I have been blogging for years in Japanese, which is my primary language. Japanese is not the major language in the Internet world. The statistics say that Japanese users constitute 2.7% of the whole internet world. However, its penetration ratio is very high. A survey on April 30th, 2019, showed that 93.5% of Japanese speakers use the Internet.
So, I believe that the internet world in Japanese is quite developed and in 2018 in the Japanese internet world, some of the top bloggers started shifting towards creating audio content including videos. Some Japanese bloggers even stopped blogging — and, I started making my audio content too.
Why did they move onto audio at that point, even abandoning their text content? Today, I want to share with you why they focus on audio content now and why I think we should create audio content as online creators.
Why does audio content matter now?
Audio content is getting more and more powerful. If you live in North America, you may be familiar with podcasts, or you might even have your own channel.
22% of Americans (approx. 103 million people) are weekly podcast listeners (i.e. listen to podcasts at least once a week).
Podcast ad revenue grew exponentially from 2015 ($69 million) to 2018 ($402 million), with the growth forecast predicting a revenue of $659 million in 2020. That’s roughly a jaw-dropping growth of 1,000% in just 5 years!
However, ‘audio content’ is not the only podcast. Amazon promotes its audiobooks “Audible”. Also, lots of people do YouTube and vlogging.
I have been blogging for a few years and I started podcasting at the end of 2018. I started it because I felt that audio content has much more potential. I believe that we should create audio content to get more audience attention.
When it comes to the big picture of online marketing, writers rivals are not only writers. We, writers and bloggers, are creating things based on text. However, we also have to compete with YouTubers and vloggers and podcasters.
It’s because we have to scramble to get the users’ time.
Everybody has only 24 hours a day. We need to sleep and eat. We can’t be online for 24 hours every day. Our online time is limited. When we want to get people’s attention on our product or creation, we have to fight over their internet time.
Online writers, bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers and podcasters are all the players on the same game. The ones who can steal more time of the users will win this game.
I like writing and blogging, but if I could make audio content, I can gain more users’ time. Because, in your life, there are some slices of time when your ears are free, but you can’t read or watch things. For example, when you are driving, cutting the vegetable in the kitchen, shaving or putting make-up on, walking on the street or doing exercise at the gym. You can’t really watch or read something, but you can listen.
So, if I have audio content, people can listen to my voice when they can’t read my stories. That’s what I thought.
There are lots of text content online already. People are almost lost and struggling to find the right place to read. However, there are still lots of space in terms of audio content. Audio content has a huge potential.
How to make money from audio content
People are moving onto audio content because they can potentially make money through it.
People are getting tired of advertisements on the web. There are native ads and video ads already, but sound ads are new. It is not a mature market yet, but will grow as audio content gets spread more.
As a creating podcasts app, Anchor has already started its sponsorship program, although it doesn’t work for me (maybe because I live in Canada).
Or, if you have a big audience, you will have a chance to find sponsors.
Sell your audio product
You may have already heard of audiobooks. You can directly sell your audio content to your fans. In this genre, I am not familiar with the English platform, where you can sell your audio files. However, there are some Japanese platforms which exist already, so I imagine that it’s not too difficult to find ones in English.
Also, there is a platform of the podcast with subscription, which is free from ads. The subscribed podcast is a new movement, but we may listen to the high-quality podcast behind the paywall in the future.
Expand your audience and guide them to your non-audio product
You can build up your audio channel to expose your brand more online. If you are a writer or blogger, you can reach the people who don’t read so much and get them interested in you as a creator.
If you have already published your books, you may find potential readers of your book through your audio content. Actually, this is what I did through my podcast and YouTube.
How to deliver your audio content
We have lots of options to create and deliver audio content. I tried some of them, so I think I can give some ideas to you.
The podcast is like internet radio on demand. Here are some ways to create and provide podcasts;
- WordPress + Plugin
- Use Anchor app (Spotify)
For the beginner, I recommend Anchor, and if you live in the U.S., you can join their sponsorship program. I haven’t tried Castbox, but it seems to have their monetising program too.
As far as I know, these three ways are straightforward. There may be other ways to provide podcasts, and more and more platforms will be developed as podcast-creation tools.
YouTube is a video sharing platform, so it’s not the content only for listening. Still, you can make content which people can enjoy just with their ears.
You can monetise it through Google ads or your own sponsors, though your YouTube channel has to meet certain Google policy conditions. Also, you should not forget that it relies on ads through which the unit price is influenced by the economy and that you have to follow the Google policy updates.
Podcast vs YouTube
Podcast and YouTube are SEO friendly on Google. When you think of exposing yourself or your products on audio content, these two ways look more interesting than others, but which is better for you?
This YouTube video might help you to decide. It is not mine, but I think it’s pretty smart.
It seems that you can record your voice and publish your audiobooks on Amazon, though I haven’t tried it yet.
Besides Amazon, there are some websites you can sell your audio files. I don’t have much knowledge of these services in English, but you can find them through online searches.
Be a pioneer on audio content
I don’t think that people will stop reading, but I am sure that more people will enjoy audio content rather than just text content in the future, especially in the era of 5G.
So, if you are seriously thinking about self-branding, the audio content should not be ignored. We are already living in the world where “everybody can be a blogger,” and the future “everybody can be a podcaster” is coming soon.