How to get your content heard with an Alexa-skill and Co.
Audio is a fast-growing trend that offers a wide range of opportunities for companies and publishers – which is just one more reason to look at monetisation and advertising prospects in the audio field along with the relevant user requirements. Those who get an early start will find out sooner what really appeals to their customers and readers.
Here we present some applications and opportunities for a successful start in the new audio world.
It all starts with a story and you already have one
Audio is an additional channel to reach listeners with the content that is already available in a text version. Articles, announcements, and reports can be conveniently deliveredin text form and played back via software as an audio file. Be it a sports news bulletin, stock market announcements, or in-depth features, anything goes.
In addition to recycling existing content, audio offers numerous opportunities to retell your story in new ways – and this is where it gets interesting for publishers and businesses. Product-, brand-, or even enterprise-based themes can be converted into a multi-faceted radio play. Underscore interviews or press releases with original sound, music, or recordings to create variety and attract more attention.
The potential for creativity is endless. Imagine for instance a tour of your own factory as an audio feature. This kind of varied content is especially attractive to the listener.
Cooperations between (audiobook) publishers and enterprises facilitate such productions.
Special audio material is not a must in the beginning.
– Simply use existing articles
The voice – the sound of a brand
A uniform public image is enormously important for an enterprise, be it through corporate identity, fixed slogans, or brand ambassadors – real or as the hero of a promotional story. So you should give your message a distinctive, representative voice with a high brand-recognition-value. Professional speakers are of course ideal, because they convey the content perfectly and captivate the listener. However, professional voice-over-artists are rarely exclusive and therefore not free from listener associations. The slogan “20 percent off everything except pet food” in the German voice of Bruce Willis comes to mind.
To create a brand voice, even on a budget, simply rely on your employees, board members and CEOs, who represent your company with their voice – it could not be more authentic.
Or you give the role to a computer voice. Speech recognition in smartphones or the voice assistants of intelligent speaker systems such as Alexa have long since become part of the daily reality of most users and are gaining widespread acceptance.
Computer voices like the Alexa-skill voice offer a cheap alternative to professional voice-over artists and are increasingly accepted by the listeners.
Platforms and streaming portals
The content is ready and you have found a suitable voice? Then it’s time to make your content heard. You already have the platforms: your website, your blog and maybe even your own app. In all channels, audio files can be integrated, uploaded or text can be read aloud. In addition, there are numerous other providers and platforms to upload your podcast to for the first time, for example Sound Cloud or YouTube. Also Spotify and other streaming services are suitable platforms.
Another solution is a dedicated Alexa-skill for smart speakers. There are various formats in which content can be accommodated effectively and with added value for the user. For example, in the so-called daily summary skills, which give your users an overview of the latest news of the day. Other skill formats, such as purchase orders, booking queries and services, are of particular interest to companies who want to provide an additional service, FAQs, and bookings, or to offer their own products as a smart home application.
RSS, a podcast, MP3 or Alexa? Audio content can be distributed through many channels.
New advert formats
Whether your audio reaches the user through a podcast, as individual contributions in social media, or through skills, in many cases the offer can be financed through advertising. Suitable ads of your own products or those of your advertising partners can be conveniently embedded before and after a contribution. Some platforms also offer pre-set adverts which can be additionally booked.
Various monetization options are already available in the USA for the Alexa skills. Content can be offered behind paywalls or linked to existing subscriptions. Other advertising ideas are reminiscent of the Google experiments last spring. Without their preconsent, users were informed of the launch of a new Disney film via Google Home. Controversial discussion ensued, but it shows where the journey can go. After all, corporate advertising is important for financing editorial work and expanding the company’s presence.
Other rumours suggest that Amazon is collaborating with companies such as Procter & Gamble to develop smart ad formats. The format here is to be less subtle with the advertised product being smoothly integrated into Alexa’s responses. For example, “Alexa, order a new shampoo” – “Would you like to order Head & Shoulders?” It is possible that the responses will be similar to the Google AdWords ranking in the search engine. The suggested brands would then be the ones which have reached the top. Developments of this kind should be kept in mind by marketers and distributors.
Service and information
It does not always have to be direct advertising. Guides, glossaries, product notes, or instructions can also be prepared as a smart speaker applications. For example, a trade magazine can offer a comprehensive lexicon on technical terms, while a sports magazine might keep the user updated on the progress of their favourite game. For companies too, there are content-related skills that supply information on the products’ background and the company’s activities. Consider what services and information you want to provide your customers with: the latest insurance rates? Electricity, water and heating consumption? Status info on orders, responses to typical customer service questions? Shopping deals? The range of options is wide.
Advertising, FAQs, service offers, or the latest news – with the help of audio and Alexa skills these can be easily integrated into the daily lives of users.
Focussing on the user
Or you simply ask your customers what they want in terms of contributions and service offers. After all, many customers have developed high tolerance levels to advertising and it is no secret that companies win over customers with a clever message and corresponding values along with good service, rather than pure advertising. The same principle applies to audio. Contributions tailored to the user or a user group attract reliable listeners and customers. For this, you should know the target audience that you are trying to reach with audio or take the opportunity to get to know them.
To give users an individual and versatile audio experience, offer your audio contributions in various lengths and on diverse platforms. Depending on the platform or target group, stylistic variants of the same content can be presented, for example a more entertaining version or a more factual one. Comments, likes, downloads, and feedback will help to optimize your service. With flexible presentation formats your users have more freedom in their own media consumption and you can offer the right format for a wide spectrum of situations and consumption habits.
Don’t think of audio as just another channel, but rather as a way to accompany your customers through their day with entertaining, well-crafted content.
Whether it be print, e-paper, posting or audio, each format has its own characteristics, which should be considered and used for more diversity in your communication. Start with a simple audio project and you’ll find new perspectives.