Beacon Digital's Copywriter Travels to Texas to Study Audio Storytelling
There’s an old joke that goes, “Radio is the most visual medium.” While some may follow it with a slap on the knee, there's truth to it. When produced well, radio pieces can translate information in a way that words on a page can’t always achieve.
This past August, I learned what that saying really means. I’ve always been stoked about audio work, and took the opportunity to hone my craft at the Traveling Workshop with Transom, a non-profit organization that offers training and mentorship in public radio in Austin, TX.
For seven days, I worked under Rob Rosenthal, an independent producer, teacher, and host for the HowSound podcast, and Matt Largey, the managing editor at KUT, the National Public Radio member station for central Texas. I learned how to use a field recorder, interview people in different environments, write scripts for radio, voice narration, and edit audio on a digital software similar to ProTools.
My task for the week seemed simple in theory: create a short broadcast-quality piece about an interesting person. But finding a single subject among the nearly 1 million people living in a city known for their "Keep Austin Weird" slogan was no easy feat.
After hours of research, I found Vince Hannemann. The 56-year-old MacGyver-of-sorts is responsible for creating the "Cathedral of Junk," a backyard oasis filled with sculptures built from 60 tons of found objects ranging from bicycles to toilets to license plates.
In honor of the Cathedral's 30th anniversary, I stopped by for a visit and spoke with the artist. I wanted to know what this structure has come to mean for Vince and the community over the last three decades. I won't reveal too much. You can hear my findings below:
I work in digital marketing as a copywriter because I'm a storyteller, no matter the medium. Marketing is all about storytelling. At my agency, I write copy for B2B clients in tons of industries - everything from hr software to shipping exchanges. My experience in Austin had me thinking - how can brands in these spaces use audio to their advantage?
There are several ways you can incorporate audio content into your marketing strategy, and it’s well worth it. Since 2005, online radio listenership has increased by 35%. Here are three examples of how to introduce audio into the marketing mix.
Taking on podcasting may seem intimidating at first, but like blog posts, podcasts follow the same pillars of inbound marketing. A great starting point is adapting the adage "write what you know" to "speak what you know."
And what you know best is, hopefully, your brand. Creating a branded podcast is the perfect opportunity to produce educational content for an audience of people who want to know what your business does.
One of my biggest takeaways from Transom, which you can apply to all forms of content, is this: Think about who your audience is and how you can offer an element of the story people haven’t heard before.
Remember your audience when thinking about how you can repurpose existing content in audio form. On some blogs, you may have come across the option to listen to an audio version of the post. That’s one way for your business to create original audio. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Start with the content you've already written and transform it into a podcast episode.
Don't forget all the essential SEO tactics you've applied to your existing content. Like blogs and website pages, podcasts rank in Google search. Your podcast’s title is your number one keyword, so consider that when crafting your meta data.
Speaking of repurposing content, when is the last time you went near all of those ebooks and whitepapers on your site? Some of them probably see significant traffic. Since you already have a clear jumping-off point, you can offer them to your audience in the form of an audiobook.
When you record the spoken versions of existing content, make sure it’s read aloud by someone who can bring energy to the words. One of the most challenging tasks in audio is producing engaging segments that hold the listeners' attention.
Think back to your audience and consider how they take in information. Not everyone is a visual or text-based learner. Not only is audio easily accessible, as it allows people to consume information when reading isn't an option, but it invites a broader audience to engage with your work.
If you don't have time to promote your business through your branded podcast, you might want to consider advertising on one. New research suggests that marketers will spend $1 billion on podcast advertising in 2021, and for good reason. Sixty-five percent of podcast listeners consider purchasing a product or service after hearing about a brand.
As is the running theme, remember your audience. Do you know where and what they are listening to daily? You'll want to find existing podcasts that align with your demographic. This will increase listeners' response to your brand.
No matter how you choose to implement audio into your marketing plan, it's a great way to attract new leads and delighting current customers.