A beginner's guide to editing a podcast

A decade ago, podcasting was just starting to gain momentum. Today, it’s one of the biggest mediums in the world, with more than two million shows online and over 48 million episodes at the time of writing this post. And by the time you read it, there’ll be plenty more!

Podcasting is incredibly popular thanks to a number of reasons:

  • Podcasting has democratized broadcasting: Like YouTube, podcasting empowers anyone with the tools to create their own content and express themselves to a global audience.
  • Podcasts are easy to access: You can find thousands upon thousands of podcasts on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and various ‚Äúpodcatchers‚Äù. The sheer volume of podcasts out there means you can trial and test a whole range of different styles in not a lot of time.
  • Podcasts are ideal for modern listeners: You can download a podcast to your smartphone and carry it with you all day ‚Äî perfect for nourishing your brain during the commute to work, your lunch break, and while washing dishes. It‚Äôs convenient and, crucially, free (in the vast majority of cases)!

  • Podcasts are terrific brand extensions: As fellow video buffs will know, many hit TV series and films have spin-off official and unofficial podcast shows. For example, The Crown Official Podcast is the legitimate companion podcast to the hit Netflix series, with behind-the-scenes stories and insights. Other series (Chernobyl, Lovecraft Country) have their own podcasts too. In the world of business-to-business, there‚Äôs no shortage of interesting podcasts from well-known brands, such as HBR Idea Cast.

But creating, hosting, and publishing a podcast is a lot of work ‚Äî and post-production is one of the most complex parts of the process. 

In this post, we‚Äôll explore the ins and outs of podcast editing for new podcasters looking to dip their toes into this ever-expanding pool. 

The basics of podcast post-production

Let‚Äôs look at the key stages of podcasting post-production: 

Podcast editing

The best podcasts are beautifully edited ‚Äî so no pressure! And while big-name podcasters like Joe Rogan might have huge amounts of time and money to invest into their podcasts, you can still help yours reach a high standard of quality with careful, considered editing. 

In podcasting, editing comes in two forms: audio editing and content editing. The former obviously focuses on the sound and audio quality, and the latter on the material itself. 

Getting the right podcasting editing software

High-quality audio editing tools make the editing process far easier. A user-friendly layout is crucial to help you understand the different elements at play, and allow you to make adjustments as required. 

Of course, you‚Äôll save editing time if you record in a quiet environment with quality equipment ‚Äî to protect sound quality and avoid interruptions. Technically, you could record your episodes on your smartphone or laptop, but you‚Äôll certainly notice the difference if you pay for a decent microphone. 

It doesn‚Äôt need to be the most expensive microphone on the market. Just something designed for more high-end podcast recording than the one built into your phone or computer. 

Podcast sound design

Incorporating sound effects and music tracks into your podcast will add to the listening experience and take it to the next level. 

You might want to increase suspense, add humor to a comedic moment, or increase the audience’s immersion in a story with environmental sounds. Recording an intro and outro, preferably with a theme tune, also adds a unique touch.

Podcast mixing

Mixing or mastering involves tweaking levels in the recording to ensure harmony. For example, reducing background noise (hello, sirens!) and balancing audio when multiple people are speaking at different volumes. 

Again, quality audio editing software should make this a breeze. Take the time to acclimate yourself first and take advantage of tutorials (we love The Podcast Host for this). And you might want to record a practice podcast for experimentation, rather than working on audio files due for release the next day.

Tips for creating a better podcast with editing

Okay, so we’ve explored the podcast post-production process, but how can you make your editing smoother and more successful?

Here are some ‘best practice’ tips:

Editing helps you find your story

The purpose of your podcast can become lost or muddled during recording, especially if you‚Äôre chatting with multiple people and the conversation runs away with itself. That can lead to happy accidents and moments of spontaneous brilliance ‚Äî but it can also leave listeners confused about your objectives. 

The solution? Carve out time to listen to your podcast recording and work out how you can help the episode‚Äôs story take shape. Think about what theme began the discussion and what should end it ‚Äî even if that means splicing and dicing audio from several parts of your conversation. Remove anything that deviates too far, unless it‚Äôs guaranteed to make listeners love your show even more. 

If that process sounds laborious and overwhelming, then worry not: Simon Says carries all the weight for you. Simply upload your audio or video file and Simon Says creates a transcript that’s easy to drag-and-drop into an engaging narrative order.

It‚Äôs okay to be human 

You‚Äôre bound to mutter ‚Äúummm‚Äù or ‚Äúwhat was I going to say next?‚Äù while recording your podcast, especially in its infancy. Some of these fillers should be edited out to keep the podcast episode flowing smoothly, but don‚Äôt get rid of them all. 

These moments can remind the listener that they’re hearing a real conversation between humans — and isn’t that why thousands of us tune in to podcasts every day?

Use sound effects tastefully 

It‚Äôs better to err on the side of caution when adding sound effects. Excessive or cheesy ones can divert attention from the rest of the audio, frustrate listeners, and make your podcast less enjoyable overall. 

Listen to your favorite podcasts and take notes on their use of sound effects. Pay attention to when they‚Äôre introduced, their volume, and their impact on the episode. 

Consider bonus content to promote your podcast 

An effective promotional strategy should be at the front of your mind when editing your podcast. 

Pick out snippets that would captivate listeners during an ad and encourage them to tune in. The funniest moments? The scariest? The most inspiring? Focus on that emotional response, whatever it may be.

Transcribe your podcast for accessibility

You should make a transcription, translation, and subtitles for your podcast too. This ensures your audio content is accessible to everyone across various platforms (e.g. Facebook), even those who speak another language or have hearing limitations. Simon Says makes transcribing podcasts quick and easy with cutting-edge AI. 

Adding a transcribed version of your podcast to your site (assuming you have one) could also help your podcast reach a bigger audience online. Especially if it includes keywords and valuable insights that people may search for. 

Sign up to Simon Says and join the ranks of other time-savvy podcast editors

Editing a podcast is quicker and easier than ever thanks to digital tools — and Simon Says is a state-of-the-art solution for transcribing, translating, and subtitling your podcast to attract a wider audience.