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Audioverse, Myverse, Yourverse, Ourverse...

I started my newsletter without a name, and for lack of another word, I first called it "Palme," my last name, and how I had become accustomed to being called professionally. But from the beginning, I added a subtitle: the universe of audio in monthly doses. Then, this month, I gave it a name: Audioverse... and that's what I want to talk about in this text: universes.

But not the universe in the cosmic sense with all its planets and stars. I want to talk about realms of interest. We can use other words, like complement or synonyms: preferences, fandom, community... but let's use "universe."

We all have our realms of interest. In my case, audio is one of them, so anything related to the universe of audio content catches my attention. I consume, research, study, talk to other people, discuss it, work with it. But other realms also interest me: meditation, decoration, Apple, science fiction, airplanes, and food (especially sweets, in reality).

The interesting thing is that when we talk about realms of interest, we're not talking about formats; we're talking about subjects. Many formats, narratives, services, products, communities, and tools fit within them. For example, when I want to consume something about the Audioverse, it doesn't necessarily have to be audio content: it could be an article to read, a lecture to watch, a conversation during a lunch with friends.

So, let's bring this to a practical example because I want to emphasize in this article the importance of a multi-format strategy in the creation, management, marketing, and dissemination of IPs (intellectual properties) and strategies related to creating and fostering communities.

There are many incredible examples of extremely popular realms of interest, from "Futebolverso" (Footballverse) to "Potterverso" (Potterverse), passing through Star Wars, "Jovem Nerd," and TikTok. But I'll talk here about one that I know because I've been part of the project since day one: the "geekverse" of Storytel Brazil.

When we started Storytel in Brazil, there was much talk that audio content consumption was limited to non-fiction titles, mainly business and self-help. We decided to disagree and be daring: we created a strategy to acquire and produce audio content for fiction. Among the various categories we focused on, I'll talk about one: fantasy and science fiction.

The first step was to partner with those who were already part of this realm and had authority within this community: Guga Mafra, Jovem Nerd, and Azaghal. This step is crucial, in case you're not yet involved in this realm, in case you're not an authority in this community.

With that done, we began to choose content together that would fit the realm of interest of these people. Here's a tip: the format is less important than the content itself because a content in any format won't interest a group of people if it's not within their realm of interest (imagine writing sugary dessert recipes for a diabetic community, to use an extreme example).

In our case, as we are an audio and reading app, these are the formats that interest us in this project. In other words, within the realm of interest, we're delivering content in a specific format for this community.

The challenge then was to prove that, even though it was a new format for most of them (audiobooks, because podcasts were already widely consumed), they were interested. Not because audiobooks are cool, but because they would be audiobooks with content that interests them, that are part of their realm of interest. I'm repeating "realm" and "interest" many times, but that's because that's really the most important thing.

We decided on the titles, began to release the content on the app, and once again, following what makes sense for that community, we started to promote this content using the channels, people, formats, and language that resonates with this group. This has been going on for a year and a half, and it's important to emphasize this because realms of interest and community building take time and require mainly two things: coherence and consistency.

The result? Only from January to September 2021, we had over 700,000 hours of consumption of this content on the Storytel app. We created an incredible catalog in partnership with these authorities, while also listening to the community. We became the reference for geek audio content in this realm of interest.

As an example from another app: Spotify launched an audio series of Batman, and it's already the most listened-to content (not music) on the app globally, more than very successful podcasts.

To further confirm this amazing result, two weeks ago, we released the classic science fiction "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clarke. It's not a new title, it has existed in other formats for a long time, but because it appeals to this realm of interest, it became the most listened-to title on the Brazilian app in just a few days... all of this without major marketing campaigns, solely by communicating with this realm of interest, this community.

What do I mean by all this? That more important than a format or limitless advertising budgets, working with content is about creating for realms of interest and building communities around them. From there, the format matters less: if it's from your realm of interest, you'll consume it. Just look at Harry Potter, for example: if you're a "potterhead" (notice that there's even a name for those in this realm), you've surely read the books, watched the movies, listened to the audiobooks, dreamed of going to the Disney park, have T-shirts, wands, mugs, notebooks, and everything related to the Wizarding World.

Realm of interest is what keeps Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney, and many other IPs continuing and enduring for decades.

Oh, about the metaverse? It's a realm that gives you the ability to create your own realm of interest, in a layer of life where - almost - anything is possible. But that's a conversation for another time :)

And you, what's your "verse" of interest?


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