But what makes a great audio interview?
It’s a question we get asked a lot. In truth, there’s no simple answer. But I can tell you the most common mistake we see brands make when they produce audio for the first time: they focus too much on the interviewee or presenter.
“One of the biggest mistakes brands make is choosing who should speak before thinking about what they want to say, and who they want to say it to.”
It’s OK. We get it. Your preferred speaker probably has a great track record of public speaking and a personality that you know will win over your audience in an instant. Or maybe they’re ready for prime time and it’s your job to help get them there.
Either way, you’ve probably skipped five steps that will help your audio interview really engage listeners.
Five steps to a great audio interview
- Decide on your objectives
- Work out who your audience is
- Consider your capabilities
- Make the most of your topic expertise
- Pick the perfect speaker
1. Decide on your objectives
The broadest consideration should always come first: the objective. Do you want to engage a specific audience? Or is your goal to build your brand and reach new markets?
As with any content or format, you should shape your audio content using your objectives right from the start. If your audio insights are designed to help you expand in a new market, for example, then your content must be relevant to that location and that audience. Otherwise, it won’t have any impact.
2. Work out who your audience is
Focus on your target audience by avoiding generalisations when you think about who you want to reach. Too many companies say they are trying to target “the C-suite” with their campaigns and content, but that’s too broad: the C-suite consists of individuals with very different roles, personalities and requirements. So be precise about your audience and who you really want to engage.
Once you know who they are, consider how they listen. What platforms do they use? What formats do they prefer? What other audio might they listen to? By building a detailed audience map, you’ll be better placed to create audio interviews that will actually be listened to.
3. Consider your capabilities
It may sound obvious, but be clear about what you and your marketing team can achieve with your timeframe and budget.
Anyone who has created thought leadership content in any form knows it demands considerable time and effort. It’s not something that can just be churned out in huge quantities or in a short timeframe. A few well-researched, high-quality pieces of audio content will outperform a longer series of lower-quality audio interviews every time.
There is also real value in the scarcity of good ideas. So we advise companies to create fewer but bigger thought leadership programmes. Strong ownership of a small number of issues is what helps these companies to stand out from the crowd. It really is a case of quality over quantity.
4. Make the most of your topic expertise
Thought leadership often defaults to interviewing C-suite roles and other senior leaders who typically speak in a ‘quotable’ fashion. There is, of course, a time and place for this. But marketers should also consider their technical experts – they’re an untapped, plentiful resource.
Drawing out these technical experts in your audio interviews also ensures your brand doesn’t overextend. Producing content without the expertise to back it up does not constitute real thought leadership, and discerning B2B audiences know that.
5. Pick the perfect speaker
Finally, the speaker. Once you’ve gone through the four steps above, you should have reduced your longlist to a much shorter selection of possible presenters and interviewees.
“It’s not just about the exchange of ideas. It’s also about the presenter’s ability to influence and persuade.”
James Watson, speaking at our latest audio storytelling webinar
We’ve focused on internal experts in this article, but don’t rule out enlisting external speakers. Dell’s Trailblazers podcast is a great example of a brand using a well-known public figure – in this case, former CNN chairman and digital revolution expert Walter Isaacson – to add gravitas.
By selecting a speaker that will relate to your audience and the topic and can showcase your expertise, you’ll create influential and engaging audio content.
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What could audio sound like for your brand?
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.