Listen up. Unless you’ve been sleeping in the cloud, you’ve probably noticed things are happening fast in the world of smart speakers, podcasting and when it comes to people far and wide demanding things from inanimate objects. Thirty-nine million Americans own a smart speaker now (that’s one in six if you don’t have a smart speaker around to do the math). It’s the new normal, not to mention the new stereo, calculator, radio, joke teller and news outlet. All packaged nicely inside one know-it-all.

What’s the reason for their vast popularity? Is it the infinite allure of living with robots? Or more realistically, the byproduct of a culture obsessed with multitasking, attention-divided living and taking bold steps forward, even given the occasional one back?

Short answer:  We are a culture of now. We want everything on demand. It started with fast food, matured with Fed-Ex Overnight and is now getting its big boy pants on in the world of Amazon Prime time. Nowhere has our need-it-now-ness revealed itself more than with our adopted new smart-speaker friends: Alexa, Siri, Google Home and Cortana. Somewhere between “Alexa, order me more cat food” and asking TaskRabbit (aka, complete strangers) to pick up our same-day dry cleaning before having Postmate deliver a lukewarm meal to us, we’ve decided that our desire for instant gratification isn’t a bad thing… it just is. That we’re fine telling these matriarchal automatons about our digital desires, hopes and dreams. That we crave the ability to binge the podcast ‘Serial,’ while also ordering more of it on Amazon Prime. That we’re not tired of being re-hardwired if it gets us our stuff… now.

But what does the future hold? And how can you, as a content creator and/or marketer, gain a foothold in a space that is evolving on a daily basis?

Good question. Lucky for you, you found this guide. Consider it a crash course in staying relevant. The series of articles below will give you a snapshot of how the world’s changing and what you can do to keep your message on point. This is your place to power up as you ponder the state of where content marketing is now, and what it’ll sound like in the future. We did it not to flex our content muscle, but to educate you about the best way to form invaluable connections with your audience, the kind that matter and lead you to unicorn sales goals and rainbows filled with colorful, chart-popping ROI, oh my!

This is where you discover the new ways of doing things – best practices, skill-enhancements and the changing realities behind emerging voice-search technology. That is, where embracing multitasking and hands-free can benefit quality of life. Why speaking in keywords to get smart answers matters. And why content creators and writers should place a premium on thinking about listening as an ultimate key to survival.

And that’s just a taste of what you’ll find in this roundup of ClearVoice posts on the newfound “sound effect” of smart speakers on content and marketing

If past behavior is in fact the best predictor of the future, the trends highlighted below will only accelerate as this behavior continues to become normalized and part of our everyday routines, no matter what red flags get waved in our face. So, scan it, soak it in and feel good about how this knowledge will help you be in the know, personally or professionally. As artificial intelligence drives a more seamless, sophisticated and informed approach for how we live, it’s safe to say that this market will only continue to grow, survive… and thrive… in the realm of content production. So good luck and godspeed.

Now read.

Part I:  How to think about content marketing and the way people listen

Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

6 Competitive Ways to Do Content Marketing With Smart Speakers

Siri, Alexa, Google Home. We know they’re here to stay, but what can a content marketer do to best maximize these popular channels of communication? Here are six things to think about when it comes to optimizing your smart speaker strategy.


Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

Writing for Listeners (and Smart Speakers): Four Writers for Radio Share Their Craft

Virtually everyone talks to technology in the year 2018, but what about when it talks back to us? What are the secret rules to that engagement? Here’s what the qualified experts at NPR have to say about masterful storytelling and the art of “writing for radio.”


Part II:  How to write for, interact with and utilize virtual personal assistants

Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

Want to Write for Robots? Here’s How According to Microsoft Cortana’s Deborah Harrison

Ever wonder who puts the words/witty retorts into the “mouths” of robots? In this interview with Deborah Harrison, Lead Writer on Microsoft Cortana, she offers up revealing insights into how the conversation between humans and machines gets crafted.


Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

A Fireside Chat With Alexa on the State of Her Voice-Search Technology (and Social Skills)

In this exclusive one-on-one interview with the queen bee of voice-search technology, Amazon Alexa, we play a game of 30 questions – mano-a-roboto – to gauge the true state of how much this virtual personal assistant really knows.


Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

Who Scores Better at Being an Editorial Assistant: Alexa or Siri?

If you’re a writer, hiring a living/breathing personal assistant is well, pricey. But a virtual one? Different story. That’s why we pit Alexa vs. Siri in a productivity duel to see who’d be more useful to the scribe in search of help. Here’s who won the title.

Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

DIY Guide: Build Your Own Alexa Flash Briefing Skill in Under an Hour

Whether it’s a flash news briefing or a podcast on thought leadership, here’s what you need to know about building, launching and sustaining an Alexa Flash Briefing Skill in the time it takes you to binge an episode of ‘Game of Thrones.’


Part III:  How to think about voice-search optimization (aka the way people speak)

Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

A Quick Primer on Why Voice Search (and VSO) Is Here to Stay

Given the mass adoption of voice-enabled technology, there are things every marketer should understand about how people speak to devices. Time to bone up right here, and prepare for a world where spoken words take you further than written ones.


Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

How to Ride the Voice Search Wave: 9 Ways to Seize More Traffic From VSO

You probably know SEO, but what about VSO? Given the 50 billion voice searches every month, here are nine ways to win in the world of voice-search optimization, where vocal cords — not keystrokes — will rule the day.


Part IV:  How to think about and produce the perfect podcast

Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

Podcasting to Win: With Wondery Founder Hernan Lopez

Seductive storylines. Compelling casting. Vigorous research. Here are the secrets for what it takes to produce a podcast worthy of mass appeal according to Wondery founder, Hernan Lopez.


Guide to the Future of Content Marketing

The Niche Freelancer: Stories in Sound, From NPR to Podcast Producing

Why is podcasting the fastest growing trend in content? Former NPR producer Joel Patterson breaks down why — from audacious audio to storytelling strategy to how the most powerful of podcasts can lead to incredible “driveway moments.”


                                                              Be a content hero