Podcast Editing Services | Should you use one?

When Nick and I launched Make Money Online, we knew three things:

  1. Audience — We wanted the episodes to be for people who were starting or growing their consulting businesses. People at a similar level to where we are now or where we were a year ago and who wanted straight talk about failures, successes, and mistakes growing an independent business.
  2. Format — We wanted the episodes to be ~30-minutes long and weekly.
  3. Work — We didn’t want to handle the podcast editing and audio production ourselves.

We’re a fan of working with experts when it comes to our businesses, so from the get-go, we knew we wanted to rely on a professional (or a team of professionals) to handle the audio production and editing for our podcast.

This isn’t to say that you, dear reader and/or podcast host, need to use a podcast editing service. There are dozens of guides out there on the software, hardware, and techniques you can use to edit your own podcast.

Why use a podcast editing service

In our case we wanted to work with a team of professionals — experts at the business of podcast editing — to handle the audio production so all we had to do for our podcast was:

  1. Pick a topic for an episode and prepare some initial notes
  2. Schedule a time to record our episodes (we record them two at a time)
  3. Save a high-quality copy of the audio to share with the team handling our podcast editing

Done. Everything else — audio editing, production, posting the podcast to our podcast host (simplecast) is handled by the team at Podcast Motor.

So, if you’re considering using a podcast editing service, well, why should you? In my mind, it comes down to three things:

  1. Focus on your area of expertise — Unless you’re running a podcast about podcast editing (#meta!), chances are that you’re probably not that great at editing a podcast. Your expertise is in another area (probably something related to the topic of your podcast!), so why spend the time editing your own podcast?
  2. Your time is valuable — Likewise, your time is valuable! If you’re a consultant billing at $75/hour and it takes you two hours to handle the audio production on an episode1, that’s $150/episode that you’re ‘paying’ with your time in terms of opportunity cost to edit an episode. That’s time you could spend doing client work, working on your business, or not working on your business (spending time with your family, doing a fun hobby, etc). Why not delegate the audio production to someone else?
  3. Professional work — I trust Podcast Motor to take our audio recording and turn it into a podcast episode. That means listening to the audio, splicing together the two audio streams (nick and I each record our audio locally using Audio Hijack, a wonderful piece of software), cutting out all the bits that don’t’ fit, adding in the episode intro and outro, and doing everything else that I don’t even know to take our recording and turn it into an episode.

Because of those three reasons, we decided it would make more sense to focus on creating our podcast rather than investing the time to learn the necessary skills to edit our own podcast. Part cost/benefit analysis, part deciding to work with experts rather than do it ourselves.

“Should I use a podcast editing service?”

That’s a great question. I don’t know, but I do know a few questions that you can ask yourself to make this decision:

Do you want to learn how to edit a podcast? 

This, in my mind, is the key question. Do you want to learn this skill? If you do, wonderful! Google around, find a few guides, install Garage Band (or the recommended product) and tackle the podcast editing yourself.

But if you don’t want to invest the time in learning a new skill, hiring a team for podcast editing is a great investment. It lets you focus on making the podcast and not on doing the heavy lifting to produce the podcast.

For us, being able to say “no” to learning how to edit our own podcast was a huge win. Gigantic. When I think about the invest we made by hiring Podcast Motor for podcast editing, this is one of the most valuable pieces.

Do you have the time to edit a podcast?

Let’s say you’re recording the ‘Minimal Viable Show’:

  • Two hosts
  • No guests
  • 30-minuets/episode
  • Releasing weekly

Just you, a friend, a pair of microphones, and Skype. From experience, even for just a 30-minute episode, there’s a lot of additional things that go into producing a podcast (podcast editing aside):

  • Picking a topic for an episode (5-10 minutes of discussion)
  • Doing research on the topic for the episode (10-30 minutes of research)
  • Extra content that you end up recording that gets cut (for a 30-minute episode, this may be ~15-20 minutes of additional content, pre-show banter, and goof-ups that ends up getting cut) 
  • Promoting the episode (10-30 minutes sending out emails, scheduling tweets, etc)

So for a given 30-minute episode, you’re already in 70 to 120-minutes before you start the editing process, which could add another 60-180 minutes to the process.

For a given episode, do you have the time available to invest 120 – 300 minutes into the recording and production?

Delegating the podcast editing to Podcast Motor let’s us focus on creating the episode. We don’t need to worry about editing and producing the episode because Podcast Motor has us covered.

How we decided to start using a podcast editing service

I first encountered Craig in a list of productized services sometime in 2014. I was working on a project with a client where we decided to launch a podcast to promote the brand and connect with influencers.

I contacted Craig about doing one-off editing on a single test episode that we recorded and we worked together on the project. I was impressed with the turnaround and quality of their work, so I started recommending Podcast Motor to all of my friends who were looking for a podcast editing service. In 2014 and 2015 ~4(?) of my friends and colleagues ended up using their service — and all had great things to report.

When Nick and I decided to launch Make Money Online and made the strategic decision to not edit the podcast ourselves, it was a no-brainier decision to start working with Craig and Podcast Motor for podcast editing.

By this time, I’d tested the service myself, heard positive things from his other clients, and referred friends and colleagues to the service.

For Nick and me, not having to worry about the editing process is a dream. We get to show up, record, and have the podcast episodes edited and produced for us.

Our workflow for producing a podcast

Our workflow for recording an episode of Make Money Online and having the podcast edited looks something like this:

  • We have a Trello board with potential episode topics loaded into it (many that are emailed to use by our lovely and beautiful listeners)
  • Weekly, we’ll move episodes forward from ‘idea’ to ‘to record’ and start to flush out the episode’s card with details on the episode: are there specific points we want to discuss? Are there materials we’ll want to reference for the episode?
  • Every other week, we’ll record a batch of two episodes, picking two of the topics that seem most interesting or appealing to us to record
  • Craig and the Podcast Motor team are shared on the board, so they can see our notes, details, and description for the episode
  • Once a pair of episodes are recorded, we drop the high-quality recordings (both individual audio tracks and the combined track) into a shared Dropbox folder
  • Craig and his team get to work, editing and producing the episode, letting us know when the episode editing is complete, and scheduling the episode for release in Simplecast

That’s it. We decide on a topic. We do some research and note taking beforehand. We show up and record. We put the audio files into Dropbox. And then a complete episode shows up in iTunes for you to put into your earholes.

Final Thoughts

So, we use Podcast Motor for our podcast editing because we’d rather focus on making our podcast than editing our podcast.

Nick and I both love the team at Podcast Motor and love working with them. I continue to recommend them to friends and colelagues who are producing their own podcast. We plan to continue using Podcast Motor for our podcast editing for as long as we’re producing Make Money Online.

And if you, dear listener, have a podcast or are considering launching a podcast, I recommend getting in touch with Podcast Motor to discuss having them edit your podcast. I love the work that they do (the phrases ‘seamless,’ ‘magical,’ ‘in the background,’ and ‘great communication’ all come to mind) and, well, I think you’ll love the work that they do as well.

(Full Disclosure: I was an early user of Podcast Motor for production on a podcast for a client that ended up not launching, three of my friends and colleagues use Podcast Motor on their podcasts, and Craig — the founder of Podcast Motor — has hired me a few times to consult with him on marketing strategy for Podcast Motor. All of that said, I received no compensation, revenue, kickbacks, boxes of snacks, etc., for writing this review / love letter / thank you note. I love the work that Craig and his team at Podcast Motor do when it comes to podcast editing and I wanted to write this post to express why we (a) decided to hire someone to handle our podcast editing (b) give you a perspective on when it is valuable to hire someone to handle podcast editing for your podcast and (c) and write a public ‘Thank You’ to Craig and his team for helping us create our podcast)

  1. Please Note: I have literally no clue how much time it takes to edit a 30-minute podcast episode. Maybe 45-minutes for the first listen (with all the bits that need to get cut out), 45-minutes of editing / production work, and 30-minutes to listen to the episode to confirm Everything Sounds Okay? Maybe? That seems reasonable. Okay, this footnote has gone on for long enough. 
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