Brands Should Move Quickly on a Targeted Audio Strategy

The uptick in smart speakers is changing the way audiences engage with brands.

Audio content is happening, and quickly.

Between 2018 and 2019, the number of smart speakers in American households jumped 78 percent, an adoption rate that far exceeds any single-year increase by either smartphones or social media.

Today, producing mobile-first content is a must for marketers, and not using social seems an unthinkable miss. A holistic audio strategy is that next no-brainer, and if the buzz at Content Marketing World was any indication, everybody knows it.

But here’s the thing: Not everyone knows how to implement it. With speed to market a key factor for this emerging channel, brands should seize the opportunity to lead in their space.

Why Should Brands Create Audio Content?

To engage and retain their existing audiences through ease of access.

The rampant adoption of smart speakers underscores what we already know—that our target audience is busy and the demands on their time are rivaled only by the volume of content choices available to them.

Brands should ease that friction for their existing audiences by tapping into their passive content consumption time, using smart speakers to join them while they’re doing chores, pushing through a workout or even consuming other content.

To up the number of interaction opportunities.

As speech technology advances, people are finding new ways to integrate smart speakers into their daily lives. Per Voicebot’s January 2019 Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report, 66 percent of smart speaker owners use their devices to solicit answers to questions on a monthly basis, and 36.9 percent on a daily basis.

Brands have a unique opportunity to provide a service in context through educational content, whether that’s through quick answers to common questions asked via voice search or a well-executed voice skill.

To entertain while adding dimension to the brand persona.

Brands have long used visual cues and storytelling to signal who they are and motivate their audiences through an emotional prompt. Audio rounds out that sensory toolkit, giving brands the opportunity to define how they sound as a way to grow closer with their audiences.

Audio opens new ways to signal personality, which, as evidenced by brand humor playing out on social media, can be a powerful differentiator in competitive markets.

How Should Brands Start Creating Audio Content?

  • Consider your marketing strategy first. The goal of your audio content should roll up to your overall marketing strategy and be clearly defined before you do anything else. Whether you’re looking to grow brand awareness or increase customer loyalty, audio works like any other channel—if you don’t know the results you want, you won’t like the results you get.
  • Developing your audio content strategy around your existing customers first will let you leverage all of your existing audience intelligence. If you let the intent of your existing audience drive your audio content strategy, you’ll probably find an intuitive way to provide them meaningful content via that channel.
  • Choose the tactic that’s meaningful for you and your audience. Just because you can podcast doesn’t mean you should. Podcasts are thrilling to launch but can be demanding to sustain. Make sure you’ve pressure-tested your business case for a podcast before jumping into an already competitive space. Consider audio versions of content you’re already creating, like books, blog posts or video interviews, that open your brand to this channel without requiring a significant upfront investment in resources. Start small, and do it well.
  • If you’re still not feeling ready to produce audio content, consider tapping into other brands’ audio strategies via advertising. Listeners are likely to be responsive to advertisements that are contextually relevant and read by a trusted host, which means that someone else’s podcast could be a powerful first step toward audio.
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