Why you need to think Voice First

I’ve been a part of the digital marketing landscape for more than a decade. During that time, I have been to a plethora of conferences, each with their own unique focuses – from Search to Ad Technology to Mobile- but I have to admit, none have been more exciting, invigorating or impactful as last week’s Voice Summit held in Newark, NJ.

As someone who is always looking to give my clients the most up-to-date opportunities to market themselves, I continuously pursue innovation in the marketing space. I know that no matter how much content I consume, how many tests I run- there is always more out there to learn.

The Voice Summit did not disappoint. If you are new to this fast-growing technology (like most marketers) fear not- this will be the most talked about and tested category of tech in the coming years. This my friends, is just the beginning. We are about to be a part of something revolutionary, even outpacing the adoption of mobile phones. This is going to change the way we market and the way we communicate, and things are already underway.

If you did not attend the Voice Summit – it was quaint in size and loaded with industry diversity, including developers, marketers, business owners and brands. Sessions were small, making the leaders highly accessible. I met so many talented and brilliant individuals who are planning to ride the Voice wave all the way to the top.

Days later, my brain is still trying to make sense of all the data I consumed, but I will try to boil it down to these three takeaways- as they are most helpful to start your own journey into the world of Voice.

Everything is content- and SEO still rules.

I was shocked at how many sessions surrounded search. As a search enthusiast at heart, this was a treat. With 50% of all searches projected to be Voice conducted by 2020, SEO still very much has a place in the marketing mix- even more so now. If your site is not optimized, Voice is going to prove almost impossible to be a part of. Content sits at the heart of both Search and Voice. Your content needs to continue to be relevant and have a purpose for searchers, but a conversational tone is a must. This will be interesting for sites loaded with content built on traditional platforms. Enter the Cloud. This new adaptation of content will require massive sites to consider how they are built and how they serve up content. Have you been implementing SCHEMA? If not, start now.

Every marketer needs to understand Voice

Voice is going to change the way we search and interact with brands. There were many awesome case studies shared that opened my mind to both the internal and external communication applications Voice can help with. Since the conference, I have mentioned Voice to several people and have been met with responses such as “How can Voice possibly help my business? I just don’t see it”. Let’s all take a trip down Mobile App beginnings. When Mobile Apps were first being developed, much like Voice now, a majority of them were novelty apps while the technology was evolving. Some of the most popular Apps were the Fart app and the Daily Jokes app. Fast forward to Voice, and these same applications are also the first being adopted. You are going to need to open your mind and look to solve problems to get the early in for Voice applications.

It’s the Wild West – test and learn.

There were many brilliant speakers and panelists who shared their knowledge on applications they have built or are planning to build. Everyone shared because it will take a community effort for the fast-growing user adoption to make sense. We will need many people to help bring this tech to the forefront and be prepared for consumers. There were more questions than answers, as everyone is still trying to figure out exactly what this will look like in one, two, or even five years from now. It was a truly humbling experience to see leaders in tech discussing their hopes for a future with Voice. Now is the time to test, learn and test again. Brands who test now will be prepared for a future and save their space within this emerging tech.

Monetization – no one has it figured out.

The lingering question across the board is how marketers will be able to monetize this medium without being invasive. No one has it quite figured out at this point.

If you are interested in getting into Voice, here are some of the awesome people you should follow, as well as resources to get things started!
  • @Voicebot.ai: This is your headquarters for all things Voice. They have a daily newsletter and an awesome social feed.
  • @VoiceFirstFM: This is a Podcast network that includes Voice experiences, VUX World, Talk to me and The Voice of Healthcare. 
  • Ben Smith: VoiceEntrepreneur.com- truly thought-provoking content, cross industry information – and an awesome attitude toward innovating!
  • Tim Kahle – Tim was among my favorite presenters at the Voice Summit! He has loads of hands- on experience with Voice and is definitely worth keeping an eye on!
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