Image credit: Dmitry Ratushny
“Alexa, play my audiobook.”
Storytelling has always had a spellbinding effect on humanity. Since the beginning of language, children and adults alike have gathered around to hear treacherous tales and swashbuckling adventures.
Even in the digital age where screens outnumber books in almost every social setting, nothing captures our attention quite like a good story. Fortunately, the way we share stories has evolved along with technology and now we can simply ask Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or Google Assistant to read them to us.
We can get informed on the latest news, have our favorite novels read out to us, and listen to interviews featuring people we admire. Thanks to voice technology and virtual assistants, stories have transformed into interactive experiences.
With about 50 million smart speakers sitting in homes across the U.S., it’s no wonder organizations are looking to harness this new storytelling medium.
Let’s forget the “audiobooks aren’t real books” argument for a second. No one can deny the hands-free convenience of listening to your favorite book while cooking or doing chores around the house.
Audiobooks in particular have been steadily increasing in popularity over the years. In fact, according to the Association of American Publishers, audiobook sales in the U.S. rose 32.1% in 2018's first quarter.
A Voicebot.ai study found that listening to audiobooks is actually one of the top uses for Amazon Echo, which has led to a surge in publishers looking to enhance their content delivery using voice. Naturally, Google began offering audiobooks too in an attempt to loosen Audible’s grip on the smart speaker market.
Outside of Audible, Amazon also offers interactive stories as part of their Alexa Skills. Companies like Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., and even LEGO are using voice assistants to engage their listeners in innovative ways. It won’t be long until just about every media company is using voice to tell their own stories.
Podcasts are essentially on-demand radio talks. You can pop in your earbuds and listen to real-life conversations and motivational monologues from your favorite people. (Fun fact: the name “podcast” is a combination of iPod and broadcast.)
Podcasts are one of the most popular tools for learning and personal growth. According to Podcast Insights, 44% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, where almost half listen to them at home and 22% listen while driving.
Just like with audiobooks, podcasts are leaving our laptops and phones to enter the world of smart speakers. You can already find over 500 podcasts on Alexa Skills, including TED Talks, New York Times documentaries, comedy stand up, and pop culture interviews.
The popularity of podcasts is steadily increasing and businesses are using them to create engaging content and build new marketing strategies. As Fast Company puts it, “podcasts are ads people actually want to listen to.”
Branded podcasts have the potential of reaching over 21 million people in the U.S. every month. Blue Apron has been a big advertiser in the podcast space, but they’re gaining competition now with companies like Microsoft, Shopify, Slack, and even McDonalds getting in on the podcast trend.
Learn how to give your stories a voice
Join the Audible team at VOICE to hear their story on all the challenges and innovations they tackled while making audiobook history. You can also hear from the talented Kate Seabury, Director of Original Content Development at Audible, who will be sharing insights on the how voice technology is being used to tell stories in sound.
That’s not all, there will be panels of experts ready to shed some light on how you can use voice technology for your own podcast or audio content. Sounds like something you need? Register for the 3-day event (or you can just go for one day) here and follow VOICE on Twitter for updates!