How Much Does A Podcast Editor Cost?
I’m going to do something everyone tells you not to do, I’m going to make our pricing model public, then I’m going to walk you through what you get for your money when working with us here at The Portland Pod. Stick through to the end an you’ll learn exactly how the hours break down and how we make more money without charging the client more. Spoiler alert: the key is hard work and mutual respect.
First things first: Let’s talk dollars and cents. Greenbacks. Spondooli!
Solopreneurs and Independent Creators
Our Starter package is intended for podcasters ready to make the investment in a truly comprehensive editing and engineering service. The Growth package is full service and removes every responsibility from the podcaster beyond writing, recording, and self-promotion.
Notice that both tiers include transcription and audiograms. We also create episode artwork based on a template these clients provide during their on-boarding process.
Small Businesses and Larger Businesses
These packages are essentially the same and both, though not noted, include full management of the company’s podcast (scheduling, publishing, distribution, etc.). The prices are different because, aside from one including the management of podcast-specific Facebook Ads campaigns, small businesses do not require the same level of day-to-day involvement as larger ones. As an example of what I mean: it’s not uncommon for our corporate clients to request monthly or quarterly meetings to discuss the growth and strategies of their podcasts. It’s also not uncommon to be regularly consulted on marketing decisions and how they might affect, or be affected by, the podcast.
We don’t really sell what it seems like we sell
To the untrained eye it would appear as though The Portland Pod sells a monthly service in the form of audio engineering for podcasts — but those untrained eyes are incorrect. Podcasting engineering is what we do, but it’s not what we sell.
The Portland Pod Sells Time. And, As An Example…
When the Newseum Institute of Washington D.C. (Now the Freedom Forum Institute) approached us about editing their First Five podcast, they were investing a significant amount of time attempting to produce, engineer, and manage that podcast on their own.
When they hired us they got a lot more than a partner in production, they got HOURS of their labor back to spend in more productive ways. They felt pretty great about that, too:
Working with The Portland Pod has been a wonderful experience. Before we found them, I was spending an inordinate amount of time editing our podcast, wrangling contractors and sometimes doing a haphazard job of it myself. The Portland Pod removed that stress from my life. They’re efficient, organized, helpful, and a joy to work with.
– Lata Nott, Executive Director, First Amendment Center at the Freedom Forum Institute
And that’s what we aim to do for all our clients.
This seems like a lot of money. How long does it take to actually edit a podcast?
We don’t use shortcuts here at The Portland Pod, we do all audio engineering by hand. No automated magic robots which process your podcast episode in 20-minutes and call it “engineering” or “mastering”. We give our clients our time and full attention.
The first part of what we do is edit for content. This is when we listen to your episode and remove things like awkward pauses, mistakes, umms, ahs, and things you specifically tell us that you want cut out (if applicable).
To listen to 1-hour of audio takes one hour. To listen to 1-hour of audio while stopping to make edits takes more than one hour. If I listen for 30-seconds and spend 1-minute making a really tight edit and applying a crossfade to hide the cut, it just took me one-minute and thirty-seconds to listen to 30-seconds of audio. 1-hour of audio usually takes 2.5 hours to edit. Some Engineers choose to speed this process up by accelerating the playback to1.5x, 2x, or, and I swear I’ve seen someone do this, 3x speed. We CAN do this, we DON’T do this. We’re not trying to do a quick job, we’re trying to do a good job.
The second part of what we do is the engineering bit. This is where we implement boosts and cuts to each speaker’s voice to make them sound as present and rich as possible. It’s also where we apply noise gates, vocal de-noising, de-clicking, and all sorts of other neat modifications.
The last part of the editing and engineering part is the master. Mastering any audio properly requires that you listen to the audio and adjust levels on the fly through a print bus as the audio is “printed to track”.
At this point we’ve spent about 3-hours on your podcast episode.
Next we transcribe the audio to text using Sonix.ai. As that’s processing, we pull the Mp3 of your audio into Adobe After Effects and create three 60-second audiograms (fully custom) for you to use in promotion during the week of release. Lastly we create episode cover art from the template we setup during your on-boarding service and upload it, your audio, and your transcription (which will be done by now) to your podcast hosting provider and schedule your podcast for release at the time and date you specify.
We’re at about 4-hours now. We do this 4 times a month. That’s 16-hours.
If you’re paying $475 a month, you’re paying us a modest rate of ~$30/hr. Pretty good considering our ad hoc rate is $100/hr.
The first month of working with a new podcast, we take a bath on cost. It’s unavoidable. We don’t know you, you don’t know us, there are communication issues, and it takes about a month for everyone to be on the same page speaking the same language.
After four or five episodes however, that 4-hours drops to 3. That’s party because you’re getting more disciplined and it’s partly because we begin to better understand your style and preferences. At 12-hours a month our hourly rate jumps to ~$40/hr, which is where we want to be. Depending on the difficulty of the production, our hourly rate fluctuates between $27 and $58 an hour. This is why we don’t set a flat hourly for recurring clients, and they like that because they don’t ever have to worry about overages or changing costs. It also puts the onus on us to be as efficient as possible while keeping us honest. If we work faster we make more but if faster = cheaper work, we lose the client. Some of our longest running clients only take us 2-hours because both we and they have learned how to compliment one another’s workflow.
And now you know all the secrets. What we do, how much it costs, and why our clients love us 🙂
If you’re in need of podcast consulting or professional podcast editing and engineering services, consider reaching out the The Portland Pod at 207.295.6039 to schedule a free 30-minute phone call to talk about your needs and how we might help you meet them. Thanks for reading and take care.