Podcast Editing Myths
6 Myths About Podcast Editing
12.10.18 | Podcasting | By: Jon Street
Podcasting has become incredibly popular as of late and (in all seriousness) more than a bit of a cultural buzzword. With more and more people learning about and seeing the impact of podcasting, it really shouldn’t be any surprise. Need proof of podcasting’s impact in our culture? The word podcast has roughly 1 billion internet search results, podcasting has roughly the same. To put that into perspective Starbucks has roughly 230 million search results, Olympics has about 592 million search results and even the fast-food giant McDonald’s only has 666 million search results. The point is, podcasting is gaining some serious traction and everyone is developing a piquing interest. In an accompanying article, we looked more in-depth at the idea of podcast editing and some of its benefits. Since it was designed as a companion to this article I’d encourage you to read it. As podcasts continue to rise in popularity the discussion around editing podcast content is only natural. Editing podcasts is something that every podcaster will have to think about at some point at least on some level. While there are varying opinions on the topic, many of them strongly held (on both sides of the conversation), the reality is that podcast editing is something that every podcaster needs to give some real thought to. In our years of experience in the podcasting space, we’ve talked with countless podcasters and we’ve discussed the idea of editing with literally every podcaster we’ve spoken to. While not all podcasters opt for editing during the post-production process, it should at least be worthy of consideration. For a real-life comparison of what podcast editing sounds like be sure to check out the video we did about our different levels of service to hear the difference. To be honest there are many factors that will go into the decision-making process for you as a podcaster on whether you will want your content edited in some way shape or form. To help you in that decision-making process here are a few common myths that people buy into about podcast editing which usually keeps people far away from the editing process. While tackling these myths may not be enough on its own to convince you of its value the hope is that it at least gives food for thought to you during the process.
6 Myths About Podcast Editing
- Only the sound quality of the audio really matters
- People won’t really know the difference
- Editing sacrifices personality and authenticity
- It’s a difficult process and too much of the headache
- My podcast is not highly produced, so why bother
- It’s expensive and not worth the investment
Only the sound quality of the audio really matters
Kicking off the list of common myths is the idea that only the sound of the podcast audio really matters. By this, most people mean that only having equalized levels and reduced background noise is all that people really care about. The focus here in this stream of thought is more on the mixing and mastering process and less on the editing process. Now to be frank most people who think this aren’t usually speaking from a place of knowledge about either the editing or the mixing processes because anyone who genuinely cares about high-quality audio will tell you they are not mutually exclusive. Achieving “good audio” is much more than just automating equalized levels and covering up annoying cell phone rings in the background. To achieve great sounding audio starts with having quality recordings and then carries over into post-production where the recordings are edited, mixed and mastered for highly polished audio that sounds excellent. Taking care of ambient sounds and background noises alone is not enough. If you’re really concerned about having quality audio then you have to understand that having your content edited to remove the verbal distractions (like long pauses, repeated words, umms, etc.) as well as environmental distractions is vitally important in helping you achieve your goal of having high-quality audio.
People won’t really know the difference
Building on the previous thought about only the quality of the audio really mattering, the myth of people not really caring or even knowing the difference is also offered as another reason not to have podcasts edited. The logic more or less is that the content is what really draws people in and keeps them around, so having a few things here and there that are annoyances are not a big deal and that the reality is those things aren’t as obvious to others as they are to ourselves. In response to this, I would first say that that is an incredibly naive thought process and is (potentially) somewhat insulting to your listeners. The reality is that people are very observant about what they are choosing to tune in to, especially if it’s on an ongoing basis. To think that people won’t notice and don’t care is simply not true. The highest consumed podcasts are usually the ones that are the most refined and well-done. Most podcast listeners gravitate towards podcasts that are highly engaging, and easy to listen to, not to mention that are at a reasonable listening length. While you will no doubt maintain and possibly even gain listeners if your podcast is left unedited, the reality is that by investing your time or resources into the editing process you will be reducing the length of your podcast which will make it appealing to larger audiences, you will make the quality more listenable and you will allow your content to be more engaging since it won’t have to compete with a myriad of inherent distractions.
Editing sacrifices personality and authenticity
A major concern for people who are resistant to podcast editing is that they think they will be sacrificing personality and authenticity in their podcast if it undergoes an editing process. The fear is that all of the things that make the podcast more approachable-the natural pauses, the endearing awkwardness of the back-and-forth and the subtle nuances that make it more palatable will be lost and all that will be left is a robotic mess of stale questions and answers. Now I want to be clear. These things are all great features to be left in your podcast if the nature of your podcast allows for them without it being too clunky or awkward. But just because you want these things to remain does not mean that your podcast will not benefit from an editing process and it does not mean these things have to be removed. The editing process is what you want it to be. If you want a highly (or tightly) thorough editing process, those things can all be removed. But if you would like those special characteristics to remain, this is feasible and you will not have to surrender all of the qualities that make your podcast unique or interesting. The key here is to develop a better understanding of what can still be edited while keeping your eccentricities intact. And trust me. There’s likely to still be a lot that can be edited out while preserving the things you care about most.
It’s a difficult process and too much of a headache
Another common objection about podcast editing relates to the difficulty of the process and how cumbersome it is. This, when combined with other thoughts like listeners not really knowing the difference (or caring), typically results in an unedited podcast. Yes, truth be told the editing process does require time and effort, especially for it to be done well. For this reason, many people stay away from editing because they feel overwhelmed by how complicated the process seems. In reality, you just need a little guidance. And if you’re open to giving it a shot yourself we’ve provided some helpful guides here and here to help get things in motion. Depending on the length of your audio and your learning capacity with an editing program, you may likely be able to edit your episodes in a handful of hours (per episode) and whittle down the time with experience. But from our experience many people won’t be bothered, which is why editing services are made available; to help lighten the load. The point is simply this: just because it’s a process and skill that has to be learned and improved over time does not mean you should abandon ship. Because of the value editing provides you should be open to learning the process yourself or handing off the task to a professional editor should time and resources allow.
My podcast is not highly produced, so why bother
A common misconception about podcast editing is that it is reserved for more highly produced podcasts that have a lot of sound effects or sound design. Many people think (roughly), “My podcast is not a true crime or storytelling podcast, so why is it needed?” In response to that, I would simply remind you again that the editing process is primarily designed to trim out the unnecessary and distracting content from your podcast as well as to minimize things that draw attention away from your content, a process that’s not just reserved only for more produced podcasts. I would say that while the nature and flow of some podcasts requires editing, all podcasts can still benefit from it. Here again, I would refer you to the previous article reviewing the benefits of editing as a refresher. Even though you are likely not creating a podcast along the lines of This American Life or Serial, you will still benefit from the editing process for your podcast.
It’s expensive and not worth the investment
A final myth about podcast editing that keeps droves of podcasters at bay is the issue of cost. Most people have preconceived ideas about the cost of editing their podcast and feel it’s simply not worth the investment. And while I could say something pithy like you can’t afford not to edit your podcast, I do not want to run the risk of sound overly simplistic. I realize that many podcasters (particularly those newer to podcasting) are operating on a shoestring budget and editing just puts things over the edge. I get it. I would offer a few discussion points though. First, find ways to minimize the cost. Obviously taking on the editing yourself (at least for a season) is a great way to reduce the cost. The challenge here though is the never-ending tug-of-war between time and money to see which one ranks higher in your list of priorities. While you will no doubt save money, it will require a lot of time to learn and understand the editing process. This is simply something you will have to figure out for yourself. Secondly, though I would also encourage you to do some thorough study to see what the actual cost of editing services may be and to dig a little deeper to see what you may be able to do to help mitigate some of the cost. For example, a more simplified post-production process would require less time from an engineer and would likely cost less. By simplifying the complexity of your podcast you can save time and money. Another thought is that you may be able to find a way to partner with your production team to offset the cost of the editing service through some other means like adding in a shoutout or an ad spot for their services into your podcast. It’s worth the conversation if the end result is better audio.
While this could become a growing and never-ending list of excuses, hopefully this handful of myths have been handled in a way that helps you reconsider whether editing is right for your podcast. While many podcasters will opt for handling the editing themselves, you, like many others, may choose not to be bothered and choose to find an editor to handle the task for you. Just a word of caution here. Just like with most things in life, you get what you pay for. I would say that the only thing worse than unedited podcasts are poorly edited podcasts. If you do look for a partner to handle the editing, develop a good relationship with an editor who is knowledgeable, who will be able to help you achieve the feel you are looking for and who can lighten your load to make your life easier. Our team holds degrees in audio engineering and has a thorough editing process that helps maintain the authentic feel and flow of your podcast. If you have questions or would like to discuss podcast editing more in-depth, don’t be a stranger. The Resonate team aims to make podcasting easier by offering you the ability to have your podcast professionally edited to make sure you are providing the absolute highest quality content for your podcast. If you’d like to learn more about our services, check out this video, email our team or schedule a call with our team to talk more about your podcast and what it would look like to have it handled by the team at Resonate Recordings.
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By: Jon Street
As the Production Manager at Resonate Recordings, Jon leads the production team and ensures that all our podcasters have everything needed to release consistent high-quality episodes. Jon and his family are from West Palm Beach, Florida and now live in Simpsonville, KY.