ITV recently added an audio blog for their contestants on Love Island in a move to make their content more accessible after criticism that it wasn’t accessible to all. So this week I discuss audio-first content creation and how it boosts accessibility. If you want to learn more, stay tuned as we delve into how you can use the power of sound to reach and engage with a broader audience.
Let’s dive in!
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Full Transcript (unedited)
Firstly, what are audio descriptions?
Audio descriptions are a form of narration that helps make visual media more accessible to those with visual impairments. They provide an additional auditory track that describes the important visual elements of a scene that would otherwise be missed.
For example, they might include details such as the expressions and actions of characters, the environments they inhabit, or the text and images present on-screen. These descriptions can significantly enhance the overall viewing experience for those who would otherwise miss important information, making them an essential component of any audio-first content creation strategy.
I am a huge advocate of audio as it is such a powerful tool that should not be overlooked when developing your communication strategy. By using audio-based content, we can engage with customers in a way that they find convenient and enjoyable. I want to use it more across my own content, such as my website and am looking into how I can best get audio descriptions to do that.
This is not only effective for those with visual impairments but can be particularly effective when targeting audiences who may have difficulty engaging with traditional visual content, such as those who are on-the-go or may prefer to use audio for certain brain conditions or learning choices.
Additionally, audio can be used to convey emotions or strengthen your brand identity through the use of music and sound effects.
On the flip side audio can also be a better format to get ideas down and create content for some people. For example, one of the reasons I have a podcast and not a blog is that I find it easier to get my ideas down using audio rather than writing them down.
So if you have a reluctant interviewee for a case study or interview it’s worth considering audio as a way to record the interview and then transcribe it for the blog post, for example. I find this has been a really useful way for me to capture facts, and descriptions first-hand in a much more accurate way as you really feel the sentiment as well.
But it’s not just in the workplace.
A survey by the National Literacy Trust found that 1 in 4 (25.4%) children and young people are listening to audiobooks, with 1 in 8 (12.8%) listening to just audiobooks and a further 1 in 8 (12.6%) listening to both audiobooks and podcasts.
A further 1 in 4 (23.3%) children and young people listen to just podcasts, meaning nearly 1 in 2 (48.7%) listened to some form of audio
Most children and young people have access to technology that would enable them to access audiobooks, with 4 in 5 (82.5%) accessing websites online. This also increases with age, with 71.7% of children aged 8 to 11 accessing websites compared with 92.8% of young people aged 16 to 18.
From a diversity perspective,
When asked whether it was important for story and information books to include characters or people from different backgrounds, 7 in 10 (70.6%) children and young people who enjoyed listening agreed, compared with 6 in 10 (62.2%) who did not enjoy listening.
Children and young people who self-describe their gender as other than boy or girl are the most likely to say that it is difficult for them to find characters in books that are like them (54.2% vs 34.7% of girls and 32.2% of boys).
Meanwhile, this group are also the most likely to enjoy listening (48% vs 45.9% of boys and 41.8% of girls).
So there are a number of reasons to think about audio-first for your content. I will leave you today with 5 things to think about if you are going to start using audio content in your strategy;
- Know your target audience: Ensure your audio content is tailored to the preferences, interests, and needs of your target audience for maximum engagement and impact.
- Focus on storytelling: Create compelling narratives that hold your audience’s attention and spark an emotional connection to inspire them to take action.
- Optimise for various platforms: Make sure your audio content is suitable for multiple devices, including voice assistants, home speakers, and mobile devices, ensuring seamless user experience across platforms.
- Incorporate a clear call-to-action (CTA): Give your listeners a clear direction on what you want them to do after consuming your content, whether it’s visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.
- Leverage analytics and data: Monitor the performance of your audio content regularly and use analytics to optimise for better results, adjusting aspects such as format, length, and frequency.