What Does the Rise of Audio Content Mean for Communicators?

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Consumers are inundated with increasingly creative and useful audio content. With wearable technologies, smart speakers, and other connected devices, audio content can show up when and where consumers ask for it. They can tune in to morning news and podcasts while they cook or lounge around the house, enabling unprecedented reach. 

That’s why communicators should look for innovative ways to integrate audio content-driven branding into their marketing and communications strategies. Today, audio is a small but dynamically growing part of advertising, but research shows that podcast ad spending alone will surpass $1 billion in the United States in 2021. 

What Is Audio Content?

Audio content isn’t just podcasts; it encompasses all kinds of marketing collateral, auditory entertainment, audiograms,  AI-powered voice assistant actions – known as skills – and more. Since audio is interactive, it is an appealing and effective way to get messages across. Unlike other media like visuals and text that require focused attention,  listeners can engage with audio content while tending to other tasks. Advertisers are attracted to it for its ability to achieve more with less – and instantly. In fact, many believe that digital audio is the future of content.

The number of Americans listening to podcasts increased from 44% in 2018 to 57% in 2021. The growing platform creates new opportunities for communicators to build a strong foundation for audio branding and marketing strategy. Marketers should also consider integrating audio with other content types to enrich the user experience. For example, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading publication company, uses long-form posts with audio snippets to creatively bring articles to life and is a good model for combining owned media content and paid native content opportunities.

Purpose of Audio Content

With audio content the sky is the limit – you can use it to describe products creatively, engage audiences with purposeful branded content, offer news, perspective, context, and reviews.

There are various methods to measure the performance of audio content. For example, knowing listeners’ demographic profiles, listening patterns, and geo-location can better help podcast producers and creators gauge expected engagement rates and conversions. At the same time, an advertiser may measure ad-related top-of-mind-awareness to determine its effects on their target audience.

Here are some actionable practices to make the most of your audio content:

  • Deliver relevant content in your audience’s preferred way;
  • Always look to provide value to listeners; 
  • Mention key takeaways; 
  • Provide a summary or a transcript to aid understanding; and 
  • Learn and use Voice Search Optimization (VSO).

How To Integrate Audio Branding Into Your Communication Mix

Integrating audio branding techniques into your communications strategy requires consistent messaging and an emotional connection to your brand. Implement your strategy across all touchpoints to deliver a consistent experience to your audience. 

You could distribute Audio News Releases to syndicated programs, networks, and radio stations for better reach, effectively supporting your messaging. You can also incorporate audio content within internal communications – a brilliant way to engage your employees, especially while most are working from home. You can share audio files on your intranet and keep everyone updated, connected, and motivated.

Measuring your integration efforts into the communication mix is critical to success. Fortunately, audio formats offer many metrics to help you determine if audio content is better, than more traditional product marketing collateral for your business, if you should use it solely for PR-building efforts, or if you should consider a combination of the two.

Whether you want to appeal to potential leads or delight current customers, determining your audio content-related objectives is the first step to enhancing your overall digital marketing efforts. Remember, the best kind of content, audio or not, informs and activates the target audiences on an intrinsic level. 

Audio will certainly become an even bigger part of the communication mix. Make sure your organization is poised to take advantage of it at the right time.

This article is part of a series of the implications of the increasing popularity of audio-driven content on communications. This post was first published on the PRSA-NCC blog.

Please read the other posts in the series:
Elevate Your Communications with Audio Content
Emerging Media Measurement Standards for Audio Content

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