It’s a question you’ve probably never pondered, but it may help greatly in your podcast editing process! How can you make life easier on your podcast editor?
Would you like to be the type of client your editor dreads or loves? When they’re happy, you’re happy, because they’ll go the extra mile for you. It will also help ensure your episodes are ready in a timely manner, you get the best pricing possible, and there are little or no revisions or mistakes in your episodes.
Get Proper Recordings
The best way to get an excellent-sounding episode is to start with a great recording in the very beginning. Recording in an echoey or noisy environment and hoping to have it fixed in editing will either yield poor results or won’t be possible at all.
When an editor can focus on the task at hand, rather than fixing problems, you’ll get much better results. Plus, they’ll love working on your episodes!
Name Files Clearly
Organized file naming should be a prerequisite for operating a computer!
If you send your editor a folder full of files like “Recording 0293345.mp3, Recording 8363945.mp3, me.mp3, voice1.mp3” please also include a couple of headache pills as well.
Everybody will have their own preferred way to label files, but something like “01 – Intro”, “02 – Interview”, etc. is a good start.
As well, if you are sending regular episodes from software like Zoom which labels all files “audio_only”, you should rename the file before providing it to your editor. Then they’ll know the working title of the episode and be able to help you keep organized as well.
It’s similar to how if you were applying for a job online, you wouldn’t want to send a potential employer a fie called “Resume.pdf” – think about how many documents they must receive with that same file name!
Always refer to files by their proper names. “Can you please use the intro from 5 weeks ago?” may seem like an innocent question, but to an editor who is working with a number of clients and producing many episodes for you, it’s easy to mix up. Be specific about the name of the file “Please use the file titled January Intro.mp3”
Finally, whether you’re providing a few files or many, it’s always good to give your editor a nice simple list indicating exactly which order things go in. Receiving a Dropbox folder with 12 unnamed files and no instructions is sure to send your editor running to hide!
Keep Editing Lists To a Minimum
From time to time, issues may arise where sections need to be removed from your podcast. For example, a name mispronunciation, boring question, inaccuracy, etc.
If you catch these during recording, you can simply stop, snap your fingers in the mic (to create a visual cue for your editor) and say verbally to the editor “please cut that part and I will redo it now.” When doing this, be sure to gain composure first and start the line again in a way that will be easily blended into the earlier part of the episode.
If you only catch these mistakes after recording, you will need to clearly communicate the problem areas to your editor. Generally, a vague statement like “can you take out the part about the fishing trip” is not advised. This leaves a lot of room for error. Therefore, all edits should be noted with both a start and end time, along with start and end quotes.
– From 13:24 (I think that…) to 24:33 (… is a great idea)
If these types of edits go beyond a few, some editors may choose not to accept them at all. Others may have a specific workflow required, such as a spreadsheet or using a tool like Descript.
Make Expectations Clear from the Start
“What do you mean you couldn’t remove the loud tractor sound from my episode? How was I supposed to know not to record in a barn? If I had known this I NEVER would have had you edit it in the first place!”
Avoiding these types of situations comes down to clear expectations. Communicate any potential issues to your editor in advance. Always take a quick listen to the audio before you send it to them for editing. They may hear an issue but decide it’s okay to proceed, when in actual fact you weren’t aware of the issue and would prefer to abandon the episode.
In return, a good editor should have an idea of what you find acceptable and always ask if they are unsure.
Avoid Unnecessary Words
Your editor’s job is to improve speech flow and tidy up things like ums, you knows, etc, but the fewer unnecessary words to begin with – the better.
A particular challenge can be words of acknowledgement said by a host while the guest speaks, such as “right” and “uh huh”. Depending on how you record, these can cause a variety of audio issues and may not even be removable, meaning they’re passed on for the listener to hear.
Getting yourself in the habit of remaining silent while the guest is speaking will help to achieve a professional-sounding podcast, a happy editor, and a happy you!
Refine Your Instructions
If something could be said in a sentence rather than a paragraph, your editor can understand the instructions a lot easier.
Nobody on the internet likes a “wall of text” so always review your editing instructions before sending, and see where you can trim the fat.
“I was thinking to fade out the music at 1:07 but I’m not sure if it will sound good. I usually have done it this way but I was wondering your opinion. Do you think it’s too long? Maybe do what you think is best since I trust your advice. I like the music drop at 0:06 so please start the voice just after that unless you think there’s a better way to do it. 0:13 has a cool drop also so if you think that one is better then maybe we could put it there. ”
“Start music and voice at 0:06, fade out at 1:07. Open to suggestions if you have any better ideas.”
Ask for Help!
Want to know how to record an interview well? We’re happy to assist! Bringing your editor a bad recording, expecting it to be fixed, then being disappointed at the results hurts both sides! Instead, ask for feedback on your recording quality and if anything could be improved. If there is a recording quality issue, be very mindful that it is not your editor’s fault. They are (hopefully) a trained professional and you can take their advice to heart.
Respect Their Time
The more efficient a workflow process is between you and your editor, the more likely they’ll be happy to hear from you and happy to work hard for you.
Much of what this article covered will relate to time in some way, but this bears repeating.
If your editor has to spend time sorting through a mess of files, or coming back to you with questions then putting work on hold while waiting for a reply, it’s a waste of time for them and for you. Why delay having an episode ready for your listeners?
Deadlines are another important factor. Occasionally you may have an urgent, last minute request that your editor may or may not be able to help with, but put yourself in their shoes.
If you know your editor needs 3 days for a job but are constantly sending the files 2 days before your desired release date, you should start scheduling your recording for a day earlier, or change your release date to a day later. Avoid putting pressure on your editor because you are unable to efficiently organize your own schedule. It’s unfair and you certainly would not appreciate being put in this position with your own work.
Also consider getting 1-2 episodes ahead so you always have a buffer and aren’t down to the wire each week.
There you have it! Follow the advice in this article and you’re sure to be your podcast editor’s favorite client.