Gregg Blanchard - July 10, 2014
I've always liked audio.
Soon after podcasting became a thing, I started my own and rode the wave to a thousand or so folks listening to my weekly spouting about business and marketing before I had a sliver of experience in either.
In my mind, despite the strength of YouTube and the ubiquity of blogging, the spoken word has a few things going for it.
#1) Mistakes are Okay
Misplace a single comma or use they're instead of their and the webz will be allz over you. Why? Well, lots of reasons, but one reason is because there is no conversational writing, if that makes sense.
Meaning, both writing and audio have times where it's highly polished and carefully structured. But audio has something that writing doesn't really have, a format where your tone makes it clear what you're saying isn't scripted. And, so being, people will forgive any imperfections therein.
#2) It's Backgroundable
In a world of many-tabs-open-at-once, video has to be visible, text has to be visible, but audio can just be playing in the background while you work on that spreadsheet or check that email.
And, so being, it's able to be ever present even as we rapidly toggle between other tasks throughout the day.
A book, and any given word therein, could have been written by a dozen authors. Video doesn't even have to have a voice or any human in the frame at all.
But audio is personal. It's human. Only one person can talk at a time and by so doing, there's a much more one-on-one feel to audio that these other media often don't have.
Three Interesting Trends
It's on that note I've seen three interesting trends in audio come about as of late that has me wondering if we as marketers need to think about this medium beyond the typical snow phone recording. For example:
There hasn't ever been a place were short-form audio fits and makes sense. Not there is in Spoken with thousands of eager members already on board (it's only about a month old) even before they roll out anything beyond the typical MVP (minimum viable product) or any marketing really at all.
Your Poorly Recorded Voice Sounds Perfect: https://t.co/BfRzwUVcgY— Spoken (@withspoken) June 22, 2015
Combining the personal nature of audio and the technology of location-aware devices, Detour isn't as new as Spoken but in recent months has proved it has legs and is here to stay. Sherpa is proving this sort of thing can work.
With all the money in tech, a lot of people are surprised to know that a company that does nothing but produce podcasts – Gimlet Media – raised over $1,500,000 in venture capital. Because VCs base these decisions on a return many times what they put in as well as potential growth within a vertical, it's a good sign for audio from the people (investors) who watch these trends closer than any of us.
For months now I keep seeing the pendulum swing back in favor or audio. Not just podcasts, but the versitile, lightweight, easy-to-create and easy-to-share nature of this powerful, personal medium is being selected over and over and the right choice for a growing number of jobs.
With fairly inexpensive distribution and a format that's packed with portability, it's worth at least a short discussion whether or not there are opportunities for your mountain this season.