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Podcasts and other forms of audio content are having a moment right now. All major media properties have their own podcasts, of course, but so do a growing number of brands. And this popularity surrounding podcasts has also extended into other forms of audio content, including content for interactive smart speakers like the Amazon Echo. So, if you’re a small business owner, how do you get started with podcast and audio content?
#1: The branded audio podcast
Developing a weekly podcast series can be a great way to build relationships with fans and customers, as well as to attract potential new customers. Depending on what type of business you’re running, you’ll want to create different types of content. For example, if you run a fashion or creative business, you’ll likely be creating very different types of content than if you were running a software business.
The reason why branded audio podcasts are so effective is because they help to boost brand awareness and improve overall brand loyalty. You’ll soon find that your podcast listeners are some of your most passionate and well-informed customers, and in some cases, you might be hosting real-world events (such as a special booth at a trade show) where these customers and fans can meet the people behind the voices.
#2: Short product descriptions or “how to” segments
While branded audio podcasts are the most popular route for brands, they also require a lot of time and energy to produce – not to mention the fact that you might have a hard time finding the suitable host for a podcast show. (In many ways, it’s like the days of analog radio, when you’d never listen to a radio show that wasn’t entertaining, informative or just plain fun).
Thus, a secondary option might be creating branded audio content that can be rolled into a much larger digital marketing strategy. If your company has an e-book for sale, for example, you might be able to create an audiobook version of it, in which voice talent simply reads the book aloud. (You’d be surprised at how popular audio books are with commuting workers and frequent traveler salespeople).
And, if you have a complex product line, it might be helpful to have product managers or sales reps describing the various products, and how to use them. Or, if you have a celebrity CEO, it might be effective to host occasional interviews or “behind the scenes” looks at your company. There are plenty of short segments that you can create. Basing them around events that your company is hosting is one great way to ensure that this content gets as much traction as possible.
#3: Interactive voice content
Once you’ve established momentum (and posted your podcast to iTunes), it’s time to explore new, cutting-edge solutions – such as creating audio content for the Amazon Echo. Some brands, for example, are creating Alexa Skills. Users are able to ask questions and receive specialized responses created by the brand owner. If a large number of your customers have Amazon Echo devices in the home, this might be a way to create a deeper relationship with them. For example, some food and beverage brands are experimenting with Alexa Skills to help out with recipes and food & wine pairings.
In creating audio content, just remember to stay on-brand. Your brand voice needs to have, well, the right voice. A quirky, irreverent fashion brand needs to have fun, lightweight content, while an established brand might go for a more authoritative or expert voice. At a time when Facebook is losing some of its organic reach, audio content can be a fantastic way to reach an entirely different part of your brand audience.