Why Use Audio in Your Blog?
"Some examples and feedback on how audio can enhance your blog entries"
If you've dreamed about becoming a radio personality, or if you have a message you think would be more insightful if read out loud, what's stopping you from adding audio (or a podcast) to your blog? In this article, Linda provides some examples and feedback on how audio can enhance your blog entries.
A Poetic Move
I studied poetry for a short while, then quit writing in that genre while I pursued my undergrad and graduate degrees. This past April, I plunged head first into the April 2010 Poem-A-Day (PAD) Challenge at Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides, a blog at Writer's Digest. I'm happy I took on the challenge for several reasons:
- It is a good way to remember that April is National Poetry Month in the U.S.
- I met new people, mostly poets (and some of those folks are crazy in the best way)
- I met new publishers, mostly poets or publishers focused on that writing genre
- I fleshed out my Facebook Friends
- I learned that adding audio to a blog can enhance readership and provide depth to writing, no matter the genre.
You probably are very familiar with audio combined with video – that use of sound is imperative for video, unless you plan on creating a silent film. But ordinary audio can add punch to a politician's written words, add dimension to an emotional plea and help readers become more familiar with you as a writer or poet as they hear your voice. If you are familiar with podcasts, then you know where I'm headed.
Audio can help your message as an artist, writer or designer as well. While I focus on poets throughout this article, apply each example to your blog and to your work. Use your imagination to decide how you might add a new dimension to your portfolio with audio recordings. At least, think about how this addition might help your blog become more accessible to readers who use screen readers to decipher your blog.
Audio Poetic Examples
One thing you might note throughout the audioblog examples below is that not all blogs are conducive to resale or to SEO. The poets I'll mention here usually created blogs for one of two reasons: 1) to showcase their own work, or 2) to showcase other poets' works. In most cases, the poet is no different than an artist who promotes work on the Web. It takes a lot of courage to begin showcasing work, and – once that courage has been validated by readership (or viewership), the poet/artist becomes more confident.
Both the poet and the artist/designer usually is thrilled when tapped to show work in other venues, especially if that online or print publication is prestigious. But, it takes time to work up to that level. Encouragement and constructive critique are valued by any sane artist in any genre along the way. I hope that you might find some poets who appeal to you as I take you on a short tour...you might let them know you've visited by leaving a comment with your name and Web site URL so they can return the favour.
I "met" Iain Kemp through the April PAD Challenge, and I was delighted with his poetry. He did not have a working Web site during that challenge, but since that time has managed to get established with his own space at a friend's site, Almerimar Life. As many of you may know, tagging onto another blog is not the best way to get noticed by search engines. And, as you can see from the image above, it takes a second or two to understand where Iain is located on this page.
If you scroll further down this page, you'll find Iain's biography, a photo, a list of poems and a list of links to other poetry sites (thank you for including me, Iain!). Despite latching on to a larger site, if you type Iain Kemp's name into Google Search, you might be surprised at his standing. His Facebook page comes up first, followed immediately by his blog.
But, I digress...While I was attracted to Iain's poetry, his weekly podcasts nailed my affection for his written artistry. I'm not the only person who is fond of his poetry. In May this year, his poem, Peregrine, was recorded for podcast [mp3] on the 'Born Free' Web site by Virginia McKenna. This was the first time that an audio recording was done for anyone other than the Peregrine's poet in residence. I's no small honour to have your poem read by a well-known British stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner.
If you read Iain's biography, you'll learn that he's a teacher (English as a second language), but he considers himself a poet first – only after 30 years' worth of writing effort. But, wow – he's burst on the scene this year with acceptance to several publications and with a strong desire to build a following for his poetry. The podcasts, or audio, do not accompany every poem on Iain's site, but you can find the podcasts easily – the arrow in the illustration above points to that list, located below his name.
If you click on the first recording in that list, you can sit back and close your eyes as the audio versions of his poetry roll through your speakers. For those in the U.S., it may take a bit of time to become accustomed to his accent. It is that accent that I find so appealing, as it adds another dimension to his words. Once you listen to a few poems, you may realize that you won't fall asleep, even with your eyes closed, as Iain has a sense of humour and a way with a poetic story that is not conducive to napping.
After you listen to Iain's recordings, read some of his other poetry – the poetry that has not been recorded. Do you still hear his distinctive voice? I do. Do the recordings help you feel that you know Iain better than if those recordings weren't there? For me, yes.
Poetry Magazine – Scribble and Poet Cliff Lynn
Scribble features poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction from both established and emerging writers from around the globe. Each year, publisher Sherry Audette Morrow features the winners of the Maryland Writers' Association's Short Works Contest. Sherry is a writer, poet and musician (in a family filled with music, including avante-garde singer-daughter, Ariana Morrow, who also records her music on her site). According to Sherry (emphasis and link mine):
I've just been experimenting with the audio recordings – I featured Cliff Lynn reading three of his poems. I've gotten good response and increased traffic since posting the recording. I'm getting ready to record another poet I've published who will be featured in the next issue of my magazine, "Scribble."
If you go to the link for Cliff Lynn, you can listen to three poems. This time, I needed to really listen, as I did not have Cliff's words to read along with the audio. But, the listening can become a meditation, a reason to hear words, phrases and whole lines from the poet's voice that resonate to the listener's senses and sensibilities.
For instance, in the poem, "My Uncle's Brain," the story lies in the line, "life would certainly be much truer if it were a musical." From there, Cliff weaves a short poetic story that has as much impact as the crash that...well, I'll let you listen to the poem yourself to discover what happens.
Once again, Cliff's voice – like Iain's voice – lends colour and texture to words, much as paint and line patterns lend colour and texture to an image. To hear a poet read his own words is like watching an artist explain all the elements and principles of design in a painting or illustration. To the European ear, Cliff's U.S. accent may or may not hinder the ability to listen and understand all the words contained in his poetry, but the voice adds a depth that cannot be captured with the printed word.
The fact that Sherry has experienced positive response and increased traffic may or may not have anything to do with the audio...Cliff may have a great following, which could account for the traffic. That said, the audio, or podcast of a set of poems seems to be catching on, even to the level of local radio...
Linda Goin carries a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing, and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on site at archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in creating social media environments.
Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.