With the rapid adoption of smart speakers and voice over the smartphone, the even more impressive adoption of hearables, the exponential growth of podcasting, and the sudden burst into the scene of social audio apps such as Clubhouse and Discord, I think it’s safe to start declaring that audio and voice have landed upon the mainstream.
It’s also safe to conclude that, given the adoption and the use cases, and the rise of a social media dimension in all of this, Marketers need to pause and take note of what is happening.
More concretely, they need to give themselves a sober assessment of how seriously they are taking audio and voice — in deed, and not merely in words — at this crucial junction in this new digital turn.
To help with that assessment, we at Witlingo have put together a handy cheat sheet that can help you get a sense of your Audio and Voice — let’s call it Sonic — readiness level:
- Do you publish a phone number on your website and other voice properties. If not, you should. People want to talk to you. Give them a way to do that. Yeah, it’s expensive to have people take calls. But you know what: if you are going to say things like, “We are all about the customer” and “We want our customers to have a voice” (notice the rise of roles that now include in them something along the lines of “Voice of the Customer“), then at least try to mean it by letting your customer reach out to you when they need your help (or when they want to buy from you!). Services that help you with this abound, but we recommend ring.io and Grasshopper.
- Do you retain an expert in voice marketing who is making sure that your digital presence is voice friendly? Meaning: is your website such that if someone searched using voice they would find you before the competition? Chances are that you don’t. Experts on this do not abound right now. Given that time is of the essence on all matters SEO, we recommend you either bring an SEO expert in house or outsource to an agency or consultant.
- Have you deployed an Alexa skill/Flash briefing/a Google action/a Bixby capsule (let’s call them Voice First apps)? Your customer should be able to ask their Amazon Echo and their Google Home about your brand. When you pop on their mind, they need to be able to act on it. Be there when they want to talk to your brand.
- Do you surface your voice apps on your social properties? Meaning, is there a place on your digital assets mix where customers can be made aware of your Alexa skill or Google action. See for instance the way the Witlingo Alexa skill is surfaced on Witlingo’s twitter feed. If you don’t, you should. It’s an easy way to get people to find out that they can talk to your brand.
- Do you publish a podcast? If not, do it. It’s easy and it’s fun. There are plenty of products out there that let you launch and maintain a podcast easily. Three come to mind: Anchor, Buzzsprout, and Podbean.
- Is your digital content (articles, blog posts, bios) voiced? Can people listen to your website. If not, we recommend Trinity Audio and Spokenlayer
- Can your customers, prospects, fans, members, leave voice comments, and listen to voice comments, through your web site? Voice has the perfect ROI on effort for content. You can pack a lot of meaning with a few spoken words, with far less effort than with video, and convey far more meaning than a picture or words can.
- Do you have someone who is in charge of your sonic brand? If you are going to launch a podcast, have a voice app, voice your audio content, etc., you will need to have a sonic brand manager who will ensure not only consistency between the sounds and the voices, but consistency between that emerging sound feel and your overall brand. If not, check out Dreamr Productions and Audiobrain.
- Do you have a voice artist on retainer? Your sonic brand manager is very quickly going to ask you to settle on a human voice and a voice artist who will voice it. If you don’t have one, try Lotas Productions.
- Do you have a social audio room? This is basically Zoom but for voice only, with the added (and important) dimension of social. The way it works is you create “a room” and you make it public and you invite people (say, your prospects, customers, fans, readers, etc.) to join in and have conversations mediated by someone, say, on your Marketing team. So, instead of the heavy (and often boring) Webinar, you can have a social audio session. If you don’t have one, try Clubhouse or Discord.
So, how did you do? How many of the above were you able to say “Yes” to? What is your Sonic Readiness score?
- 0 – 2: Your are in a perilous situation. You need to move fast!
- 3 – 5: You seem to understand the need for taking audio seriously. Now, you need to translate that into a plan of action. And then you need to start executing.
- 6 – 7: You are doing well. Keep going.
- 8 – 9: You are a champ! Why not go for perfection?
- 10: Perfect! You are golden. You are a winner. Don’t ever change!
PS: If you would like to do a deeper dive on your Sonic Readiness core, leave a comment below so you can continue the conversation!
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