Getting Started with Podcasts: Editing your podcast
Podcasts are becoming very popular as a new storytelling medium to spread ideas and your message online. In this series of posts, I’ll detail everything that you’ll need to know as you get started in the world of podcasting.
Our first post focused on understanding, subscribing, and listening to podcasts. The second post discussed identifying the purpose, audience, and format of your content. The third post dug a bit deeper and unpacked the process of finding talent, content, great audio, and your voice. The fourth post discussed the nuts and bolts of recording your podcast. In this post we’ll discuss editing your podcast and getting it ready to upload and share.
Should you edit your podcast?
As we start off this post about editing your podcast, you should realize that there is some debate about whether or not you need to edit the content. Most times I build in steps to my recording process so I don’t have to spend a lot of time editing after the fact. Many of these steps we detailed in the earlier post on recording.
In this you’ll want to focus on good audio quality through your selection of microphones and recording locations. You’ll want to make sure you’re prepared and know the format so you’ll have fewer glitches to edit out. When you do have a catastrophic event like a fire truck drive by, dog bark, or wifi drops…mark the time stamp so you know when to go in and edit the content out. In the past I’ve used Google Hangouts-on-Air and had the wifi drop out while interviewing a guest. I also sometimes have loud noises from local traffic when recording in my office. It is up to you whether you want to edit this out. I edited out the dropped guests…but left in the infrequent car horns and fire truck sirens.
Improve your presentation by finding your voice and polishing up your presentation skills. This includes taking a break, or pause as opposed to saying “um”, “uh”, “ya know,” and other verbal crutches. Keep in mind that you should also focus on being you, taking a deep breath, and being authentic. You need to be yourself when you’re on your podcast. You audience will find and connect with you and your content. Trust yourself.
Once again, it’s up to you whether or not you want to spend significant time editing. In the past I’ve spent a lot of time editing and cleaning up audio…and also skipped this and just shared with the audience. Barring any catastrophic events…I typically focus on preparation and process to ensure that I have little or no editing that I need to do after the fact.
How to edit your podcast
Should you need to edit your podcast, there are several great tools that can easily get the job done. In the remainder of this post, I will discuss how to edit your podcast if all of the audio streams are already combined. This means that if you’re recording your podcast by yourself, you’re all recording to one device, or you’re using video conferencing tools (Skype, Google Hangouts) for your recording. Having multiple streams and multiple microphones can help you improve the quality of audio, but we’re also adding to the time and cost of the endeavor. Once again..we’re focusing on just getting you started on podcasting in this series.
When you have finished recording your podcast, you’ll want to take that audio file and add it to an audio editing program. You most likely don’t need anything more sophisticated than the free Audacity. I recommend installing Audacity and snipping out some of the audio to see what the waveforms look like from what you just recorded. I also use (and recommend) GarageBand on my Mac. There are also tons of other options out there for editing audio.
There are several tips and tricks for editing podcasts in Audacity or Garageband. Once again. I typically will cut out unneeded parts and check the volume levels in the audio before moving on. You may decide to fade in and fade out at the beginning and end of the podcast. You may also decide to try and level out the audio between speakers or sections of the audio.
Creating an intro for your podcast
While you’re editing your podcast, you might want to think about the introduction you use for each episode. Keep in mind that podcasts are a form of “magazine” for your audience. The thinking is that you’ll provide them with regular updates to your content. With that in mind, you should consider adding elements that will add some polish to your podcast and make it seem a bit more professional.
One of the first elements is adding an intro and ending to your podcast. The introduction should include informative and memorable. The intro should be somewhat regular and scripted to let your audience feel a bit familiar with it…and linking to other episodes. You may choose to record the intro when you record the podcast, or add it in later.
Here’s an example of a script that you can use to create your own podcast intro:
You are listening to the ____________ podcast and this is episode ___. Today we’re talking ____________. (Music or break for 2–3 seconds).
Hey, everybody. _____________ here. Welcome to the _____________ podcast. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for tuning in. The __________ podcast is produced every _________ for your enjoyment and show notes are found at __________(website). Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter @________ and Facebook. All links are in the show notes. Now, let’s get into the show.
You may choose to record the intro with or without music. You can voice your own intro or have a professional record it for you. In my own podcasts, I prefer a bit of a mix between the two. In this podcast episode, you can listen to an example of the final product.
I start off with a quick recording of the title of the show, the guest, and the focus of this specific episode. I decided that I didn’t want to include a show number, or date as my audience can listen in any order they choose. I then go to a bumper that I ordered from Fiverr. You can order professional podcast intros, with or without music and effects. In the end, my podcast intro cost me $40 (which is more than $5) but it was a ton of fun working with my voice artist to create something that would work for me. I used GarageBand to edit in the professional intro after my voice intro, and then go right into the recorded podcast. At the very end, I included the ending that was supplied for me by my Fiverr artist.
The end result makes the podcast sound a bit more professional, and provides information and continuity for the audience. Keep in mind that your audience might first listen to your podcast at any point. You need to sound compelling, and appropriate for the topic and theme. You also want to get them excited and want to continue listening. Finally, you want to give them an idea of what you’ll be presenting in these episodes. Having a somewhat regular, scripted approach to the start (and end) of your podcasts is a good thing. Think about how you connect with the opening jingle or theme song of your favorite TV shows.
Creating title art for your podcast
As you edit and polish up your podcast, you’ll want to consider your artwork for your series…or individual episodes. If/when you submit your podcast to iTunes or elsewhere, you’ll need to include artwork for your content.
I use Canva to create art work for most/all of my online content. Canva makes it super simple to create high-quality media and share it online. It’s easy to use Canva for free to create and share content. It also includes several pieces that you can pay a nominal amount to create content. I use the “social media” format to create my album art. The social media dimensions are normally 800 x 800 pixels.
iTunes typically sets the specifications for podcasts and content that are expected as you upload your podcast. Currently, they will expect that your podcast art is a minimum of 1400 x 1400 pixels, or a maximum of 3000 x 3000 pixels. You’ll need to upload the image as a JPEG or PNG.
You’ll need to think about branding, and keeping continuity across other aspects of your digital identity. If you already have any kind of branding in place (imagery, colors, fonts, etc.), reuse these in your podcast artwork. This will unify the different outlets of your brand. want to remember that your audience will view the content across multiple screen sizes. I would use big, legible text and use a minimal amount of words. Use big bold images, and design elements that contrast each other to make it easy to read it across devices.
Editing the ID3 tags
One of the last things you’ll want to take care of as you edit your podcast is to edit the ID3 tags that are buried in your MP3 track. An ID3 tag is embedded, descriptive data about the MP3 track within the file itself. The ID3 tags include the following information:
- Track title — The title of the podcast episode
- Cover art — Upload the art you just created)
- Artist — Who recorded the podcast
- Album — The name of the podcast series
- Track — The episode number (if applicable)
- Year — The year the podcast was published
- Genre — The type of track…podcast in this instance
- Comment — General comments, info, and tags
- Copyright — The copyright notice of the content. Hopefully it’s a Creative Commons license :)
- WWW — Add a link to the website address for this episode or podcast
As you enter content to the ID3 tags, be sure to keep it brief and concise. Most times it will be a computer or podcatcher reading the ID3 tags.
What is next?
In the next post in this series we’ll focus on hosting and sharing your podcasts. Please feel free to share or comment on these materials.
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Originally published at W. Ian O’Byrne.