(2023) No BS Tips On How To Edit a Podcast
Editing a podcast can be a difficult task, but it's important to make sure that the show is presented in the best possible light. At Cleanvoice, we are providing some tips on how to edit a podcast like a professional!
1) Get Familiar With Your Audio Editing Tools
Audio engineering is an incredibly deep skill set. You graduate with a 4-year production degree and still find yourself learning new editing tricks and techniques on a daily basis. Our point is simple—there's a ton to learn!
The best way to improve your audio editing ability is to choose a few core pieces of editing software and get down to the business of mastering them. This process won't be quick, but it's the most effective way of ensuring your podcast gives off the clean, professional vibe you're (probably) going for.
Our recommendation? Every time you edit an episode, pick one new skill to learn and implement. One week it might be audio normalizing, the next week it might be sound design. Watch YouTube tutorials, read user handbooks, play around with the software—slowly but surely you'll build up a core set of skills that will be with you for life.
Note: Having trouble choosing a digital audio workstation (DAW)? We have a guide for that!
2) Cut Out Filler Words And Mouth Sounds
Few things annoy listeners more than filler words and mouth sounds. In the best case scenario, they break the flow of your podcast and detract from its authenticity. In the worst case, they piss people off!
Prior to editing your podcast, we recommend cleaning up your audio files with Cleanvoice. Just upload them to the Cleanvoice web app, run the program, and go about your day—we'll let you know when your files are ready!
Cleanvoice has been trained to recognize and remove:
- Filler Words (e.g., “ummm”, “uhhh”, etc.)
- Mouth Sounds (e.g., clicks, pops, etc.)
- Harsh Breaths
- Dead Air
We promise your listeners will appreciate the professionalism!
3) Don't Over-Edit
Remember, audio editing is supposed to be done in service of your podcast. It's not meant to take the place of it. I know this probably sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to fall into the trap of over-editing—especially when starting out!
Each episode you produce should have a consistent, minimal editing style. This helps create a sense of continuity between episode that will draw your listeners in and keep them coming back.
Also, don't go overboard with sound effects, noise reduction, or ambiance unless you're sure you can pull it off. If you can't and decide to go for it anyway, you run the risk of detracting from the content of the podcast.
4) Start with a Rough Edit
People new to podcasting—specifically podcast editing—often fall into the trap of trying to perfect one tiny section of a piece before completing a rough edit. Trust us when we tell you that this is a recipe for disaster!
One reason why the rough edit is so important is that it helps you clarify your overall vision for the piece. Decisions you make during the rough edit process can have huge impacts on what details are included or excluded from the final version.
If you spend hours creating the “perfect” introduction only to find that cut information that becomes important down the line, you're not gonna be happy!
5) Make Your Podcast Studio Space Inviting
Editing a podcast takes time—there's no getting around it!
If your podcast editing space is a messy, cluttered, or uninspiring, it's going to be a lot harder for you to relax and lose yourself in the work. Not good!
If you do your editing in your home office or studio, we recommend cleaning things up a bit. If your editing space is a shared workspace, then we'd recommend asking your co-workers to respect the boundaries you've set up for yourself. Sometimes that's all it takes!
6) Work Out Your Ears With Music
One of the best things you can do before starting an edit session is warm up your ears with music. Not only will it help you relax, but it'll prime your ears for the edits that are about to come!
Before editing a podcast, listen to music for 10 minutes or so. The range of notes, rhythms, and moods should probably be somewhat relevant to the audio you're about to edit. Really immerse yourself in the music—pay attention to everything from the rhythm and pacing of individual notes to the patterns they form as they blend together.
When you eventually start editing your podcast, you’ll find yourself picking up of nuances and details you might have missed otherwise!
7) Do Your Homework (If You Haven't Already)
Whether you're an experienced podcaster or a newbie, we always recommend doing your homework before starting an editing session.
The last thing you want is to get halfway through an edit and then realize that you're missing a piece of information that’s necessary to conclude the piece or explain a topic. It happens!
That’s why you should always check your facts, reference materials, and audio files before jumping into an editing session. Even if you think you’ve covered it already, double-check to make sure you haven’t missed any important details.
You’ll end up creating much more interesting, deep, and engaging pieces if you act on this advice!
8) Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
No one is born knowing how to edit a podcast. That's why we always recommend that you ask for help when needed.
If you're not sure about something and the answer isn't readily available, don't be afraid to seek out advice online. There are tons of great groups, forums, and communities created by amateur and professional podcasters for the purpose of education and growth.
Be polite and take solace in the knowledge that everyone was a beginner at some point!
9) Know When To Say When
There's nothing wrong with wanting to do your best work. We're perfectionists, too! However, it's important to realize that for every podcaster, there's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to editing.
In the heat of the moment, small things often seem make-or-break. The reality is that your core listeners just need to be able to hear your voice, stories, opinions, reporting, etc. A few seconds of dead air and a rogue cough or two aren't going to scare them off if they enjoy your content.
The moral of the story is that you need to learn when to step away from the keyboard!
It is very important for podcasters to edit their work because it can make or break the entire show. It's not easy, but armed with these tips, your workflow is sure to improve with time.
If you’re curious about how Cleanvoice can help you level up your podcast production value, feel free to browse our feature. We think you’ll like what you see!
Until next time, happy podcasting!