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Despite modern advancements, some of the education on remote podcast editing has lagged behind. This has led to a lot of podcasts with sloppy editing that can easily be avoided. By taking the time to properly edit your podcast, you can transform it from two people having a nice conversation about a topic to something that gets to the heart of what your listener cares about and saves them time.

Good editing for text, audio, or video should go unnoticed. Our job as editors is to sneak into an episode, much like Robin Hood, and steal time from the episode to give it back to the listener.

I recommend editing in two passes: once as a technical edit and then again for content. When editing conversations in Descript, use the sequence view for the technical edit, where you can see the waveforms for each person speaking, and the script view for the content edit, where you can see all the words.

If you’re editing a one-person show or have everyone’s voices on one track, some of these editing techniques may not be possible. That’s why it’s always important to get everyone’s voices as separate audio files.

So, what exactly should we remove, and in what order?

  • Cross-talk and active listening noises
  • Admin
  • Gaps due to lag
  • Small talk
  • False starts
  • Follow-up questions
  • Pregnant pauses
  • Umms (but not all of them)
  • Thinking noises (again, not too many)
  • Repetition
  • Stuff that’s boring
  • Stuff that’s irrelevant
  • Stuttering and stammering

If your time’s limited but you still want to put out an episode you know will keep listeners coming back, here are the four things I’d recommend you do. Now, I use Descript for this, and it’s not particularly advanced.

  1. Cross-talk and active listening noises
  2. Gaps due to lag
  3. Admin
  4. Small talk

If I were in a hurry and I was editing for myself, I’d just do those top four. But as a professional editor, I give my clients the full 12. That results in shorter, punchier episodes where everyone sounds their smartest and wittiest – like they’re really on it. I call it IQ editing.

Mark Steadman's avatar

Mark Steadman

Helping seasoned, soulful entrepreneurs use their podcast to build trust and create long-lasting, rewarding relationships with their listeners.

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