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If you build it, they will come…

The audience share of audio has increased massively thanks to the rise of smartphones, smart speakers, 5G connectivity and podcasts. With the medium growing at a rapid rate those who do not have an effective audio strategy could find themselves missing out to those who do.

Sports fans have changed over the last decade. Whilst there will always be a hardcore of 'traditionals' who bemoan the ‘Armchair Fan’, it is that variety of supporter that is becoming increasingly dominant. Factors such as cost, geography (or even global pandemics) mean more fans are consuming their chosen sport via online, TV and social media - and audio is a crucial element of that.

1. Give it a go.

Entering the world of audio need not be a massive commitment in the first instance, since a growing trend right now is towards short-form content. Whereas the podcast space was once dominated by a two-hour deep-dive conversation, now 2-3 minute listens are finding their space in the market. This is partly due to the rise of Spotify as a podcast destination (a platform where listeners are used to short-form content) and partly due to the growth of Smart Speakers and Audio Assistants - a medium far more suited to short form audio delivered as the result of a specific request or search.

2. Integrate audio into your current digital strategy, making audio available on existing platforms.

Audio doesn’t just compliment your content strategy - it should also fit in effortlessly with your digital strategy too. Just like your content strategy, this is a way to better connect with customers and can potentially serve a myriad of purposes; from generating leads to driving sales, to just increasing brand awareness.

3. It does not have to be built from the ground up.

By integrating your audio content into your existing digital platforms you create a richer user experience and take advantage of your existing audiences. It is simply a case of considering what audio will fit which channel. For example: Creating audio versions of your website’s news articles is a great way to add more accessibility to your site. But it also creates additional content that can be used as an Alexa Flash Briefing and provide more content for an existing mobile App.

4. Repurpose existing assets.

You may have already done the hard work in terms of creating your audio content. Look at what you’ve already created in other formats as this could provide the backbone (or at least the starting point) for your audio strategy. Whilst there is always going to be some element of work involved in re-purposing (for example) video content to work in an audio format, being able to use existing content reduces both the time and resources required. Your website probably has large amounts of static (yet engaging) content. Blog posts could be turned into mini-podcasts providing another way to serve existing content to your customers. This would be easily searchable via Voice Search and provides your website with increased accessibility.

5. Think about what need you are filling.

Do you represent a minority sport that struggles for mainstream coverage? A weekly podcast or commentary stream will keep your fans in touch with regular news and events. In the current climate, the removal of the pre-match routine and match day conversations with fellow fans may create a need for a live on-line Twitch show where fans can interact before kick-off. Developing podcasts and other audio assets that help fans feel closer to a club will pay its own dividends in the long term, but identifying a specific need that your audio strategy can fill could even help provide instant ROI.

6. Create bespoke audio content, like podcasts or news updates.

With an estimated 100,000 new podcasts released during just April of this year, the chances are there will already be some kind of audio content that relates to your specific sport but don't let that put you off entering the space. Listen to the available shows, identify what you like and what you don't and work out how you fit into that picture. Learn from what is already being created and assess how you can complement or challenge it.

Jim Salveson is the Head of Sport at

Voiceworks can deliver your audio strategy, from content production & distribution, to developing new technology channels so that you can be heard in a voice activated world.

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