Audio content is booming. Is there a place for it in thought leadership campaigns?
Online audio content consumption is at an all-time high. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital’s The Infinite Dial 2021 study, 62% of Americans now listen to online audio each week – up from 57% in 2018 and 44% in 2015. Reuters, meanwhile, reports that smart speakers now reach 22% of the UK’s adult population.
So audio is very popular, but how can you fit it into your thought leadership campaign?
Which brands are using audio in current thought leadership campaigns? And how is it used to best effect?
Experience best-in-class audio in our upcoming webinar, where FT Longitude’s head of audio Meg Wright, and our co-founder James Watson take us through recent examples of creative and innovative audio in B2B.
Register here | October 20, 3pm BST / 10am EST
Take an audio content deep-dive
If the medium is the message, then audio is the ultimate way to dive deeper into a topic or question. Thought leadership that covers complex or nuanced subjects particularly benefits from audio, because it allows expert speakers to explain ideas in greater depth than other formats.
Ideas, for instance, like how can today’s leaders ensure that their diversity and inclusion agendas are post-Covid ready? And what does it take for HR leaders to create a lasting and positive employee experience for their people? These are two of the questions that expert thought leaders – such as global diversity and inclusion leader and speaker Asif Sadiq – have addressed in audio interviews as part of Sodexo’s Experience Next campaign.
In the right context, audio content can also be a useful way to craft follow-up content, giving audiences the opportunity to explore a topic in more depth. Appian’s Automation Maturity campaign includes a great example of this. First, audiences are invited to explore the website through a report and feature article; then they are invited to listen to an in-depth discussion on the topic of automation in the workplace.
Present the authentic thought leader
“You can’t show empathy over email,” claimed a recent article about why business leaders are increasingly turning to audio formats to stay connected with their workforces.
Done well, audio content is empathetic, immediate and authentic. It can add personality and perspective to traditionally corporate subjects at the same time as showing off the speaker’s expertise.
Take this interview I conducted with Carsten Knobel, CEO at German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel. By exploring the topic of workplace culture and innovation through Knobel’s own experiences, the interview highlights the more human side of a traditionally corporate topic.
And in this interview, Bernd Spalt, CEO at Erste Bank Group, sat down with FT Longitude editor in chief Sean Kearns to discuss how the economies of Central and Eastern Europe can reinvent themselves in the wake of Covid-19. The discussion shows that Spalt is an expert in his field.
Share diverse viewpoints
Does your thought leadership encompass too many perspectives to choose just one? Or perhaps there are a number of sides to a debate that you would like to showcase alongside your campaign. Enter the audio panel.
When done right, panels are the perfect way to engage multiple speakers in a dialogue on a topic or theme that is controversial or multi-faceted. As part of a thought leadership campaign, panels can also show your audience that you know about an issue without directly aligning your brand with one side over another.
An added bonus: multiple or conflicting viewpoints can make for more dynamic listening. Listen, for example, to our recent audio panel discussion for Frazer-Nash on defence sustainability, which features input from three high-calibre speakers with quite different backgrounds.
Serialise a well-trodden topic
There is a reason why serialised podcasts are so popular: they take a well-known story or issue and examine it from multiple angles to create an immersive experience. Audio is only as good as the story and the telling.
Thought leadership campaigns can benefit in much the same way. By examining a well-trodden topic – such as digital transformation, sustainability or the future of work – from a number of sides, audio content can create a deeper connection between your audience and brand.
For instance, in the wake of Covid, Fujitsu wanted to investigate how organisations can adapt in the face of uncertainty. Through a series of interviews, the brand shows that it is across this changing topic by sharing experts’ insights into what it means to be adaptive, rethinking technology investments, creating a people-first business, evolving to deliver value continuously, and why an agile culture is critical.
Still not sure about audio content? That’s okay – it is still a new medium for B2B. But its popularity is undeniable, so don’t write it off altogether. The trick is knowing when and how to use it to ensure you are getting the very best from your thought leadership campaign.
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What could your audio content sound like?
At Longitude, we work with many of the biggest brands in B2B and interview some of the most influential people in their respective fields. Push play to hear what our client’s audio insights sound like as part of their content campaigns.