Listen carefully: now’s the time to add audio content to your content marketing strategy. If you want to keep your audience engaged, you need to think about their ears as well as their eyes.
According to Edison Research, podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. The ‘share of ear’ on mobile devices is almost tied between traditional radio and podcasts.
Even though we are not yet ready to let go of the text-based article, there is a noticeable online trend toward an equitable balance between written words and audio content.
Why choose audio content for your content marketing strategy?
There are many reasons for a marketer to choose to create audio content.
Firstly, the traditional visual and text-based genres aren’t enough to drive engagement in 2018. To succeed in a saturated content landscape, where overall shares have fallen by 50 percent, marketers need to think outside the text box to drive engagement.
Audio content makes sense because it’s second only to video as people’s preferred format, according to Activate. The average American consumes five hours of video each day and two hours of audio content.
BuzzSumo can help you determine if your audience is interested in audio content.
Activate also found that people spend seven hours a day on non-work related activities. With limited free time, audio becomes even more important because people can listen to podcasts and audio courses when they are doing something else — running, walking, at the gym or doing house chores.
Video content, because it requires two senses instead of just one, is more limiting.
So, audio content drives engagement and (or even because) it’s easy for your audience to use while multi-tasking.
Audio content is also poised to become incredibly lucrative. Three years from now, podcast ad revenue is projected to double: from $237 million in 2017, to no less than $642 million in 2021.
According to a recent study published by IAB, almost two-thirds of listeners admit they are inclined to consider purchasing or researching a product based on podcasts’ recommendations, or ads streamed during the podcasts they love. This includes both podcasts published by marketers and any relevant ads streamed during podcasts.
Finally, according to IAB’s research, audio content has become more relevant in today’s context because of the flexibility and control it offers to listeners.
To summarize, you should choose to create and publish audio content because:
- It’s easier for people to multi-task with podcasts than to multi-task while reading an article or watching a video.
- The number of marketers who use audio content is increasing with every year.
- The budget allocated for audio ads is growing faster than ever.
- Podcasts are an effective way to spread the word about a specific product or service.
- Podcasts promise increasing revenue.
Want to see how it’s done? Two audio content success stories
While only 3 percent of marketers use podcasts in their strategies, those who do can be quite successful — providing they know what they’re doing, and they are doing it right.
A great example comes from “Entrepreneur on Fire”, a podcast that manages to stay on top and at the same time, to earn more than the average blog with its podcast. In fact, “Entrepreneur on fire” makes an average profit of $250,000 per month on their audio channel, which is impressive considering that until recently, marketers didn’t even consider audio content distribution as an option.
Another great example comes from Chris Ducker and his successful podcast called “Youpreneur”. On this channel, the host shares his own experience and expertise on business development and growth.
Tools to succeed with audio content
If you are thinking about starting a podcast to compliment your other content marketing distribution channels, you’ll need more than just great content.
Here are several tools that can make podcasting easier.
Of course, the first thing you need to consider is the audio distribution channel. Libsyn is such a tool, one that already hosts 25,000 podcasts with an audience of 44 million listeners worldwide.
You need a content distribution channel in order to host and distribute your podcast. It’s better not to keep all your files on your own server, where the blog is hosted and located, because if you are successful, and I am sure you are thinking about it, you will have to deal with thousands or even millions of downloads every day.
Services like Libsyn deal with these kinds of issues and ensure you that your files are secured and available for streaming and download no matter what happens.
You don’t need to create separate content to podcast. If you already do webinars, they can be recorded and repurposed as podcasts. In thinking about audio content, I would advise anyone to plan for repurposing from the beginning by leveraging webinars, Facebook live or recorded videos. If webinars are new to you, your podcast launch is a great time to add webinars to your marketing mix. A webinar allows you to reach out to a larger audience and gain influence in your industry. In such a case, ClickMeeting is the app you need. It provides you with a complete set of tools required for a webinar, starting with the schedule and up to the online conference.
When you are considering recording and publishing a podcast, you need to also consider interviewing some of the most influential voices in your industry and choosing the topics your audience is more likely to want to read/listen about online.
BuzzSumo Influencers eases your research process by helping you to identify influencers in your topic area. You can use other parts of the tool to find great topics to cover.
The app is reliable and easy to use. You don’t need to learn anything in order to work with BuzzSumo and it will take you no longer than a few minutes to master the app and its features.
The app can show you some interesting insights on what’s popular on the Internet, the most shared articles, the trending topics and of course, some of the most important social media influencers you can work with.
When it comes to graphic design, Bannersnack (where I work as a digital and content marketer) can really make a difference and help you deal with such issues in a professional matter, even when you are not a skilled designer. As a podcaster, blogger, marketer, you need professional visuals to complement your content and this is where a design app comes into place.
You will need artwork for your podcasts. And, you need to consider designing banner ads to promote your podcast over the Internet and across social media channels. Web-based tools such as Bannersnack allow you to design these visuals fast, without compromising on quality and look. You can use their templates to make your work even easier.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
We are all aware of the importance of mobile traffic, especially for marketers who aim at reaching to a maximum audience. Also, we are aware of the importance of speed when it comes to website loading. Google values speed and as a consequence, pages that load faster are able to rank higher in search engine results and therefore, they generate more traffic. The AMP Project is an open-source initiative that enables the creation of websites and ads that are able to load fast on mobile devices.
AMP, as an open source project, was born as a collaboration between Twitter and Google. Its main goal is to optimize for fast loading pages that are already mobile friendly. If you want to find out more about the project, you can visit the official AMP page here. Also, if you manage a WordPress website, you can download and install a dedicated WordPress AMP plugin that enables you to automatically publish AMP versions of your posts with just a single click.
Why use AMP?
- Google ranks websites higher if they provide a mobile-friendly user experience.
- AMP allows you to easily adapt your pages for a better mobile experience.
- There is also a WP plugin available for publishing your content via AMP.
- AMP strips of your pages of most of the unwanted HTML elements that sometimes make it load slower.
- With AMP, you can use a streamlined version of CSS only.
SPP (Smart Podcast Player)
Another important thing you might be need when dealing with podcasts is a great audio player to enable you to share your episodes with your audience, right in your blog.
This app allows you to easily stream your podcasts. Moreover, it allows you to collect email addresses from your audience. SPP works with mobile devices and desktop devices as well.
Finally, you need to think about promoting your podcast, once you have published your first episode.
There are a lot of tools available online for social media promotion. However, if you are looking for an all-in-one app, Addthis may be exactly what you need. The app integrates a series of plug-ins and tools that can make your podcast page social ready. You’ll get share and follow buttons, related posts feature list building and link promotion tools.
These ”share buttons” are even more important when you want to promote your podcasts on social media. For a greater impact, I suggest using an audio player that features both audio and text or, to publish an audio transcript of the podcast within the same page as the audio file, on your blog.
If you need a working example, take a look at Typeform. This article has everything it needs: a featured image, the audio podcast and an article that transcripts the audio file. It’s easily shareable, and it will look great on any social media page due to the combination of those three types of content.
Audio content marketing tips
Here are a series of tips for marketers who choose to include audio blogging into their marketing strategies:
The design is important
Yes, your main goal is to create audio content that will attract the targeted audience and convince them to listen regularly to your podcasts. However, as you know, content is not the only thing that matters when you need to sell a product. You will also need to focus on designing a great podcast page and attractive promotional visuals for social media and partner blogs and websites.
If you want to learn more about this topic, I have published an extensive guide on how to design podcast artwork.
If you need an example, take a look at “The Humans Strike Back” podcasts published by Hotjar.com. Their page looks great; the visuals are astonishing and at the same time, their social media banners and posts feature similar designs, close to the brand and easily recognizable at the same time.
Optimize your page for audio content
Whether you are thinking about hosting your audio files on your own server or not, you need to make sure your blog or website is optimized for audio delivery.
Check with your hosting provider, talk with a professional webmaster, get all the plug-ins you need and install them before actually launching your podcast.
If you don’t have a blog or a website yet, consider creating one. Neil Patel and Eric Siu’s marketingschool.io is a great example of a page optimized for audio content.
Choose the frequency of your podcast
In order to attract and maintain an audience, you need to schedule your podcasts and publish them on a regular basis.
Start by making your podcasts a recurring feature on your own blog and promote them whenever you have the chance.
Once you have scheduled a content plan, however, make sure you stick to it.
People may not come back to your page if you say you will deliver a new episode each Tuesday and you miss a day or even a week.
There are podcasts that publish daily, weekly or monthly updates. Choose your frequency according to your own needs and capabilities. Then deliver.
Use both, text and audio
The overall audience for podcasts grows by the hour. This doesn’t mean that everybody will subscribe to podcasts or that text-based marketing is dead. In fact, there is still a huge pool of Internet users who prefer to read an article. Plus, we should consider those who are hearing impaired. A combination of text and audio is the ideal way to go.
Publish a podcast but also write it down, as an article. If you don’t want to do extra work, create a transcript for your podcast. These text-versions will improve your on-page SEO, as well as please those who prefer reading.
For instance, if you are publishing an interview, you can design your page to include an introduction first, followed by the audio player, a list of resources and finally, the audio transcript.
You will find a great example, in this case, if you access this episode published by “Everyone Hates Marketers”.
As we can clearly see, audio content is increasingly popular among Internet users and the trends are leading us to believe that during the next couple of years, audio will still be on the rise. We’ve discussed so far the importance of audio for a marketer, some of the tools we need when we are thinking about starting a podcast service and of course, some of the best strategies in this domain.
Are you ready to add audio content to your content marketing strategy?