This article covers these 3 topics:
1. The equipment you need.
2. How to make your voice sound good.
3. Publish the audio file on your WordPress platform (How To video)
But before we delve into the details, let’s ask ourselves why we should bother with audio in the first place? Once again, I use a business scenario to illustrate a real life context.
This article is one of a series, adressing key issues of web content production. You may also want to check out: How to deliver valuable content with powerful video and script.
The Business Scenario
Global Insurance SA face the challenge of keeping their large pool of insurance account managers up-to-date about the products they sell.
Since the creation of the company over 50 years ago, it’s been a tradition at Global Insurance to organise two large corporate training events a year; an opportunity for account managers to network and be trained.
These days, product updates are on the increase whilst training budgets decrease.
The company needs to find new ways of communicating product updates to account managers in between the two traditional corporate training events.
A brainstorming session with John, Frieda and Mary reveals that account managers spend a lot of time on the road: in their car or hotel room.
Both John and Mary love listening to talk shows while driving. John is an avid radio listener at night when settling down in the hotel room.
Based on many more discussions with account managers throughout the company, Global Insurance SA opted for product updates to be delivered via podcasts.
Account managers download audio files to mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Hence, product update information is easily accessible and may be “consumed” by account managers when it suits them best.
To summarize, here are 3 reasons why Global Insurance SA opted for the audio solution.
1. Insurance account managers, when on the road, spend a lot of time alone and generally enjoy being entertained by listening. The flexibility of pushing product update information via audio is being seen as positive by a large number of account managers.
2. Audio files are mobile device friendly. Their file size is smaller than video. Downloading is quick (important when Internet connections are shaky). Once available on the device, listening is possible anywhere, for example whilst driving a car.
3. Audio – as opposed to video – is technically less challenging and faster to produce. By opting for audio to push company critical information out to the sales force, Global Insurance SA has retained a low resource, cost effective solution.
How to create audio. General advice and equipment.
It is commonly agreed that a good quality USB microphone is the most straight forward way to produce quality voice recording. All that’s needed is to put it into a Mac or PC’s USB port. No other wiring is required.
Here’s an excellent review of quality USB microphones.
If you’re looking for higher quality mics, check out this site.
Once your microphone is branched to your computer, you need software to record your voice. Both Windows and Mac have built in basic recording software.
I prefer using a free open source software called Audacity which allows me to play around with my voice recording. For example I can cut out impurities or make my voice louder, faster, deeper – whatever it takes to optimize my impact on the listener.
There’re tons of free and paying software tools for voice recording. Here are 10 tips and tools for recording audio.
Please record in MP3 format. It makes a lot of sense to use the most popular file format, and MP3 is the de facto format for voice recording applications.
Make the audio and your voice sound good.
Please remember that audio is a very intimate medium. When you record, imagine that you are talking directly to each person.
I’ve selected a few extracts of a long article that has been published a few years (2005) back by Jack Herrington, author of the book Podcasting Hacks. Excellent advice that’s still relevant today, despite technological advances.
Look after your voice.
Room-temperature water soothes the vocal cords and opens up the oesophagus. Ginger tea is particularly beneficial for the throat. Drink as much tea as you like to keep your throat relaxed and ready. Adding honey provides a bit of a coating for your throat. Don’t drink ice water, as it can tighten the vocal cords.
Don’t drink milk or consume other dairy products before a recording session. These create thick mucus on the back of the throat that results in much throat clearing and seems to restrict the vocal cords.
You should be about a hand’s width away from the microphone. Put your thumb at your lips and your little finger on the microphone and use your hand as a spacer between the two. By getting closer, the microphone will accentuate the lower frequencies. This makes your voice sound fuller and more intimate.
Ideally, the microphone should be slightly above you (or below you) and off to the left or right by up to 45 degrees. The vertical elevation will cut down on mouth noises. And the left or right adjustment will suppress “plosives.” Plosives are the bursts of air that come out of your mouth when you say hard consonants like “p” or “b.” These will create a popping sound unless dampened.
A good rule of thumb is that anyone who has their own microphone should be wearing monitor headphones so that they can adjust their voice and position for optimal recording.
Exercise your voice.
Ready to record? I’m embedding an audio file with voice exercises you can do before a recording. The original file can be found on Ann Utterback’s blog Online Voice Coaching. Click on the image here below to launch the audio file.
And now it’s your turn!
1. Imagine a business scenario for audio, relating to your own organisation.
2. Watch my 4 minute video here below and learn how to embed an audio file into a WordPress page or post.
Video | How to publish the audio file on your WordPress Platform
Podcasting Hacks – Tips and tools for blogging out loud.
Podcasting Bible – by Mitch Ratcliffe