Voice is the new mobile. An earlier generation of consumers flocked to smartphones and tablets; today the move is toward audio interactions with our devices. This trend is reflected in the rising adoption of smart speakers and smart home devices (more than 55% of U.S. adults currently own one or the other). But the preference for voice also gives you a new way to get value out of your existing website content: Convert articles to audio to create a ready-made company podcast.
Podcasts establish authority while spreading brand awareness to a large audience (to say nothing of affiliate commissions and ads as an additional revenue stream). In 2020, 37% of the U.S. population listened to podcasts—up from just 32% the year before, and 26% the year before that. The trend is clear: Consumers are listening to podcasts. If your blog would make a great one, all you need to do is convert the text to audio. You can certainly do that the old-fashioned way, by paying voice talent to read your text into a microphone—but that’s expensive and time-consuming. Instead, use text-to-speech (TTS) software to translate your written works into synthetic voice files. Here are a few tools that accomplish the task.
Worried about discouraging listeners with a robotic TTS voice? No problem! Listen to ReadSpeaker’s neural voices to hear just how lifelike TTS has become.
The Trinity Audio WordPress plugin is a free TTS engine for WordPress sites. (Non-WordPress users—or anyone who wants to convert more than 1.25 million characters—will need to upgrade to the paid Trinity Player software.) Add the plugin to place a TTS reader button on every page of your blog. Trinity Audio’s key trait is its simplicity; a bulk processing feature allows you to convert your blog to audio in its entirety. However, if you want to distribute your speech content through traditional podcasting platforms, Trinity may not be the solution for you. This WordPress plugin only streams audio through your site; it doesn’t produce downloadable mp3s.
Blogcast is another simple TTS solution for converting articles to audio. It allows you to embed a media player on your blog or download mp3s of your converted text content, so you can distribute your voice content through the major podcasting platforms. Voice and language options aren’t quite as robust as some other TTS providers, but Blogcast offers a simple, no-frills integration. As we write this, there are no free Blogcast options, so be prepared to pay between $8 and $59 per month, depending on how much content you plan on processing.
Play.ht offers a wide range of TTS voices in dozens of languages. It was also designed to support TTS podcasting—in addition to the on-page, embedded streaming TTS player, it offers RSS feeds for content distribution through major podcasting platforms. Unlike some of the simpler options on this list, Play.ht also supports Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), which allows you to alter pronunciation, spacing, and tone in your TTS playback. Using raw SSML does take a bit of practice, but the tags will be familiar to anyone experienced in HTML. At the time of publication, prices for Play.ht range from $90 to $640 per year, depending on how many words you’d like to convert to audio.
WebsiteVoice provides TTS versions of your web content through an embedded player at all three pricing tiers. With a Professional plan ($49/month at the time of publication), you unlock the ability to download mp3s of your TTS audio files. WebsiteVoice’s choice of TTS voices is relatively limited, but they do support 38 languages. Installation on major platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix is supported by 5-minute installation tutorials, which makes this an easy option to deploy.
ReadSpeaker is a long-term leader in the TTS field, with more than 20 years of experience at the vanguard of this developing technology. Where other TTS providers rely on Amazon or Google’s stable of voices, ReadSpeaker produces lifelike original TTS creations with proprietary AI technology, including emotional speaking styles, voice cloning, and more than 50 languages. We provide the full range of deployment options, from on-site streaming TTS to converting articles into downloadable podcasts in a variety of file types (mp3s as well as lossless audio). In fact, if you’re listening to this blog right now, you’re already experiencing ReadSpeaker—a product called webReader, which immediately converts articles to TTS audio. If you’d like to listen, just click the Listen to This Article button at the top of the page; it’s available on all our blogs. And if you really want to boost your brand, we’ll invent a bespoke branded TTS voice, built to express the traits that set you apart.
Imagine a lifelike brand persona narrating not just your podcasts, but your smart speaker apps, website audio, interactive voice ads, and more: full-scale audio branding. Contact us today to discuss the possibilities.