First off – allow me to welcome you on our blog. No fancy grand opening with confetti and fireworks, we’re keeping it low-key.

Well, maybe a little confetti.

Second – I know why you’re here. You’re looking to enhance user experience for your readers and you heard a little something about the role of voice in the exponential audio revolution.

You’ve come to the right place. Virtually everyone and their dog (just look at Amazon’s Super Bowl ad) is excited about what’s happening with the voice technology right now. The rate of change is rapidly growing and the trend of growing audience and audio content will continue upwards.

As voice technology becomes more accessible and polished, consumers are leveraging it in more and more ways. One thing is clear:

businesses need to integrate audio into their overall strategy, fast.

Increase engagement through audio

Audio has been an important and fairly popular aspect in a consumer-oriented market such as the publishing industry. Audiobooks have a long history but have really found their footing with the advent of mobile devices, particularly the smartphone.

More people embraced the on-the-go model of doing things and shifted how they consume their content. Powered by the hands-free convenience, the business of storytelling branched out to other mediums, most notably the thriving podcasting, which many organizations see as fertile ground for new engaging content and marketing strategies.

The ownership of smartphone speakers is driving voice usage but podcasts just might be the decisive proof of the current importance of audio content. 124 million people in the U.S. alone have listened to a podcast last year, which is a 40% increase compared to 2017. In 2019, Edison Research estimates that 144 million people are listening to a podcast, which represents a key milestone for podcasting as it reaches an astounding 51% in the U.S population.

This is content people actually want to listen. Many that frequently listen to podcasts are more likely to absorb audio messages rather than visuals like text. For publishers struggling to cut through the noise to get and retain reader attention, voice technology is the perfect partner in crime.

iPhone earbuds

While audiobooks and podcasts require the bare minimum of technological savviness but lots of time, voice tech has all the potential and capabilities to fill the void between the two sides. There’s still the matter of those short, yet effective bursts of information.

It opens the door to new opportunities to monetize a website/blog as you can do a little experimentation of your own with content and delivery: what you produce and how you release, be it an audio exclusive, short story, full-on episode, audio snippet derived directly from the text on the website for an immediate audio user, etc.

Why convert article to audio?

I could throw in here various stats and reports to illustrate the volume and importance of the entire voice first movement (and I will, from time to time), but I’ll refrain to just one, almost anecdotal, example.

Recently, Amazon’s vice president of Alexa, Steve Rabuchin, confirmed that there really are 10,000 employees working on Alexa and the Echo. Think about that: more than a dozen SMBs worth of people are trying to make sure everything you say to your smartphone or smart speaker and is said back to you adds to a more valued service.

Sure, you can say Amazon has the resources to pull it off and not bat an eyelash but isn’t that indicative of the value of audio? If such a giant can devote huge resources to the core of its retail strategy, surely there is an equally huge opportunity for businesses that want to enhance user experience and increase engagement. For instance, Forbes has long ago added spoken versions of its articles to its repertoire, in search of finding new and unique ways to engage their audience.

Forbes Audio Articles
Wrong Forbes, apparently.

Publishing articles, frequenting the social media, and submitting newsletters is not enough anymore. If you want to be able to reach a maximum audience, you need to set the bar higher when it comes to meeting customer expectations.

A recent study showed voice delivered nearly two times unaided brand recall (96%) as opposed to TV, and on par with native mobile. This is because audio content is more engaging, fun, and quite frankly – less boring, and it also delivers a customized experience that users are demanding. Add in the fact that one of the most common voice activities is checking the news and it’s clear that the battle for readers’ attention can be won on the audio front.

Contech

Not long ago I stumbled on a quote, attributed to Arianna Huffington, that said:

“Never make decisions from a place of lack.”

For those not familiar with the term, the root of “lack thinking” is a misguided belief that having what you want is not achievable. The problem is you want many things, not just one (don’t we all?). Anyway, the quote immediately reminded me of contech and the many challenges publishers are trying to overcome because that’s my line of business.

Contech is short for content technology, a term we at Trinity Audio coined to easily address the necessary symbiosis of content and audio via voice technology. Whether it’s adapting to the rapidly shifting digital publishing market, adopting new technologies without hurting revenue, distributing content to emerging platforms, or trying to improve user experience and keep visitors longer without alienating them – so much can be achieved with so little by bringing content to audio.

It seems that mobile penetration is on an all-time high every once in a while, and with it the level of consumption while listeners are on the go. Put bluntly, if you are a publisher that doesn’t employ voice interfaces as a medium for increasing your visibility, then you are in serious risk of being left behind. From distribution to monetizing existing body of content, the potential is impossible to ignore.

Despite everything, we are still in the early days of voice, where future success will come to those who move the fastest. Audio content represents a massive opportunity for publishers to target and reach a wider audience and increase revenue in the process.

With even more voice tech accessibility, 2019 is firmly set to keep the audio engine reaching new heights. Trust me on this: no publisher wants to sink into irrelevance. Hopefully, we can make that journey together.

Image credits:

https://tenor.com/view/glee-jane-lynch-confetti-celebrate-gif-3469825
https://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/blog/8-must-listen-podcasts-for-entrepreneurs
http://listentoforbes.com/about/