The launch of the Amazon Polly plug-in for WordPress is going to turn blog posts into spoken audio or podcasts. And it will do this in 47 female and male voices and 30 languages.
By integrating Amazon Polly with WordPress, the technology will be available to a much wider audience – many of them small business owners. And the feature will give small business websites and blogs using WordPress a new tool for interacting and engaging with customers.
And as a small business, getting your message across easily is key to serving your customers. Converting the text on your blog or website to voice will make it possible for your readers to listen to your message while they are driving, exercising or just not in the mood to read.
The plug-in was designed in collaboration with the Amazon Web Services team and WP Engine, a managed WordPress platform. Together the teams created Polly to convert the text on WordPress to speech. The Polly speech platform was introduced in November 2016 at an Amazon re:Invent developer event.
Using the Amazon Polly WordPress Plugin
Polly was originally designed to give developers a tool for creating applications that talk. Developers have used it to build new categories of speech-enabled products using the advanced deep learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds natural and human-like.
The plug-in is extending this capability to WordPress users along with new features previously seen on Alexa, such as whispering, speech marks and dynamic range compression. And if you are running your own installation of WordPress on AWS — or your own hosted or managed infrastructure — you can start using it now.
You have to do some configuration, but there is a clear set of instructions written by Jeff Barr, Chief Evangeist for AWS, here so you can have a go at it. Once setup, the plugin will make calls to Amazon Polly each time one of your posts is saved or updated. And this is where you pay for the service.
The pricing structure can get complicated. The free tier begins with the first request for speech, and you will get 5 million characters per month for speech or Speech Marks requests, for the first 12 months.
Once you start with the payed service, you will be charged based on the number of characters in the speech requests. The pay-as-you-go structure gives you one million characters for $4.00.
So how many pages of content does this work out to be? Well, 3,000 characters comes out to approximately 500 words, the average length of a single spaced page. This means you might expect one million characters to take up approximately 333.33 pages; not bad for $4.00.
You can get additional details on the pricing of Amazon’s Polly plug-in here.
Why Should You Use the Plug-in?
If you simplify the way your audience is able to consume the content you create, you have a better chance they will do so. Turning text into human-like speech is one more way to make this possible.