There are few things more important in podcast production than respecting your listener's time. Part of that means taking time to edit your episode after you've recorded the audio. All too often, people associate podcast editing with simply taking out a few "uhs" and "ums", but it's much more than that. The truth is that your editing process should be involved in the pre-production, production and post-production process. Doing so will making your work easier, make your show better and make your audience happier.
Editing in pre-production
One way you can "edit" as part of the pre-production process is by doing more than just hitting record and talking until you (and/or your co-hosts) get tired. If you haven't already, take time to give your show a format. If you're not going to divide your show into segments, be reasonable about the length of each episode.
Then, consider how long you should discuss the topic(s) of the week, and stick to that time-frame in each episode. If you choose a total running time of 30 minutes, create a rundown sheet to help you navigate from one discussion point to the next. If you fear you might have too much to talk about one week, consider moving some of the topics into the next episode.
If you break your show into segments, give each one a time-frame and a purpose. For example:
Segment 1: Intro and announcements (5-8 minutes)
Segment 2: Interview (20-25 minutes)
Segment 3: Listener questions, what's coming up next week, closing (10 minutes)
Map it all out and stick to that format every week.
Editing during production
If you know how long you want each segment of your podcast to be, then be aware of how long it's taking to get through each one.
If you have to, put a clock in front of you, or just have an internal clock (or Wrap it Up Box) go off in your head when you know it's time to end the segment. If you start to do that during each episode, the process will become automatic.
Also, don't forget the listener is also part of your conversation. They want to feel like they're in the discussion with you and not eavesdropping on it. If you keep that in mind, it will be easier to record conversations that avoid dragging on for too long.
Editing during post-production
If you're utilizing the "editing" steps in the pre-production and production phases of your show, it will make the post-production work a lot simpler. Yes, feel free to edit out the "uhs" and the "ums", but not all of them. It is possible to clean things up too much where you sound too professional, and your listeners would like to hear you talk like a normal person.
What you should spend more time on is the flow of your discussion. When you're enjoying a conversation, it's easy to get off track. It's also not uncommon to throw in a comment or two that was fun at the time, but doesn't add much value to the person listening to it.
So, take that extra stuff out! It will tighten up your run time and enhance the engagement value of your discussion.
If you're genuinely interested in producing a quality show, you have to put in the extra work. Trust me, your listeners will notice and appreciate it because there are far too many shows that don't do these things. Anytime you care enough to make the best show you possibly can, people recognize it and you'll feel better about your work.