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How to use audio to bring your story to life

Audio is a powerful storytelling tool but underused by non-profits. Sound can really bring an organisation to life.

Audio refers to soundbites or podcast recordings. Soundbites are short one-off recordings often supported by other content such as written stories or photos.

Podcasts are generally stand-alone and longer, often in a magazine style, usually hosted on an audio hosting site and embedded into a website or blog. It can be a one-off recording or part of a series. Users can listen online or downloaded and play at their convenience. They can also subscribe to a podcast (such as via iTunes) and their device will automatically download any new audio that is added.

Things you'll need

  • Audio recording and editing equipment - this could be your smartphone or an app
  • A platform to host your audio file - there are some great free apps available
  • An engaging story to share
1

Consider audio

What stories do you want to tell? How could you use audio to bring them to life? Listening to someone telling their story rather than reading it can make a big impact. Hearing the atmosphere of a project or place can bring it to life. 

2

Think about different styles

There are many different styles you could choose from including:

There are more charity examples in this JustGiving blog post.

3

Plan and prepare

If you have the time and skills, audio can be produced in-house. You don’t necessarily need expensive audio equipment. It is possible to create great audio using your smartphone.

Plan the kind of content you want to produce. What do you want to use it for? Are you producing stories to support your fundraising activities or to illustrate your impact? Maybe you want materials which you can use in your work? For example Against Violence and Abuse recorded audio testimonies of survivors of domestic violence to use in face-to-face training. Brainstorm ideas with your colleagues.

Think about the style which will work best and who will speak. Are there staff members, volunteers, beneficiaries or supporters who would come across well and be willing to be recorded? Practice your interviewing and editing skills before you work on your project.

Read How to record interviews for top tips. There are also lots of useful tips about making good audio in this BBC Academy section on recording audio.

Companies such as sounddelivery are audio experts if you have a big project or need some specialist help.

4

Download free audio tools

Use online apps to edit or host your files. Here are some of the most popular:

  • AudioBoom – free site where you can record and upload audio (straight from your phone or computer) and then share it via social media. Mind’s AudioBoom channel is a great example of how the site can be used.
  • Voice Record Pro - audio capturing tool.
  • SoundCloud – an online audio distribution platform. Use the site to host your sounds and reach a wider audience. Relate have used SoundCloud to host a series of short clips and other audio.
  • Audacity – free audio editing tool. 
5

Remember accessibility

Include transcripts so your content can be accessed by everyone. For example Mind’s podcasts always have a transcript on their website.

Further information

This how-to is based on a blog post written by Jude Habib of sounddelivery for Tennyson Insurance now Zurich Insurance.

 

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Page last edited Nov 26, 2015 History

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