In our previous articles, “Are Podcasts Good for Helping Business” and “How to Expand your Podcast Audience”, we spoke about the importance of podcast production. These articles included increasing brand awareness, contributing to lead generation, positioning your company as a thought leader, and increasing revenue.
Suppose you’ve committed time and effort to planning and recording a podcast for your business. In that case, it’s essential that you know how to edit a podcast to ensure it’s as engaging, functional, and enjoyable as possible. The problem is that editing can seem like an intimidating barrier to launching a podcast, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options out there.
So, how do you go about editing a podcast? In this article, we will look at some editing tools and techniques that will maximise the opportunities for your business podcast to succeed.
Why Edit a Business Podcast?
Although this may seem an obvious point, it is worth mentioning. Editing a podcast will help condense your content, create a cohesive narrative, improve audio quality, and perhaps include additional materials.
Not all podcasters choose to edit their recordings. There’s also no rule telling you how you should do it, and it comes down to your business approach, content, and audience.
When it comes to a business podcast, think about how the presentation of your podcast will represent your brand. For example, if you want your brand to come across as fun and playful, then you may choose to leave your footage relatively raw and unedited to show yourselves and your guests more in the moment.
Meanwhile, if you are looking to convey a more professional, serious demeanour, then it is likely that your podcast will need a thorough comb-through to cut out mistakes and stumbles, and make it a more seamless experience. If you want to include music or cutaways such as vox-pops within your podcast, you will need to edit for those reasons.
For those who want to invest in editing their podcasts – and most people will need to – there are plenty of options available, whether that’s learning how to use apps and programmes or employing production freelancers and consultancies to help finesse your podcast.
How Long Should a Business Podcast Be?
When it comes to deciding the length of your podcast, there is no right or wrong answer. There are, however, a few factors to consider. Perhaps the best approach is to record a test podcast with everything you want to include to see how long the recording is and how much needs to be cut out.
Whilst some of the most popular business podcasts can run for over an hour or longer, it is better to start concise. Limiting yourself to an hour is a good start, but the optimum time is thought to be around half an hour, as this is a perfect length to consume whilst doing something else.
Editing Basics: Things to consider
The first thing to do is to listen back to your entire podcast episode, so you can get a complete picture of how it sounds. If you start jumping around and removing chunks immediately, you might get rid of something that’s referenced later and end up making more work for yourself in the long term.
A good idea is to take notes of edits you plan to make later. You can do this manually, using timestamps to mark points that you want to come back to, or by using tools in your editing software. Markers in Adobe Audition (keyboard shortcut M) or Labels in Audacity (keyboard shortcut Ctrl + B) are both ways to leave notes on the audio waveform itself, clearly marking the exact points you want to revisit.
You’ll have created your podcast with a central theme or topic idea in mind, so when it comes to the editing stage, be sure that your content sticks to the message and that you edit out any tangents that don’t serve a purpose. Try to make sure each sentence contributes to your point, argument, or story.
One of the main things to consider when editing a business podcast is stitching. Stitching is the process of adding, removing, or re-ordering the episode content. This may include an intro, outro, or sponsorship message separate from your recording or adding notes or clarification after the fact.
A key component of stitching is the removal of hesitations and pauses – the ‘umms’, ‘ahs’ and awkward silences inherent in speech. In the podcasting world, there tends to be a significant emphasis on removing every stutter or repetition and crutch words or phrases such as ‘like’ or ‘y’know?’. Such fastidious editing can help reduce the length of an episode, but it is a time-consuming process and can make speech sound stilted if overdone.
Ultimately, you should do whatever works best for your business’s tone of voice. If you want it to sound clean, clipped, and polished, go ahead and edit out all of the pauses. If your brand leans towards a more human-centred approach, then a more restrained editing style will help retain the natural flow of your voice.
One final consideration is your audio levels. If participants have recorded their audio on different microphones, the loudness of their audio will likely differ. This can be a nightmare for listeners, particularly on headphones, where they might turn the audio up for a quiet part, only to have their eardrums blown out by a loud participant!
The best way to avoid this is to have each participant record their audio track on a separate microphone. This allows you to easily raise or lower the volume of their entire audio track to keep everyone at roughly the same level. If you can’t do this, then scan through the audio to see if any parts of your waveform peak noticeably higher or lower than others, and edit those sections.
Your audio should generally sit between -6dB and -14dB, something you can keep track of in the levels bar, which tracks from -60dB to 0dB. Going above -6dB and into the red part of the bar risks peaking, where you are so loud that the microphone can’t pick you up properly. Peaks are impossible to remove via editing and are something to watch out for.
Once you’ve finished the editing process, give your podcast one final listen before uploading. Ensure you’ve cut out everything you need to and that you haven’t made any editing, mixing, or mastering mistakes. Is it interesting and engaging from start to finish? Make sure you’re 100% happy before hitting that upload button!
How to Use Sound and Music in Your Business Podcast
Using sound effects can draw attention to certain parts of your business podcast or elicit emotions where needed. Sound effects also help to keep listeners engaged, breaking up what can be long and monotonous conversations. Just be careful not to overdo it – otherwise, your narrative could be lost!
When choosing music, jingles or song clips to include within your business podcast, you have some more considerations to make. The theme music that opens and closes your podcast will be the first and last impression that a listener will have, and the tone of it provides them with an idea of what to expect. You’ll also need to ensure you have the rights to use the music or clips, either by investing in original music or finding copyright-free alternatives.
If you don’t know where to start, take a look at what your competitors are doing – or, even better, check out podcasts that you already know and love. If they’re appealing to you or the same target audience as your business, then you might find inspiration from their choices.
If you already have a podcast with published episodes, it can be helpful to look at your analytics dashboard on platforms such as Spotify. These dashboards often provide audience information, with Spotify going so far as to include other artists your audience is listening to, providing data on your listeners’ favourite music. This is a handy tool for finding music that your listeners enjoy so that you can find something similar (instrumental only, though, as lyrics will detract from their attention!).
Tools to Consider for Editing a Business Podcast
The most common podcast editing tool is what’s known as a DAW, which stands for Digital Audio Workstation – otherwise known as an audio editing programme.
The most popular beginner DAW is called Audacity, and it’s a free tool to use. You don’t have to dig too deep into its capabilities to edit and export a professional sounding business podcast.
If you’re a Mac user, another free and compelling DAW is GarageBand. This user-friendly option is great for podcast editing, especially if you’re just looking for some default settings that’ll get the job done without having to get too bogged down in the details.
If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced, then Pro Tools, Adobe Audition or Reaper might be better suited for you, as they offer an almost unlimited amount of functions and capabilities. These are powerful platforms but come with an appropriate learning curve and price tag, so they might not be the best place to get started.
Should you Hire a Professional to Edit your Business Podcast?
If you have no desire to work on the editing side of your podcast creation, that isn’t a problem at all – it’s a time-consuming process! You can certainly pay someone to assist you.
The right person for the job is likely to depend on your budget. You’ll find lots of good freelancers out there, many of whom will be willing to do it for a low price. However, as with any service, there will undoubtedly be a few unreliable people who will let you down.
The safest option is to go for a professional audio consultancy like Broadcast Revolution. Our years of experience in the world of audio mean we fully understand the needs, requirements, and pitfalls of business podcasts. This makes us an ideal business podcast editing partner.
If you have any questions about editing or any other part of podcasting for your business, feel free to reach out to us.