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How to harness audio content for your business

by Eleanor Hanwell

August 17, 2021

From audio spaces to soundmojis, shortform audio to podcasts, audible GIFs to 3D audio ads, it is clear that audio is on the rise. But what is feeding into this massive audio boom? What types of audio content are now available for us as marketeers, and, more importantly, which of these are a worthwhile addition to our content strategy?

Why audio is having a resurgence

It’s easy to look at 2020 and 2021 in a vacuum and feel like Clubhouse came out of nowhere as a hot new audio platform during the pandemic, kickstarting the audio resurgence. However, the popularity of audio content has been growing for a while.

Podcasts have been growing steadily in popularity since 2005 when the New Oxford American Dictionary named ‘podcast’ the Word of the Year, cementing their status as an emergent media trend. Initially it looked as though podcasting might be dominated by already-established media companies repackaging popular radio and TV broadcasts as these were the shows that led the top 10 charts. However, the success of Serial in 2014 changed everything, and showed that podcasts could be used in a different way. Now there are more than 1 million active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes.

Although podcasts have been important in the rising popularity of audio, a big step was made thanks to voice assistants. Using voice search and digital personal assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa, is becoming second nature as they are integrated into products we use every day.

Today over a quarter of UK homes own a smart speaker, and devices like Amazon’s Echo use a virtual assistant to answer your questions, play your music or audio books, and even control other devices in your home through smart home-connected technology. Microsoft has also stepped up by integrating Cortana into Windows 10 to power both text and voice search on devices such as their Xbox.

Back in 2017 Google predicted that 50% of their searches would be made by voice by 2020. Now their Google Assistant is available across a plethora of devices and is integrated with many other services such as Netflix, YouTube and Spotify.

Even Spotify and Giphy have partnered together to animate the listening experience for their users.

It’s clear that a lot of the Big Tech companies are focused on voice and according to Amir Hirsh, founder and CEO of Audioburst, the biggest companies understand that talk audio content is the way to win the heart of the consumer.

What opportunities are available for marketeers

One of the biggest opportunities available to us as marketeers is for voice search. As more users are searching in this way, we need to ensure our websites are ready. Part of this is taking the time to embed SCHEMA Code into your website to allow for key information to be optimised and relayed through smart speakers and smart phones.

But the second half is about ensuring you are generating audio content in the same way you would do with text. This doesn’t need to be an onerous process, in fact the easiest way to approach this is to look at content you are already creating and then how you can use audio tools to present it in a different way to your audience.

The audio that is worthwhile investing in will depend on your industry, content strategy and the content that you have already created. As mentioned above, it makes sense to look at the content you already have and the content you are planning to create as part of your content strategy and how you can create audio versions of this content.

Audio versions of blogs

If you create a lot of written blogs, why not create audio versions of these using online tools such as Play.ht, Blogcast and Natural Readers? Audio versions of your blog can be embedded directly into the blog itself and present a different way for users to consume your content, which can help increase your target market.

Podcasts

Alternatively, if you have a blog or video series, why not think about creating a podcast version of this content. Again, this provides potential customers a different way of engaging with your business and content.

Audio spaces

If recording content isn’t for you, then why not think about going live with your audio? Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio Rooms and Spotify’s Greenroom all provide an opportunity to use audio to engage with your target audiences. Again, think about what content you might already have available that might suit this new format, whether it is interviews, Q&As or sharing a weekly recap of the biggest stories in your industry.

Shortform audio

If shortform content such as Twitter threads and TikToks are already working well for your brand, then you might want to consider utilising shortform audio. From Facebook’s upcoming Soundbites to apps such as Beams, Quest, and Pludo, they give you the ability to record 90 second audio clips that are sharable and allow others to reply also using audio.

This kind of content could be useful for Q&As, highlighting key product or service features or pulling out key elements of a wider piece of content, such as key statistics from a whitepaper.

3D audio ads

If you are already using audio ads to promote your products and services then using binaural 3D ads could work for you. Binaural recording uses microphones to replicate human hearing, so listeners hear sounds directionally relative to where the sound was made near the mic. This helps to create an immersive audio experience that has worked well for some brands such as Popchips.

Audible GIFs and soundmojis

If you are already successfully using GIFs and emojis on social media as part of your social media strategy, then utilising audible GIFs or Facebook’s soundmojis where appropriate will make sense. Taking advantage of this type of audio inclusive content is an easy way to dip your toe into the audio trend and could help you to increase your target audience.

Conclusion

The opportunities to use audio content are evidently growing all the time. To capitalise on this trend as a brand, it makes sense to look at your content strategy, and the content that you have, to understand which audio tools might be beneficial to support your aims and objectives.

Want to get started with audio content and not sure where to begin? We are experts in Content Strategy and with experience in producing award-winning podcasts, our team can help you to create a content strategy with audio at its heart. Visit our website to find out more.

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