Think your content strategy’s sound? If it includes audio it might be!
While text-only blog posts may have been the go-to back during the early days of Web 2.0, consumer preferences are changing. Today most of us just aren’t that crazy about being met with a giant wall of text—instead, we want variation! This means mixing it up with infographics, images, video, and audio!
(Take podcast consumption, for example. Some 51% of the U.S. population’s listened to a podcast, with 32% tuning into podcasts at least once a month. According to a recent article at musicoomph.com, when discussing podcast listening habits, “80% of the listeners listen to an entire podcast episode or most of the episode.”
Now, this isn’t to say that blogs are doomed to the trash heap. Blogs aren’t going anywhere.
But it does highlight the importance of paying attention to different content formats that your visitors want—and to look to create new, interesting, and varied content that they’ll enjoy. From inserting audio into your business blog content to creating great standalone audio content, sound can be a valuable part of that.
If you’d like to create audio content, this article’s for you. In it, we’ll look at how you can use audio to draw in customers and keep them engaged with your content.
Tips for Including Audio in Your Business Blog
Podcasts and other audio content are growing at a significant rate. According to MusicOomph.com, podcast ad revenue has increased from $69 million in 2015 to a projected $659 million by 2020. So how best to include audio on your blog? Hint: It’s more than just podcasts! There are plenty of ways that you can use audio files to create engaging content.
Here’s a look at some ideas for creating audio now.
1. Conduct Interviews With Industry Leaders
First up, interviews can be a great form of audio content.
Here’s a look at some tips for getting started.
- Take the time to simply record an interview with the leaders from your industry. Using your phone, you can record with apps like Audio Hijack, discussed in the Tools section below
- Publish the audio using a popular platform, or Smart Podcast Player
- Provide a PDF transcript—DIY or use Casting Words Transcription
When conducting interviews, make sure you do your research ahead of time. Help your guests feel comfortable by warming up with a few light questions to start. Remember to keep things light and informal. A relaxed, conversational style is the name of the game for most web interviews. Check out this helpful article for tips on conducting amazing interviews.
2. Be a Guest
Next up, consider being a guest on a podcast show. If you’re waiting around for invites to roll in, you might be waiting a while. Instead, take a proactive approach and work to secure your spot. Start connecting with industry leaders, and make a list of shows that you could potentially be on. Work through your list, narrowing in on one show at a time. Learn about their show and audience, and try to get a general feel for how their process goes. Then consider sending the host a note; either via email or social media, introducing yourself, and sharing what value you could provide to their audience. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back. Keep trying with different show hosts. Landing an opportunity can be challenging, but once you get the ball rolling it’ll be a lot easier to land future interviews.
3. Consider Verbal Testimonials
If you’ve ever seen the movie Catch Me if You Can, then you might remember this scene: Tom Hanks’ character was incredulous about how the conman ‘kid’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) was getting away with all of the elaborate cons that he had perpetrated. The conman’s answer? “People believe what you tell them.” Interestingly, this isn’t far from the truth in our shared level of trust. Hearing directly from a customer only adds more weight and more credibility to the statements.
Voice, or video, testimonials are a tremendous tool for adding credibility to your business, plus they can help to boost your conversion rates as well. Consider reaching out to your best customers, and asking them if they’d be willing to do a short testimonial review. In exchange for their time, provide them with a gift card, or something of value.
4. Input Audio
You may also consider allowing users to search your website by voice. With the advent of Alexa and Google Assistant, this type of audio format is gaining traction for search and interaction. While still in beta-testing, Google Speakable looks to be an interesting addition to the tool kit.
Perusing Google’s documentation, the purpose of this feature is to identify sections in an article or web page that lend themselves to text-to-speech. If selected, that section from your website would be read to the user through Google Assistant. There is a specific markup language that could be added to identify the text that you want Google to read to prospective users. Think of it as optimizing keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). Only now, that optimization means your key points are read to the user based on their search words.
5. Offer Site Narration
Provide the option for the article to be read to the user as opposed to reading. This accessibility option already exists in modern computing platforms. A great choice to explore would be NonVisual Desktop Access, or NV Access. This application is free to use and allows people to hear the text read to them. While this requires some user interaction, it is a great start. Finally, you can contact a service like Play.ht to automatically convert your text to audio.
6. Start a Podcast
Podcasts have a solid reputation for content marketing, especially in recent years. Their ability to travel with the user, require little interaction, and customizable features like adjusting the playback speed and pausing as needed all add up to an ideal platform for people as we stay busy in this new decade.
Don’t skimp on the microphone. If you’re serious about creating audio you’ll want to make sure you invest in a decent one. Yes, your phone’s microphone is adequate, but a little investment will yield the benefits of a much more professional perception of your business. Next, use competent recording software and pair that with the right accessories and plug-ins.
Podcasts can cover industry topics or host interviews with well-known influencers. The podcast can then be hosted on a third-party platform like Soundcloud or Libsyn (see below) or hosted on your own website using Smart Podcast Player. Offering a text version of your podcast through a transcription service gives your audience another avenue through which they can connect to your message. Alternatively, interviews could be hosted through a web conference service like ClickMeeting. This sort of interview event gives the users a chance to interact with your guests in real-time, rather than follow-ups through comment boards or emails.
Now that we’ve reviewed some tips for creating audio content, you’ll need some tools to make this a reality.
Get our How to Use Audio in Your Blog Worksheet delivered right to your inbox.
Tools for Audio Content
Libsyn is a 100% Apple Podcasts-compliant optimized RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. It boasts an impressive list of integrations with every major platform, from Spotify to Deezer. Plans are sold according to monthly storage fees. These fees range from $5/month for 50 MB up to $40/month for 800 MB. It is a mature, professional service. Joe Rogan is hosted there, as is Bill Burr. This site is considered an industry standard and a great place to start.
This site is very popular as a music player. But Soundcloud has a robust podcasting platform as well. Your first 3-hour upload time is free. This is a very attractive entry-level option if you are just starting out in podcasting. As your audience and revenue grow you can always upgrade to the paid options for more time and more features, including advanced statistics and scheduled releases.
3. Smart Podcast Player
If you have a slightly larger business, you may want to consider hosting your podcast on your own site. Smart Podcast Player is a paid tool for monthly podcast hosting from your own servers. Notably, it allows email capture from your listeners. In addition, it has a speed control button that allows your users to speed up the dialog if they so desire; something that many podcast listeners like to do. This is a highly recommended application for local podcast hosting.
4. CastingWords Transcription
This type of service is just an example of many in the market. CastingWords Transcription takes your audio file and transcribes it to text for as little as $1 per minute of spoken audio. There are higher rates if you need a faster turnaround time.
As we think of creative uses for existing tools, a web conferencing site like ClickMeeting is a good opportunity for adding audio options within your blog. While normally used in business meetings and hosted webinars, you could also consider this for a hosted interview with an industry leader, followed by a question and answer session. This tool is free to try for 30 days.
While not strictly an audio tool, BuzzSumo can be a useful tool for podcast research. BuzzSumo provides an easy-to-use app that will lighten your research load by allowing you to discover trending topics your audience cares about.
7. Audio Hijack
Need to capture sounds as audio files? A tool called Audio Hijack by Rogue Amoeba allows you to capture practically any incoming audio and save it to any number of formats for later use. This includes audio from a phone-call or a Skype call as well.
There are “push” distribution marketing tools, like Hootsuite and “pull” tools like AddThis. When your reader hears a show or listens to a testimonial they like, they will want to share it. This satisfied fan then “pulls” your content into their networks. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for them by having links to their favorite social media already available on your site. This tool allows you to quickly and easily add share buttons to the social media sites your audience frequents. It allows you to reduce your bounce rate and lessen frustration, thus winning loyal readers and listeners who will continue returning to a site they trust.
In contrast to the “pull” concept of AddThis, Hootsuite allows you to manage all your social media networks without duplicating effort with multiple log-ins and repeated content posting. It is a paid service, but this fantastic tool should already be a part of your content marketing and distribution plan. With hooks to over 35 social media networks, utilizing this service to promote your blog audio content is fast and simple.
Make It Mobile
Finally, you’ll want to ensure that you’re optimized for mobile. “More than half of Google’s 100 billion searches a month come from mobile devices,” according to Hostingtribunal. Audio needs to be formatted and offered in a way that makes it easy to access from a mobile device. Why is this important? Because the driving factor behind audio content is the ability to listen to audio while working on other things. People listen to audio during their commute, while working out at the gym, or doing the dishes. Take advantage of these factors to engage your listeners with great content.
Optimizing your website for mobile can seem overwhelming. If this is the case, the best option would be to hire a web developer (freelance or a firm) to quickly and efficiently optimize your mobile site. This will free you up to focus on the creative side of how to add audio content to your blog.
Finally, it’s time to get your content out in front of your audience. Start by ensuring that the audio content you create centers around your target audience. Then share your new content all over social media, and make sure you give people a chance to share directly from your site or subscribe. Getting into audio production may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With these tips and tools, you’ll be off to a great start.
At Carrier Pigeon, we’re an all-in-one content sharing service. If you’d like to get started with content creation or have been creating content for a while but just aren’t seeing results, we can help. We can maximize the extent of your content’s reach, getting it in front of a wider audience. Reach out to see about working together today!
Get our How to Use Audio in Your Blog Worksheet delivered right to your inbox.