Audio Blogs – Audio Content Alternatives to Traditional Podcasts

In a content shocked landscape filled with noise, the main goal in marketing is being heard, and holding the attention of your audience.

And so, having a strong grasp on the way people engage with, recognize, and recall messaging, is important when it comes to content creation. Audio blogs drive more traffic, deepen engagement, and connect in memorable ways with your audience.

So allow me to make the case for audio blogs. Outline what they are, how auditory memory works, and how audio blogs can give your brand a way to cut through the noisy competition, and get heard. 

What is an Audio Blog?

Audio blogs are content, narrated by a human, and distributed as a sound file, either as a podcast, or on sound-based social media, like SoundCloud.

Top major publications, like The Atlantic, New Yorker, and WIRED, have partnered with audio agencies, like Audm, to feature their top stories in audio form, read by quality, human narrators.

Why make ANOTHER version of existing content? 

One truth about content marketing is that you don’t always need more stuff, you can syndicate & distribute what you already have, in new formats.

Ask yourself; why don’t you read more long-form content or blogs?

Be honest! 

Most people simply do not have time to keep their eyes on the screen long enough to ingest quality content, no matter how high the quality. 

Audio blogs give the audience a way to experience content, away from the screen, creating a memorable, emotional connection. Sounds like BS, right?

According to a few informal Twitter polls, audio content connects with emotions and is found to be much more memorable than a blog post.

Neuroscience research shows that emotions impact memory making, and so, providing an audience with a way to experience content through a more expressive medium like audio, is good, sound marketing advice.

Do audio blogs increase engagement with content?

In my experience, the Time on Page analytics for blogs that feature an audio option at the top, are typically 4x that of text-only blogs.

Analytics show that engagement metrics & traffic for audio content, when compared with blogs, is always higher, sometimes by as much as 10x.

The highest average time on page metric for blogs; 1-2 minutes.

The highest average time on page for our podcast; 12 minutes.

This Is Your Brain On Audio Content

Another winning argument for audio content, is one of neurological significance, meaning that the sense of sound impacts our brains in a significant way. 

Activating our entire cerebral cortex, from the most basic limbic systems, to the most advanced parts of our consciousness, sound processing is unlike any other sensory experience, because it’s one that happens physiologically on the brain itself.

When we hear and process sound, our entire brain gets in on the game, synchronizing our bodies through rhythm with our cerebellum and nucleus accumbens, inferring pitch and timbre with our auditory cortex and amygdala, and associating memories and emotions with our hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

And all of this happens, directly on the tissues of the brain.

If we could peel back the layers in your brain, we’d be able to identify structures on your auditory cortex called tonotopic maps, on which frequency selective hairs receive wavelengths and identify, and fire in resonance with, the pitches from external sound sources.

The truth is, what goes into your ear, comes directly out of your brain.

In regards to the marketing importance of this finding it shouldn’t be lost, that sound is a distinct and memorable experience that manifests itself physiologically in a brain. 

If there is one lesson to take away for marketers looking to create memorable associations in the brain with marketing materials, listen to the latest neuroscience and create some content worth hearing. 

Combining Audio and Visual Content Marketing

The truth is, when it comes to memorizing and engaging with content, there are several different learning styles aside from auditory, including visual and tactile.

Visual and auditory memory work differently in the brain, and so, providing content that can be both seen or heard, is a clear strategic goal to ensuring your message reaches as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible.

Another benefit to audio blogs, is that your blog gets new life in search engines as a piece of audio content and gets filed like a podcast, giving your blog distribution dominance over your competitors with blogs lacking an audio alternative. 

In Conclusion

As podcasts continue to rise in popularity, and more brands & businesses join in the attentional hunger games of content marketing, audio blogs are going to become more commonplace.

Audio blogs deepen your content’s engagement in ways that are neurologically distinct and simply impossible with text.

Audio blogs are distributed and found by audiences on platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes, places most blogs dare to dream.

And finally, audio blogs allow your brand and business, to make content worth hearing.

Interested to add audio content marketing, like audio blogs, into your mix? Get in touch!

Audio Drama – Stories You Have To Hear

As podcasts continue to expand in popularity, the medium is expanding it’s creative boundaries with entertaining and immersive audio fiction offerings, versus the standard “expert interview” format.

If you’re new to the world of audio drama or audio fiction, it can be a little overwhelming knowing which of the hundreds of series on offer will be worth your time.

Well, I’ve put in the hours, so lemme tell you a little history on audio drama, and then pick out a handful of current shows you simply have to listen to!

Audio Drama – A Brief History

Audio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustical storytelling performance. 

Dialogue, music, and sound effects, combine to help the listeners imagine the story in their heads, the end result being “auditory in the physical dimension and equally as powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension.”  

Very simply, audio dramas are stories, stories are culture, and culture is humanity.

So, back in the day, to ensure culture propagated into the future, humans passed their stories on, through voice and song. This has been the case ever since we could first string grunts into a sentence.

What’s different in storytelling through audio, is the ability to “set the stage” and create an immersive experience that’s engineered to capture people’s imagination, the most notable instance being the original “War of the Worlds” radio drama broadcast in 1938, which was perceived as an actual Martian invasion, sparking real world panic.

Audio dramas were BIG business during the golden days of radio, roughly 1920-50, so “audio content marketing” is not a new thing.

The term “soap opera” originated from radio dramas originally being sponsored by soap manufacturers.

Pepsodent, Cream of Wheat, Procter & Gamble, all of these brands spent THOUSANDS of marketing dollars, over decades, sponsoring award-winning audio dramas. But it wasn’t to last.

TV started to replace radio sets in the 50’s, and most audio dramas died out.

However, they didn’t disappear. CBS Radio Mystery ran all the way till 1976. In 1981, STAR WARS was adapted as a radio drama by NPR and a few college students, the result being beyond awesome! 

These days, thanks to the proliferation of podcasts, there is a massive wave of talent and a sea change of creativity coming to audio, with new dramas being cranked out by some of the most innovative minds & actors in creative storytelling and audio production.

Current Audio Dramas You Should Listen To 

FOREST 404” – This is by far one of the best audio dramas we’ve listened to.

Forest 404 is set in the 24th century, and the protagonist, Pan, is a young woman with a boring job sorting and deleting old sound files. When she comes across the sound of a rainforest, it sets her off on a path that changes the entire world.

The acting by Pearl Mackie (Dr. Who) is superb, and the way the audio drama sparsely uses SFX and relies on first person narration for the more visual scenes is class! There is also an ecological and educational component to the show which is even more class!

Written by Tim X Atak, produced and directed by Becky Ripley, with music by Bonobo and sound design by Graham Wild.

Tumanbay” – Immersive, romantic, and enchanting, “Tumanbay’ tells the epic saga of the most magnificent city on Earth.  A Sultan fears an invasion, his servants aren’t to be trusted, spies and thieves abound, and through it all, the city of Tumanbay provides the setting for this tale of war, love, loss, and life in the desert.

Amazing sound design, very compelling narratives, and the writing, particularly by John Scott Dryden, is fantastic!

Written by John Scott Dryden & Mike Walker, produced by the BBC, with sound design by Steve Bond and music by Sascha Putnam.

Tracks” – A multi-award winning conspiracy thriller, “Tracks” follows a few different storylines throughout it’s six seasons, all with a centralizing theme of WTF.

The narrative structure of “Tracks” is so engrossing, and Romola Garai, the actress that plays the protagonist, is extremely talented at weaving in and out of narration and acting, and the writing and scientific underpinning of the script is superb. 

Most memorably, there is a scene in the first season, where two characters are in a dark, fetid basement, fumbling around for a really important piece of evidence, all the while commenting on the horrible smell, and I remember listening to it and plugging my own nose!

Written by Matthew Broughton, Produced by the BBC, Directed by Helen Perry, Music by Stu Barker.

Marvel “Wolverine” “Wolverine – The Long Night,” is an engrossing story about cults, international crime, mutants, and unsolved murders, set in the dark wilderness of Alaska. As he’s chased by his government creators, Wolverine struggles to remain indifferent to local bad-doings, but finally, brings righteousness and revenge to the perpetrators, and calm to the town. 

Written by Benjamin Percy, Directed by Brendan Baker, with Sound Design by Chloe Prasinos

Marvels” – This was a really fun series! Adapted from a 90’s comic book series by Alex Ross & Kurt Busiek, “Marvels” recounts an intergalactically huge battle in NYC, between the Fantastic Four and a giant named Galactus. 

Starring Method Man(?), as a journalist covering the disaster, (he’s excellent!) and several other super talented actors, this show was a masterclass in storytelling, and the sound design for the epic battle in the skies over Manhattan is something you have to hear to believe!

Written by Lauren Shippen, Directed by Paul Bae, with Sound Design by Mischa Stanton
Passenger List – A missing plane, a search for the truth, and a bad-ass audio drama starring Kelly Marie Tran! (Star Wars Last Jedi) This was a very thorough story, with convincing performances, always good motion to the narrative, and one that keeps you coming back and engaging you.

Not surprising, “Passenger List” is being adapted for TV, as well as continuing on to make a second season of the immersive scripted audio drama. This is a damned fine audio drama!

Co-written & Directed by John Scott Dryden, Lauren Shippen, sound design by Mark Henry Phillips, produced by Julia Thompson.

In Conclusion

With an illustrious past filled with quality content, and a bright future where audio drama deals & productions are in the works from major studios like HBO, DC Comics, Amazon, Netflix, and even brands , the trajectory of audio fiction is promising and full of potential.  

I believe, the content we choose to make in this day and age, whether it’s for business or pleasure, has to be distinct, sound authentic, and be worthy of the attention & time of listeners.

Interested in creating an audio drama for your brand? Get In Touch!

Audio Content Marketing Alternatives to Podcasts

Podcasts! Everybody’s listening to/already has one, but what if there were audio content marketing alternatives to the traditional “podcast?”

Find out how Branded Sound Experiences, Audioblogs, and Commercial Musicals might help your brand make the right kinda noise, in your marketplace.

State of The Podcast Nation

Recently the marketplace for audio content has become saturated with podcasts, and the numbers just keep going up.

If the numbers from the Edison Infinite Dial surveys are accurate, more than half of America knows what a podcast is and has listened to one, and 37% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly.

This trend in podcast listening is significant to marketers looking to add an audio component to their mix, but it does nothing to inform you on what type of podcast you should launch.

Should your podcast be like a radio show? On YouTube, no video, weekly, daily….hourly?

Should you have interviews, or just monologues, or start collecting random jokes about your cat?

Thankfully, you can get answers to the more technical questions on how to launch a podcast, in this post, “So You Wanna Start A Podcast?”

Let’s explore a few audio content marketing alternatives to podcasts.

1) Branded Sound Experience

The average lifespan for a podcast is 174 days.

Everyone says that consistency is key in marketing – but the stat above shows that most marketers and brands don’t have the attention spans, or budgets, to keep long term projects, like a traditional weekly podcast, afloat.

So, a possible answer is, a Branded Sound Experience; a limited-run podcast, that works more like a TV series, than a TV news program.

We show up to TV for different types of content, that serve different entertainment needs. For instance….

TV News is a temporal, quantitative, attention fix.

Audiences build a relationship with the anchors, the format, experience the content in repetitive, time-based packaging, and takeaway novel things, in a standard way.

TV Series are a temporary, qualitative, attention fix.

Audiences build a relationship with the characters, the story arch, experience the content in finite, seasonal packages, and takeaway standard things (romance, drama, comedy), in a novel way.

An example of Branded Sound Experience: “The Colorado Vibe”

PROBLEM – A personal injury law firm, looking to create a content marketing destination that connects with their Colorado client base, brings prominence to their brand, and affiliates their law firm, online, with notable places & people.

ANSWER – A 10-episode audio narrative, highlighting Colorado’s historical locations and legendary characters, released as a podcast on over 61 different digital platforms. Each episode uses sound design, audio journalism, music, and historical field recordings, to bring the Colorado vibe to life.

Listen to a sample here -> “Cave of The Winds Mountain Park – INTRO

2) Audio Blogs

PROBLEM – A brand that has been blogging for years, is now looking to expand into podcasts.

ANSWER – Record your blogs, and distribute the audio blogs on podcast platforms, as well as on your own site.

An audioblog inset (example)

Most people do not have time to read long-form content.

That’s why Atlantic, New York Times, WIRED, and hundreds of other publications/media companies have partnered with Audm, to feature their top stories in audio form, read by quality, human narrators.

So – does it work? Do audio blogs increase engagement with content?

In my own experience, the Time on Page (TOP) analytics for blogs that feature an audio option at the top, are typically 2-4x the TOP of text-only blogs.

One truth about content marketing is that you don’t always need more, new, stuff, you can syndicate & distribute what you already have, in new formats.

3) Commercial Musical

From the 60s-80s, companies like General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, DuPont, Xerox, worked with musicians, composers, choreographers, to create *their own branded, Broadway-style musicals!*

HUGE original stage-productions, about soap? A compelling song-and-dance-based narrative about motor oil? These all happened!

In the AMAZING film, Bathtubs Over Broadway,” Steve Young discovers the vinyl records of these musicals, and tracks down the composers that wrote the music, and stars that got their start, in these musicals, (Martin Short, Chita Rivera, Cloris Leachman) and it is an amazing glimpse into what “content marketing” used to look like.

What if, instead of another boring podcast, there were a way for a Grammy-nominated composer & musician to create a Commercial Musical for your brand or business?

My first commercial musical; “ROI: The Musical”

Of course, I had to try this out for myself, so in an attempt to better explain the function of marketing, how sales and ROI, data, and strategy all intertwine to guide business development, I wrote ROI: The Musical”

ROI: The Musical” is a musical audio drama, in which, the leadership staff of a fictitious company, after a journey of transformation, discover that investing in marketing the business isn’t about ROI, it’s about RO-Why.  

The question business leaders should ask in regards to marketing & ROI is not “what will we get out of marketing,” but “why are we even doing this?” 

Beyond just getting more leads & business, why choose marketing?

The WHAT of marketing, the tactics & measurements of marketing can be mishandled, misinterpreted, crammed into square holes with circular logic; you want ROI, I can get you ROI.

The WHY of marketing, the strategy, is about more than a return on investments, it’s about the purpose for being in your brand’s marketplace. RO-Why.

LISTEN to the soundtrack –>

LISTEN to the show –>

Interested to learn how these audio content alternative might work for your brand or business, GET IN TOUCH.