Once the red record button is pressed, do you know what to do next?
Audio blogging isn’t always a straightforward process, but there are things you can do to make it easier (and, conversely, there are certainly things you can do to make it harder). If you’re ready to get started with your voice blog but you don’t have experience recording, editing, or publishing audio content, then this overview of things to do (and not do) when integrating audio is for you.
Things you should do
There’s an extensive list of things you could do to improve the quality of your audio recordings and the value they offer your audience. But for starters, there are three things that will have the greatest impact on your audio recordings:
- Practice good microphone etiquette
- Consider your audience’s time
- Stay relaxed and personable
Do: Practice good microphone etiquette
Your listeners are excited to hear your words. You slurping your morning coffee? Not so much. Be cognizant of the things you’re currently doing, your surroundings, and the noises it all makes. Is there an A/C unit running outside your window? Is there a space heater running, or fan spinning above your head? Could your dog (or the neighbor’s) start barking at any moment, interrupting your recording session? Does the room you’re recording in have hard tile floors that make for bad acoustics? Take all of these things into consideration and think about what noises or interruptions you might have to contend with during your recording session.
Do what you can to ensure that you’re recording in a quiet space. Set up your laptop and microphone in a room with softer elements, like carpeting, bedding, curtains, and other fabric elements. If you’re really intent on erasing background noise in your recordings, try covering any hard surfaces like floors and walls with rugs, blankets, and pillows. The fewer hard surfaces there are in the room for sound to bounce off of, the less echo you’ll hear in your final recording.
Finally, make sure you’ve got an adequate microphone and a set of headphones to record your content with. In general, the higher the quality of your microphone, the higher the quality of your recording, but audio blogs truly can be recorded with something as simple as a pair of wired earbuds with a microphone built in.
Do: Consider your audience’s time
Just because audio content is more flexible, and can be taken on the go more easily, it doesn’t mean that your audience isn’t still pressed for time. Everyone has videos to watch, articles to read (and listen to!), and a to-do list a mile long that’s begging for their attention, so make sure you’re speaking with a purpose.
Don’t talk simply to fill time or get caught up in telling long-winded stories. This is especially true for those narrating blog posts. On many recording software platforms, including Allears, potential listeners can see how many minutes it will take to listen to the entirety of your content. If the number is too high, they just might walk away in lieu of something a little lighter.
The best way to ensure you’re mindful of time while recording is to follow a script, which we’ll talk about in detail below.
Do: Stay relaxed and personable
Even without seeing you, your listeners will be able to tell when you’re tense and uncomfortable, so do your best to relax your body and your vocal cords. This is your opportunity to relate to your audience on a much more personal level and strengthen your connection with them. The power of your voice will make your content come alive, so use this chance to really amplify your message.
In order to maximize the benefits of adding audio to your blog, adopt a casual tone when making a recording. Avoid trying to sound like a news anchor or a politician reading from a teleprompter – your audience will be able to recognize the inauthenticity right away. Instead, get comfortable, take a few deep breaths, and simply talk. It’s not enough to just read to your audience. You have to talk to them, too.
Things you shouldn’t do
Knowing what you shouldn’t do is just as important (if not more) as knowing what you should do. This is particularly true when making a recording of your own voice. The don’ts of integrating audio into your blog include:
- Recording without a roadmap
- Focusing solely on numbers as a measure of success
Don’t: Record without a roadmap
Whether it’s a script, a bulleted list, or even a few notes on key topic areas to cover scrawled out on a napkin, develop a roadmap for your recording so you don’t get caught with nothing to say and no clear path forward. For most audio bloggers, scripts will likely be their written blog content, which makes it easy. But remember, when developing your script, we recommend opening with the title of your content and then your name, instead of just diving right into the material. It’s important to set the tone for your audience, rather than abruptly starting your recording by reading your first sentence.
Consider closing with a call-to-action, or CTA, as a great way to foster audience engagement. Perhaps you could ask the listener to leave a comment or share your content with a friend. You could also plug your social media accounts, ask listeners to subscribe to a newsletter, or to take another action relevant to the content they’ve just heard.
Don’t: Focus solely on numbers
It’s easy to get caught up in analyzing the number of reads and listens your content gets. Try to keep in mind that developing high-quality content wins out over high numbers every time. Audio blogging is about the impact you’re now able to make on your audience with your recordings. In the past, success was measured by the traffic to your page, which essentially served as a tally of people simply skimming the words you spent so much time to craft.
With voice blogging, you have the capability to truly capture your audience’s full attention and make a more memorable impact on them as they listen to each and every word – no skimming this time. The quality of your engagement is more important than the quantity in this space.
Do: Start your audio blogging journey
Write a script and stick to it, loosen up, and practice good microphone manners, and your audio content will be in excellent shape. But if you get caught up in focusing on numbers or try to wing a recording session instead of following the content, you’ll delay your progress and won’t see results as quickly with audio blogging.Now that you know the basic dos and don’ts of audio blogging, for best practices for reaching your audience through sound, don’t forget to read the next (and final) article in this series: Tips for engaging your audience with audio