Finding your voice: getting started with audio content marketing

Welcome to the first post in our new series about the four types of content marketing: audio, visual, video, and written.

In this post, we’ll review what content marketing is, why it matters, and why audio content marketing might be the right medium for you.

Content marketing is a big field and it encapsulates any marketing effort whose primary focus is providing useful, informative, or entertaining content to your ideal audience in a way that builds awareness, affinity, and engagement with your company.

Of course, content marketing isn’t new. Famed advertising pioneer David Ogilvy was creating content marketing to sell Guinness beer in the 1950s []. But the advent of social media in the mid-2000s created new opportunities for brands to create and share content with their audiences and customers, and modern tools for producing audio, video, written, and visual content have lowered the barrier to entry and spawned a revolution in content production.

Your audiences and customers have more content to choose from than at any other time in human history. More influencers, businesses, brands, and entertainers are vying for their attention than ever before, and the competition to produce premier content is fierce and well-funded.

So how can you make your brand stand out, enrich and engage your audience, and create real results for your business?

First, choose your ideal medium by finding overlap between what you can do well, what you like doing most, and what you can most effectively connect back to your business. For you, that might mean producing audio content.

When we think about audio content marketing, we most often think about podcasts. And while podcasts have been around for a decade and a half, they still represent a growing field with plenty of opportunities to build and engage an audience. This format has matured over the last decade and is seeing exponential growth:

  • A recent study by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that nearly a third (29 per cent) of internet users in Canada listen to podcasts.
  • An Insider Intelligence report predicts almost two-thirds of the population will listen to digital audio in 2022.
  • A report from Radio Connects, the Canadian Podcast Listener 2019, estimates nearly 11 million Canadian adults (37 per cent of the 18+ population) have listened to podcasts in the past year. More than 13 million (45 per cent) have listened at some point.
  • According to the Media Technology Monitor survey, one third of Canadian adults claim to have listened to a podcast in the past month and on average are listening for more than four hours per week.
  • Recent predictions show growth is set to continue with advertising revenue projected to increase 31 per cent in 2022 to $1.74 billion as advertisers appreciate the value of these audiences.

Podcasts provide the opportunity to experiment with content, find your voice, and build a loyal following. They have become easier and more affordable to produce (a high-quality microphone is the only large and necessary expense to get going) and their long-form nature allows brands to form deep connections with their listeners.

Podcasts can also be an easy and effective way to further distribute your written content. You can simply read and record the blog post or newsletter you’ve already created, add in some musical bumpers to the beginning and end, and submit it to the iTunes and Spotify directories once you’ve got it hosted online.

Branded Spotify and Apple Music playlists have also become a popular way to engage with your customers and provide them with entertainment value as they go about their daily lives. If your brand has a vibrant, energetic appeal, providing your customers with a custom playlist with your favourite or most relevant songs can be a great way to build a bit of a connection with your fans.

Real-time audio platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces haven’t yet revolutionized the audio medium like many had anticipated, but this emerging form of content has the potential to carve out an important niche. Interviews, Q&A sessions, and breaking news are all extremely well suited to real-time audio platforms and brands will want to consider opportunities to speak directly to their audiences, in the current moment, about topics that will interest and enrich them.

In fact, interviews with Most Inspiring Immigrant honorees is the way My East Coast Experience decided to go with it’s new podcast, Our Guest Is, which you can check out here:

However you produce your audio content, try to keep these things in mind:

  • Provide transcripts whenever possible, especially if the content doesn’t exist in another form better suited for those with hearing impairments.
  • Make sure you include a comprehensive description/show notes alongside your audio content, with links to supplemental resources and calls-to-action.
  • And make it easy to share, so your engaged followers can easily send it to their friends, family, or coworkers.

So why would you choose audio as your content marketing medium?

  • If you have interesting and useful things to say, and you have the equipment and resources to produce high-quality audio files for distribution.
  • If video production is too expensive or too resource- and time-intensive to do well.
  • If your audience spends a great deal of their time commuting or doing other activities that make reading difficult.
  • If your content benefits from longer-form stories, explanations, or interviews.
  • Or if you simply like it and want to give it a try!

At the end of the day, the danger is not that you’ll launch a podcast and stop it too soon if you run out of time, patience, or resources (no one will notice or mind if you do). The real danger is that you’ll endlessly agonize over your options and never get started in the first place.

An excellent way to get familiar with audio content marketing is by listening to some of the best examples currently available. Try adding some of these to your playlist:

  • “Rise and Grind” by ZipRecruiter: focuses on learning lessons from successful people in many different fields by using an interview format. It marries the company’s purpose, recruiting, with the what can be accomplished by the right person in the right position. Listen at:

Joel Kelly is the co-owner and principal of The Family Knife, a strategy firm exclusively focused on combining high-end strategic counsel with joyful implementation coaching. He also writes a weekly strategy newsletter The Strategy You Want.

If you need support with the content marketing strategy of your business, contact us and we can help.