• Ron Jaworski

5 ways every newsroom can use audio content to better engage audiences

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

The love of audio continues to expand as the medium emerges in more and more places. From traditional radio to its modern iterations such as podcasts and streaming platforms, to audio-only social networks, the way listeners consume audio content keeps growing and evolving.

The ability to listen is becoming essential for those who want to consume content at their convenience, regardless of the activity, time, and place. In turn, this is simultaneously creating vast new opportunities for newsrooms of all shapes and sizes to take advantage of this more encompassing user behavior.

The good news is that no legacy in audio whatsoever is needed to jumpstart an audio strategy. All it takes is a bit of help from AI and creativity to make the most bang for your buck (yes, I looked for a phrase that includes an audio aspect).

Here are five ways every newsroom can use audio to drive greater engagement and form closer relationships with its audience.

1. Add an audio player

The absolute first step toward any kind of audio strategy is offering some form of listening experience. While audio may be a new addition for some newsrooms and may seem overwhelming, it’s really not.

One thing there is not a shortage of in a newsroom is news, meaning there is already a truckload of published content, including archives, that can be quickly leveraged. Hence, the easiest way to delve into the world of audio experience is to embed an audio player on your website and let AI and text-to-speech technology do their thing.

A small piece of code is easily embedded in the article page, which then performs a quick scan of the page and automatically adds an audio version of the article. AI-powered text analysis determines which part of the article is the textual part meant for audiofying and which is not. Further customization allows the player to fully adapt to the page’s look and feel without diminishing the user experience.

From there on, every new news article will also feature an audio version, complete with multilingual support. This not only adds a new level of portability for those who are on the go and don’t have time to read the news but also improves accessibility for those with visual and learning disabilities.

The top of the audio AI cherry cake is the ability to fine-tune almost every aspect of the listening experience, from pronunciation of every letter to adjusting voice styles and features for entire pieces of parts of it. This is particularly relevant for journalists who gain full editorial control to shape the audio content as they wish.

From there on, it’s easy to distribute content on a massive scale, incorporating leading streaming audio platforms and voice assistants into your content distribution mix. The process is automated in the ‘set it and forget it’ manner.

Of course, you can consider recording professional narrations of your written pieces, which certainly introduces a unique feel and nuance to the content. Still, due to the cost-heavy nature of scaling this method, this is an option best reserved for specific segments which could be used to prom