If you are like me, you have a hard time listening and taking notes at the same time. But in order to blog factually, you have to have some kind of record of an event, speech, conversation or multi-media presentation in order to accurately report the nuances and find the high points to write about.
Because nothing makes a piece of writing more compelling than a detailed representation of a subject’s voice.
That’s where audio recording comes in. Since the advent of the tape recorder, writers have used audio as the basis of factual reporting, because there’s no arguing with a verbatim quote committed to tape. After all, the thinnest audio is always better than the strongest note.
This is why I love my iPhone.
iPhones (and other smartphones) of today are an action-packed kit of tools and apps that make reporting easy and handy. Sometimes it’s my only tool.
But there is one iPhone feature that I credit as the secret to my success in blogging.
Voice Memo Rocks
For blogging, the single most valuable feature of an iPhone is Voice Memo.
You’ll find Voice Memo hidden away in your Utilities folder, but on my ancient 3G I’ve given it center stage on my dashboard. Easier to access that way.
The iPhone’s built-in microphone is so clear and powerful that I can record a conversation across the room in a noisy bar. It also picks up amplified presentations beautifully, just lying on the seat next to me.
In an interview situation, the sound is immaculate, and if the subject is in mid-tangent, I can just wave the phone, with its image of an old-time microphone, to let them know I’m recording.
Voice Memo has given me the audio that allowed me to accurately tell these stories:
Joel Peterson talking at the top of his lungs in a noisy restaurant about how he got Joe Teldeschi to sell him grapes.
8 social media experts at a YVR Bloggers Meetup speaking about searching, sharing and blog promotion.
Tim Resnick of Moz speaking with amplification about SEO tips for wine bloggers
A Vancouver WordPress Meetup with speakers talking, without amplification, about WordPress vs Wix vs Joomla
Gary Lee sitting in an extremely noisy bar answering questions about the evils of Google
A distiller discussing his techniques on a tour of the distillery while I shot pictures with my Nikon.
Speakers at all the WordCamps I’ve attended, plus interviews I’ve used in stories written for other publications.
Making Voice Memos
I never use an external mic on my iPhone. The built-in mic works well enough for me.
If I’m doing a land-line interview I will just hold the bottom of the iPhone to the top of the handset and it catches everything.
In an interview situation with a subject, I just leave the phone on the table between us. No words are lost.
At a sit-down wine event like the one with Joel Peterson, I find that positioning the phone on top of a wine glass gives it a promitory on which to capture the right voices.
If I’m walking around, shooting pictures with my Nikon, I will have someone hold the phone. On my own, I’ve stuffed the phone – mic up – in the front pocket of my jeans, and it still catches the voice of my tour guide.
Here’s a run-down on how to use Voice Memo.
Working with Voice Memos
Voice Memos download directly into iTunes which creates an M4a file, which can then be converted to MP3 or MP4.
To aid in the process of manual transcription, I have occasionally imported converted voice memos into Garage Band where I have slowed the tempo of fast talkers or enhanced the sound quality of soft speakers.
More Than a Blog Aid
Other useful instances for using Voice Memo have come when I recorded concerts and bar shows, when my friend’s dentist explains her post-surgery care, or when the bank representative explained the features of our mortgage. In fact, whenever someone is telling me something complicated I want to remember, I will just whip out my phone and turn on Voice Memo.
In addition to helping me blog more accurately, Voice Memo acts as the hard drive for my memory.
Have you used Voice Memo for accurate blogging? Or, do you use it for other reasons? I’d love to know!