Leverage Spoken Word Marketing

Spoken word marketing is an opportunity?

Old School Phillips Tube Radio Receiver

A brief Audio History Lesson...

The year 2020 marked 100 years since a licensed radio station’s first official broadcast (in the US*), but never before has there been such an opportunity to leverage spoken word marketing from a brand perspective.

But that is changing, radio has dominated the audio media (production and distribution) market. That was, until now.

Give ‘voice’ to your marketing.

Much can be said of how radio has innovated and evolved the audio space for the best part of a century.

As well as providing localized reach for advertisers at highly competitive price points compared to newspapers and television.

Radio stations and ad revenues have been built on the back of radio theatre, talk shows and news, while also piggy backing off music and information.

Radio Stations and governments also found a model of licensing that allowed for targeting and media diversification.

These licensing structures were often focused on niche market segmentation (age, belief, genre) and/or localization (geographic location).

Some were purely commercial, while others publicly owned or community based.

The portability of radio combined with people’s ability to multitask while listening have always been this medium’s strength.

Strengths of other traditional media like newspapers and television, from an attention standpoint, are unable to replicate.

Also, currency to deliver timely information in times of crisis must also not go unmentioned.

so what's changed?

Similarly, to the way the internet, social media and streaming services have challenged the traditional media landscape of newspapers and television.

So too, radio is now in the firing line of what is being referred to as, “Spoken Word Media”.

This is the term being used to describe a bucket of new audio innovations considered in their infancy.

With podcasting 2.0, audiobooks, spatial audio, AI Spoken Word, VR, AR, drop-in social audio, smart speakers and blockchain podcasting (e.g. Hive – value for value) we can only expect more growth in the “Spoken Word Sector”.

But how may these innovations challenge the traditional radio landscape?

In my opinion, of all the traditional media, radio is less likely to be impacted by the growth of the spoken word sector over the long term.

However, this is not to say the medium will not take a financial hit due to dilution in the short term.

I arrive at this conclusion because radio has strengths, other media may not.


Strengths of traditional spoken word marketing

1) Specializing in audio – radio already has all the tools at their disposal to produce audio content and share it both live and on demand to both global and local audiences. That is, they can compete directly with current offerings or even piggy back on modern media platforms, diversifying their offerings and reach. This provides more value for advertisers and audiences alike.

2) Radio’s ability to draw advertising revenue – from local bricks and mortar businesses is likely to be unchallenged by the current global nature of audio streaming. While revenues will decrease, the opportunity for radio to engage and target listeners in real time and locally will continue to provide them with a competitive advantage.

3) Three factors position radio as still a leading format – Music, local market and niche continue to be the foundation for most radio programming. While news services and currency also provide a competitive advantage.

4) Professionalism – the quality of some content being produced in the Spoken Word space, is poor. And sound quality is a big deal for both audiences and advertisers. This, however, does provide an opportunity for the Spoken Word sector to lift their game. So, this could be considered a future threat as spoken word audio production houses improve their product.

5) The biggest challenges – for modern streamed spoken word media continue to be discoverability, searchability and localization. These are not problems for radio stations, in fact, you can pretty much find any radio station streaming live in your city today over the internet. (Check out RADIO GARDEN) or just scan with your DAB or terrestrial radio receiver and you’ll find stations near you.

6) Ease of access – spoken word media may create a barrier to entry from both a price standpoint and a technical knowhow standpoint. While providing improved access for disadvantaged communities and those who are less able.


How to start a podcast modern media school

The challengers - podcast, social audio, audiobooks

Given the existing core strengths radio possess there is likely opportunity in the Spoken Word Audio space for radio too and this should not be discarded as an option for the industry.

On this basis I would say the industry certainly will not be brought to its knees by the competition.

Of course, companies like Amazon, Apple and Spotify will continue to dilute radio’s market share and therefore revenue as is already being noted in some markets.

One recent report of the Australian Audio/Radio Industry found: (source: pwc)

The audio market has continued to evolve, with the segment now covering a range of products that consumers use to access audio services. The traditional stronghold of terrestrial radio is now fully complemented by streaming, podcast, and catch-up services.

This segment was traditionally led by linear radio delivered through terrestrial and digital audio broadcasting (DAB), with music, podcasts, and live radio streaming a small percentage of the industry.

As consumers’ choice for audio content increases, coupled with the 2020 decline in traditional radio revenue, the market is close to an even split between consumer and advertising revenue. 

“The total segment declined 8.1 percent in 2020 to A$1.5 billion. As audiences return to more predictable listening patterns within key dayparts, terrestrial radio will see a recovery, however, it is not predicted to return to 2019 levels within the forecast period. Streaming will continue to see growth of 12.0 percent CAGR to 2025 based on the midpoint forecast scenario as podcasting and music streaming offer alternative ways to access audio content for consumers”

what, when, where you want

The biggest pivot was not to digital radio as people thought would happen in the 2000s, but rather the pivot to Audio on demand and streaming over the internet (i.e. podcasts, audiobooks etc.)

The ability to deliver the type of audio people want, when they want it, where they want it, on the device they want it arrived with the advent of smart phones, tablets and smart devices. (Not DAB devices as was hoped and expected).

And this is why we are only at the beginning of the “Spoken Word” Revolution.

Edison Research 2021 Share of Ear Report in the US found:

Spoken words share of audio listening has increased by 40% over the last 7 years, 8% in the last year.

This shift provides a huge opportunity for those in the Spoken Word Space, as statistics here demonstrate a potential for 7-12% growth to 2025 (projected in Australia and US in these reports).

the opportunity for brands

With the costs of audio production, hosting and distribution coming down there is a massive opportunity for businesses and individuals to give “VOICE” to their brand as never before.

Many businesses have not yet realized the potential impact and reach a spoken word marketing strategy can have for their brand’s growth.

Not hosting “auditorials” on your own website, that give you the chance to speak to potential clients and customers may be a missed opportunity.

While “corpcasts” provide you the opportunity to share internal recorded audio content to deliver information directly to employees’ smart devices, to share with them the happenings of the organization.

And of course, you can produce industry related podcast providing relevant industry insights and information to potential B2B or B2C audiences allowing you to build both credibility in your own sector along with a community that resonates with your business.

A company that does all three may well be an industry leader who has positioned themselves as an early authority in the Spoken Word Audio space.

need help with spoken word audio?

Applaudible can help you or your marketing team plan, produce, edit and launch what I call “Auditorials” and “Corpcasts” as well as traditional Podcasts. Connect with us if you are serious about pursuing a spoken word marketing strategy to grow your brand and add value to customers, employees or industry.

With over 3 decades career capital in the graphic design, IT and digital content creation. We can help you, “Give VOICE to your brand”.

(*Note: The earliest un-official broadcasts of spoken word and music in the US were also said to be 1906 and later in 1909.)

article by applaudable

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Interested in reading another content marketing article by Applaudable? Click here – > Choosing the Best Podcast Format

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