A woman sits with her phone in one hand and headphones in her ears. She appears to be listening intently.

Audio Content Strategy: 5 Examples of Audio Blogs

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Seems like every marketing publication is all abuzz with articles on audio content strategy: from how to harness the power of voice search, to how to turn your blog posts into podcasts, there’s a lot to take in.

Perhaps one of the best ways to narrow down your strategy, is to see what other industry leaders and innovators are doing.

And on that front, the publishing industry has long been admired and emulated by marketers, who have borrowed from the profession’s deep storytelling roots in order to tell their brand stories. It’s fitting then, that publishers are offering one of the most inspiring examples of how audio can be woven into the online environment. Truly, we’re living through the Rise of the Audio Blog.

Here, we’ve rounded up five examples of how digital publishers are enriching the user experience with embedded (and sometimes downloadable) audio. Each approach is unique and offers its own advantages, when it comes to how a brand might incorporate it into its content publishing strategy.

1. Marketplace.org: Enhancing Content with an Embeddable, Downloadable Audio Player

If you haven’t heard of Marketplace, this organization is on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country. How they do that, is through journalism that combines the best of radio, podcasting and written content.

Here’s a Marketplace article on the incredibly lucrative audio market in China:

A screen shot of the Markeplace website shows an article titled "FOMO in China is a 7 billion industry." Alongside the site's main image there are audio players

It’s clear that part of this publication’s content strategy is to make it easy for audiences to share their content as far and wide as possible. Marketplace has their audio player listed above the story and below, so it’s hard to miss. Plus, they also provide audiences with the ability to download the audio and/or embed it elsewhere…

Like right here:

As a publication, it’s clear that Marketplace operates with a strong focus on audio. Their storytelling style includes a rich tapestry of sound. A narrator introduces the story by hooking the listener with the most enticing main points, and then brings the story to life through audio samples of the actual interview. They also employ sounds from the street and ambient noise to paint a soundscape that makes the listener feel like they’re on the ground with the reporter.

The engaging end result speaks for itself.

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If you’re looking to thrill listeners and bring your story to life, all while increasing the reach of your content, this could be just the ticket. However, you also need to have the resources (equipment or finances to hire experts) and/or skills to pull it off. This format of storytelling can be heavier lifting for some.

That being said, having an embed function on your audio player allows you to think of your audio content strategy in a similar fashion to your video content: video can also be embedded to make the content literally go farther for the brand. Think of promoting audio content the same way that you’d promote video content – optimizing for sharing and embedding capabilities.

2. The New Yorker: Listen on Page Only for Long-Form Storytelling

It seems fitting that The New Yorker, a publication known for its commentary on pop culture and Americana, as well as its insightful and sometimes satirical tone, would infuse its long-form storytelling with the actual voice of the author.

In this example (Ways and Means by Sana Krasikov), you can see that the publication includes almost an hour long narration by the author herself. Listeners can hear the emotional inflections she weaves into each character’s dialogue, making them real in a way that reading alone cannot.

A screenshot of the New Yorker Article shows that an audio player is embedded at the top of the page.

The audio player is placed just below the large banner image and unlike the Marketplace example, the New Yorker has not enabled downloads or embedding of the audio. If one were to extrapolate the reason why, it’s likely because the New Yorker wants their readers/listeners to stay on the page.

The audio narration by the author is clean and direct, without any additional audio cues or added ambiance, which creates an intimate storytelling experience. Listeners can indulge in the peacefulness of one-on-one storytelling with the author. It’s like a private reading has been arranged, just for them.

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If you’re trying to hold attention on page and have great, long-form content, this could be the way to go.

3. Maclean’s Magazine: Enrich Your Long-Form with Audio Snippets

One of Canada’s leading publications, Maclean’s has been enriching their long-form posts with audio snippets for several years now (from what we can tell, they’ve been doing this since at least 2015).

Maclean’s audio integration strategy offers yet another creative way to bring your articles to life. While their audio doesn’t cover the whole story, the embedded portions of in-person interviews certainly do enhance it.

In terms of placement of the audio player, Maclean’s differs from other publications here too: instead of embedding a player with a whole article’s worth of audio at the top of the post, Maclean’s has woven audio snippets throughout, giving readers breadcrumbs to discover as they scroll down the page.

Here’s how they do it: In this compelling Maclean’s article about Jo, a 38-year-old man who has early onset Alzheimer’s, the publication has embedded audio of Jo himself, describing what it’s like to have the disease. This audio enhancement makes us feel closer to Jo. We can hear his pauses and go along with him on his journey to find the right words. It strikes an unequivocal emotional chord and brings the story to life.

A screenshot of Maclean's magazine online shows a tiny audio player embedded in the middle of the article.

You can listen to Jo in this Maclean’s article from 2015, and actually follow his journey to see where Jo is at in 2018, when he’s 41.

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If you’d like to get greater scroll depth and increase time on page time.

4. The New York Times: The Daily – A Podcast Page

While many publications are including audio along with full-fledged written articles, The Daily, by the New York Times is a little different. Their strategy is positioned with ‘audio first, copy second.’ Even though The Daily is listed as a ‘column’ for the publication, it’s clearly a podcast.

In a nutshell, The Daily, by the New York Times is the publication’s 20-minute audio segment that covers top points in the day’s news, and is published each day from Monday through Friday.

A screen shot of The Daily by the New York Times shows a colorful screen with an audio player.

The page has a short teaser for each episode, but according to the Times, they decided not to post a transcript. Instead, the creators opted to have the guests speak slowly and clearly so that  even those who are learning English as a second language could appreciate and access the content.

When you consider the multicultural makeup of New York City, (where the heart of the New York Times beats), it makes sense that they would consider language diversity in their audio content.

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This strategy is great for news publications that have a regular publishing cadence and are interested in reaching a wide audience through multiple distribution channels.

5. The Atlantic: Audio Articles

We may have started off with examples of written articles getting enhanced by audio, but for the Atlantic’s Audio Articles, the example here is in the opposite direction: the success of audio content is being helped along by being placed on the Atlantic’s online publication, where its readers congregate.

In terms of what the content actually contains or covers – there isn’t much of a description of the audio content to dive into, but there are definitely enticing titles. Given that this content is created by The Atlantic, it’s likely that their audience’s interest will be piqued, regardless.

A screenshot of the Atlantic publication shows a page full of audio article content.Use this Strategy

If you have a branded podcast, this strategy might be for you – as you could easily leverage your complementary blog or website as additional podcast/audio hosting.

How Will You Turn Your Publication into an Audio Blog?

With the above examples in mind, it’s clear that there’s a lot of room for creativity when it comes to how you convert your written words into an audio journey. Plus, each strategy or tactic you decide to implement could create very different results for your content marketing efforts.

We hope that these examples have inspired…Maybe so much so, you’re ready to create your own audio blog?

Or maybe you have other ideas? How will you be leveraging audio online?

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