How Authors Can Use Audio to Boost Their Visibility

how authors can use audio

This is a guest post from Viv Oyolu. One of the best ways to reach many potential readers at once is to use the audience that other people have built up. One way to do that is to do a blog tour for your book. Viv shares different ways to use audio, especially doing interviews, to reach radio show and podcast audiences to promote and market your book.

Every author wants to be discovered and be read. But the key to getting from finishing the masterpiece to being discovered and read is marketing. It is fair to say very few authors actually enjoy marketing their book, but with more people becoming authors – over 100,000 books are published every year, it is a crowded marketplace, regardless of genre. Everyone is jostling for readers, but it’s not only crowded within the publishing industry, so many other things are fighting for everyone’s attention these days; which means building, connecting and engaging with existing and potential audience/readers is important for you as an author.

Using Audio To Find and Connect With Readers

When it comes to audio, the thing to note with your audience is that people who read are content consumers, and some prefer and are prepared to consume it in audio format – it’s just another option for them. This is one of the reasons audiobooks are doing so well. With most people being time poor, audiobooks allow for multi-tasking and not having to forego one thing for the other.

Apart from creating an audio version of your book, audio can be used in different ways to boost your online visibility – help you reach new audiences/readers and build a relationship with them. Listening to audio is an intimate experience and allows for the speaker to establish a rapport quicker with listeners. This is because people are not worrying about how they look, body language, etc., things that we are often conscious of, and focus on what others have to say.

Another reason why audio is more popular these days is the change in our lifestyle and accessibility to smartphones and tablets. The majority of us have either one or the other or both. We want to be connected all the time, whether we are commuting on public transport or driving in our cars. Yes, car manufacturers like Honda, BMW, Mazda, Audi, MINI to name a few, all have podcast integration in their models because they have noticed people want to consume content while they drive their cars.

As an author, you can’t ignore how valuable this is to you, and the potential impact it will have on increasing your visibility. We are global community and your readers/audience are everywhere as you know.

You’ve probably heard book marketing gurus say marketing your book should start before you’ve finished and published it; and whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction author, there are a couple of ways you can use audio as part of your marketing strategy, including it in your media kit when you want to promote your book and boost visibility.

Podcast and radio platforms

While terrestrial radio still holds a great appeal and value, thanks to iTunes and other podcasting platforms like Stitcher Radio, many independent broadcasters provide excellent PR opportunities for authors to connect with new and potential readers. But before you decide on which radio and or podcast show to go on, here are a couple of things to take into account:

(a) Research stations and show hosts

It may be daunting thinking about approaching a podcast /radio host; but keep this in the back of your mind: readers want to connect with their favourite author in as many ways as possible, and this is another way for you to connect with them – so it’ll be worth getting over the initial feeling, and go for it! Plus, many podcast hosts are always looking for new people to interview!

Researching your host is a very important part of the process. Hosts differ – some are more suited to you, your personality, book and the type of audience you want to connect with. Speaking as a radio presenter and podcast host myself, I think this is key for you.

Invest time in finding out what the host is like. Listen to a range of their previous interviews to get a feel for what they are like. Are they relaxed, interested, inquisitive, or standoffish and direct? A good test is if you can imagine having a conversation with this person off mic. If you think yes, then chances are you’ll have a good conversation with them on air! Understanding this helps you prepare better and make the most of the opportunity.

I encourage guests on my radio show and podcast to listen randomly to any of the previous interviews I’ve done to get a feel for the type of presenter/host I am, to find out if I suit their personality and brand before they contact me or say yes to coming on. I don’t presume I am right person for everyone – nobody is. Neither you nor the host should change to accommodate the other. The fact that you don’t have to change to suit the host means you can be yourself, come across as authentic and connect with listeners easier.

(b) Prepare different angles

When planning and deciding on the different platforms you want to go on, it’s equally important you prepare and outline the different angles and areas about you and your book you want to talk about ahead of contacting anyone. This prevents you from repeating the same things about you on different platforms. If you are clear about what you want to talk about with each host, you’ll have a collection of interviews you can share on your website that reflect different aspects of you.

The goal is for you to build a rapport with a range of listeners on different platforms; I remember when I approached an author/entrepreneur to be featured on my podcast, it was clear on her website, what aspects of her book she was available to speak about. This made my job easier in deciding what my listeners would be interested in, and for her, she was already prepared to come on at short notice.

In addition, one of my favorite authors is Harlan Coben, and I was a fan before social media was popular and he became the famous author that he is today. I consume everything Harlan Coben! Interviews – video, audio and written because I want to know everything about him. But in all this time whenever he’s promoting a new book, I don’t see the same ‘side’ to him twice. He (and his team) have a strategy of creating different points to reach and touch readers. You can also do the same thing even if you don’t have a team around you just yet.

(c) Sell yourself

When I say ‘sell yourself’, some people cringe! You can actually sell yourself without mentioning your book or asking another to go a buy a copy. Selling yourself is about your personality shining through during the interview. Researching the right hosts to interview you and preparing for each of the interviews are key parts of selling yourself to the right listeners.

Think about actors and actresses when they are promoting their movies. They go on different TV and radio shows, but you’ll notice they always say and do different things so the audiences get to know a different part of them or side to them or the movie they are promoting. Every host wants fresh content – something that hasn’t been said or done on another platform, and the same applies to how you present yourself in this case.

Selling yourself is really giving people access to you other than through your book. You can weave anecdotes into your story about who you are, how you came to be an author and anything else you want listeners to know about you that will help them connect with you. People buy people and from people. And the more they know about you, and become invested in you, the better the chances of them sticking with you as a fan.

Creating your own content

If you are a non-fiction author, you can create audio content for your website from your book. Regardless of where you are – the writing stage, editing or marketing of your book, you can strategically map out key aspects of your book that would be interesting to different people. You can approach podcast or radio hosts to do this, as well as independently craft the right questions and structure how you want to highlight the different aspects of your book to use online – your website and across social media.

Let’s say your book is about moms in the workplace, and there’s a chapter on moms returning to work after maternity leave; that chapter will be of interest to a mom’s forum or blogger who specifically supports moms going back to work. Recording a short audio interview (5-7 mins – 10 maximum) about that chapter, becomes a marketing tool, and allows you to connect easily with potentially new readers of your book on that forum. Like I mentioned before audio allows you to establish rapport quicker with listeners.

This same audio interview can also be used to approach niche publications to demonstrate your expertise in this area. If you approach them at the right time, you’ll be making the job easier for who’s going to say yes or no, and by presenting content they can quickly listen to, and make a decision if they want to use your content for an upcoming feature.

Repurposing your audio content

One of the other advantages of audio interviews is you can repurpose them in different ways, and here’s how:

(i)     Transcribe into words – Once you’ve structured which part of content you want to reveal and in what context, you have the opportunity of using the transcribed audio to write a blog or feature. A 2-minute audio piece is approximately 350 words. This makes it easy for you to use that as a starting point for a blog post for your website or as a guest blog.

(ii)   Create teaser soundbites – From the interviews you can create 1-2 minute soundbites as teasers directing traffic back to your website to listen to the full interview. You decide which parts will be used and schedule them at different intervals across the social media platforms of your choice.

The best non-techy tool to use for this is SoundCloud. SoundCloud is a platform that was originally created for artists to share their music, but is widely used today for the spoken word. It is one of the best tools if you are keen and focused on listener engagement – which I know is what authors want.

The first 120 minutes (2 hours) is FREE on SoundCloud, so you can decide to use it for only the teasers or if you know you intend to do more audio interviews, the PRO package is about £7 a month.

Wrap Up

I hope I have given you some ideas to think about on how you can use audio to connect with your audience and boost your visibility. Our lifestyles and how we communicate and connect with people especially online, makes audio another great arsenal to have in your media kit. You have the opportunity to control your brand, increase visibility and connect with your audience the way you want.

Viv Oyolu is the owner of Audio Byte, a company that will create and produce polished audio and podcasts interviews for Authors, Professional Service firms. She is passionate about giving words a voice; and her aim is to give your story or content a voice that either informs, educates, empowers or inspires your target audience. Learn more about Audio Byte here.

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