Steve Goldstein: Content Wisdom From Six of The GOATs (Greatest Editors of All Time)

Steve Goldstein’s Amplifi Media works with media companies and podcasters in developing audio content strategies. Goldstein writes frequently at Blogstein, the Amplifi blog. Steve can be reached directly at 203-221-1400 or sjgoldstein-at-amplifimedia-dot-com.

There is an odd notion among some in the industry that podcasts must run long, be unedited, and natural. Many say it’s part of the charm and authenticity of the medium. It is free-flowing and an antidote to our over-produced culture.

I will be brief. That’s madness.

The reality is attention spans are shorter, listening times are more compressed, and the stop button is used more frequently than ever.

But what about Tim Ferris he runs 90 minutes? Joe Rogan runs over two hours!


The greater failure is boring and losing a listener, or a lot of listeners


Sure, there are outliers in every business, but most podcasters just don’t have the content stamina or the hard-to-define “it” factor to go long.

There is more to the debate than simply long versus short. The greater failure is boring and losing a listener, or a lot of listeners.

This brings us to the importance of editing. Every podcaster should think about editing in terms of respecting and keeping the audience engaged and happy.

Certainly smart editing is a byproduct of our time-crunched society, but pleasing people has been in vogue for a long time before any of us were around.

Here are quotes from a few of the world’s greatest editors to inspire you to keep it short and maintain interest:

“The Most Valuable Of All Talents Is That Of Never
Using Two Words When One Will Do.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Economy of words is almost always appreciated. In speeches, PowerPoint presentations, and especially podcast episode opens.

“The Best Way To Be Boring Is To Leave Nothing Out.”
— Voltaire

French writer, philosopher, and historian Francois-Marie Arouet was known as Voltaire. He wrote more than 2,000 books and pamphlets (pamphlets = short) between 1694 and 1778. Even then, editing was necessary to maintain attention.

“Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit.”
— William Shakespeare

 Ok, in truth, Hamlet runs about four hours on stage, but word efficiency remains a hallmark of the master.

“To Write Is Human, To Edit Is Divine.”
— Stephen King

 This son of Portland, Maine, is one of the top-selling authors of all time with 61 novels and 200 short stories. He knows to hold an audience.

“I Believe More In The Scissors Than I Do In The Pencil.”
— Truman Capote

 Capote was a prolific author and screenwriter from the 1940s through the ‘80s. Among his most famous works is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  The book and movie, not the song.

“There Are Two Kinds Of Editors, Those Who Correct Your Copy And Those Who Say It Is Wonderful.”
— Theodore White

Theodore White was a marvelous presidential historian and prolific writer. Among his books are “The making of the President” series. Every great talent needs a great editor.

Editing is a timeless tactic designed to please and keep an audience. Take it from the masters. The advice is sound thinking.

Steve Goldstein