When venues discover stories that have the potential to make people laugh, cry, and think, they can offer a more enriching experience that turns visitors into fans and ambassadors who spread the word. Every venue, university, park, or museum has something that makes them unique. That something just needs to be communicated correctly, and not treated as an afterthought.
In this post, we show how your message can become “edu-tainment” and provide a simple roadmap you can follow to create your own audio tour.
So what is “edu-tainment”? It’s the special sauce that changes boring Wikipedia information into inspirational content. Is anyone ever entertained by listening to a school report? Audio storytelling might seem easy, but the process is about more than stringing information together. Plus, there are technical details to get right too.
Here are 7 steps to help you succeed.
Step 1: Brainstorming and researching
Building a great audio tour guide app begins with brainstorming, which shouldn’t be rushed. Allow your team time to consider:
- Who is your audience?
- What is their learning style?
- What is the takeaway you want your visitors to have?
- What are some of the frequently asked questions you get from visitors?
- What are the most interesting questions that visitors ask?
- What are some of the more enthralling stories related to your venue, site, or city?
Work as a team, and brainstorm together in a conference room or online video call. Have one person in charge of capturing all ideas.
Step 2: Idea filtering and categorizing
Categorize the information and ideas into different tour experiences and/or audio tracks. For example, if you want to create a single tour of a historic home, your categories might be different stories for each person who lived there, or you might separate architectural, historical, and personal stories.
On the other hand, if you’re creating an app for a state park, you might want to create a few different tours if the park is very large. So, you could categorize ideas into different tour routes, and then break those ideas further into different audio tracks.
Make sure to get approval on the structure of the tour(s) from all stakeholders before moving onto the next step, as that will save you a lot of reworking.
Step 3. Script writing
Take what seems like a pile of rocks and polish them into a gem of a story. Something that you take for granted might be new and amazing to others.
Scripts created for the ears are different from those written for the eyes. Remember not only are the words important, but so is the style. The info gained during the brainstorming stage helps decide how to tell the story.
Consider what is the best format:
- Interviews framed by narration
- Character acting and narration
- Narration only
Get the creative people on your team involved and test out different styles before deciding. Remember that you can also have different styles for different audio tracks, though you’ll want to consider the order of how they’re played. You don’t want to disappoint visitors part way through an experience. If they’re expecting character acting in every track, they might be disappointed in a track that is narration only. If you are employing more advanced creative styles like interviews and character acting, try to stick with them throughout the experience, and use narration-only tracks for introductions, biographies, and send-offs.
Get the scripts approved from all stakeholders on your team before moving onto recording.
Step 4: Finding the right storyteller
Next, you’ll need to find the right storytellers, narrators, or actors. The storyteller is a very important element to the success of your interpretation. They are key to your story’s impact. Are they just a good reader, or does their delivery truly transport the listener to another place and time?
If you don’t have this talent inhouse, you can outsource it to freelancers. Upwork offers voice over freelancers, as does Fiverr. Or, you can go with an agency service like VoiceJungle. If you do decide to create the audio content yourself, make sure to purchase a quality microphone. This list of microphones for voice over acting has several options below $100.
Step 5: Audio production
Production needs to enhance a story not overwhelm it. It can take on a variety of styles—from the bare minimum to bells and whistles, although we tend to think that the bare minimum comes out best.
Depending on the type of narration and storytelling you’ve chosen, you might need to edit different audio files together into one cohesive narrative. You might also add some spare effects, such as the sound of water, wind, birds, trains, dishes clanging, laughter, or anything else that might help the listener immediately drop into the world you’re creating.
Step 6. App set up
Next, it’s time to set up the app. If you use a mobile guide app builder, it will be much faster and affordable than building an app from scratch. Today, you can build an app without knowing how to code, just as easily as you can build a website using a user-friendly platform. STQRY is a mobile guide app builder that lets you add image, audio, text, and video content and create unique experiences and tours for your visitors. You can even use geo-tagging and bluetooth beacons to set notifications to trigger when someone passes by a location coming from a specific direction, or any direction.
Step 7. Testing and launching
Whether you built the app remotely or on-site, it’s important to test it on-site. You’ll want to check that all of your location and directional triggers are working properly. You’ll also want to check if you missed an important feature that could be added with its own page and audio track.
You can choose to launch a web-based app, native app inside of STQRY, or a fully branded and whitelabelled native app in the Apple and Android app stores under your company’s name. The right choice for you will depend on your budget, timeline, and brand awareness.
Implementation and content are equally important. When information is artistically transformed into interesting content, that story will “edu-tain” guests on site and have them telling their friends all about it.
Affordably launch your own audio tour app with STQRY.