We often hear content marketers ask for new ways to repurpose blog content. Our response?
Harness the power of sound and turn articles into audio.
Consumers want to know what you have to say, but the upward trend of audio suggests that they may prefer to hear it. Research from Comscore shows that daily listening trends are up. People streamed audio for almost an hour longer in June 2020 than they did at the end of 2019.
It’s hard to argue against adding audio content to your marketing strategy with stats like that.
If you’re curious how audio articles can help your business grow, you’ve come to the right article. In this blog post, we’ll explain:
- Why audio articles create a better experience for visitors
- How giving visitors the ability to listen to articles increases brand awareness
- The ways that audio can boost your content’s SEO power
- How you can amplify your content with audio in cost-effective ways
Audio articles create a better user experience for visitors
Audio content continues to gain popularity as a way to consume online content. It may soon become many people’s preferred way to engage with online media.
In 2019, the time consumers spent listening to spoken word media was 20% higher than it’s 2014 level. This increase continues for a couple of big reasons:
- Frequent use of digital devices and their portability
- Consumers’ desire to connect with brands on a deeper level
The convenience of portable content
Digital devices play a major role in our everyday life mainly because of the convenience they provide. We can connect with others, share content, and get any piece of information we need all in a matter of seconds.
Add on the ability to multi-task with portable content like audio and consumers are provided with choices and convenience.
Major news publications now give their audience the choice to engage as readers and/or listeners with audio news articles. The entire weekly edition of The Economist is available in audio format to the publication’s subscribers. The Guardian has on-page audio players and a “More Ways to Listen” section on the side of their audio content. This call-to-action encourages visitors to listen to the content on major podcast players or download the audio so that they can listen offline.
By converting text articles into audio articles, you’re giving your audience the option to listen to an article on their phone, tablet, computer, or through a smart speaker.
They can then choose to listen to articles actively or passively. Some people may prefer to listen to an article while reading along to help with comprehension. Others may like audio articles because they allow them to multi-task and consume information while doing another activity such as exercise, household chores, or commuting to work.
Additionally, audio articles make online content more inclusive and accessible for people who are blind or living with illiteracy.
The power of audio to strengthen brand affinity
Audio articles are convenient for consumers, but the greater power of audio content may be in its ability to strengthen the consumer-brand relationship.
Consumers turn to audio content to educate themselves on different topics, entertain themselves, and find inspiration.
Putting a voice to the text, especially a voice that becomes familiar, creates a feeling of closeness between a brand and its audience. Consumers are loyal to brands with which they feel an emotional connection. Loyal or “fully-connected” customers are key to a business’s long term success as they provide 52% more value to a business than “highly satisfied” customers, according to research by Harvard Business Review.
The option to get information and interact with a company or publication via audio articles enhances a consumer’s overall experience with a brand through convenience, accessibility, and emotional connection.
Image source: Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon. From “The New of Customer Emotions” November 2015 © hbr.org
Audio articles increase brand awareness and reach
As we touched on earlier, audio articles provide a personalized, more emotional experience for your audience. This connection is essential to customer loyalty and retention. By creating an enjoyable user experience, visitors are more likely to engage with your content. The great thing about engaging content is that it gets shared!
One of the best examples of how turning articles into audio helped increase a brand’s awareness and reach is the success of Danish online news publication, Zetland.
In the summer of 2017, after requests from their readership and a growth plateau, the publication moved to a complete text-audio hybrid model. They started offering all of their articles in an audio format and have seen tremendous growth since.
Members loved the audio articles (70% of article consumption are the audio versions) and began inviting others to talk about the new audio content. Loyal Zetland readers/listeners became brand ambassadors for the journal. The increased engagement and sharing to personal networks of their audience gave Zetland a 25% increase in paid membership growth.
In this particular real-world example, we see that:
- There was an audience demand for audio content
- When members’ demands were met, the adoption of the new audio article model was successful
- Audio articles increased customer loyalty and engagement
- Audio content also increased awareness and extended the brand’s reach which led to an amazing paid customer acquisition rate
Zetland’s success with audio content shows how beneficial converting articles into audio is for spreading awareness of a brand’s content and the brand’s initiatives to collaborate and deeply connect with consumers.
Audio helps SERP ranking for podcasts
Search engine optimization is a necessary tool for anyone looking for organic traffic to their website. While most SEO tactics are usually focused on text-based strategies, audio articles can help your blog posts rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP).
Audio articles help increase time on site and retention while also decreasing bounce rate. All of these metrics tell search engines that your content is valuable. The perceived value of your content by the search engine increases your chances of being ranked higher on the SERP.
Where audio content shines brightest for SEO currently is with podcasts.
Last summer, Google started indexing audio content and surfacing individual podcast episodes in search results. In order to achieve this massive indexing, (Google’s index includes over 2 million podcast episodes) Google automatically transcribes podcast episodes that are published through an RSS feed. This isn’t much different from how Google indexes websites.
When a user searches for a specific podcast or a show about a particular topic and includes the word “podcast” in the search query, Google will display podcasts and episodes matching that query.
For example, here’s what it looks like if you enter a search query for “content marketing podcasts”:
With the broader search query, Google first shows you a list of podcast shows that are about the topic for which you’re searching. Scrolling down a bit further brings you to a section where you can begin listening to individual podcast episodes (through Google Podcasts).
Even with these latest advancements, audio SEO is still in its infancy.
In the future, you won’t need to include “podcast” in your search query to see podcasts populated on the SERP. Results from third-party podcast applications like Apple, Stitcher, and Spotify will show up on the SERP page (not all podcasters publish to Google Podcasts).
Even though Google isn’t currently indexing audio articles, the trend is heading towards making audio content a priority. Google Podcasts founder and Head of Product Zack Reneau-Wedeen knows that “there’s a discovery problem” with online audio content, but Google is committed to rectify that as their “mission [is] to organize the world’s information.”
Google’s prioritization of audio content, should serve as motivation for content marketers and brands to develop a good audio strategy now. Audio articles are a great place to start.
Audio amplifies your content at a low cost and no extra time
Audio articles help to increase the impact of your content. The best part is that you can incorporate audio articles into your content marketing strategy easily using cost-effective options.
There’s a low (or no) barrier to entry to turn articles into audio. You can use a plugin like BingeWith that handles all of the hard work for you. There’s no advanced coding required!
Repurposing text into an audio format also allows you to share content on your social media platforms. Communication with your followers and the large audience on social media can be limiting as most social media platforms have character limits on captions and messages.
Using tools like audiograms to share your content amplifies your content and reaches a larger audience on social media and other platforms at a relatively low cost.
The same way that posts with images generate 650% higher engagement than text-only posts, adding audiograms or short videos snippets to posts increases participation on social media.
With audio content, you’re able to say more to a greater number of people without the restraints of character limits or limited budgets.
What will you do with audio articles??
If you’re looking for a way to repurpose blog content that will strengthen your brand’s relationship with your existing customers and get the attention of prospective customers, we’re confident audio will work for you.
Audio articles will:
- Create a better user experience by giving visitors options to integrate your content into their everyday life
- Boost brand awareness and overall reach by getting your existing customers to share your content with their networks
- Help your site rank higher in SERP and stay on the upward trend towards audio content
- Amplify your content without having to endure a steep learning curve for you or your audience