By Bryan Orr
First off, I’d like to give a quick disclaimer: I am an audio nerd. I would rather consume audio content than any other form of media. Apparently I’m not alone. It’s been noted that 30% of the population would be described as auditory learners.
Podcasting and web-based radio is on the rise, with blockbuster hits like Serial and This American Life. Also, many people are finding audio books to be a great alternative to reading books because they can be consumed while driving, exercising, and even during some kinds of work.
For the majority of businesses, this segment of content distribution is being ignored. Here are a few of the advantages of audio over writing and video:
- Audio can be consumed in large chunks without being overwhelming.
- Audio files are smaller and much easier to edit than video.
- Almost everyone has a phone capable of playing audio MP3 files, so distribution and playback is universally available.
- Audio can be consumed when other forms of media cannot (while driving, walking, exercising, etc.).
There are a few disadvantages to audio:
- It is difficult to find specific clips in long audio content because it is not searchable or scannable.
- Visual and kinetic learners may struggle with content of any complexity in the audio form.
- Because it is a newer phenomenon, many people are uncomfortable with learning in this way.
There are two potential areas that you may be missing out on using audio for your business:
Customer Connection – Audio is a very intimate medium; people who listen to your voice will feel a much closer connection to you than by simply reading your words. You may want to consider creating a podcast for your industry or specifically for your customers. The barrier to entry is extremely low and all the equipment you really need to create a podcast is a microphone and a computer.
Employee Training – One of the areas that I have personally seen great benefit in audio, has been in employee training and communication. In our company we have begun recording all meetings and training sessions and making the audio available immediately afterwards via an emailed link. This is a great way for anyone who couldn’t be present to still benefit. Many will listen to and from work during their commute. Meeting audio can also be transcribed later to produce training manuals, memos, and marketing content.
Producing audio is as easy as using the recorder on your phone, and there are some simple tools out there:
- Edit using Audacity for PC or Mac (completely free)
- Automated post processing via Auphonic.com
- Share via Soundcloud.com if the sound file is too large to share via email
Audio is certainly not the solution for everything; step-by-step processes with lots of detail are still definitely best served with text and video. But audio can fill in the times when staff and customers are doing another task that make reading and watching video impossible or impractical.
How do you use audio in your business?