Berlin Wedding, or Satan and the Morphine Addict

The devil lives here. Or at least that is what people believed, when the district was nothing more than fields, woods and the odd farm building – all to the west of the Gesundbrunnen district, where a spa existed in 1760. But once Berliners left the safe area of pools and beer gardens behind, they felt they were out in the wild. Since the Middle Ages, Wedding had been referred to as a ‘desert’, a wild place for demons. And there were witnesses (or accomplices). Dorothea Steffin, a miller’s daughter who had been imprisoned for her ‘negligent moral conduct’ in 1728 confessed to having met Satan in Wedding, looking like a ‘well-shaped gentleman’.

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Controversy: VoiceMap’s Podcast, Episode 1

Controversies — or potential controversies — exist all around us, all the time. But a single place can sometimes become a lightning rod for all of this pent up energy. Think of prostitution, for example. I think it’s safe to assume that the oldest profession has, well, professionals, just about everywhere. But by bringing prostitution out into the light, Bangkok’s red light districts have given us a focal point for all of the sex trade’s many complexities.

A red light district in Bangkok is one place we’re visiting today. We’re also stopping to look up at a statue of a long dead colonialist in Cape Town and considering what an inner city prison in Philadelphia says about the American dream. Continue reading “Controversy: VoiceMap’s Podcast, Episode 1” »

Theatreland with Ian McKellen

This May, Sir Ian McKellen is directing a performance 52 years in the making. It has only one star: you. To take up your role, you need just four things: curiosity, a smartphone, some trusty headphones and VoiceMap for Android or iOS. Your stage is London’s Theatreland. Continue reading “Theatreland with Ian McKellen” »

We’re Hiring: Audio Tour Script Editor

Position: Junior Editor
Starting Date: Immediately
Salary: R8000 – R16000 per month negotiable basic salary

VoiceMap is a Woodstock-based startup that combines storytelling and technology to produce remarkable audio tours. Our platform brings together an innovative CMS and easy to use mobile apps, establishing a platform and marketplace for this fast-growing medium. Tech is central to what we do, but we believe in putting the story first. And while the most obvious application for VoiceMap is walking tours, we also publish fictional audio dramas and site-specific soundscapes. We like to experiment. Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Audio Tour Script Editor” »

We’re Hiring: Growth Marketing Manager

We are looking for a digital marketing lead to grow our user base and increase conversions. Experience driving mobile app installs using a variety of organic and paid channels is especially important. You’ll need to have run extremely cost efficient search, retargeting and social campaigns in the past, and possess a strong track record in ASO and SEO, along with email, content and affiliate marketing. This is a position for an enthusiastic growth hacker who can help us to understand and segment our users better. Advanced Google Analytics and Excel skills are a must, as is experience with surveys and A/B testing. Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Growth Marketing Manager” »

We’re Hiring: Junior Dialogue Editor

Position: Junior Sound Designer
Starting Date: Immediately
Salary: Market related

VoiceMap is a Cape Town-based startup that combines storytelling and technology to produce remarkable, immersive audio tours. Our platform brings together an online publishing tool and easy to use mobile apps, establishing a marketplace for this new, fast-growing medium. While the most obvious application for VoiceMap is walking tours, we also publish fictional audio dramas that unfold over the course of a short walk and site-specific soundscapes. We like to experiment. Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Junior Dialogue Editor” »

Recording Great Audio on iOS Devices

Creating a walking tour with VoiceMap is easy and lots of fun, but there are also a few new things to be learned. Recording the best possible quality audio for your walk will mean more people enjoying and sharing your route. Remember, during a walk, your voice is all they have! This tutorial will help you to create the best possible audio using your iOS device.

Installing a Voice Recorder

1. Go to the iTunes store and download Recordium (free).

00-recordium-logo

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Seeking Live Jazz in Contemporary New Orleans

One of our storytellers in New Orleans, Kristin Fouquet, created this fantastic video showcasing her New Orleans jazz tour. In keeping with its theme, it’s got a great soundtrack, and we think it’s an innovative example of how to create promotional content for your audio tour. Enjoy!

How to Effectively Link to Your Audio Tour Online

There are a few things you can do to maximise the effectiveness of a link to your audio tour so that it helps bring in search traffic from Google. Think of this post as a very brief beginners guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Keywords are key

The text that you use to link to your audio tour in an article, blog post, or press release influences how easily people find your tour in a Google search. Using a plain URL (www.voicemap.me, for instance) or the word “here” does very little to help people find your tour using Google. Instead, try and identify the most effective link text.

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How to Create Promotional Content for your Audio Tour

There are plenty of different types of promotional content that will help you boost your audio tour’s sales. Read on for four that are effective and easy to create.

Q&As

Q&As are a great way to communicate a bit about who you are, why you created your audio tour, and what people will get out of the experience. They’re also quick to put together, and often easier to get published elsewhere than press releases.

We’ve come up with a handful of questions to save you time (and spare you the awkwardness of having a Q&A session with yourself!) Answer the questions that appeal most, add an introductory sentence or two, and you’re ready to send the finished product to blogs or publications that may like to publish it. Don’t forget to add a link to your tour on appropriate keywords.

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Creative and Time-Efficient Ways to Promote your Audio Tour

In Cape Town, the locations along several of our city centre routes are intriguingly marked with geotag-shaped stickers, and it really gets people talking. The stickers invite passers-by to “listen to stories from the District Six Museum” – or The Book Lounge, or Mogalakwena Gallery – and list a couple of the audio walks that feature this particular location, with instructions for downloading them.

The businesses and organisations we approach are generally thrilled to hear that they are already included (at no cost) in the commentary of a walk that passes right by their door. In those cases, placing a custom-made sticker in their window is a win-win situation – assuming that the commentary is flattering, of course.

Location-aware audio connects a voice to a place. The real trick is finding ways to inform people that the voice – and the story – exists. Stickers, posters and signage are among the most effective ways of doing that.

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4 Questions that your Press Release Should Answer

Audio tour apps are exciting and new, so getting websites and other publications to run a press release or article about yours shouldn’t be difficult. Press releases are a great way of communicating to specific audiences, and editors are often happy to have the work taken out of writing something themselves.

We’ve done our best to take some of the work out of the process for you, too. Read on to find plenty of examples from press releases – which you can reword to reflect your own personality – along with the four essential questions that a press release promoting your audio tour should answer.

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9 Tips for Sharing Your VoiceMap

If you’ve ever shared something you created online, you’ll probably have experienced the positive network effects for yourself. But how do you go beyond your personal sphere of influence, and into the world? VoiceMap’s major sources of both visitors and customers are Facebook and Twitter, and here we give you a few tips on how to optimize your interactions on social media.

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Recording Great Audio on Android Devices

Creating a VoiceMap audio tour is easy, intuitive and a great way to tell your stories, but there are also a few new things to be learned. Recording the best possible quality audio for your tour will mean more people enjoying and sharing it. It’s your voice that will be giving directions and telling stories, so this tutorial will help you to create the best possible audio using your Android device.

Installing a Voice Recorder

1. Go to the Google Play store and download Smart Voice Recorder (free).

smart-voice-recorder-logo

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Create your own bundle of audio tours

Did you really enjoy a few particular VoiceMap experiences that you think your friends or community would appreciate too? Our latest feature, VoiceMap Route Bundles, gives you a way of grouping three or more audio tours together so that friends can purchase them at a 15% discount.

How to create a bundle

1. Go to voicemap.me/route-bundles
2. Choose at least three routes in the box on the left. Perhaps they’re connected by location, by a theme, or simply your personal taste. They don’t all have to be in the same city or country.
3. Select the routes you want and click on the right arrow to move them into the box on the right.
4. Give your bundle a name and a description that will entice people to choose it.
5. Finally, upload an image that is at least 1920px wide. Please be sure to choose images that you have permission to use. (You can use this free online tool to crop and resize images.)
6. Click the green “Create Route Bundle” button at the bottom right of the screen.

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We’re Hiring: Business Development Manager, Hong Kong

Position: Business Development Manager
Starting Date: Immediately
Salary: Basic plus commission, negotiable

About Us

VoiceMap is a publishing platform and marketplace for immersive audio tours. Our iPhone and Android apps make the medium simple by using GPS to synchronise playback, making sure that you hear about the Chungking Mansions when you’re looking at Chungking Mansions. Our publishing tool and team of editors open up fresh opportunities for storytellers and tourist attractions across the world.

About the Role

VoiceMap is currently looking for a business development manager in Hong Kong. This is a sales-focused role, centred on establishing partnerships with popular tourist attractions as well as organisations involved in tourism in Hong Kong and Mainland China, eventually extending into Japan. But we are also looking for someone who can help us to grow a healthy, well balanced marketplace that serves these partners, our end users, and our community of storytellers equally well.

Continue reading “We’re Hiring: Business Development Manager, Hong Kong” »

We’re Hiring: Business Development Manager, Singapore

Position: Business Development Manager
Starting Date: Immediately
Salary: Basic plus commission, negotiable

About Us

VoiceMap is a publishing platform and marketplace for immersive audio tours. Our iPhone and Android apps make the medium simple by using GPS to synchronise playback, making sure that you hear about the Merlion when you’re looking at the Merlion. Our publishing tool and team of editors open up fresh opportunities for storytellers and tourist attractions across the world.

About the Role

VoiceMap is currently looking for a business development manager in Singapore. This is a sales-focused role, centred on establishing partnerships with popular tourist attractions as well as organisations involved in tourism in Singapore and across Southeast Asia. But we are also looking for someone who can help us to grow a healthy, well balanced marketplace that serves these partners, our end users, and our community of storytellers equally well.

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Mickey Cohen’s Sunset Strip

Aric Allen’s Hollywood walking tour tells the story of the Sunset Strip‘s transformation from sprawling poinsettia fields and avocado groves to the world famous entertainment hotspot it is today.

It was gambling that built the Sunset Strip, Aric says, and in this short video, he zooms in on a central character, the Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen, who ruled the Sunset Strip in the post-war era.

Aric also highlights the role that water may have played in the lifespans of both the man and the Strip itself.

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The Voice of Bo-Kaap

Shereen Habib was born in 1952 in a house at the top of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town’s “Malay Quarter”. The predominantly Muslim neighbourhood’s population is mostly descended from convicts, political exiles and slaves from the former Dutch East Indies.

Shereen’s family has lived in Bo-Kaap for almost a century. During apartheid’s darkest days when most non-white people were banished to designated neighbourhoods and townships on the outskirts of the city, including Shereen and her husband, her parents remained in the house on the hill.

She returned to Bo-Kaap after a decade with her husband in a formerly “coloured” area. It was home, she says. “After so much anger and so much death and so much shooting down, with my children witnessing it all, we were traumatised. I wanted to get back to where I knew best – where there was love and laughter – and so I came back here. And that’s when I knew that this is where I wanted to start telling my story.”

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Audio Drama: The Ideal Medium for Fantasy

The latest weekly podcast by our friends Matthew and Robert at Yap Audio Production explores why audio is a particularly powerful medium for fantasy. One of the guests on the show is Domien De Groot – “the Tolkien of audio drama” – who shares the story of how his career began.

“Fantasy is really what got me in to doing audio drama in the first place. I discovered it because of the BBC dramatisations of the Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. That’s when I fell in love with the medium. I thought ‘what is so wonderful about this is you can create this whole world, and you can see things, without actually having to film them, or create them.’

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