A lot of you will agree to the fact that audio format is an easy way to consume content, in comparison to reading for watching something because it requires our full attention.
This is the reason why podcasts are so popular for consuming informational content because they can be consumed while driving or even while working out.
But it is a little tricky for everyone to create podcasts. Not everyone is comfortable recording your voice and putting it up there for public examination.
If you are a blogger who writes an article and wants to reach a wider audience, here is an opportunity for you to create podcasts out of your articles, that too for free.
In this blog post, we are going to take a look at how we can turn articles in audio. And not just that, we will embed the audio write inside our blog post the users have an option to listen to the article instead of just reading them.
You can also take the audio and distribute it on platforms like SoundCloud, or even YouTube.
How to Turn Articles into Audio Format Automatically in WordPress
To convert the articles into audio, we will use a service created by Amazon and is a part of their ASW (Amazon Web Services). It is known as an Amazon Polly. It converts texts into lifelike speech and keeps the audio files saved on their cloud server.
Since it is a premium service, you’ll have to pay for it, but it does have a free tier. Here is an excerpt from the pricing page for Amazon Polly.
The free tier includes 5 million characters per month for speech or Speech Marks requests, for the first 12 months, starting from your first request for speech. For Neural voices, the free tier includes 1 million characters per month for speech or Speech Marks requests, for the first 12 months, starting from your first request.
You are billed monthly for the number of characters of text that you processed. Amazon Polly’s Standard voices are priced at $4.00 per 1 million characters for speech or Speech Marks requests (when outside the free tier). Amazon Polly’s Neural voices are priced at $16.00 per 1 million characters for speech or Speech Marks requested (when outside the free tier).
For example, this post has roughly 7000 characters (updated after published). So, if you use the Neural voices, which has 1 million character requests in the free tier, you can convert approximately 140 articles.
Install AWS for WordPress Plugin
You will have to install a plugin inside your WordPress blog. The name of the plugin is AWS for WordPress. Go to the plugins area, click on add new and then search for the plugin.
Once it appears, you can click on the install button and then activate the plugin. Once the plugin is activated, you will find its option appearing below settings.
When you land on the General tab inside a table, you will find that you will have to type AWS Access key as well as the Secret Key.
To get these access and secret key, you will have to click on the link mentioned below.
Create an AWS Account, created an account on AWS, and log into the AWS management console, search for IAM. Or click on the direct link here.
Once you are on the page, it might look a little intimidating, but trust me, it is not. Click on Users. For me, it is showing one user since I already was using one of the services from AWS. For you, it might show 0 users.
Click on Users, and on the next page, you will get the option to add a new user, click on the button ‘Add User,’ and you will be taken to the next page, where you will have to write down the username.
You can be a little descriptive by using your domain name or the website name, along with the service you intend to use this for. For me, Lifetippr is the website name, and speech is the service I’ll be using it for.
Once you have selected the name, click on Next. On the next page, select ‘Attach existing policies directly’ Indian search for ‘WordPress’ in the policies. Select the policy which reflects in the results and click on Next.
This page is optional, where you can add the text so that you can organize the services better. If you are not planning to use a lot of services, you can skip this and click Next.
On the next page, you have to click on ‘Create User’ and go to the next page, where you will be able to see the access key ID and secret access key for the user you just created.
You can use these in the WordPress plugin with just installed. After typing the Access key ID and Secret access key, the third option is to select the region.
I would suggest you select the region closer to the majority of your visitors. But you have to keep in mind that some features like neural voices would only be available in all regions having the US and UK English.
So, for the sake of this article, we will be keeping it US East. After you are done, click on save changes, and then click on Text-to-Speech, found below General under AWS options.
Keep the English language selected, and check the box to enable text-to-speech support, and click on Save changes. You will notice several options appearing on the page.
This is where you will be able to select the voice for your podcast from several options available. It has voices available for English US and English UK, English Australian, and English Indian, with different male and female voices.
The other option is to enable neural text to speech, which will offer a more natural, human-like sound.
[note note_color=”#fffda6″ text_color=”#333333″ radius=”5″]Note: As we talked earlier in the article, Neural voices have only 1 million character requests in the free tier, and also costs 4x the standard (which is $16 per million characters). [/note]
If you have neural text to speech enabled, there are two styles available, one is the Newscasters style, and the other one is conversation style. You can pick the one which you feel is right for your type of article.
If you have a website that covers news articles, then the newscaster style would be a perfect fit; otherwise, you can go for the conversation style.
By default, the WordPress plugin embeds the audio player inside your article, and you can select the position of the player on this page by default it is before post, so I suggest you keep it that way.
You can use a descriptive label to the player, such as Listen, Play the Audio, etc. Then at the end of the page, there is an option to display or hide ‘Powered by AWS,’ you can do as per your liking and then click on save changes.
The changes are saved, you can go to the post editor area in your WordPress blog, and open any existing article.
In the screenshot below, you will find that the Amazon Polly WordPress plugin will give you the option to select the voice for individual articles as well. You can also enable or disable the feature for individual posts.
Click on the update button for the article to publish a new article it will take a few seconds for the audio to get generated.
When you go to the particular article, you will notice the podcast player would appear before your article starts, giving your readers an option to listen to the article.
I am currently using different voices for different types of blogs, and the sound does feel natural. I am currently in the free tier, but I may continue doing so for some of my blogs.
Convert Your Words into Podcasts and Publish on Audio Platforms
Show the above method is used for converting your articles into audio so that your readers have the option to listen to the articles, not just read them.
You can go one step further and turn your articles into podcasts and publish them on audio platforms like SoundCloud. This allows you to reach a wider audience who are not into reading articles but love to listen to informative content.
You have the option to download the audio files converted using the WordPress plugin, or you can directly do it using Amazon Polly from the AWS Management Console, here is the direct link.
It lets you convert up to 3000 characters into audio format and download them immediately so that you can use them elsewhere as a podcast. It means even if you do not have got a blog are you do not want to create podcasts out of your articles. We can still use this feature directly first to write down and then convert it into audio.
If you follow this particular article, you will know how you can turn your audio into the video so that you can upload it even on YouTube since YouTube is also one of the popular Pro platforms where people prefer to listen to informative content.