Today’s post is all about busting the myths and mysteries surrounding podcast editing. When it comes to podcast editing, as it turns out, there are vast and varied thoughts on the matter. There are those who think that editing destroys the authenticity of the podcast medium, there are some who think that editing can only be done by the tech-savvy among us, and there are others who believe it is a costly endeavor and write it off entirely. Well, we’re here to tell you that much of what people believe about podcast editing is founded upon fallacies! But never fear! We’ve set out on a myth-busting escapade and we’re determined to straighten out all the half-truths and whole lies in order for you to get the straight-up truth when it comes to podcast editing.
Myth #1 Listeners can’t really tell if an episode has been edited or not.
While this statement may have had an element of truth to it a few years ago, when podcasting was in its infancy and there were not a whole lot of options out there, but it is definitely not true today! With over 850,000 shows available, listeners can afford to be a little picky with what they choose to listen to. And as listeners listen to more and more shows, their ears are becoming more and more tuned-in to what quality audio sounds like. And just as a palate becomes more and more discerning the more you expose it to good food or fine wine, so our ears learn to decipher between a thoughtfully-crafty episode and one that has just been uploaded with no tweaks or edits. The bottom line is that the majority of today’s podcast consumers will definitely be able to tell when an episode has not been edited (and when it should have been!) which busts the myth wide open in our books!
Myth #2 It’s only the quality of the recording and my content that really matter.
As with most myths, there’s always a little bit of truth somewhere in there, and this myth is no exception. While it is true that the sound quality of the actual audio recording has to be good, as no amount of editing can really save a poor initial recording, it is definitely not the only thing that matters! Podcasters who have fallen prey to this myth will often spend a lot of their capital on state-of-the-art recording equipment as a way to negate the need for editing. Now don’t get me wrong, it is important to get a good quality microphone and a pair of decent earphones, but relying on these alone will not result in a high-quality podcast episode. In today’s competitive environment, you need more than a great mic to make your show stand out. An unedited podcast episode will typically have a lot of dead audio in the recording, or too many pauses between segments, and sooner or later, this will become a turn-off to your listeners. You might have great content, but more and more, listeners are after great content that is delivered expertly. So what actually matters is finding that balance between delivering great content and delivering it well, and great delivery will almost always involve some degree of editing.
Myth #3 If I edit, my show will lose its personality.
It is also a common belief that editing your recording will make it sound too rehearsed or fake, taking away your authenticity. Again, it’s easy to see how this myth crept in. An overly-edited show can definitely sound fake and can be just as off-putting as an unedited production, but this definitely does not mean you should not edit at all! In reality, this mindset could be hurting your show’s success in the long run. The truth is, editing will most definitely NOT suck the life out of your show, and editing definitely does not equate to a loss of authenticity. If anything, good editing can actually enhance your show’s personality and make it shine that much brighter! A few simple edits, like removing awkward pauses, for instance, can help make your episode sound more like a natural conversation and so can actually enhance your connection with your audience, thus strengthening your authenticity, rather than taking away from it. I think we can call that another editing myth successfully busted!
Myth #4 Editing software is expensive.
Now, it is true that many state-of-the-art editing software with all the bells and whistles can get a bit pricy, requiring either a one-off payment or a yearly subscription fee, but it is also true that there are many programs that are available for free. Now, it is often thought that free programs are sub-par, but that is another myth we can bust. There are plenty of free editing programs that can produce really great results. One of the most popular free applications is Audacity, which is an open-source, cross-platform audio software, and has everything you need to get your show sounding great.
Hint: We’ll cover a few more editing program options when we bust myth Number Six…
Myth #6 You have to be a tech guru to use editing software.
The reality is that while there are many different editing software out there that do require above-average computer skills, there are also a multitude of programs that, after a few tutorials and a read through the manual, will have you clipping and splicing like a pro! You just need to find the one that best suits your needs.
And in case you’re overwhelmed by all the choices out there, we’ve got some great tips for choosing the right software for you and your show.
Tips For Software Selection
When selecting the best software for your show, your podcast style may influence your choice of software. Solo verses interview-style shows can often require different things from editing software. Audacity, which we mentioned earlier, is great for the amateur editor and offers a variety of recording and editing features, including a multi-track recording option, which means it’s suitable for interviews as well as solo recordings.
Other popular choices include GarageBand, which is now free for all iOS and Mac devices, or Adobe Audition. However, Adobe Audition does come at a price and will require a little extra effort to learn its shortcuts and hotkeys.
Pro Tip: If the thought of using editing software still fills you with dread but you want that great-sounding quality podcast, you could always look at investing in a professional team to edit your podcast for you.
Myth #7 Editing is too much work and takes too much time.
Last but not least, we’re busting the myth that editing just takes too much time and effort to make it worth the final product. Okay, so this myth has a little truth to it too – the editing process can take a fair bit of time. And I’ll be honest, it will also require extra work, particularly if it’s not a step you usually do when you publish an episode. But, I can tell you that the extra time and effort you put in will be worth it. The quality of your show will be greatly improved, which will definitely not go unnoticed by your audience! Get ready to see more stars sparkling in your reviews and ratings!
And while editing does require additional time, if you start actively scheduling it into your podcast routine, you’ll find you’ll successfully fit it all in. But to help you maximize your time, we’re including our top four editing strategies that will definitely help speed up the editing process! (You’re welcome!)
Time-Saving Editing Strategies
1. Correct As You Go
Mistakes are going to happen as you record, and they can be a little time-consuming to fix post-production. But that’s where our first time-saving editing strategy will really help you out! Strategy #1 is to correct as you go. This simply means that if you make a mistake as you’re recording, stop there and then, and correct it. In practice, this could mean leaving a 5-second pause before starting the sentence again or even using verbal cues like “Take 2”, so you’ll easily know what sections to keep and which ones can be deleted.
2. Monitor Sound Levels
As you’re recording, pay attention to your sound levels. Your pair of quality headphones comes in handy here, as they will allow you to hear all that’s going on as you record. If you can keep the levels constant throughout, that’s one more step you won’t have to do during the editing phase. You can also keep an ear out for any unwanted ambient noises that have a way of sneaking onto a recording. You can then deal with those immediately, rather than spending time editing them out later.
3. Master Your Software
Whatever software you chose to use, a great way to save time editing is to master your software. Knowing things like shortcut keys and other program-specific tips and tricks will make your editing process a breeze! The program itself will usually have a helpful user guide, but you could also look on YouTube for advice from other users, or you could even consider taking short courses offered for the program.
4. Use A Template
Our last time-saving editing strategy is to make use of templates for your episodes. If your episodes usually follow a similar format, then using a template is definitely going to save you heaps of time in the editing phase. Things like your intros and outros, your theme music, and any sound effects or links you use between segments can already be saved in place, and all you’ll need to do is add your new content in between. Hey, presto! Your episode will be edited and ready for your listener’s ears in no time at all!
For more handy editing strategies, check out this post: 8 Strategies for Faster Podcast Editing
By now (if you weren’t convinced already!) it should be clear that editing is an important part of the podcasting process. Not only will even the simplest of editing give you a better-sounding episode overall, but you’ll impress any listeners with your high-quality show. It’s important to remember that with more and more podcasts joining the game on an almost daily basis, you’re going to need to do all you can to make your show stand out from the crowd. With more and more podcasts competing for the listener’s attention, you need to be able to give them the best product possible in order to prove that your show is worth their valuable time. Editing will also make your amazing content shine even brighter, enhancing your message and strengthening your authority within your niche. And now that you know that successful editing does not require a degree in sound engineering, does not take up too much time, is not expensive nor will it drain your show of personality, I think it’s safe to say that these editing myths are officially busted!
Related read: How Long Should Your Podcast Be in 2020?