In this article I want to point out a few ideas about audio content you can use on your blog. We all know that audio content is on the rise.
According to Google, 20% of mobile queries are voice searches
That’s why we see how products like Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Voice Search, Google Home and Viv are training people to search using their voices. And let’s admit, it’s more convenient to use your voice if you want to search something on your phone while you are driving with your car, right?
So audio content is a type of content in the content marketing atmosphere.
WordPress brought blogging to the general attention by offering a nice, easy-to-install and very customizable blogging platform which evolved over the years into what we know today as the most reliable and widespread content management system.
While in the present days WordPress powers not just blogs but also professional websites, online shops and magazines, it remained true to its origins and it continues to be the first choice of bloggers from all around the world.
This article is not about WordPress however. It’s about Podcast vs Blog.
It’s about content marketing and especially audio content marketing, but it is addressed to content marketers who are using this CMS for their blogs because as I have already said, it is the most popular platform and therefore, I hope it will be of help to a wider audience.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is one of the best ways to conduct a marketing campaign.
It is most of the times free and most of all, it provides your customers with something of value in turn for their attention. While traditional marketing campaigns are quite intrusive and therefore ignored even by users who are not using ad blockers, a content marketing campaign attracts customers instead of annoying them.
Thus, if you have something of value to share with them, whether written information, audio, or video clips, you should start immediately to build a fanbase through such a marketing campaign.
“The key word here is “valuable”. It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it” says Josh Steimle, a professional digital marketer on Forbes.
In other words, choose content marketing because…
- It is not intrusive
- It adds valuable information to the customer
- You don’t need a huge budget
- It is effective
Why choose audio content marketing?
The last couple of years brought significant changes in the way we interact with our electronic devices. Apple, Google and Microsoft introduced us to voice controlled personal assistants which quickly became a hit among users.
According to a survey conducted by aytm.com, 65% of the users claim to regularly use personal assistants.
They all use voice commands to ask questions, get directions while driving, or make calls.
Why do you think this happens? Well, the answer is quite simple: people are using their mobile phones more often than traditional computers. Besides that, they travel more, have less free time and as a consequence, they prefer to access data by listening rather than reading.
Another proof of the importance of audio content is the popularity of the podcast.
In just a few years,
podcasts listening grew with over 20% from 2015 to 2016 and another 11% from 2016 to 2017
and the number of people choosing this direct way of receiving their information continues to grow exponentially.
“Overall, 40% of Americans aged 12 or older have listened to a podcast at some point”, says Jay Baer in an convenienceandconvert.com article on critical podcasts statistics for 2017. “Podcast consumption has been substantially more common among Americans under the age of 25 since the advent of the medium. Until now. For the first time, a larger percentage of 25 to 54 year-olds listen to podcasts monthly than any other age group” he adds.
In conclusion, if you want to be able to reach a maximum audience, publishing texts and submitting newsletters might not be enough.
Many individuals who are frequently listening to podcasts are more likely to receive audio messages rather than written texts. Therefore, considering you want to reach the widest audience possible, you should consider audio content as a viable and versatile marketing option, one of the top marketing trends of 2017, suitable for a blog who wants to attract more customers, fans or followers.
In other words, if you aim to reach a maximum audience, you need to speak their language and adapt to their customs.
How to use audio content marketing campaign on your blog
We’ve learned that audio may be the future in content distribution.
However, in order to have a fruitful audio content oriented marketing campaign, you should at least learn the basics.
What do you need to know before starting such a campaign and what can you share with your fans in order to achieve best results?
A. Prepare your website for audio content distribution:
I guess you would never get on the road unprepared, without packing the essentials. Do the same when preparing to start a blog or create a new way to distribute content to your fans and readers. There are many things you should include in your travel bag on the road to audio streaming but if you want to resume to the essentials, check the following list:
- Check the blog’s suitability for audio content distribution
- Get a good web hosting service
- Get a microphone
- Get a recording software
- Get the right accessories and plugins
- Create your visual image
- Brainstorm for a topic
Let’s discuss each of the above topics, and explain them in a few words:
1. Check the blog’s suitability for audio content distribution
Before starting a marketing campaign based on audio content, you should check whether or not your blog is suitable for such a task. While many bloggers prefer working with free blogging platforms or free web hosting services, I would recommend, for maximum performance, a self hosted WordPress blog.
This means that you should acquire a domain name, a paid web hosting and of course, install a WordPress blog on it. It is important to treat your blog as a business and therefore, have full control over it.
A free hosted blog will not give you the freedom you require.
2. Get a good web hosting service
The choice in web hosting is also important for two reasons: you need a 100% uptime and you need also reliability. You should also conduct a thorough search for a web hosting suitable for WordPress blogs. On account of reliability, look for audio and video support, enough space available for the long term and cloud hosting or dedicated hosting. Shared hosting solutions would be recommended only for blogs with low traffic and only basic functions.
All major web hosting companies have WordPress packages for bloggers and support this CMS.
However, if you want to localize your blog and choose a local service provider, study the market first, ask your peers for reviews and testimonials and choose only the provider that is the most likely to satisfy your needs.
3. Get a microphone
Once you have set up your website and acquired the domain name and the web hosting, it’s time to got everything you need for an audio podcast. First and foremost, you need a good vocal microphone. You have many options to choose from when buying a vocal microphone.
However, for starters, you don’t need to invest in a professional studio device; you can start with a Blue Yeti, a perfect choice for recording your podcasts on your home computer. It’s cheap and reliable and more than enough for the tasks at hand.
At the same time, before buying it, check online for reviews and select the microphone that can be plugged – as ready to play – into your computer or laptop.
In other words, make sure it is compatible with your device.
4. Get a recording software
Now that you have settled for a microphone, you should also think about the means of actually producing your audio content. If you are using a Mac or a PC, I am sure you already have some dedicated software already available for recording and saving audio.
It may not be enough however, should you want to produce at least a semi-professional audio sequence. To this end, I recommend Audacity, an open source audio recorder and editor software.
It’s easy to use, it has everything you need for completing your tasks, some cool effects and of course an easy learning curve.
5. Get the right accessories and plugins
Now, let’s get to the hard stuff: you need to set up a media hosting service and the plugins for WordPress. You need a media hosting because if you want quality, you will produce large media files that will excessively burden your hosting service in case you will be successful and end up with a large audience.
Based on your budget, you can select your solution.
6. Create your visual image
Once you’ve set up your blog for podcasts, you are ready for the last two steps. First, you should design your visuals and prepare your dedicated podcast category or page for launching. You can work with an agency, hire a freelancer or use tools like Bannersnack or Adobe Spark to design your own visuals.
Create your podcast artwork and your logo professionally, because they will be the first things your audience will see when landing on your page.
7. Brainstorm for a topic
Brainstorm for a topic and make sure you have a clear concept about what you want to share with your audience.
Take for example one of the most popular podcasts of 2017, “This American Life”. Their main topic is the daily life of the ordinary American, and they are focusing on it while trying to deliver interesting and valuable podcasts to their fans.
On the other hand, you can choose a catchy topic name, like QI.com did with their “No such thing as a fish” podcast.
Now that we know what we need to start creating professional audio content for our blog, let’s see what type of audio content we should create.
B. Record your articles
This is the kind of work you have to do if you care about your audience.
I’m not saying that you will see how your traffic will increase, but you will definitely get some positive reaction for your hard work.
What are the benefits of recording your articles?
- Deliver content on two channels:
Did you choose a suitable topic? Do you have everything you need to start posting? Well, don’t hurry just yet, take your time, and start writing your posts. I would recommend you to publish, at least at first, text and audio versions for each article. In time, if your audience prefers only the podcasts, you can get read of the written part later.
Until then however, it’s better to stand out from the crowd and let your audience choose whatever option they prefer.
- Double time
The recording, editing, and publishing of the podcast will double (if not triple) the amount of time you will spend actually producing content for your blog. However, if you choose to publish audio and text as well, it will also double the time your audience will spend on your blog.
While a blog is a rather personal website, you can contribute more to it should you choose to collaborate with other bloggers and podcasters and maybe, get a team to work together. One of the best examples of collaborative podcasts you can inspire from is the HeardRadio. Of course, if you need to collaborate with others and have an actually working schedule, you can plan ahead for each member easily using the apps such as TeamWeek.
Other audio content marketing options:
You should not limit your content to the articles you publish on the blog, in written or audio format. You can also contribute with other types of audio materials such as the following:
- Audio testimonials
- Audio books
- Mix tapes
1. Ask for interviews.
Find people with influence in your domain or, if you write and podcast about general topics, find people who are popular among online users. Then, ask them for interviews on your blog. Not everybody will accept at first but at the same time, once you’ve captured the attention of a small group, others will soon follow.
Ask them to do audio interviews, and then write down the transcripts in order to publish them along with their edited audio versions.
Take for example, Adam Buxton’s podcast, one of the most popular collections of interviews available in audio format on the Internet. He has managed to feature some quality interviews on his website with the likes of Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, Jonny Greenwood, Richard Ayoade, Kathy Burke and Matt Berry. Aweber also podcasts interviews on the official blog and sometimes even video testimonials from celebrities who are using its services.
2. Create audio testimonials.
Ask your clients to give you flash interviews about your blog and / or your services.
Probably, not all of them will accept but if you are able to convince some of them, you can publish them on your front page in audio or video format or, you can create a page where the short interviews with your clients can be published. On the other hand, you can create a mash up testimonial and string together several testimonials into a one single file which can be published on your blog.
One of the best examples I can give you comes from Internetbusinessmastery.com, with their 10 years anniversary special titled “Top Lessons Learned by Our Listeners”.
3. Create audio versions of your eBooks.
One of the best ways to use creative content as a marketing tool for your blog is to give your users free eBooks with guides and tutorials. Some of these people however, prefer listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
So, why wouldn’t you give them exactly what they want?
Publish the eBook as a downloadable PDF document but at the same time, record it in audio format and let your audience download the audio version if they don’t have time to read or if they prefer listening rather than lecturing.
4. Create your own mix tape.
You can also use your choice in music in order to raise your users’ interest through mix tapes.
For example, Tobias van Schneider, an award winning designer, has a special dedicated page on his blog only for mix tapes. Thus, he is able to share with his friends and followers some of his best playlists created on Spotify and Soundcloud. You can benefit as well from mix tapes as follows:
- Collaborate with DJs or music bands and share their creations
- Create your own audio tracks (if you have the skills and talent)
- Create mix tapes based on your own taste in music (your favorite artists and/or bands)
Audio content is growing in popularity as more and more people prefer listening rather than reading.
However, this is an easy to predict trend, due to the lack of free time and the widespread use of smart mobile devices. At the same time, people travel more and while traveling, it is more comfortable to listen to podcasts and audiobooks.
As a consequence, due to this increasing demand in audio content, as a blogger, you should also adapt and prepare your blog for podcasts and audio interviews.
Follow the steps described in this guide and prepare to expand your pool of fans and followers!
- Have a self hosted WordPress blog
- Acquire the hardware – microphone
- Acquire the required software
- Set up your blog for audio
- Sign up on a streaming service
- Produce audio content
- Share the content
Should you have anything to add to this guide, feel free to do so on the comments section available below.