Whether you’re thinking of starting a podcast, you’ve just launched, or even if you’re a podcasting pro – you might be asking the question – does your podcast need editing? Let’s find out!
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What Is Editing?
Firstly, a brief explanation. Essentially, podcast editing is the step that takes place after the recording stage of the podcasting process. It’s all about tweaking your recording to ensure that it sounds as good as possible and it’s as engaging as possible for your listeners. Podcast editing can include (but is not limited to) –
- Cutting out clicks, pops, breaths, desk/mic taps, jingling jewellery sounds, coughs, dog barks and any other unwanted, distracting sound that might find its way onto your recording.
- Removing ‘verbal crutches’ such as umms and ahhs
- Shortening ‘dead air’ – long gaps of silence.
- Improving coherence by removing mistakes, interruptions, false starts and restructuring or reordering sentences if necessary.
- Adding intros, outros, ads and background music
Some podcast edits might involve all of this, some may need almost no editing at all. Ultimately, it depends on how the podcast was recorded and the goals of the podcaster.
For clarity, podcast mixing relates to the enhancement of the sound and balance of the podcast. Podcast mastering is the final process in the chain to ensure the podcast is loud enough. And podcast production usually refers to a combination of all of these stages. For the purpose of this article, though, we’re just discussing editing.
For and Against Editing
“Can’t I just upload it as is, though? Does my podcast really need editing to get the message across?” Well, let’s take a look at the reasons for and against editing and see if we can come to a conclusion!
Some podcasters prefer not to have their podcast edited for a number of reasons. These include –
- It takes time
- It costs money to outsource
- Retaining ‘authenticity’
- Don’t see a benefit
Let’s consider these reasons not to edit your podcast in some more depth and find out if they’re worth taking into consideration or if they’re misconceptions.
Editing Takes Time
Yes, editing a podcast absolutely does take time. Time that you could be using to improve your podcast in other aspects, such as sourcing and booking guests and planning episodes. For an amateur editor, editing can take 3 times the length of an episode or more.
Passing off all of the editing to a dedicated editor means it’ll take you no time at all!
It Costs Money To Outsource
You’ll only be able to outsource your editing if you have the budget for it, of course.
If your podcast is monetized, it’s worth reinvesting that money into editing so that you can spend more time improving the podcast itself, promoting and being creative. This way, you can really help to get your podcast to grow. And if you’re not monetizing your podcast yet, if you’re willing to invest some money into getting it to that point, editing can be a great investment.
Also, while some podcast editors can charge $300+ to edit a single episode, other editors provide much more affordable production with the same level of quality and service.
Some argue that editing a podcast can make it come across as ‘less authentic’. That it’s ‘censoring’ their message. They feel that their content should go out to the world as though it’s been recorded live.
Editing is not censorship. Editing your podcast doesn’t mean removing anything that could obscure your message. In fact, it ensures that there is more focus on your message. Also, a big part of editing is the removal of pops, clicks and other nasty artefacts that can be unpleasant and distracting to your listener. And unless your message involves subjecting your listener to nasty noises, your message certainly won’t be obscured!
And finally, a good editor will provide a bespoke service based on what your podcast needs. Do you want to retain a more laid back, raw feel to your podcast? That’s fine! Your editor can ensure that pauses and all dialogue is left in, while still removing nasty sounds and improving the sound overall.
Don’t See A Benefit
Some podcasters are simply not aware of the benefits that editing can have.
Podcast editing can help to focus your message, put across a professional image, increase listener satisfaction and retention rates, reduce file size and length, improve audio quality, attract new listeners and so much more!
The Verdict – Does Your Podcast Need Editing?
Ultimately, if you want to take your podcast to the next level, and stand out against the other 1.7 million or so podcasts out there, you should be getting your podcast edited, whether you’re editing it yourself, or you’re outsourcing the editing to a dedicated editor.
Yes, over-editing can become obvious and feel unnatural, but careful and skilled editing is unnoticeable to the listener. All they will notice is that the podcast is giving them exactly what they want, without anything to detract from their listening experience, and from taking in your message.