Voice technology is exploding and audio listening is booming, creating new channels to deliver new content.
Sport is all about passion. How often do we see a footballer of limited ability lauded by their own fan base because of the passion they show on the pitch? The same applies in the world of audio. Audio is a great way to build a relationship with an audience and that is because it can feel deeply personal - this is the "superpower" of audio!
If you are creating sports audio content and delivering it with passion, it will win over many fans - particularly if you can offer a partisan club-sided view that often isn't available from the more balanced mainstream media channels.
15m of us in the UK are listening to podcasts every week, with over 40% listening to sport-related shows, and yet, almost none of that is club official content.
In the video space we have already seen the impact that a slow reaction can have. Premier League football club Arsenal allowed fan YouTube channel Arsenal Fan TV (now AFTV) to create a foothold in the video space and become the source for the clubs on-line video content. This resulted in AFTV controlling the club message and setting the agenda amongst fans.
Arsenal have struggled since to regain control of that message. The advantage of generating your own content in the audio space? By establishing a presence you not only own and control your content but you own and control the message too!
For rights holders, there is more pressure to provide content that deepens engagement with the fanbase, grows their audience and delivers effective messages - audio can be one of the best and most cost-effective ways of doing all these things.
Similarly if you have a large social media following then adapting your audio content to be delivered via those channels is a simple and effective method of building your audience.
So if your fans are requesting information but you are not being heard, what can you do to develop an audio strategy?
First off, it’s important to establish what you want to achieve with your audio strategy. Adding an extra level to fan engagement and deepening that relationship between supporter and team is an easy win but it is also possible to build more tangible results. New voice technologies (such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home) can offer your users a direct route to buying services like bonus content, or products (via the Amazon marketplace) at the drop of a word. Podcasts and other audio products offer a new stream to your inventory offering advertising and sponsorship opportunities to your partners.
You should also not overlook the possibility of gaining valuable data on your fanbase. Podcasts give detailed feedback on who your audience are and where they listen. Alexa and Google Home, whilst not providing much access to physical user data, do allow you to build in data capture options like newsletter sign ups to effortlessly find information on your users and their habits.
If you want to double your sales figures over a short period then you are probably best suited to investing your resources into topline marketing. If, however, you intend to create a deeper and longer-lasting relationship between your brand and your customer then audio is a great tool to do that.