[MUSIC] Welcome back. It's good to see you again. In the last lesson, I began to discuss multimedia content, and dove into a popular form of content, visuals. For this lesson, I'm going to move on to the second form of content. This is the one that as a content marketer, and as a good writer, you're going to be called on to help shape, to create and structure this kind of content, and that's audio. We're in the era of the podcast, the podcast has become a much more mainstream content format than it once was. iTunes certainly makes it very easy for people to subscribe to and consume podcast material. They're just much more mainstream than they ever used to be. So this has created something of a glut. And what I want to counsel you is, never worry about content gluts. Never worry that there is too much content competing for attention, because good work, strong work created consistently will find an audience. Now it could take some patience to rise up through all those bandwagon writers. But if you're producing high quality content that combines meaning and fascination, as we talked about in an earlier session, you will find the audience. It just sometimes takes a little more patience and a little more promotion. So audio content has a couple of tremendous advantages. And for my money, the most important advantage is that it is the most intimate medium of the one's that we have available today that we can share on the web. It has tremendous potential for creating an emotional bond with the audience. You are very literally whispering in their ear. You are very close, actually physiologically close, to your audience. And because of this, audio content happens to be exceptional for delivering the values of your organization. And of course, great storytelling is important. Great storytelling is always important with content, because the human brain is very much shaped and wired to be receptive to stories. But stories should be infused with values. There should be a right and a wrong. There should be a particular outlook. So if you want to deliver facts without any kind of personality, you shouldn't be a content marketing in the first place. And the place for that somewhat more dry content would be something like a PDF white paper. Although I will tell you, as an aside, that a white paper with personality and values actually far outperforms a dry white paper that's dull. You don't have to be fluffy and it doesn't have to be a tangent or an overtly marketing piece, to get your values in there and make the white paper more interesting and more consumableo So getting back to audio, audio is about moving the audience and it's about conveying values. It's probably the strongest tribe building form of content if that strategy is important to your organization. Audio is, of course, also the most portable content. So I hope your audience is not watching videos while they're driving, although we all know some of them are. But with headphones, and with devices, and with car-enabled devices, audio is both private and portable. So people consume audio when their walking the dog, when they're at the gym, when they're commuting to work. Sometimes, as we all know, sometimes even when they're doing their work. And that makes audio a great medium for strong direct connection. If you've got the kind of a content people want, which is content that tell stories, content that is interesting, content that resonates well with their values and their beliefs. And of course, if we're going to talk about multimedia we have to talk about video. Our culture loves video, we watch movies, we watch TV, young people watch a ton of YouTube. Actually, most people watch a lot of YouTube, especially tutorial content. YouTube of course, since it was acquired by Google, often ranks very nicely in search engines, so if you're going to do video, there needs to be something visual to communicate. They would not come across well in audio only. So it might be an attractive presenter, it could be a visual product, it could be a demonstration. Just a boring talking head style of video will have very little value in most projects in most organizations. So if you're not starting off with something visually compelling you know you don't have an attractive presenter or you don't have a visual product, there's a couple of ways to go. One is the slideshow style format. So you find emotional residence still imagery, and you pair it with the audio. And there are platforms devoted to this like Slide Share, but you can also just record this as a video. So you can create something that's compelling to look at. And cutting these in, can at least relieve the visual boredom if you're faced with the requirement of doing a talking head. So you can have the person talking and then you can intersperse with emotionally resonent imagery. And of course the other way to go, very popular, very strong form of content, is the animated video. These are normally done by agencies, or you might be lucky enough to have in-house talent on these. They're interesting, they're compelling. What you want to do in your role as the content marketer is to check the script and work with the script and make sure you're hitting business objectives, make sure you're using all of the content marketing strategic skills we talked about in earlier sessions, so that you're hitting the right notes. Because a piece of animated video content is relatively expensive to produce, it needs to serve a business purpose. It probably needs to serve several business purposes. You need to make sure you have a strong call to action in there, all that good stuff. So it's your role to be probably the informed consumer and you should definitely look at the script with a strategic eye, make sure that it's serving your organization's business needs. And that leads us to this question of production values. Video and to a lesser extent, audio depend on quality editing, to create a quality product that's pleasing to experience. And they also need a strong well structured script. Even if, as often the case for audio content, that script is used a little bit more as a jumping off point for some degree of improvisation. So with both audio and video, the audience is not able to skim the content to zero and on what is most interesting to them, that means you must get to the point. So all content demands this in the 21st century, but it is even more important with audio and video content. It has to be focused and it has to get to the point in a powerful and efficient way. So speaking of production values, you're going to hear a certain degree of conflicting advice about this. And it does depend on your organization and your audience. So a smaller organization, something more mom and pop or more shoestring, can often get away with less polished audio video and visual design. And sometimes it can even feel a little more quote, unquote, authentic. The main point is that you need to control your production values to the point that you are not creating a distraction with bad production values. So, for example, the audio, it's not crackly or hard to understand. Rough audio quality is just hard to listen to, and it creates that annoyance, it create friction. And of course, your audience is always a click away from hundreds of other options with audio. Bad video lighting or bad editing can make your organization look fly by night. So always know the context, always know what else the audience is looking at. Think about it strategically. Of course, most of the time, you're going to try for high quality production values. You don't necessarily need to look like Downtown Abby, you don't have to look like some ultra-polished theatrical release or you know, beautiful BBC costume drama. Aim for quite good, and don't let the quest for perfect keep you from producing valuable content. And I want to wrap up by reiterating that multimedia content still needs to be crafted according to those principles of good content. So, the pairing of meaning and fascination, it's just as important in video or audio. Your audience is not going to take to it more warmly just because it's multimedia. You don't get some kind of special pass because it's a podcast, or because it's a video. In fact, somewhat the opposite. So everything that we talked about previously about creating text content matters with every form of content. And that high level of craft is all the more important, because your audiences get impatient waiting around for you to get to the point or waiting around for you to enter the topic in an interesting and compelling way. So your key takeaways on multimedia content are, it has to be interesting. It has to be sound, don't lie, don't create thin content or shallow content. It has to be sound. And it has to be fascinating and it has to be meaningful, perhaps even both entertaining and meaningful. So we have some additional resources for you on this lesson and this is of course, just really taking a look at that tip of the iceberg, multimedia content is a massive topic. Most of you again will probably be working with other specialists in multimedia, so you'll be working with an AV team or an agency.