written by
David Hooper

3 Questions for a Tight Podcast Edit (and More Listeners)

Podcast Hosting Skills Podcast Production 3 min read

I received a newsletter from Jon Acuff that's the perfect followup for my thoughts that Fewer Words = Better Podcast. In it, he shares some great advice for speakers that I think is good advice for podcasters as well.

If you cram a speech too full of ideas, none of them will land.

I'm a fast talker, but in the last year, I've noticed something. The speeches where I limit the ideas and increase the time between them go better. The audience has more room to think and reflect and react to what I am saying.

It's not always easy to do that. I am still tempted to shove 45 minutes of ideas inside a 30-minute time slot, but I'm convinced that doesn't serve the audience. It might serve my ego or my fear of running out of material, but it doesn't really serve the audience.

I dare you to cut 10% out of your next talk. Deliberately try to give it some breathing room. See what happens for you, but more importantly, see what happens for your audience.

I think you’ll be surprised.

Say less to communicate more.

Fortunately, as podcasters, we have the luxury of being able to edit what we say after we say it But how much should we edit?

Every podcaster is different, but to give you a starting point to consider, the raw tape I record is about twice as long as what gets published. A lot of what's removed, such as flubbed words or phrasing that isn't quite like I want, has to do with my level of speaking skill (technical), but just as much of what I cut has to do with my level of hosting skill (organizational) -- thoughts, jokes, segues, points, and other various things that, at best, delay me from making my point, and at worst, take away from it.

When in doubt, I remove content. It's better to leave people wanting more than give them more than they can use -- listeners shouldn't have to edit your podcast for you.

Jon, like a comic, has a live audience that provides instant feedback on what he says. Podcasters don't have that. We learn about what doesn't work when people stop listening or don't listen in the first place.

Want more listeners for your podcast? One of the first things to look at is the length and organization of your episodes.

Questions to ask yourself when editing podcast episodes:

  1. Are you taking too long to get to the point (payoff) of your episode?
  2. Is extra content within your episode (such as jokes or stories) muddying your point?
  3. Would your "single episode" be better delivered over multiple episodes?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you need to cut content. You don't have to completely kill it off -- extra content can often be used elsewhere -- but you do have to remove it from where it doesn't belong and find a place where it does.

If you're got something you're on the fence about cutting something, consider removing it and building a bonus episode around it, posting it via Facebook (follow Big Podcast here), or sending it to listeners via an email newsletter. Your message will be clearer and you'll have an additional opportunity to communicate with listeners, which will strengthen your relationship with them

Final Thoughts On Podcast Editing

Roman Mars of 99% Invisible said it best:

YOU DON'T NEED ANOTHER NEWSLETTER! But since you're here, how about one to help you grow your podcast audience?
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