At Dunham+Company, the majority of our clients and partners produce massive amounts of written, audio, and video content. In fact, the average broadcast ministry we work with produces a daily radio program, a weekly television program, multiple podcast episodes, multiple emails, multiple blog posts, more than a dozen social media posts, etc. At the end of each week, it is likely that a broadcast ministry has created 30+ different pieces of content meant to help the listener/viewer/reader grow in their faith and consider supporting the further work of the ministry. And many times we focus our efforts on more content reaching more people in all the mediums. But today I want to share a note about serving those who cannot consume every form of media.
According to the World Health Organization, there are 466 million people worldwide who have disabling hearing loss. That equates to over 5% of the world’s population. Now, we don’t often build systems for the 5% potential audience but my premise today is that we should.
A note: this blog is not meant to dive into the legal waters of things like the Web Accessibility Laws and Policies but these are things that your ministry should consider this year.
3 Ways To Make Your Content More Accessible For All:
1. Transcribe Your Audio Podcast Content
Using a service like Trint will allow you to automatically transcribe your podcast content (and other items like videos). These services are typically 90% accurate and your content team can clean them up prior to posting/sharing via your website or other mediums. The side benefit to transcribing your podcast content is it gives you access to the written version of an audio product that can be used for blog posts, social media quotes, email content, etc. Take advantage of having a written version of your podcast episodes to squeeze even more “juice out of the orange.”
2. Provide Subtitles on Your Social Media Videos
Many social media channels now have automated systems that will generate captions across your video content. While this does add an additional step and time commitment to your social media team, it is worth it. Captioning your social media video content will help solve some accessibility challenges and it will give people a chance to watch your content in moments where they can’t also listen.
3. Review Your Website to Point People to Alternate Content Versions.
If you are providing versions of content such as transcripts or captioned videos, make it obvious and predictable where users can find these items. For many ministries it will be a competitive advantage to provide accessible content because there is currently a shortage. It may be worth investing some advertising or additional marketing to let people know that this is a focus and the website is a “home-base” for accessing the content. Your website development team (usually outsourced for many ministries) should have more information on areas that your website can improve on for accessibility.
Conclusion: Ministries should take accessibility of content seriously this year. It is important to serve all people with excellence and this is an underserved group of people that need us to commit to the additional 60-90 minutes of work per week to execute this.
More Insights from Dunham+Company: “Ready For More Change? (Part Two)“