08 Mar Raising Your Voice-Activated Content Presence
Paradigm shifts rarely occur in the media industry. From radio to television, from newspapers to websites; adoption of new media is a slow process. One key takeaway we brought home from last week’s Mega Conference in Las Vegas, was the smart speaker is causing a new shift, and most companies don’t even know it.
Any time one of these shifts occurs, it can look like the end for companies that aren’t able to adapt. But attending one session in particular at Mega showed us that content doesn’t go away, we just how we access it.
The next home for media consumption is finding its way into more kitchens, bedrooms and cars than ever in 2019. Smart speakers seem to be the next evolution of phones when it comes to searching for news updates and other similar content.
The rise of voice search in media
Internet connected speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home have become quite affordable and are finally moving out of the realm of niche technology. And this isn’t just because they’re cheaper cheaper. The biggest cause of this widespread adoption is that smart speakers are now a part of people’s daily routines.
As media companies, when we talk about retaining an audience, we look at becoming a part of regular habits. Morning and evening routines are the most habitual parts of our days, so it’s no surprise that smart speaker growth has been exponential.
Local media is right at home
So what are the habits that drive this heavy use? When preparing to leave in the morning, the most common voice commands are to search for weather, traffic and setting reminders for errands. These are all personal and locally-driven inquiries, which shows a lot about what people want out of their devices.
Local news organizations need to establish a presence in the smart speaker ecosystem. The current lack of competition in this space means that anyone who is first to integrate will find success.
When people search for a local restaurant, they want to know more than just where it is and how long it will take to get there. Imagine having your review of that restaurant come up when the user asks if the spot is worth eating at. This opens up a wealth of new opportunities for local media organizations to get in front of audiences.
How can you adapt?
As content changes its home, companies have to prioritize in order to afford ventures into new mediums. “Cut staff? Cut expenses? What do I slice in order to have budget to experiment,” asks speaker Seth Rogin, President and CEO of Nucleus Marketing Solutions. “We live quarter to quarter, which makes it difficult to experiment.”
Rogin aptly highlights the challenge that many companies face in dedicating time and money into new markets for their content. He refers to this as “Publishers That Suffered Disorder,” or PTSD. A good place to start in getting over this would be blending existing content with new technology.
Podcasts are a great example of content that can easily be injected into this new audio-driven medium. The Washington Post has gotten ahead of the game by splitting off a six person team from audience development to focus on home assistants with podcasts and other audio services.
If the goal is to line up content with the habitual nature of speaker usage, podcasting is a natural fit. According to TechCrunch, 32% of Americans are monthly podcast listeners and 22% are weekly listeners. Podcasting might not be a new thing, but these statistics are still impressive. They fall only slightly behind the number of people that claim to listen to music services.
Take ownership of content
Google, Amazon and Apple only provide the avenue for your content to find listeners, they don’t own any content. Google has even built its empire on monetizing content that others make. By entering into this market now, media companies can own their fair share of the business.
Fully investing in this market requires more than just appearing on a user’s google search voice command. Companies can put their money where their mouth is by creating an Alexa skill specifically for their content or news.
Users can create custom routines that utilize your skill alongside the usual traffic and weather information. Having your program on the platform means that someone can simply say “good morning,” to get their commute information and a rundown of your headlines.
Branded content producer David Beebe says that “we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” Finding a home for your content within the smart speaker ecosystem is a perfect example of doing this right.