You’ve decided it’s a good time to add audio to your content marketing strategy, congratulations! Your equipment is purchased and you’ve spent time planning your content. You’re almost ready to start recording. Then the fears begin. “I’ve been wanting to get into podcasting … but the editing has scared me off. When I think I have to be perfect, I can’t perform. When I think I have to edit, I can’t even record.” Those are valid fears. And you’re not alone. You have questions about the process of hiring and working with an editor. I can help. I’ve worked with clients for quite some time, and I want to offer guidance on how to outsource audio editing. Since most of my clients are podcasters, these tips will be provided from a podcasting perspective. Will you deliver higher quality by outsourcing?
Will you deliver higher quality by outsourcing? Do you even want to learn editing?
To those who are producing audio content, your are likely wasting time ON audio EDITING.
- spend more time doing what you do best.
- Spend less time on editing.
- spend more time with your family.
- Have more freedom.
- Imagine being able to record your audio and upload it to someone for editing.
- Imagine the joy of receiving the edited audio and being able to upload it, publish it, and be done with it.
- Share your message, sound great, save time, and be consistent.
That will be possible when you outsource audio editing.
As someone who has been editing audio for many years, I understand your pain. You LOVE the idea of recording audio. You want to continue to make connections and establish yourself as an expert. There is work to be done before and after you record. That work, for many, includes audio editing, which takes time by itself. In fact, it takes even more time if you are just learning). Lack of time is a reason people abandon their plan to add audio to their content strategy, (or don’t start in the first place). And, then after all that work, you are exhausted, you don’t have time to put energy into other tasks, such as promoting your content, so nobody listens to it. It doesn’t have to be that way.
“I’ve been wanting to get into podcasting …, but the editing has scared me off. When I think I have to be perfect, I can’t perform. When I think I have to edit, I can’t even record.”
You have questions about the process of hiring and working with an editor. Having worked with clients for quite some time, I want to offer some guidance on how to outsource audio editing. Since most of my clients are podcasters, these tips will be provided from a podcasting perspective.
Since this is being written for podcasters, I would like to start by defining podcasting for those who don’t know what podcasting is.
Here’s a link to a detailed definition of podcasting.
Here’s how I would summarize it.
A podcast is an episodic series of digital media files made available through web syndication. Here’s how I break that down:
- The digital media files can be audio, video, or PDF.
- The web syndication is made possible through a web feed. This web feed is a document that contains links to the content made available. You use a podcatcher to subscribe to the feed. Podcatchers come in two forms: software for computers, [such as ITunes], and apps for smartphones, [such as the Podcasts app on an IPhone..
Where To Find An Audio Editor
There are several ways to do this:
- There are web sites where you can hire people for a variety of jobs. Some of these sites are:
- A number of audio editing services have their own web sites. Here is a short list:
- Ask people in your network.
- Write to podcasters you listen to, and ask them who edits their audio.
After reading the above list, you may ask the following question in some form: If you run an audio editing service, why mention your competitors. A couple of simple reasons: The first reason is that my podcast editing service is not the only one in town that can do good quality work for you (though I do think there are reasons for choosing me instead of others). The second reason is that I know that the way I do business and the values I hold to are not going to be the best fit for everyone. So, it only makes sense for me to help you find the exact people who can best serve you when it comes to editing your episodes week to week.
Advantages of outsourcing audio editing
Here are some reasons why you should consider hiring an audio editor.
- You save time. Depending on the lenghth of the audio recording and on how detailed the editing job is, I could end up spending as much as eight hours on the editing of one episode.
- You get a more consistent result.
- An editor will listen to your audio objectively.
- An editor will offer advice on how to improve your audio.
- Money. I often hear the phrase, “time is money”. If you find that your time could be better spent doing something else (like coaching calls with clients), you may find that outsourcing, although it means paying someone else to do the audio editing for you, may in fact help you get out of your own way, so you can earn more money because you can take on more work.
Now here are some disadvantages.
- That will likely mean an increase in expenses.
What To Look For In An Editor
Tip 1: Know that hiring an audio editor is an important decision for your podcast.
Tip 2: It helps if you know something about editing in order to hire an editor and not get burned.
Tip 3: If you don’t know what it takes to edit, you want to focus on:
- financial investment: Some charge per episode, some charge an hourly rate, and some charge a monthly fee.
- what you will receive in return for that investment: The editor should have a web site. The sales page for the editing service should be easy to locate. The sales page should spell out what you will get for your money. I will have more to say about this in tip 14.
- turn-around time: How long will it take for you to receive an edited version of your audio?
- Does this person have experience using audio editing software, or will he or she need to spend time learning that? I recommend that you hire someone who already has the skills.
- Does the editor have happy clients? If an editor has a web site, look for testimonials.
- How files will be shared: I use and recommend Dropbox.
- time spent on communication, back and forth file exchanges, etc.: Ideally, a podcast editing service should be set up in a “set it and forget it” sort of way so that when you are paying for someone else to edit your audio, you’re not having to do ANYTHING from the time you hit the “stop” button on your recording software and upload the file to Dropbox.
Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to speak with the person you are interested in hiring. Don’t let him or her hide behind email.”
Tip 5: As stated above, The editor you hire should have a web site that answers most, if not all, questions a client might ask. A brief list of those questions can be found in tip 3.
Tip 6: The editor should be able to provide samples.
Tip 7: After you have found an editor, trust him or her to make your sound completely reflective of your voice and your brand. He or she will be able to help you sleep at night because you know the technical end is taken care of. You end up having a partnership with that person, in which they can keep on top of the most current trends with technology in podcasting. Knowing you have someone that is making your audio the best it can be, and knowing you can trust them with your podcast is vital. Ideally, they would take ownership of the audio for your podcast and treat it with the care they would their own.
Tip 8: Noise reduction: if you can hear it, so can the microphone. Before you start recording, reduce the noise in your environment. Examples of things you can do are:
- fans and air conditioners, [turn them off]
Reduce echo/reverb in the room.
[one way of fixing this might be through microphone placement. More on that in tip 10]
- computer, [turn off if you can] – Consider using either a digital audio recorder or a smartphone recording app, such as
Some microphones will pick up more than others.
Tip 9: Before you publish an episode, listen.
Tip 10: regarding the second item in tip 8, refer to episode 81 of the Audacity To Podcast.
Tip 11: If you use a computer to record, Make sure your computer is optimized for recording. The resources page on this site will provide some links to instructions on how to optimize your machine. In addition to that, a blog post on this subject is a possibility.
Tip 12: Do a sound check before you start recording. Listen for the following:
- Are you speaking loudly enough?
- Are you unknowingly breathing heavily into the microphone?
- Is there typing in the background? [You’ll want to minimize this.]
- Can you hear side conversations in the background?
Tip 13: Before you hit record, spend some time outlining your content. Don’t script every word. Point form is good enough.
Tip 14: Ask your editor for additional guidance on:
- How to record your audio
- how to save the audio
- the format in which the finished product will be sent
How It All Works, Step By Step
If you were to outsource audio editing to me, here is what would happen if you were a new client.
0. Set up your recording tool
Step 1: If you decide to use software, Download and install the latest version of Audacity.
This link will take you to the download page.
Step 2: If you don’t already have one, purchase and use an external mic. One good option is the
1. Record your audio.
If you plan to record into Audacity
- Ensure that Audacity has the right input selected from the device toolbar. Try a couple tests.
- Press the Record button or the R key to start recording.
- Press the Pause button or P key to temporarily suspend recording, but not completely stop it. You can’t edit while paused.
- Press the Stop button or Spacebar to stop recording.
- If you stopped your recording and want to start again from where you left off (called Append Record) without creating an extra track, hold down Shift as you press the Record button or press Shift-R.
- Press the Record button or R key again to record a new track.
- When recording is complete, export your finished podcast episode from Audacity as a “WAV (Microsoft) signed 16 bit PCM.” There are no options.
To record into an external device, Follow your device’s instructions for connecting and recording. Record at 16 bits, 44.1 KHz, uncompressed WAV; or record in the highest-quality MP3 as possible.
If you plan to use Skype, start by downloading a Skype recording program. If you use Windows, consider using MP3 Skype Recorder. If you use a Mac, consider using Call Recorder. After doing that, Follow the instructions for recording with your choice of software.
To manually record a double-ender, here are the steps for you.
Note: A double-ender is when all cohosts record their own audio themselves and then the producer pieces them all together.
- Everyone download and install Audacity.
- Everyone follows the above “Into Audacity” steps.
- Everyone gives you their Audacity recording .aup and accompanying “-data” folder, or else they give you an exported file from instructions above.
2. Upload the audio to me.
My preferred way is through Dropbox.
Use this link to sign up for an account if you don’t already have one.
Click here for instructions on how to share files through Dropbox.
3. I will edit your audio using a combination of software tools and online services
Here’s what I do.
- mixing an intro: Although most people will call it an “intro,” it can also be called a “podcast opening.” Your opening is how you start each episode, [everything the listener hears from when they press Play to when you start sharing your content]. Most intros have all or some of the following:
- Podcast name—how else will people know what podcast they’re listening to?
- Episode title—if your title explains the content of your episode, which I recommend (unless you’re doing comedy), then include it in your recording.
- Music or sound effects
- Hosts’ name
- Podcast tagline/explanation—don’t assume every listener knows what your podcast is all about. Explain the purpose of the podcast or its tagline, which should be a shortened version of your purpose.
- mixing an outro: Although most people will call it an “outro,” it can also be called a “podcast closing.” This is how you end each episode, [everything the listener hears after you share the content]. Most outros have the following:
- music in the background
- a statement thanking the listener for listening
- a call to action, [Example: Go to sitename.com and subscribe to the email list.]
- mixing of a transition: Some examples of a transition are:
- Your listening to [podcast name], hosted by [host’s name]
- a message from a sponsor
- a small portion of music
- combining your intro and outro with segments, in your preferred order
- Adding any special audio segments, such as feedback from listeners
- sound processing: Some examples are:
- adding bass
- dynamic range compression: This will make the volume of the audio consistent from beginning to end.
- noise reduction: Fans, air conditioners, refrigerators, choice of recording environment, choice of microphone, and computers are examples of things that can cause background noise in a recording. Even after you do everything you can to reduce the noise before you record, a software tool can be useful if the right settings are used.
- adding ID3 tags
Episode 52 of The Audacity To Podcast
explains this quite well.
- removing material that doesn’t belong in the finished file, [such as umms and ahhs]
- inserting audio from a video
episode 30 of The Audacity To Podcast
explains this in more detail.
Here’s how the mixing works.
- Choose your music.
- Either record your voice track or hire a professional to do it for you.
- Send me both files. I’ll use one of my audio editing programs to mix the two tracks together.
4. Receive the edited audio.
Current clients just record, upload, and receive.
Questions, Possible Problems, and Solutions
How do I know if my editor is doing a quality job? People who don’t do sound may not hear a difference or know what to listen for.
This is when listening helps.
For at least the first two or three episodes, After you record,
Step 1: Listen from beginning to end. While listening to your recorded audio, make a list of edit points you would like the editor to address.
Step 2: Submit the audio recording and the list of edit points to your editor.
Step 3: When you receive the edited version, listen again.
My recording software crashes while I am recording.
If you find yourself in that situation, consider switching to either a smartphone app or a digital audio recording device.
Skype recording software not working
Are you rrunning into problems while trying to record Skype calls. Consider one of these online tools as an alternative to using Skype and a recording program:
Ringr, [smartphone app available]
< ?ul> – These tools handle the recording and synchronization of your audio and your guests’ audio, (automated double-ender).
How can I legally use music in my podcast?
Your best bet is to use royalty-free music.
Poor Audio From Your Guest
Daniel J. Lewis suggests the following in episode 190 of The Audacity To Podcast:
“Ensure your guest knows how to use a microphone. Generally, this means doing only three things: talk into the mic, stay a consistent distance away (a fist-width away is usually ideal), and don’t touch the mic or anything connected to it.
Thus, instead of their using their computer and it’s built-in mic, consider suggesting they connect with you over their smartphone (via Skype, or whatever tool you use). The reason for this is smartphone mics are often pretty good, especially when they remain a consistent and short distance from the voice.
Ensure your guest is in a quiet and low-reverb space for recording. This should also be somewhere with a good Internet or cellular connection (wired is best if talking over a telephone line or a computer).
If your guest is more tech-savvy or willing to try better things, consider more advanced call-recording solutions …”
Nicole Culver’s podcasting course
the Entrepreneur On Fire equipment page
How to Produce Flawless Audio Interviews With Industry Experts
Audio Content: 5 Tips for Professional Quality
Recording Audiobooks at Home
How to Make and Produce an Audio Book
20 things you should do before recording every podcast episode
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If you want to outsource audio editing, I hope this detailed post gave you the information you need. If you need more information, go to the contact page, and send me an email.
If you believe that I am the right audio editor for you, then I would love to work with you. Here are the key links one more time.