One of the more hotly contested issues among some podcasters is whether or not you need to edit your podcast. I’m going to weigh in quite strongly, but before I do, I must point to the exception.
If your podcast is a combination of video and audio formats, editing can be quite a challenge and may limit what you can do in terms of practical editing. But if your podcast is audio-only, there is no excuse for not editing your episodes before you release them.
The Video Challenge
Trying to edit a video podcast is not only time-consuming and a major task, but extensive editing will lead to the creation of a choppy, confusing and distracting video product. Your viewers will see that the episode was edited, and this alone will serve as a distraction. Plus, it just doesn’t look good.
Some podcasters use a two- or even three-camera approach that does allow for a certain amount of video mixing or editing, but unless you have a large video production team that can mix the video and audio in live circumstances you’re asking for a lot of work in post-production. You can easily reach the point of diminishing returns where it’s just not worth it.
The Audio Opportunity
On the other hand, if your podcast is audio-only, as mentioned, there is no excuse for not editing. Anyone who is competent at editing audio can drastically improve the end product simply by taking the time to edit raw audio into an easier-to-listen-to final production.
So, the question is, why is this even up for discussion?
The reason is too many podcasters don’t realize how many of their favorite shows are extensively edited. They presume that since the end product sounds so seamlessly conversational that it probably wasn’t edited all that much.
In their own podcasts, they get so caught up in the actual conversations and banter, that they think that editing will make the podcast sound less natural, less authentic, or less conversational. Some can be so satisfied with their work or performance that they don’t hear the flaws that listeners do.
Others don’t budget the time for the work. And yet for more others maybe … OK, not maybe, let’s say definitely … a lot of podcasters just don’t like to edit. It’s not fun for them, and they only want to do the fun stuff.
To those podcasters I’d ask, who is this podcast for, you or the listener? If the podcast is a chance for you to get some things off your chest and feel better about recording conversations with others, and that’s why you do it, I’d say go for it.
But if you care anything about your listeners, save them the burden of having to overlook distracting and too-far-wandering banter or rants, rude-sounding coughs and mouth noises, and the inevitable strings of distracting “uhms” and “aahs.”
A well-edited podcast will sound more natural because you are removing distractions while preserving the gold in the conversations. It can better take the listener more captivatingly through interesting, funny or touching stories. It will help the end product stay on point even if the listener doesn’t notice. Ultimately, your podcast’s quality will be more consistent throughout, and from episode to episode.
Most likely, your listeners will thank you by listening more often, and perhaps sharing your podcast with others, helping to grow your audience.
Have a question about editing, let me know. I love to talk about podcasting.
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Tim O’Brien started his career as a TV and radio producer. Since then, he’s become a nationally recognized communications advisor who’s worked with clients of all sizes. He has conducted media training for CEOs and a range of spokespersons for decades. Since 2018, he’s produced well over 200 weekly episodes of his award-winning Shaping Opinion Podcast. And he has helped podcasters take their podcasts to the Next Level.