First, humans discovered fire. Then, we came up with the wheel. Now, ...AirPods?
While widespread wireless headphones may not strike you as the best thing since sliced bread, they are reshaping our relationship with audio content.
Take out the time you’ve wasted uncoiling last year’s Christmas lights in the form of your headphone cords, and you’ve got a smoother path to listening to whatever you like.
When our innovations remove the friction to adoption, we tend to use things more. Just look at the rise of google searches when we began to do it from our pockets.
This is not the first time Apple has done this for us, and it probably won’t be the last time either. For now, let’s look at what the rise of convenient listening means for you and your content mix.
People Have More Access to Audio Content Now
Once upon a time, you had to drop everything you were doing to read a book.
You even needed something called peace and quiet for hours at a time. And you had to stack up these silent blocks back-to-back over days, or weeks, or months to actually finish that book.
Plus, there were no online reviews to consult – just the ones on the front and back cover – so all that work might’ve been a waste of time. You just had to read it to find out what the book was about.
Enter: the steady rise of audio content over the last few years.
Audiobooks, podcasts, recorded audio blogs. We were no longer limited to radio for our audio content, and we now have access to it through all sorts of devices.
Fast forward to 2021, and we’ve got the whole world of content with us everywhere we go within a few taps.
With headphones we can reach for in seconds – no uncoiling required – the barriers to listening are lower than ever.
Yet, audio content still largely remains long-form.
Audiobooks take weeks to chip away at, podcast episodes are (on average) 43 minutes long, and Google’s shift towards more comprehensive content has led to the rise of long-form blogging.
More convenient listening means more convenient content
The kind of ease and access wireless headphones provide means we may start to see a shift from lengthy recordings towards shorter-form audio content.
i.e.: quick, quippy ways of getting caught up and listening to your favorite personalities share their thoughts. Think of a sort of Twitter or Reddit for audio content:
- What’s the funniest thing that happened today?
- What’s the most important news I can learn about in the 5 minutes before my next meeting?
- What’s one helpful tip I can keep in mind for the day ahead?
Audio-recorded blog posts (which we strongly advocate trying) take about 5-8 minutes to listen to on average. These types of sound bites are ideal for when your readers (er, listeners!) are waiting in line at Chipotle, folding a stack of laundry, or just have some quiet time to themselves.
What this means for you
As we push towards more convenient audio access, it might be worth experimenting with some short-form audio content to engage deeper with your audience.
While you’re recording audio for your next 800-word blog post, try throwing a 2-5 minute recording at the top as a quick summary for your readers. Or you can record on a topic you haven’t fully baked into a blog post, but have been pondering recently.
These bite-sized, “snackable” audio bits can help you touch base with an audience hungry for good content and eager to share it.