The Rise Of Audio Storytelling
Believe it or not, people have always been great listeners. From traditional storytelling predating the written words to more modern means of communication starting with tape recorders and now, using some of the most advanced 21st-century digital technologies. No matter what one is consuming- music, news, talk shows, audiobooks, gripping…
Believe it or not, people have always been great listeners. From traditional storytelling predating the written words to more modern means of communication starting with tape recorders and now, using some of the most advanced 21st-century digital technologies.
No matter what one is consuming- music, news, talk shows, audiobooks, gripping podcasts, people are perpetually consuming information with their ears. Furthermore, audio-streaming is a clutter-free environment, which means consumers are less likely to get distracted.
A country like ours has always had a rich history with audio content. From the tales of Panchatantra to stories by Indian writers to music, our country has consumed content such as cricket commentary, Premchand ki Kahaniya, Shayari by Ghalib, and so much more across different platforms. The podcast market growing in India is just rediscovering its love for audio content.
Hence, it is of no surprise that India stands as the world's third-largest podcast listening market, and by 2023, the number of listeners might rise to 17.61 crores! One should keep in mind that in our country, there are over a billion phone connections; however, only 35% of them are smart. That means audio content can reach devices where video fails.
Video content consists of extensive research and execution; however, the sound still accounts for 60% of an ad; it’s an area that creative agencies/marketers need to take advantage of. In a world that's becoming increasingly voice-controlled, this is the time for brands to build their sonic identity.
Choose the right format
Interview: A panel-discussion or roundtable format, with a host who leads the conversation. It is a classic in the world of podcast/audio storytelling, features a consistent host, and a new guest every episode. This gives the audience a chance to learn something new every time they tune-in and be introduced to a lot of interesting people within a niche and learn from their expertise.
Monologue: The commentary-style podcast is built around one personality, which gives the show one voice or a single point of view. This is where the podcasters connect with the audience in an intimate manner and with people all around the world. Some of the best podcasters' not only offer their listeners entertainment/education but also serve up a slice of their heart: their passion, likes and dislikes, and soul.
Multiple hosts: The podcast is divided between several people, or two or more co-hosts leading the show. This is the kind of format that involves two people having a conversation and generally have great chemistry. This is unlike an interview podcast; both are hosts. In a case like such, both of them will play a specific role in the conversation. For instance, one might talk about the idea/service/products, and the other will provide commentary or comedy.
Narrative: This storytelling style of the podcast focuses on how the content is presented. Many narrative podcasts have a decidedly linear quality, and generally, one might not see a shift in topic or segment. They are usually story-driven shows, as opposed to interviews and rely heavily on editing to splice together the right story, pulling from recordings, sounds, music, and other interviews.
Mixed/Hybrid: This hybrid format uses various elements of the other four content types & may repurpose content from other mediums, such as radio. For instance, the show starts with a discussion between two hosts and ends with an interview? Maybe one is a solo presenter, and for part of the episode, one dishes out expertise and then includes an appearance from one of the listeners? There are no rules in this one, and one can mix and match depending on what suits the show.
Think on your fingertips
Keep your podcast focused & narrowed to a single topic
As one progresses in podcasts, the fun also increases, and so does the comfort. But one thing that holds paramount of importance is to make sure that one doesn't become so relaxed that the conversation consistently strays off the topic. To keep oneself on track, follow scripts or notes, at least loosely.
If one feels like that they are going down the wrong path, reign conversation back to the initial plan. That being said, not all tangents are bad, but make sure that one is not eroding the value of the episode.
Create fictionalized models of ideal customers & devise audio content based on that.
When producing content, it is very helpful to think about the kind of audience one wants to attract and try reaching out to them with the help of the podcast. Several marketers set up buyer personas that are fictionalised models of ideal customers. One can create such models as it will help craft the content.
Convert podcasts into articles & publish on content seeding platforms with a CTA to the original podcast.
One might feel like once they have posted their podcast, their job is done for the day. However, it is imperative that one convert their podcasts into long-format articles and publish them on content seeding platforms that have a CTA to the original podcast, as this will bring more traffic to the podcast.
Add good intro & outro music to the audio podcast to captivate consumers' attention.
Add music but do not infringe on copyrights. One can also add music in between the podcast that denotes segue to another topic or segment.
Utilise platforms like Anchor, which help distribution audio content across various platforms.
Platforms like Anchor give one the freedom to record from anywhere. It helps capture audio straight from one's phone, iPad, desktop computer, all one has to do is use the Anchor's recording tools, and it is also compatible with most external microphones.
Leverage email marketing by sending monthly or bi-weekly recap of the latest podcast episodes to encourage subscribers to engage.
Make it personal. No matter how many emails you send out, try to make it personal and include some snippets from the podcast. Another thing one can incorporate is- send a note the day the podcast goes live and include a series of shareable media such as images, pull quotes, and links.
Urge subscribers to share reviews as positive reviews can help the podcast rank higher in searches.
Make a list of the subscribers and urge them to leave a review as it can help the podcast rank higher in searches. Make sure to reply to the reviews as well, and this will show how much one cares about the content they are publishing and also adds a personal touch.
Include a transcription with the podcast as it makes content more accessible for the audience & helps improve SEO rankings.
Many highly successful podcasts offer a full transcript of the entire podcast as it has great SEO benefits. Furthermore, it improves the discoverability of the episode by focusing on keywords, content structure, and topics. Not just that, but a transcript has the potential to make the podcast more accessible to people and can even split the topics that are mentioned in time brackets to help everyone find them easily in the podcast.
Research and statistics continue to prove that podcasting has revolutionised the audio landscape, as we witness listening numbers reach millions. And, to imagine that 20 years ago, podcasting or audio storytelling wasn't even in the dictionary, while now it plays a crucial part in the audio landscape. Moreover, with new-age consumers currently consuming content through various platforms and sources, the only way to stay relevant is by exploring every aspect.