Welcome to part three of our podcast series. In the first part, we discussed what you need to know about podcasting, in the second the equipment you need. Today, I will be discussing how to edit your podcast.
People are intimidated by editing of any kind. It invokes a sense of dread and encourages procrastination.
However, unlike editing a video or a book a podcast can’t be changed once it is recorded. So don’t worry about all the things you could do better. You’ll just have to do it better next time.
I hope you have a main body of audio to work with. That will contain your topic.
This might be broken up into segments. You may want to do this to create space for adverts.
You should also have some audio around the front and the back of the topic. This will be the sounds of you setting up. Maybe a bit of audio testing.
It could also contain some unscripted “pre-show” dialogue. If these is any gold here you have two options.
You can cut it or you can use it. But where do you put it? Often an effective place is after the show proper is over you can add a stinger.
The stinger should deliver a line or two of dialogue. It should be funny or otherwise unexpected. This will give any listener who has stayed the course of show a sense that they found the last nugget of information in the rich vain entertainment. Short and sharp should a stinger be.
But, but and to butt in, consider the front of the show before you have introduced anything at all. You can of course just start the podcast. That will be fine.
However, add a bit of conversation from the middle can spice this up. Something out of context: “Like refined corn-syrup” adds a bit of flavour.
This is a good chance to use set up conversations. That would otherwise have to be cut simply for not being part of the official show.
This all creates a sense of disjointed time and helps create a narrative or at least a story-like tone to your conversation.
You can of course spend a great deal of time and energy on a podcast. You may want to do a number of things:
- Create images for thumbnails or YouTube. This is worthwhile in our visual culture as having something to stare at on you podcast app creates the illusion visual motion when coupled with audio.
- Make show notes. This is just a common courtesy to tell you listener what is in the podcast and when it happens.
- Add sound effects. From something complex like making or commissioning a song for your intro or simply adding some music for dramatic effect. You may even just want to add a second of static or a beep between your segments and ads.
You unfortunately run the risk of doing far too much. People listen to podcasts primarily for the sense company they provide and this is enhanced by a more slapdash rustic quality.
By all means edit out all the background sounds. Write a script. Even hire voice actors. But what you now have is a product more like corn syrup not wild flower honey.
So how do you edit?
What you need is a computer that can run Digital Audio Workstation software.
If you are using Audacity you could probably just plug a screen into a potato with USB support and call it a day.
Once you have these programs all you need to do is play around with them.
However, once again, to interject, it all boils down to selecting the section of audio you want “cutting” it and moving it to where you want it or deleting it out right.
You can have one track. You can have dozens and often it is useful to have duplicates to work from so you don’t delete your main track by accident.
Regardless you are probably going to have to reduce it to a single MP3 or similar format to upload it to the internet. Now this is simple of the adobe software but you will need to install additional software on audacity. Here is their guild.
After that is all said and importantly done don’t forget to upload the podcast! And to share it on your social media. After all how else will we ever hear about your wildly successful podcast?
Good luck and happy editing.
Christopher writes and facilitates for Writers Write. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisLukeDean
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