Introducing The Future is Digital Narrated

Newsletters as a Podcast = More Choice

One of the most requested things, when I started this newsletter, was an audio version for those that don’t enjoy reading long articles like those I write, or those who simply prefer to listen along during their commute. I’m pleased to announce that this is exactly what I’m doing.

Substack, the platform that hosts this newsletter, has provided essential tools for podcasting since April of 2019, and it was something I’d intended a long time ago. It was part of the initial brief for the newsletter. However, at the time was not possible without a significant technical and/or financial investment. I’d hinted about this coming in the 2019 review issue:

I wrote back then:

I intend to carry on writing and plan to do a few new things next year.

On to the issue.

NaaP: Newsletters as a Podcast

I'm being a little silly with this subtitle, I know. But I thought it was amusing and intriguing, not least as I’ve seen an uptick in people releasing their newsletter with a podcast element. Venerable publications such as the Harvard Business Review and The Economist have put resources towards producing their magazines in narrated form. Early results measuring adhesion and usage rates are encouraging.

Podcasts, as in the traditional sense, were generally complimentary to newsletters. They often centred around discussing in detail the central ideas written for the newsletter with a friend or industry expert, often with fascinating discussion resulting. Traditional podcasts required two or more people to make them exciting and attractive to listeners.

This new wave is a little different. It is a narrated version of the newsletter that replaces the need to read. Some prefer different content types, and it is wise to provide choice for subscribers. I’m an avid reader myself, devouring tens of thousands of words a day, others are more aural or visual. I’m not sure a YouTube version of this newsletter would be relevant, so that’s why I wanted to produce the podcast version.

I’m releasing this as an experiment, and I am eager to see what happens.

Who is this for?

Subscribers that prefer to listen to the content, or those who wish to multitask while walking/running, driving or commuting.

When will each episode come out?

I will try to publish the audio version shortly after the text version - you’ll get an email with the audio version of this issue. Although, I haven’t fully worked out exactly when yet, as there are several possibilities to release the audio podcast, I’ll try several options out and see where it takes me. Let me know what you prefer over the coming weeks.

How can I listen to the podcast without opening the email each time?

I will publish an RSS feed — that’s technical jargon for a subscription link — for you to subscribe using your favourite podcast players like Overcast, Pocket Casts, or the built-in podcasts apps on your devices. The link included in the email is platform-independent, and you’ll be able to subscribe from Android, iOS and even on your desktop operating system. Listing in Apple's podcast directory is in progress.

If you don’t find it there yet, you can use this direct link.

Why now?

If I’m honest, the recent release from one of my influences (Stratechery) got my backside into gear. As I said in the introduction, it was part of the original brief of this newsletter, but a combination of fear, laziness and technical challenges delayed the production.

Can I help?

Things like these take a lot of time and are often a labour of love. Writing each issue that averages over 1800 words per week is difficult even without adding the voice-over work. I would love it if someone could help out with the editing. Any other suggestions are most welcome.

For now, I hope you enjoy this addition to the text version, and I hope you find it as useful as the newsletter itself. Let’s see where this experiment takes us.

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