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How long does it take to put together a podcast episode?

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Today’s episode is inspired by a question from Christel: “I want to start my own podcast but I was wondering how long it takes to put an episode together?” 

If you’ve got a question you want answered on the podcast just send me an email.

How long’s a piece of string?

So you want to start a podcast but you’re wondering whether you’ll have enough time to squeeze it into your already busy life?

If you think you’re going to be able to bash out a 30-minute episode in just over 30 minutes it might be time to head for the hills.

There are a lot of things that go into getting an episode from your recording device into people’s ears, so you might be surprised to find out how much time you’ll need to free up if you’re gonna do it right…

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There are a bunch of things that will affect the length of time it takes you to produce a podcast episode including…

How experienced you are

Editing takes a long time to get good at and just like anything, the more experience you have, the quicker you’ll smash it out.

Do you need to edit your podcast?

Read

Even with years of experience, editing often takes longer than you expect and can depend on a number of things…

The length of your podcast

Generally, the longer your show, the more time it will take to edit because…shock horror…you’ve got more audio to go through.

With my podcast, You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere it can take up to five hours to edit a one hour interview so this is something to think about when you’re recording.

The shorter your show the less time you’ll need to have your head stuck in audio editing software.

Whether you’re podcasting solo or with multiple people

The more people on your podcast the more complex your edit will be, so be mindful of this when you’re thinking about the kind of show you want to put together.

You might be lucky enough to have a killer interview with someone where all the questions and answers are succinct, entertaining and ready to go as they are.

Or you and your co-hosts might have the kind of chat podcasters only dream about … all killer no filler.

Or you might be living in reality.

To co-host or not to co-host?

Read

More often than not your podcast is going to need editing and the more people there are the messier that process will be.

Your penchant for “bells and whistles”

Are you adding intros and outros?  Putting little bits of audio in between segments?  Using sound effects or callers?

All these additional audio elements add time to your edit so be mindful of how fancy you can get with the time you’ve got available.

The collateral that goes around your show

As with everything else, the more creative you get the more time you’ll need to put that creative vision into action.

Take a look at how the shows you love promote themselves and see what you want to add to your list.  Then practice putting those things together to see what’s actually do-able.

Do you want to create quotes from your episodes to share on Instagram?  Are you going to use Soundcloud or Wavve to share promo audio?  Are you going to have really elaborate show notes pages?

Pick and choose which bits and pieces you like doing and get rid of the stuff that’s not achievable (just don’t get rid of anything that affects the quality of your end product e.g. editing).

Once you’ve factored these things in make sure you practice putting everything together to get a realistic idea of how much time you’ll need to put aside each week.

Once you’ve done this you might have to adjust your expectations because the last thing you want to do after you’ve dropped your first episode and promised your audience you’ll be there every week is realise “This is impossible!”

The more you understand the realities BEFORE you get started, the more you’ll be likely to swim when you jump in the deep end.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Need some help getting started or setting up your home studio?  Download my free podcasting guide.

Read full show rundown

Hello and welcome to the show. Today's episode is inspired by a question from Crystal. Crystal is thinking about starting her own podcast and she wants to know how long it's going to take her to put each episode together. Unfortunately, the answer to how long it takes to put each individual episode together is "how long's a piece of string?" It can vary depending on a bunch of things some of which I'll take you through today but it's probably going to take a lot more time than you expect. If you are thinking at this point in time that a half an hour conversation on a podcast is probably going to take you just a little over half an hour to put together then head for the hills. It's a fair bit more than just the length of the show and I'll explain why. Obviously, the first thing it's going to depend on is your experience. Editing requires a lot of time to get good at, not only in terms of your ear and your ability to cut things up so it doesn't sound cut up but also to do things quickly. Once you've done it over and over you'll be able to do it much quicker. But editing can be the most time-consuming part of the process, even when you are super experienced and know exactly what you're doing. That's important to note especially because I think you should always edit your episodes. The idea that you are going to smash it out of the park with zero faff and zero filler is almost impossible. Even as a professional you don't nail it first time every time. You still need editing after the fact so it's important to factor that in. Some of the other things that will make a difference is whether you're solo or a co-host. It is much easier to edit an episode when it is just one person talking into a microphone than it is two or three people because you've got things like overtalk and going off on tangents to worry about. Ditto if you have a guest. If you're doing an interview series and you're chatting with somebody the chances of you getting nothing but brilliant questions and brilliant answers that require no tweaking after the fact are pretty rare so it's really essential that you edit a show where you interviewing somebody. The time that will take will depend on what kind of mood your guest is in, whether they're good at delivering succinct answers, whether you're nervous and stumble your way through your questions. All of those factors can make a difference, even episode to episode and even if you are really experienced.

The other thing is whether you're doing a straight chat or you're doing segments and therefore need production inserted in between the talking. The more bells and whistles you're adding the longer the edit is going to take.

To give you an idea, I have another show called You've Gotta Start Somewhere. It's an interview series with media personalities about how they got into the business and I will often take around five or so hours to edit those episodes. I'll do a rough cut then I'll listen through to the audio again and do a final cut and I'll probably listen through a third time and because it's an hour-long episode it takes a long time to get through that content. Outside of that edit I also do a lot of additional stuff like cutting up promos to share on social media. I make Wavve.co videos to put on my Instagram profile. So sometimes it can take around 10 hours to do everything and that's a lot of additional time in my week. That doesn't mean you need to do all of those things but there are plenty of additional elements you can add to your list that can blow out the time it takes you to get it to air. As I said you can pick and choose which bits and pieces you like doing and some of the stuff that I do is very time consuming so you wouldn't need to do that in addition to the show. But it's important to be mindful of those kinds of additional things.

Show notes pages are another thing as well. Basically, there's a lot of little bits and pieces that, when you're just starting out, you don't think about.

I would advise that before you jump in the deep end you practice so you can work out how long it takes you to put together each episode. Record some sample episodes, practice editing and choose what assets you want to create around your show. Look at other shows you like and see what they're doing then add those things to your list of things to do with each episode. Practice putting together everything from start to finish so you'll have a realistic understanding of the time you'll need to set aside. You might be surprised at how long it is.

Remember the longer the show, the more work it will be to edit and put it all together so practice, practice, practice before you commit.

The last thing you want to do is drop your first episode, promise you'll be there week in week out and then realise "Holy crap! I've overcommitted myself" The more of a sense of the realities you can get before you get started, the more equipped you will be when you jump in the deep end.

I hope that's helped you understand how long it takes to put an episode together and hasn't terrified you too much. Apologies Crystal if that's what I've done! If you've got a question just head to PodSchoolPodcast.com and you can click on the contact page there. You can also find out more information about my online podcasting course PodSchool.com.au. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

 

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WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

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