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Podcast creation can be a time-consuming task: record a conversation, edit the audio file and create the transcript for the blog that usually is published along with the podcast.

But the tech involved in producing podcasts is changing, thanks to AI, new software, and new hardware. A few examples:

  • Mikme, a new wireless microphone for recording in high quality on the go
  • Anchor, a podcast platform for recording and publishing all on your smartphone
  • Speechkit, which helps to create podcasts based on written content, and this blog is about.

Turning written content into audio is nothing new really. The Narrator feature in Windows was first released in Windows 2000 and made it possible to have a computer voice reading your written content. It was well known for its robotic voice.

A sentence read by Windows Narrator

Speechkit was developed in 2017 and is based on the text to speech services developed by IBM, Amazon and Microsoft. It supports over 15+ languages and several publishing platforms (like WordPress, Amazon Alexa, and iTunes).

Based on the written content you already have, Speechkit creates an audio file that can be published.

For a first test you can just copy and paste some text into the Add Post screen and give it a try.

The simplest way to use Speechkit – copy and paste your text and create your audio.

If you are publishing in WordPress you can set up the plugin and create podcasts right from your WordPress dashboard without even logging in (read the detailed guide on how to set this up).

Speechkit in WordPress dashboard – you can also update the audio file if you update your blog

The Speechkit player in WordPress can be integrated at the bottom of a site (“Browser Audio Player”) or embedded at the top of a post (“Embeddable Audio Player”). Besides play and stop you can also skip 15 seconds forward or backward or control play speed.

The embedded Speechkit player control

Don’t worry about the mobile experience. The player also works well on mobile.

Mobile view of a Speechkit powered WordPress blog

How to get started?

  1. Register for an account (free!)
  2. Create a publication (like Fresh van Root blog)
  3. Choose a voice and language for your publication
    • Supports over 20 languages / voices
  4. Connect a source
    • Manual: Copy and paste text content to Speechkit web app
    • Connect your RSS feed
    • Set Up your WordPress blog with the Speechkit plugin
    • Source your text content via API to Speechkit
  5. Set publishing target (all in beta)
    • iTunes
    • Alexa
    • Soundcloud
  6. Or download the audio file and do whatever you want with it

The list of supported languages and different voices

What are the limitations?

Speechkit markets itself as a tool for creating “mini podcasts”. That is a good definition of what currently is possible. The AI voice is good enough to listen to for a few minutes, but not much longer. And of course, it does not work for interviews as the text is read in one voice. Maybe in the future it will be possible to assign personas or edit the audio right in your browser (cut and trim i.e.)

The current Speechkit claim

So what can it be used for?

  • Transform your already published text content to audio
  • Automate the text to speech process
  • Reach a new audience which prefers to listen instead of reading
  • Continue “reading” while driving a car or leaving the office for a train
  • Create an audio file for further editing in other tools
  • Proofreading of your own written text
  • Simply offer one additional channel to consume your content

Right now you do not get any analytics on listening behavior. In the future that can also give an interesting insight into your current “readership” (analytics feature listed on website) and allow you to optimize your mini-podcasts for this medium.

As a digital marketer, you should check out the service to learn about the possibilities of text to speech and evaluate if and how these services can be integrated into your content marketing efforts.

Listen to a Mini-Podcast about Speechkit created by Speechkit.

Check out what others are publishing with Speechkit on Soundcloud or Twitter.

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