4 Smart Practices for Leveraging Audio

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Producing engaging online content for customers has catapulted in importance during the COVID-19 crisis. Organizations that once had the luxury of communicating with customers live and in-person have had to move quickly to communicate online instead. Regardless of how ready your team is to use the technology, audio helps reach customers in this virtual environment. 

When communicators think of using audio to reach customers, podcasts are often the first concept that comes to mind, and for good reason. According to the website PODCAST INSIGHTS, more than one million podcast shows are now available. That’s a staggering number, but listenership is growing as well, with roughly 55 percent of the U.S. population reporting they have listened to a podcast, up from 51 percent in 2019, according to Edison Research. 

Audio recordings such as podcasts let listeners focus on your message unencumbered, without the added sensory engagement that watching a video requires. People can go about their day, completing household chores or small work tasks while they listen. One way to consider audio is as an additive experience for your target audiences, while video serves as more of a captive experience. Both have an important role to play. 

For many companies, podcasts are an ideal way to share conversations and insights. But podcasts are far from the only audio game in town. When it comes to using sound, your content strategy can — and likely should — serve your communications and business goals. 

When we start with the intention of being helpful to our audiences, the strategy for audio becomes clear quickly. Here are a few ways you can put audio to work for your organization: 

Animated podcast videos for social media

Consider recording sound bites of one minute or less from conversations with customers, team members or subject-matter experts. By using a service like WAVVE — or a video editor — you can then create an animated podcast video featuring your sound clips. Sometimes referred to as a “player” or “audiogram,” these animated sound videos can be posted across your social media channels. They often feature a dynamic waveform, captions and an image of your speaker, and are a good way to promote longer-form audio interviews, videos or podcasts, and for expanding on a product or event announcement. 

Audio for email

Audio files can also be embedded in an email blast to help vary the content and catch a reader’s eye (ahem, ear). These short sound clips are often used to expand content; think of them as supplements to your story or announcement, much as a quote might be used in a press release. Audio files embedded in email blasts also enhance news announcements for customers or stakeholders. 

Internal podcasts

Clients often think of podcasts as public, customer-focused endeavors. But oftentimes, internal podcasts that are tailor-made for team members are some of the most educational, inspiring and targeted content available. After all, research indicates that employees often trust their employers more than they trust the media. Internal communicators also have the added benefit of knowing their audiences well.

For your internal podcasts, consider interviewing team leaders and other conversations that connect employees to your company’s vision and mission. Internal podcasts can also feature outside experts and thought leaders in your field. They’re a good way to offer professional-development experiences that enrich your team’s culture. 

External podcasts

Publicly accessible podcasts can be smart options for companies that are uniquely positioned to explore specific topics. On these external podcasts you can tell a story or interview thought leaders and company experts. The dialogues and thoughtful, provocative ideas that you capture through recorded conversations can be compelling for a variety of audiences. 

External podcasts let you tell stories with internal or external voices and thereby serve targeted audiences and establish or expand your organization as a thought leader. 

Return to Current Issue The Tech & Social Issue | September 2020
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