8 strategies we believe will greatly speed up your editing process. Now you may think that strategies for faster editing would only concern elements of the editing process… and you’d be wrong. Half the strategies for faster podcast editing actually apply to things you do BEFORE you ever hit record, and long before you’re looking at sound waves on your editing software.
With that being said, we’ve divided the strategies into 3 phases:
1. Pre-recording strategies
2. Mid-recording strategies
3. Post-recording strategies
If you read our previous post, How to Plan for Recording Your First Podcast Episode, you would have seen that planning before recording a podcast goes a long way to ultimately making the episode a success. Even if you’ve been recording and editing podcasts for a while now, we cannot stress enough how valuable it is to plan beforehand. As it is often said, (yep, prepare yourself, a quote is coming!) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin, or Sir Winston Churchill, depending on who you ask.
Now, neglecting to plan before recording a podcast episode is not going to end in catastrophic failure, but it will make your editing process that much longer. The first 4 strategies should be put into practice before recording your podcast in order to save you a lot of precious time in the post-production process.
1. Plan Out Each Episode
Writing an outline (or full script if that helps you) before hitting the record button can significantly shorten your editing time. How? Well, I’m glad you asked! Not only does a written outline give you something to work off of during editing, guiding you as to the structure of the episode, but an outline will help keep you on track during your recording as well. This will prevent a lot of meaningless rambles or a plethora of “ums” and “aahs” that would otherwise need to be laboriously cut and deleted during editing.
2. Hone Your Craft
Honing your craft refers to your presentation skills. The more you practice speaking clearly, and at a suitable tempo and pitch, the better your initial recordings will be. Better recordings mean less editing, particularly those edits involving the adjustment of speed and volume of the audio clips.
3. Find The Right Location
In our previous post, we discussed what sort of space is needed for getting quality recordings. To state the obvious, you need a quiet room, with as little outside interference as possible. But in terms of specifics, using a room that has curtains on the windows, carpets on the floor, and a fair amount of furnishings is really going to help decrease echo and thus prevent your recording from sounding ‘hollow’. This, of course, translates into less time editing!
4. Use the Right Tools
With podcasting, as with most crafts, you need the right tools for the job. Tools, in terms of podcasting, refer to the hardware and software that you need to get that all-important recording. To help speed up the editing process, investing in a decent microphone and a pair of quality headphones is the place to start. You might also consider a microphone shield. As the name suggests, a microphone shield creates a shield around your microphone, and one of its primary advantages is that it can help minimize, or even prevent, unwanted background noise from creeping onto your recording – making for one less task in the editing process. There are many different types of microphone shields on the market, with a range of price tags, but there are also many DIY tutorials detailing how to make a mic shield from readily-available items.
When it comes to faster editing, matching the right software to your requirements is also really important. There are tons of great products on the market. Some can be used for both recording and editing, such as Audacity or GarageBand, and some, such as SquadCast or Ringr, are great for capturing high-quality audio for those long-distance interviews. The software you choose will depend on your needs, so you will have to do a little research to find the right software for you and your podcast.
For more in-depth information on the above topics, check out: Best Tools for Your Podcast Recording Process
Remember, to save us time in the long run, we’re looking at the little things we can do throughout the recording and editing process that can help speed things up along the way. Strategies 5 and 6, look at things you can do as you’re recording your podcast episode, which should contribute to quicker podcast editing.
5. Correct As You Go
We’ve already said that getting a great raw recording leads to quicker editing. A great raw recording can also mean a recording that makes editing easier. Correcting as you go during the recording phase is another strategy to help speed things up during the editing phase. Essentially, what we mean here is that if you make a mistake whilst recording – you get a little tongue-tied, say the wrong word or any other slip of the tongue or speech blunder occurs – take a moment, and then start again. The momentary break in audio will help visually divide the sound waves when you are viewing your audio in waveform on your editing software, making it much easier to physically see where clips need to be cut. This will greatly speed up the initial process of cutting and deleting unnecessary audio.
6. Monitor Sound Levels
Your investment into a quality pair of headphones really pays off here! By having headphones plugged directly into your laptop, desktop, or soundboard, you will constantly be able to monitor the sound levels of your voice, keep an ear out for background noise, and just generally make sure that everything is running and sounding as it should. Monitoring the sound levels during the recording will save you the time-consuming tinkering and tweaking of the levels later.
Finally, we get to the strategies that involve the editing stage! There’s only two – because you’ve already saved so much of your editing time by applying the previous 6 strategies!
7. Thoroughly Learn Your Software
Whatever software – or combination of software – you’ve chosen to use, a great strategy to edit your podcasts faster is to learn how to use your software… thoroughly! What this means is that you should do all you can to learn every tip and trick, shortcut and hotkey, tool and feature your software offers. Knowing how to do even the most basic edits using shortcuts or hotkeys (keys which give you quick access to a function or feature of the program) will really speed up the editing process.
Most software comes with an online user guide, but YouTube and Instagram are also great sources for tips and tricks from a community of people who use the product. There are also many online short courses you can complete to really help you learn all you can about using the software. Learning platforms such as Skillshare and Udemy offer a vast variety of courses that can help you improve your skills. Note, however, while some platforms offer their content for free, others require either a subscription fee or a cost per course. Another example where investing in yourself could really pay off in the long run!
8. Create A Podcast Template
Lastly, creating a template for your specific podcast will also greatly speed up your editing process. If you use the same intro and jingle for each episode, for example, these could be saved on your template already, meaning that’s one less this for you to have to insert. If your show consists of fairly uniform segments with particular sound effects in between, the basic structure of an episode with these gaps and corresponding effects can already be set out. Then all that you’d have to do is add the new vocal tracks and make the required edits.
Related read: Should My Podcast Episodes be Shorter or Longer?
The success of a podcast relies on appealing to the listeners’ auditory faculties – poor audio will result in your message being lost in translation and your audience simply tuning out. Great quality audio is therefore what every podcaster is after, and the editing phase is often where the magic happens.
Even though expert sound editors can work wonders – turning even scratchy audio crystal clear – this takes a lot of time and expertise. To save you time, and in some cases, your sanity, try these 8 strategies for faster podcast editing and use all your saved time to create an even greater podcast!
But wait, that’s not all! We want to help you save even more time, and so we’re adding some bonus tips and tricks to help you edit even faster!
Bonus Tips and Tricks:
#1 Upgrade Your Hardware
If your budget allows, customizing and upgrading your computer’s processing power can really speed up the editing process. Adding more RAM, for example, will allow your PC to process and render your audio files much quicker – saving you time.
#2 Upgrade Your Accessories
Another hot tip is to consider switching to a gaming keyboard and mouse. These have additional buttons and keys which you are able to program to perform specific commands or shortcuts. You could speed up your editing process substantially by programming these keys to perform the functions or actions you use regularly in your editing.
#3 Limit Distractions
One of the best ways to ensure faster podcast editing is to limit your distractions. Consider turning off your social media, instant messages, and email notifications for the time you’ve set aside for editing. Your usual practice might involve having something playing on Netflix, for instance, in the background, but this could actually subconsciously be stealing your focus, adding unnecessary time to your editing process. Try switching to classical or instrumental music, which might actually help you stay focused and increase your productivity overall.
#4 Consider Outsourcing
Sometimes the best thing you can do for the success of your podcast is to outsource the editing and production aspects. This will free up your time and allow you to focus on writing and recording great content for your show. Outsourcing also gives you access to the skills of professionals – who can work their magic on YOUR show! Turnaround time can also be much quicker than if you had to do the editing yourself, depending on who you use. Lastly, if you’ve followed the strategies above and handed over high-quality raw audio, your finished product will sound great! This can only benefit your show and grow your audience. Check out our packages offered here and consider outsourcing to help give your podcast that professional production edge!
Related read: The 10 Must Do’s for Successful Podcasting