Marketing comes in many shapes and sizes with one of the most efficient types being content marketing. This particular kind works so well because it isn’t overt – it’s much more complex and goes far beyond traditional marketing or an advertisement directly showing you a product or service and, what’s more – asking you to buy it.
In other words, it’s the difference-maker between content people actually look for and want to consume and content they’d rather give a wide berth.
But what is content marketing in this audio world I’m referring to?
To begin with, it’s about adjusting the approach to a rapidly growing medium that has successfully occupied the attention of many. With the advent of voice technology, the past couple of years brought notable changes in the way we interact with our devices and surroundings. It’s the next evolution of content and to understand how its fits in the content marketing sphere, we need to cover the basics first:
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing methodology that drives a targeted audience to your product or service by creating and distributing valuable and relevant content they love and converts them into lifelong customers.
It revolves around storytelling – creating a narrative around your solution and painting a picture to your audience. It isn’t just about subtly advertising something – it’s about giving your audience something useful in return for their attention, establishing a long-lasting connection. This also answers the question of why content marketing is more effective than traditional ways.
What is good content marketing?
The most important thing is to make it valuable. You have to think about the consumers you’re trying to reach and ask yourself what information and what part of your story they’d find interesting and practical.
It’s a good idea to build a successful content marketing strategy in stages and lay a solid foundation for your future effort(s):
- Create your buyer persona profiles: define your target audience: their demographics, challenges, needs, where they go to for information and where they hang out online.
- Map out your audience’s buyer journey: understand the different stages of the process they go through – from realizing they have a problem (awareness) to researching options (consideration) to opting for a specific solution (decision).
- Brainstorm: based on your buyer persona’s profiles and their buyer journey, plan the content you’ll create for them. Remember: they key is it’s NOT ABOUT you. It’s about adding value and building trust.
- Publish, share, and optimize: share and distribute the content you create across the platforms your audience is present at, then
- measure and analyze to get the most out of your digital content marketing efforts.
The content you produce also has to be created in a way that makes the audience eager to consume it, perhaps even willing to pay for it. Gary Vaynerchuk, one of my idols, is a great example (and on a daily basis, at that) of meaningful content marketing with a host of engaging, yet low production videos on different platforms. His savvy use of content and social media is the reason why he’s crushing it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and who knows where else.
I’m not saying you should go ahead and splurge your entire budget on short feature films to promote your business (it would be sweet, though) but you get my drift – you need to provide value and maximize its impact.
Where does audio content fit?
The same principle I mentioned above goes for audio. There are plenty of reasons why you should incorporate audio to your overall business strategy, not just in terms of content marketing.
As mentioned in the beginning, voice technology is responsible for the ongoing shift in user behavior. The emergence of smart speakers, whose growth seems unstoppable at the moment, and the surging popularity of podcasts are two major reasons why there is a bona fide voice revolution/audio renaissance happening. Businesses that are currently throwing cash at the general direction of voice-enabled content and podcasts are doing it less for the ‘experimental’ reasons and more because it’s the smart thing to do.
As with every technological evolution, only a handful of people ever saw it coming from the get-go but now that we got a good look at it, one thing is clear:
audio is where audiences are these days, and they will likely stay there.
Content consumption has moved to the domain of the user, where their terms are the rules of the game: when, where, and how they want it.
Audio makes all of this possible because it’s applicable to almost every situation, yet it requires no active involvement from your audience. Audio content easily captures attention when looking at a screen all the time isn’t an option, such as driving and working out, along with a multitude of other activities like commuting, working, cooking, and so on.
The volume of convenience audio brings (hah!) is virtually unmatched, and it shows. Readers no longer have the time or will or patience to read when there’s a listening experience available. That’s why more and more businesses and websites are increasingly offering different ways for their users to consume content, such as audio players that instantly transform and read out the content (more on that in a minute).
The rise of both smart speakers and podcasts means audio content is going to play a major role among publishers and content creators in the next few years. It’s an opportunity to leverage an entirely novel lane for traffic and visibility. It can help you reach new audiences, as well as connect with the existing ones in a familiar, yet exciting fashion. I’m even willing to bet most of them are probably already using it.
Content marketing tactics
There are a lot of ways to implement different tactics depending on your goals and needs. Content marketing solutions include the good old:
- Blog – a highly relevant (duh!) and popular method of helping users and prospects overcome challenges, gain value and trust you as an industry leader and potential business to buy from.
- Infographics – a great way to visualize important bits of data, especially large(r) amounts, in a more captivating way than regular text.
- Videos – one of the most preferred forms of content that routinely delivers high engagement. ‘Nuff said.
- E-books – longer and more in-depth form of content that is typically used as a lead generation tool, often going into further depth about a challenge your audience is facing, and offered as gates content.
- Newsletter – email is still a super valuable option (not to mention cost-effective) to build and maintain a connection with your audience.
Audio in the mix (ha! a second time) somewhat changes things. There’s the added advantage of new and innovative technological advancements like enabling placement of audio players inside your blog posts. This way, human-like voices can read content to your visitors while allowing them to handle other important tasks at the same time. I expect the vast majority of websites to be ‘audiofied’ sooner, rather than later.
Furthermore, smart devices powered or enabled by voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant can read desired content to users or brief them about the main points. One of the examples is the flash briefing skill you can create to provide a quick overview of news headlines and other short content that updates frequently.
Don’t forget podcasts – audio’s blockbuster star and arguably the most popular way to consume audio content. Moreover, users seem to respond well to ads in podcasts and audio ads in general, opening a new world of monetization opportunities. An increase in traffic brings an increase in advertisers looking for space to get their message through – an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.
If you’re using blogs as your content marketing strategy of choice (accompanied by an audio player), don’t forget to use calls-to-action (CTA) to make sure your visitors are here to stay, not just reading and leaving. You can invite them to start a trial, request a demo, download a ebook, apply for a webinar, and so on, whatever is contextual to the content and their stage of their stage of the buyer’s journey.
Mastering online content marketing is your ticket to marketing success
Having a well-designed content marketing strategy is essential in today’s vibrant and intense business climate as it can give your company a competitive edge. By competitive edge, I mean solving various problems almost every business out there is facing: brand awareness and preference, virtually non-existent organic search volume, disengaged customers, and tangible return on investment.
But to solve these problems, content marketing needs to be at a high level. It isn’t enough to throw out stuff online for people to read and hear. There’s a necessity to acknowledge and respect who your audience is and where it is exactly in its buying journey. Once you gain that understanding, you can create valuable and engaging content to gently push them all the way through the sales cycle.
I hope this answers the ‘what is content marketing’ question and how audio fits in it. It’s a process that should closely follow the “right content at the right time in the right place” mantra. Once you nail it down, you’ll see an increase in traffic and leads and become a trusted source of information – one that will grow your customer base.