Marketing is an ever-changing landscape. In order to shepherd the masses to a specific brand, company, or product, marketing departments need to stay on top of industry and market statistics and forecasts, of course, but they also need to know what is moving the needle outside of their niche. What is popular, what is trending, what is new?
And most importantly: How can this data be used?
Audio content is the fastest growing content medium, with retention and engagement rates that outshine both television and the internet. Audiobook sales are on the rise, radio’s prominence has only been heightened with the introduction of digital access, and podcasts have broken out as one of the most successful audio formats, both for content producers and listeners alike.
Not convinced? Just look at these numbers from the 2019 Infinite Dial Report:
60% of the U.S. population is tuning in to online audio every week, spending an average total of more than 16 hours tuned in.
In addition, when referring specifically to podcasts, Americans are listening to an average of 7 each week!
There are many trends that aren’t worth chasing, however, the audio content revolution is one that website owners and brand marketers alike cannot afford to miss.
What is an Audio Strategy?
Before you can define the concept of an “Audio Strategy,” you first need to talk about content marketing. Content marketing is a marketing strategy that is focused on creating and distributing content as a means to better connect with both current and potential customers in a relatable, useful way.
Content marketing aids in generating leads, driving sales, increasing credibility, and last but not least, it provides an avenue for engaging with customers in a more direct and personalized manner.
An audio strategy is how you choose to weave audio into your content marketing plan. There are many ways to accomplish the task of adding audio content to your brand’s content strategy. For instance, the creation of a podcast focusing on industry topics is a great way to both physically and metaphorically get into your target audience’s ears.
You might also try posting audio narrations of blog posts to increase accessibility, making short-form audio advertisements to tease longer pieces on your social media accounts, or even curating outside audio content for posting on-site or in-app.
Why you need it
Whether you choose to create content in-house or put together a playlist of the best audio the internet has to offer, adding audio to your content strategy is a must. Still not sure? Here are 4 reasons to embrace the integration of audio:
1. Improved User Experience
Given how congested everyday life is with content, it’s extremely important to learn how to stand out in a crowded room. This fact is what is driving the push towards products and experiences that focus on the interests, values, and feelings of the user (i.e. personalization).
While every brand will have its own unique user persona, there are some overarching themes showing up across all industries and sectors. Consumers crave more personal, accessible, intimate, and relevant connections with the products they use, and audio is the one medium that can meet all of these needs.
- is available on any subject or topic, from business to basketball to health & wellness
- is easily consumed both at home or while out and about, across all devices from smartphones, to smart speakers, to traditional radio receivers
- content is more intimate and personal because it is delivered through the human voice, directly into the listener’s ears, cutting out the middle man and allowing for a connection akin to that of a friend or trusted advisor
- is best for real-time information, in particular, local news is best accessed through audio as regional radio stations are likely to have the story before television broadcasts or print publications can put together the story
2. Greater Market Share
Audio also allows for the ability to reach your audiences during atypical times. Given that the medium is screen-independent and can be consumed during multi-tasking moments, reaching listeners during working hours, while commuting, or even just completing household chores is now a possibility for the very first time.
3. Do more with your content
Enhance your current slate of content offerings by leveraging audio. Start by taking a look at long-form written collateral such as ebooks. You will find ebooks at the heart of many content marketing strategies, due to their excellent track record of lead generation.
If this is true for your brand, consider turning that ebook into an audiobook. Given the format’s strong surge in popularity, it makes sense to branch into audio and let your content pull double duty.
Then when it’s time to publicize your audiobook, look to short-form audio. It’s well known that the use of video and images in social channel postings produce better results than text alone. The same can be true for the use of audio! Use short-form audio snippets to build anticipation for long-form projects. Dropping audio “breadcrumbs” as part of your marketing campaign will keep your users interested in what’s to come.
4. Preparation for the future
It isn’t only the content that we consume that is evolving, but it’s the actual way we consume it. The majority of the past decade has been focused on the screen, each available moment spent scanning, scrolling, and tapping through boundless blogs, social media feeds, and mobile applications.
However, as we step into a new generation of content consumption, more people are looking for a break from their screens. In some cases, it’s due to hands and eyes being otherwise occupied, but it also is often just from fatigue. Recent releases of “screen time” measurement apps highlight concerns over spending too much time with screens, driving the need for other content formats that can be consumed without phones or tablets.
When you couple this consumption and habit shift with the rise of voice first, audio-driven devices such as smart speakers, it becomes obvious that getting in on the ground floor and taking the time to learn how to navigate an audio-focused future is a smart investment.
How to Implement an Audio Strategy
The first step to implementing an audio strategy is to evaluate what type of audio integration might work best for you and your brand.
While some approaches may require a steeper initial investment, such as a podcast or hiring someone to narrate written content, curating outside content such as music, podcasts, or radio shows and adding them to your user experiences can be done for free.
Below are a few tools to help you get started:
Podcasting / Audio Recording
Embeddable Audio Players
The way you choose to approach building an audio strategy should be highly dependent on both your brand and who your audience is. As you look to your customers’ personas, consider their interests, habits, and the devices they currently use for content consumption. These answers will drive your strategy and help you deliver content that will increase audience engagement and delight your customers.
Alexa Ahrens is a Writer / Editor / Unapologetic Cat Person 😸 Native San Franciscan, now attempting to live her best life in the midwest ✨ Lead Content Writer @ Audioburst 📻