The vast majority of bloggers inevitably face the same problem: the well of visitors slowly dries up and traffic winds down. You dedicate your time to what you are passionate about, maybe even try to make a living out of it and build a professional network, all to see it come to a halt at some point.
A bitter truth is that it’s becoming harder to drive traffic because there’s just too much noise. Ironically, the way to cut through it and attract more people to your blog is by making some actual “noise” – convert articles to audio.
User behavior has shifted, and so must you
Maybe you haven’t noticed it but audio is enjoying a second youth. Almost all age groups use some form of audio content in various scenarios, and through different platforms and distribution channels. In the United States, one-third of the population is listening to a podcast on a monthly basis, representing 90 million monthly listeners. Two-thirds of the population is listening to online audio, spending an average of nearly 17 hours every week.
Similar growth numbers are recorded outside the Anglosphere as people across the globe are spending more of their time listening. In the quest to improve user experience, publishers are tapping into the daily habits of their readers and experimenting with audio, focusing on podcasts and audio content for smart speakers. Advertisers are following suit, increasing investments in digital audio – arguably a very significant entry in the ‘pro’ column.
Where does this infatuation with audio come from?
One major advantage of audio is the ability to reach audiences in places most visual mediums can’t. I don’t need to blind you with numbers and stats to prove this point. Just think about it: when you’re commuting on your way to or from work, are you more likely to listen to audio content or watch a video or browse through your newsfeed? What about jogging or working out or any other activity that requires your concentration? Audio offers minimal disruption to it and that’s part of the reason why people are increasingly focusing on the listening experience. It minimizes distraction while promoting another important aspect: multitasking.
In times where everything is largely about efficiency, having the ability to multitask while receiving information or interacting with your surroundings becomes all the more indispensable.
Basically, you are in someone’s head
I’d argue that if you want to get your message across, the easiest and most direct way would be through people’s ears. As I’ve explained before, people do actually listen, even if it’s more of a “background noise” when they cook, for instance. They want audio and it doesn’t get more direct than being inside someone’s head, does it? It’s hard to beat such an intimate, one-to-one connection.
So how does one enter the audio renaissance and leverage this evocative medium?
For starters, it doesn’t take much to convert an article to audio. While the technology used to be fairly expensive, technically challenging, and cumbersome, the entire process of transforming text into lifelike speech now takes only a few minutes.
The end result is an embedded audio player that seamlessly blends with the rest of the website. A couple more clicks to customize it to natively align with the site’s overall look (and feel) and you get an audio option without any disruption to user experience. Look no further than the top of this post for an example of native audio experience with a natural-sounding text to speech narrator.
The role of contech (content technology) shouldn’t be neglected. Besides the affordable entry price tag, contech will further complement the listening experience and add more value through content aggregation and recommendation.
User engagement will increase by aggregating and recommending top trending and related content based on continuous learning of listeners’-to-be behavior. Afterward, they will spend more time on your blog, exploring more content while browsing. The technology is developing at a fast pace so I expect to see an increase in the usage of voice and text to speech technology as it catches on.
Having an audio-friendly website will soon be a must
All of them combined, these factors make both attracting and engaging audiences with audio content fairly easy and painless to implement. In other words, adding it to your blog means meeting the evolving needs of an expanding group of listeners.
But don’t just take my word for it. Google is delving deeper and deeper into the audio sphere with moves like adding playable podcasts directly in the search results based on the company’s understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast. What’s more, apparently users won’t need to use search for a specific podcast or even use the term ‘podcast’ to see episodes in search results, but rather have them displayed as any other content when a topic is searched for.
Podcasts are audio’s big story so it’s only a matter of time when other audio content comes into the fold. Even from the SEO perspective, having an audio-friendly blog will be beneficial in the long run.
Audio unlocks new opportunities and experiences
Apart from being a channel that’s easy to interact with, audio unlocks an entirely new level of opportunities for bloggers, particularly one without any audio legacy whatsoever, to easily attract and connect to new audiences. In addition, different types of audio and ways to consume it are creating new opportunities to better understand and monetize them. Audio brings an acute sense of familiarity, making it almost addictive in terms of content consumption.
From commute-based news updates to afternoon podcast sessions to evening audio articles, audio content is assuming a larger role in everyday life each day. As we slowly approach 2020, now is as good as time as any to take a closer look at where user behavior is heading and how to take full advantage of it. With all that’s said and done, there’s no doubt in my mind audiofying your content would be a sound move.
(pun not intended)