I’ve been creating and producing a weekly podcast for two years now, and while in that time I’ve had production and editing support I have largely done it all myself.

Which isn’t a brag. It’s a comforting bit of information because if I can do it…..ANYONE can. Fact.

I’ve also been running courses, workshops and consulting for others who want to start a podcast/make their podcasts better.

So I know a thing or two about it and that baffles me. Because….well, I’m a moron, mostly. Especially when it comes to scary new stuff.

Yeah, I’m logical and geeky and I like the technical side of things (hello SEO!) but I absolutely detest the idea of creating video content, I hate the idea of using Photoshop to do crazy edits and I’d happily outsource everything bar writing and taking pictures.

But podcast editing costs money and even when/if you start monetising your show it’s a necessary evil for most of us.

I get asked about editing a lot. I think it’s definitely the thing most people worry about and it’s why I didn’t launch my own podcast for almost a year after coming up with the idea.

In this post I want to dispel a few rumours about recording and editing, and show you how to do it, Lucy-style (aka with minimal effort!

How to edit a podcast - image of computer with podcast headphones

Content matters more than audio

A note on why I like to keep the editing simple; to sustain a podcast it needs to be sustainable and that includes your budget, time and effort. Editing can take up all three of these elements and it’s a big part of why many of us consider giving up on our podcast before we even begin.

Audio is SO important, but guess what? Content is more important. If your content is shit, if you’re parroting lines you’ve heard on another podcast or imitating someone else’s style then it doesn’t matter how slick and jazzy your audio is. Truly.

I see this time and time again, when other podcasts in my niche are nominated for awards or pop up in my ether with slick artwork and, to be totally honest, not much substance.

The bar has been set high in podcasting, so similarly to blogging, expect to see slick-as-fook blogs appearing to be successful (often winning those same homogenous awards). Try to ignore these and stay in your lane.

I also see this the opposite in crappy, early episodes of some of the BEST podcasts out there; the ones that have stayed the course, stayed interesting and who’s hosts I respect.

All that’s to say is that CONTENT MATTERS. And there’s time to improve on your audio.

How to edit a podcast image of woman laughing

Editing your podcast

In this post I’ll cover:

  1. Essential equipment
  2. Recording
  3. Non-essential gear (nice-to-haves)
  4. My simple editing tips

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1. Essential equipment

The equipment is pretty exciting and I see so many people buying expensive stuff before they’ve even started. Which really isn’t necessary, although it is quite fun!

I started with my iPhone headphones and my laptop and Sara Tasker told me she started with the same setup!

iPhone headphones are particularly good as they cover both the headphones and microphone aspect and are cheap, In fact, you’ve probably already got some knocking about.

But when you want to move to the next level I suggest the following….

Microphone

Depending on your

I’ve used all of the below, or been recommended them by fellow podcasters. They vary in price and quality so bear in mind your own personal circumstances (budget, recording environment, podcast type) when you choose what’s best for you.

  • Blue Yeti: I love mine! GREAT quality, and comes with it’s own stand (although I use a boom stand and pop filter)
  • Blue Snowball: This is great value, easy to use, light and great for travel. You can get better for the same price though….
  • Rode Smartlav: I have two (plus splitter) and use for in-person recording into my smartphone.
  • Audio Technica ATR2100: Like a karaoke mic, this is GREAT value and great quality too. You need a boom stand for it though.

Headphones

If you record interviews like I do, via Skype, then you absolutely cannot skimp on using headphones OR let your guest get away without using them.

But, as above, you could simply use the headphones that came with your smartphone (iPhone are best I think). (Note that smartphone headphones have an inbuilt microphone though so bear this in mind this when recording)

I was lucky and in my second season I had a sponsor (Sudio Sweden) who made headphones so…..yep, I got a pretty decent pair! I haven’t used any others but have popped a selection for you below.

Recording device

This can feel more complex than it needs to be, especially as the bulk of information out there appears to be written by white men who love overcomplicating podcasting.

Essentially all you need is something to plug your mic and headphones into……so, your phone, iPad, laptop, dictaphone or digital recorder.

What you use depends on how you need to record, too. For in-person interviews you probably don’t want to use your laptop, so something portable (your phone!) is perfect.

And if your microphone only has an audio jack, not usb, then you need to take that into account and get a converter or use a different piece of equipment to record.

I use my laptop and record using a few different methods. See below…..

2. Recording

Like everything I’ve talked about already, where and how you record your podcast will entirely depend on what you need to achieve.

If you are recording solo episodes then a simple mic and headphones into your laptop or phone will suffice.

But when you need to record an interview with someone long-distance you have a few other considerations.

It’s mostly a case of picking Skype, Zoom or Zencastr. I’ve used all three and would recommend choosing Skype with an additional piece of software called eCamm call recorder, which sits with Skype and records both sides of the call. You can record within Skype, but the recording you export will only be a one-track mP3: not good enough quality for editing.

Whatever the scenario, ensuring your environment is quiet and fairly sound-proof is better than editing it to buggery afterwards.

Soft-furnishings help (think bedrooms!) and you can drape a blanket over your head while recording too.

I use a boom stand to make sure the mic is perfectly positioned to hear me and I also have a pop filter to block out extra noise/control my plosives (those ‘P’ and ‘S’ sounds we all make!)

3. Non-essential gear (nice-to-haves)

I use a boom stand to make sure the mic is perfectly positioned to hear me and I also have a pop filter to block out extra noise/control my plosives (those ‘P’ and ‘S’ sounds we all make!)

You could also get a shock mount which stops the sound of any knocks and bumps affecting your mic. I don’t have one but might get one as my mic is pretty heavy so has a wee tendency to wobble.

One of the cheapest things you can buy is a pop filter. You can even make one out of old tights but…..I just bought mine for £5 instead because CBA with crafting. A pop filter helps to block out any extra sound and adds a bit of polish to your sound.

Lastly, you could buy a digital recorder even if you don’t technically need one because jazzy. I don’t recommend it buying one for the sake of it, but I also don’t believe in listening to other people’s rules so….do whatever the fook you want!

4. My simple editing tips

You might’ve gathered by now but I really like to keep thing’s BS-free and SIMPLE. Especially when it’s something men have consistently told me is hard, or needs to be done in a certain way.

Not today, patriarchy, not today.

When it comes to editing I follow The Podcast Hosts MEE process (minimal effort editing) which I’ve built on over the years to come up with my own, unique formula.

My golden rules are:

  • Get the recording environment right
  • Prepare or leave the waffle in
  • Add minimal effects

What this looks like in practice is……

  1. Record the podcast using good equipment in a good environment.
  2. If I make mistakes, I leave a pause and then click/clap three times so I can see it straight away when editing.
  3. Upload to Audacity and chop the beginning/end/any ‘click/clap’ sections off.
  4. Add music.
  5. Increase volume

And that’s it. Genuinely!

There are some specific settings I then use when it comes to exporting my MP3 (I edit in WAV) and subsequently uploading my file to Libsyn, my podcast host, but ostensibly this is the bulk of the work done.

Does that sound simple or have I lulled myself into a state of tech-blindness whereby I’ve slightly lost it?!

L x

Psssst if you want to start a podcast but need some help getting it from seed to launch, I can help.

I offer group courses or 1:1 consulting and aim to work on a sliding scale to ensure affordability. Email me for more details.