How to Edit Your Podcasts with Efficiency

When you’re in charge of pre-production, recording, promoting, and planning a podcast, saving time is a must. Improving your workflow for editing is one of the best ways to cut down on tactical time and get to the more important things.

For most podcasters, editing probably isn’t at the top of the list when it comes to “reasons to start a podcast.” But editing is where you can bring your vision to life, craft a compelling narrative, and tighten up the flow to keep listeners engaged.

However, knowing how to edit your podcasts vs. editing efficiently is a different story. Having a few tricks and best practices in your editing arsenal can go a long way. Cutting down the time it takes to turn out an episode can increase your output and help keep you in a creative flow state.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to edit podcasts with efficiency and the tools you might need to make it happen.

Editing Like a Pro Can be Easy

Once you finish recording, there’s a sense of accomplishment, and (for the most part) you can call it a day. Perhaps you grab a bite to eat, grab a celebratory libation, or take a well-deserved nap…

But once you get back to it, it’s time to dive into editing.

For some, this can be a total buzzkill…

When people think of professional audio editing, they often assume it’s too complex or expensive for them to attempt it themselves. That doesn’t have to be the case.

1. Plan Your Podcast Structure First

Before starting your recording, it is essential to plan your structure. Planning ahead makes you more likely to be focused and organized.

Planning involves creating an organized outline of your podcast recording that includes an introduction, the main content, and a conclusion. Ensure you take note of the specific timestamps when recording each section of your podcast. This will make it easy to edit your podcast, as you’ll know which specific parts you need to edit.

If your podcast is more narrative-based or in an investigative style, you can record in chunks and write out the order in a document. You can swap and reorder different segments to fit the narrative.

If you produce an interview-style podcast, you can take note of any major edits. Had a false start? Someone sneezed an you had to repeat a question? Make note of it in your document while you’re recording so that when you come time to edit, it’s super easy to find and cut.

2. Use a Reliable Recording Platform

Nothing kills your editing flow like manipulating waveforms, applying filters and eq to remove noise or dancing around choppy audio and video.

Finding a platform you can trust to record audio and video with consistency is key. If you’re using multiple mics or running a live stream, finding one that supports the process is important.

Also, make sure your platform is trustworthy—meaning you can be sure of its reliability when it comes to saving files safely and backing them up (just in case).

Ideally, you should choose a solution that doesn’t rely on consistent network speed to record. Instead, look for something that records locally on your participants’ devices and uploads to the cloud for backup. Removing packet loss and fluctuations in bandwidth from the equation can make a huge difference in your recording quality.

3. Use the Right Audio Editing Tool

Selecting the right audio editing tool can make your podcast editing process more efficient. Some popular audio editing tools that you may consider are GarageBand, Audacity, and Adobe Audition.

Some podcast hosts even include editing software in their hosting plans. Research the available software and choose the best tool for your editing style and level of expertise.

You don’t want a program that is too complex to learn. Factoring in the learning curve and the time it will take to get up to speed can help you better evaluate your potential solution. Find a program or application that sits in that sweet spot of “feature-rich but simple to use.”

4. Create a Recording and Editing Workflow

After planning your podcast structure and choosing the right audio recording and editing tool, create a workflow that will work for you.

You may choose to edit as you go, listening to each section repeatedly, or edit everything at once and ensure consistent quality throughout the podcast. Some creators choose to do a full pass on the audio and then go back for some fine-tuning.

5. Utilize Keyboard Shortcuts

Different editing software offers different shortcuts, but one of the most useful ones across all platforms is undo (Ctrl + Z / Cmd + Z).

Learning the other shortcuts will help you save time and make your editing process more efficient. In Audacity, for example, Ctrl+G/Cmd+G splits clips quickly; in Adobe Audition, Shift+T adds markers to a timeline.

Pay attention to actions you find yourself repeating. Most editors allow you to map your controls to a custom set of shortcuts. Making sure you are familiar with all of the keyboard shortcuts available will give you a huge advantage in editing and help you produce the best-sounding podcast possible.

6. Keep Your Files Organized

We get it; production can seem like a blur.

But keeping your files organized is one of the top ways to maintain efficiency during editing.

Proper organization means naming files accurately, grouping them into folders according to the episode and segment you’re editing, and maintaining a system for storing your files.

Consider moving them to an external hard drive and backing them up in the cloud. This not only gives you peace of mind, but allows you to work from any computer or any location with ease.

Bonus Tip: Share and Get Feedback

Once you have finished editing your podcast, listen to the entire episode and proofread your transcript. Share your episode with a trusted set of ears to get input and feedback on improving the episode.

It can be tough to catch minor issues or problems with the structure of your own show — especially if you’ve spent hours in the editing weeds. Feedback from others is an excellent way of knowing how to improve your editing and podcast content.

Creating an Editing Workflow that Works for You

At the end of the day, the most important factor in audio editing is finding a process that works for you. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up; experimentation is key when it comes to creating an effective podcast editing workflow.

There is no one-size-fits-all method to editing. Find the tools and techniques that you are comfortable with, practice them, and use them to your advantage. With an effective podcast editing workflow in place, you can produce great-sounding podcasts with relative ease!