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How Long Does It Take To Write, Record and Edit A Podcast

I can answer this week's question in two words.


It depends.


And whilst the answer is correct, it does depend, it's not particularly useful.

So how long does it take to write, record and edit a podcast? And what can you do to speed up that time!




Writing


Typically for me it takes me around 45 minutes to write the episodes. Yes, I do write them and don't just make them up as I go along.

I set a timer and get as much down in a first draft as possible. I then tweak what I've written and record it. Sometimes I do the tweaking as I record it. I wouldn't recommend tweaking as you record though - it can leave you a bit lost and also you can start going off on tangents.


I always know what I'm going to be talking about each week because I have planned my content a quarter in advance. When I say planned my content I mean planned my theme for the quarter to match my business goals and when I know what they are I go to the next level down and plan my episode subjects and titles and then work out what order they should go in to make them flow.


I write and record each episode the week it's due to be released. Sometimes I batch the writing and recording instead. Batching is great idea if you know you've got a lot coming up or you can't find time weekly to work on your podcast. It also allows you to know it's all done and ready to go. So batching to give yourself a head start when you begin a podcast is a great idea.


Personally I think I spent too long working in radio where everything is done last minute to ever get batching down to a tee! But maybe one day I'll be a batching queen!

When it comes to writing I do all my prep inside Notion and I write my blog. From my blog I create my podcast script.

Now when I say script I don't mean word for word written monologue which I then memorise and crack on with.

Instead I mean bullet points. Lots of bullet points some days, but bullet points with a few notes underneath. I like talking and I can pretty much get away with talking about podcasting on a few notes. In fact I was giving a showcase talk at my branch of the Professional Speaking Association and did 20 minutes about podcast planning with 5 bullet points to take me through.


Podcasts should be conversational and natural sounding. You won't get that through reading a script.


Some weeks I do need to do additional research in to the episodes - such as when I'm talking about podcast statistics or kit or anything which isn't me sitting here telling you my thoughts! Those episodes tend to take a bit longer to write - up to 90 minutes depending on which rabbit holes I get sucked in to while "researching"


Recording

This bit is the fun bit - well I think it is.

Recording is the bit that should be the quickest and easiest right?

Well, not always. It should be a case of opening up the software you are going to use to record your episode, hitting record and then opening your mouth, speaking and hitting stop.


Oh if only it was that simple.


This is where if you've written your script word for word you might just be found out. Writing content that is to be read by the eyes is a different skill to writing content that is to be spoken out loud.

Content that is to be spoken tends to be made of simpler sentences and uses words you would say - so perhaps informal phrases and slang.


More complex sentences with sub clauses, and a gazillion words are really hard to read out loud without tripping over your words. The meaning can also get lost as you struggle to figure out where the emphasis should go and if you're particularly unlucky you run out of breath towards the end.


It's also really easy to lose your place in a lot of text and there's nothing more frustrating than being on a roll when you're recording to then starting again. And again.

The other issues which can trip you up recording are external noises disrupting you. And disruptions cause distractions (if you're me) and distractions cause you to take longer and longer.


Honestly there's nothing more frustrating for me than to be in full flow arms waving around recording when ping - my phone goes off, or there's an email alert or my husband comes home and shouts "hello" (Side note - I once suggested we install a big red Mic Live light above our front door so he would know to be quiet. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that might not be the best idea I've ever had.)


Recording timings then obviously depend on how long your podcast episode lasts - a 40 minute episode is probably going to take longer than a 15 minute episode. Well you'd hope it would.


It also depends on if you are on your own, have a co-host or guests.


If you are recording on your own it should be fairly straightforward. You don't have to worry about connections dropping out and it's only you who will make a mistake.

I tend to factor an extra 15 minutes to the length of the episode as to how long it will take to record. That said I have also got to the end of an episode, listened back and hated it so started again. Or started again because I've made so many mistakes it would be easier and quicker to re-record than faff about with the editing. So whilst normally I can get it done in episode length + 15 minutes, there have been days when I've needed double that. Although those are the days it's probably best to go away, make a brew and come back to the recording later!


When you are recording with a co-host or a guest you've got to take into account their podcasting experience. A guest or co-host doing this for the first few times will need a bit more hand-holding, a bit more guiding and may well want to re record bits or re start an answer to a question.


If I'm looking to do a 30 minute interview I ask guests to block out 90 minutes. That should cover tech problems, a bit of a warm up to get the guest relaxed and to make sure they are ok at the end.


Editing


Editing can be the most time consuming part of your podcast episode creation.

Or you can just sack it off and not do any editing.


If it's just you you can record your podcast as though you were doing it live. Or use a live you do regularly anyway as a podcast.

If you are comfortable doing lives then this is a great way of really cutting down the time and effort when it comes to your podcasting.


Don't worry about the errs and the errms because we all errr and errm and we all have our filler words. It's what makes us who we are. Go with it and embrace it.

You probably do want to edit out mistakes and anything that is inaccurate.


If you decide you want to edit out your filler words and your errrs and erms as well as topping and tailing it (cutting the silence at the beginning and end) then the general rule of thumb for editing time is 2 - 3 times the length of the raw (unedited) audio. I'll be honest there are some days I fly through the editing and others where I'm still faffing around over a tiny err, or making a re-started sentence make sense sound wise.

And this is down to how perfectionist I am feeling. There is nothing better than making an edit sound as though it doesn't exist. But sometimes you have to weigh up that against the hours left in the day.


It can be trickier editing more than one person. I tend to edit on separate tracks so I can control background noise from each person. And of course that's another layer of complexity which adds time to your edit.


You've also got more people to make mistakes, have a moment, have a tech fail to edit out. And so on.

Of course you can take the same attitude as I recommended if you are doing solo episodes and leave it all in.


So I've not really answered the question. Personally I can get this podcast written, recorded, edited uploaded and plan sone social media from it in a morning or afternoon. But I have clients who send over episodes which are an hour, hour and a quarter long and have 4 speakers on them. That takes me probably a full morning or afternoon just to do the edit.


But hopefully I've given you an idea about timings and ways you can make your life easier. Of course I can help you too. Go have a look at my podcast planning toolkit on my website - you'll find it on the Working WIth Charlotte menu

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