Should You Hire a Podcast Editor?

To edit or not to edit- that is the question.

Editing. Based on my experience, it’s the biggest thing holding most people back from podcasting.  If you don’t love to edit, then it’s kind of a pain, even if you have a really simple recording set-up with only a couple of tracks.  But what happens when there’s an issue with your audio? A faint hum in your audio line, or a guest whose favorite word seems to be “um”.  Should you tackle the editing beast by yourself, or hire a podcast editor? That’s our focus today.

Here are the topics we’re going to discuss.

  • What are your options?
  • What is involved in the editing process?
  • How much do editors typically cost?
  • What should you expect when working with an editor?
  • What questions should you ask an editor?

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Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

Editing. Based on my personal experience, it’s the biggest thing holding most people back from podcasting. If you don’t love to edit is kind of a pain, even if you have a really simple recording setup with only a couple of tracks. But what happens when there’s an issue with your audio? A faint hum in the audio line? Or perhaps a guest whose favorite word seems to be “Um”. Should you tackle the editing beast by yourself or hire a podcast editor? That’s our focus today. Take it away Radio Man! Podcast Your Business.

Welcome back to Podcast Your Business. I’m assuming you guys have listened to the show before but if you’re brand new, I’m so excited. You’re here. This is a great episode, you’re going to learn a lot of really great information about podcasting. I’m Sunny Gault. I am a podcast coach and mentor, and I’ve been podcasting for 17 years. I’m also the Founder and CEO of Independent Podcast Network. And I’m here to help you create amazing podcasts for your business. We do this by mastering the five P’s of Podcasting! The five P’s of podcasting, this is what I talk about in my online course. It’s called “How to launch your profitable podcast in 30 days”. And we go through these five P’s because I am convinced that once you master these five P’s, that you are going to take your podcast to the next level. So what are the five P’s? We’ve got prep? Should you even start a podcast? And what some of the research that you should be doing to determine if podcasting is right for you? Plan? What’s the look and feel for your show? Produce? How do you create amazing content that people are going to actually want to listen to promote? How do you tell everyone about your show? Because this whole concept of build it and they will come? Rarely holds true. And finally, profit? How do you make money with your show? Mr. Radio Man, what are we talking about today? Produce.

To edit or not to edit? That is the question. After today’s episode, you should be able to answer this question and answer it confidently. Because everyone’s situation is a little bit different. And I want you guys to know what your choices are. So here are some of the topics we’re going to talk about today. What are your options? When it comes to editing or maybe not even editing your podcasts? That’s an option as well. What’s involved in the editing process? How much do editors typically cost? I have a favorite resource I’m going to share with you the numbers are going to blow your mind in a very good way. Okay, how’s that for a teaser? What should you expect when you’re working with an editor? And what type of questions should you ask a potential editor if you’re considering hiring them for your podcast, we’re gonna get started and talk about all this stuff right after this quick break.

For most podcasters editing is going to be the most challenging part of putting an episode together. Unless of course, you are working with a podcast editor, then it’s really easy, then you hand off all your material to them, and you’re done with it. So here’s some things to consider. You, if you’re editing yourself, you will probably spend about three hours editing for every one hour of recording. This is precious time guys. And your time is very valuable. You’re an entrepreneur, you may even be a business owner, you only have so much time in the day. So consider that is editing your podcast really worth your time. So what are your options when it comes to editing? First of all, you don’t actually have to edit your podcast. There are podcasters out there that would ever comes out of their mouth is what’s published on their podcast. Maybe that’s not exactly your style. If your podcast is tied to your business, you may want it to have more of a professional look and feel. However, keep in mind. One of the main reasons people listen to podcast is the authenticity of the medium itself, but also the host. And it can be quite endearing to hear some of the goof ups that happen naturally when you’re recording an episode. So if you’re not really going to edit your podcast, there are some things you can do. Because you’re probably going to want to add some stuff to it. You’re not just going to hit record and then that goes up you know you probably going to want to show intro and maybe some music and things like that, there are some podcast recording platforms out there. I know Zencastr is one of them. And they will allow you to add in your intro sound effects, things like that, perhaps some background music, you’ve got a limitation. I think right now it’s 10 audio clips that you can add to basically a timeline. And then you can press it whenever you want. And it records it on a separate track. So you’re basically doing some live editing, you know, you when I was in radio and TV, we used to call this live to tape. So it’s not live like it’s going out live, but you’re recording it the way you want to release it, and you’re not planning to do a bunch of editing. So consider that technically, there’s a little bit of editing, I guess, it’s really just recording it the way you want it released. And so know that there are podcast recording platforms out there that do that. So that’s one option, don’t edit or, you know, record it exactly the way that you want to release it.

Next, you edit your podcast, what a concept, right? There are some tools out there. Probably the most popular one is called Descript. And this software is really interesting because it allows you to edit your podcast, like you would a Word document. So we’re all familiar with word, right? Kind of like Google Docs. So you’ve got all this text, it’s like it transcribes your show for you, and you see all the text. And then if you want to edit out ons in AWS, and oh, I don’t like the way I said that, or my guest said this, you would edit it like a text document. And then your actual audio file would change as well. And I do think this is a much more intuitive approach to editing. Because otherwise, you’re going to have like a timeline, you got to drag and drop your tracks onto the timeline. You know, a lot of people aren’t familiar with doing that, once you’re familiar with it, then it’s not a big deal. But for most people, there’s a heck of a lot more people that are, you know, really experienced in editing Word documents, as opposed to waveforms on a timeline. So you may want to check that out. Also, there is free editing software, where you’re going to have timelines, and you have to drag and drop your tracks that allow you to easily record and then make some simple edits. So the one that I’m thinking about is probably use the most is called Audacity. And what’s nice about this is it’s available on Windows and Macs, you know, it doesn’t matter which operating system you’re using, this will work, you can download it for free online and start using it right away. Now, I haven’t used audacity a lot, because I’m already really familiar with editing. But I’m told it’s a really great tool. And it’s not too challenging to get up and running, if you’re brand new to editing. So if you’re trying to make this decision, maybe you want to just download audacity and check it out. And see if it makes any sense to you if see if anything is intuitive about it. Or if it’s just going to be a big pain. There are other editing programs. So I already mentioned audacity GarageBand, a lot of Mac users use GarageBand, it comes free with your computer, I personally use Adobe Audition. So I’ve got the like It’s like $50 a month to have multiple Adobe products that I can have access to and get free upgrades for and all that good stuff. So that made sense to me, because I already use Adobe products. And then Hindenburg, they have a couple of different editing programs, I believe it’s a one time fee, and the one that’s probably going to fit podcasters the best is called Hindenburg Journalist. So if you want to do a little bit of Googling, look that up and see if that’s a good fit for you again, the nice thing about that last one is they really tried to simplify the editing program like if you don’t need a ton of filters and things like that. And you’re mainly dealing with spoken word, which is what most podcasts are kind of like journalism, right? Then they they really formatted their platform for those types of users. So check that out, see if that makes sense for you.

So you need to ask yourself with all of this, what is the most effective use of my time? I’m assuming you guys are busy, a lot going on not only at work, but perhaps at home. Do you really want to take the time to learn some sort of program and edit your podcast every week or every other week or every month? Whatever your release schedule is only you know the answer to that question. So, let me tell you a little story about my decision to switch from editing my own podcast to hiring a podcast editor because I fought this tooth and nail you guys. This is for my parenting shows. I’ve talked about it before on this podcast. So I probably already edited 400 or so episodes for this group of podcasts, it got to the point you guys where I was releasing five new episodes a week, and I was editing every single one of those. And a friend of mine said, you are spending so much time on this, why don’t you check out my podcast editor see if you like him? Long story short, I had a conversation with him. And I thought, you know, why not? Why not give this a go? You guys, it ended up being the very best decision I’ve ever made in podcasting, right up there with deciding to do dynamic ad insertion. Those of you that have listened to that episode, you know that that was a game changer for me as well. But allowing someone else to edit my podcast, did I give up a little control? Absolutely. You know, were there some things to work out in the beginning? Absolutely. But I got so much time back. And that was invaluable for me.

So, now let’s transition and talk a little bit about hiring a podcast editor, if you decide that that’s the route that you need to go, you need to think about time and money. How much time are you going to get back? By doing this? In my case, it was a ton. I mean, it was 15 hours a week, maybe? That’s huge. How much money are you going to be spending on an editor. So let’s talk about rates here, every podcast editor is a little bit different. Many editors will charge you based on the amount of raw audio you submit. So that’s the audio before they do any editing. And here are some common rates that I found zero to 30 minutes around $70 for the episode 31 to 60 minutes, about $95 to $100, 61 minutes to 90 minutes. So you know, hour, hour and a half about $120. So those are some common rates. But I have to tell you, I just came across a service that beats all of those prices. It’s pretty incredible. Now I do want to forewarn you and tell you that we are an affiliate for this company. The reason we’re an affiliate is because I have never seen prices this low with the result and the quality. So high, the name of the company is called Podmachine, And they group everything into their monthly rates. So you can get a 48 hour turnaround for your podcast, and four episodes. And their basic plan is $49.99 a month. That is incredible. That is a steal a bargain and the quality is really good. As I mentioned, we’re an affiliate. So if you want to save an additional 5% on that, look for our promo code in the description below.

Now, what should you expect when working with an editor? I just want to reiterate some of this to make you guys feel as comfortable as possible. Because in the beginning, this is going to feel weird. handing over your baby to somebody else is naturally going to feel weird. And the truth is nobody cares about your show as much as you. So while you can trust podcast editors, you still need to be vigilant, you still should check your episodes after they give it back to you. And also in the beginning expect some hiccups. Because it’s kind of this song and dance in the beginning where they’re getting to know you, you’re getting to know them. And you know how you want your show to be edited? And do you remove all the arms and ahhs or do you leave some of those in there? Because that’s just naturally how we speak. And what do you do about content that needs to be edited out because a lot of editors aren’t going to make those content decisions for you. So how are you going to communicate to them that something needs to be edited out? Those are some of the things that you need to expect, especially in the beginning, when you’re working with an editor.

What kind of questions should you ask a potential podcast editor because you need to do a little bit of vetting here guys. First, ask for referrals. Ask to hear samples of episodes that they’ve edited. Ask about pricing. Of course that’s going to be important. Ask about hidden costs. If an episode goes over a certain amount of time, do you have to pay more money? Also ask about discounts. because it may be that if you pay more money upfront, you’re going to save more money in the end, because what a lot of podcasts editors are dealing with are flaky podcasters that start a podcast and then quit three weeks later. So that’s not really in their interest. If you’re going to pay money up front, they know you’re serious. Ask about the turnaround time, you may have situations where an episode gets postponed, and you need an editor to edit really quickly, because your audience is expecting the next episode and about 48 hours, make sure they can do that. Ask if they listened to the episode or just look at the waveforms. There are some editors that will just look at all the squiggly lines, right? When they import your tracks. And if they see anything that looks out of place, then they’ll you know, hit the play bar. And listen, that’s not what you want. Because there could be a lot of mistakes in there that they’re going to gloss over and not realize you want an editor who’s actually going to physically listen to the entire episode. Ask your editor what happens when there is an audio issue? Because if you have been podcasting for any length of time, you know, things happen. A file is corrupt, you didn’t realize that the person’s fan was going 90 miles an hour in the background when you were recording? Do they have experience with fixing files like that? And what is the process for that? And how long does that usually extend the turnaround time. I’ve also found it helpful to ask if the editor is willing to upload the finished product or the finished episode to your podcast host provider. Because we’re just trying to streamline the whole process if you don’t have to take the file from the editor, and then upload it to your podcast host provider that you could be focused on doing something perhaps a little bit more productive. All right, well, my network independent Podcast Network offers several services to help your podcasts look and sound amazing. I’m going to tell you more about that after this quick break.

My goal with Independent Podcast Network is to create a one stop shop for your podcast. Whether you need a podcast editor, you need podcast artwork, or maybe you just need to hop on a call with a podcast coach and get some guidance on what to do with your show. We are here to help. You can visit us online at You can book a call with me directly on that page. I would love to learn more about your podcasting needs. Until next week, remember… you should start a podcast!

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