You have a dedicated audience that comes to your site every day to read your content. They take the time to sit down and engage with what you’ve written. Unfortunately, that’s not possible for everyone. People are incredibly busy and aren’t taking the time to sit down and read an article. Users are listening to podcasts and music while they’re driving to work or cleaning the house. If you’re not considering these people, you could be missing out on potential viewers. With the Amazon Polly plugin, you can now reach anyone anywhere.
The plugin, co-authored by AWS and WP Engine, allows you to embed a text to speech player directly at the top of any article. That way users can listen to anything you produce while driving to work or cleaning the house.
Amazon Polly offers a variety of lifelike voices so you can customize based on topic or article type. Reach an entirely new audience of people on the go with this free plugin.
Not only that, publishers can create podcasts available on iTunes based on the site’s WordPress taxonomy including author and category, creating targeted streams to reach audiences interested in specific topics.
We talked with Senior Solutions Architect at AWS, Tomasz Stachlewski about what made the plugin possible, and where it’s going in the future.
[Torque] What value does Amazon Polly bring to the ecosystem?
[Tomasz Stachlewski] Amazon Polly is one of many AWS cloud services which aims to help companies build smarter and better applications and websites. Developers and companies of all sizes can extend the functionality of their applications and websites by adding voice as another way of communicating with their end users.
In the past, text-to-speech technologies were reserved for companies with big IT budgets and AI (artificial intelligence) expertise, now this is changing, thanks to cloud services it is just a matter of seconds to upload text, choose one of many different languages (currently Amazon Polly supports 25 languages and more than 50 different voices) and immediately receive the audio stream to your application so you can play it directly or store it in a standard audio file format, such as MP3.
Why did AWS decide to work with WordPress on this?
AWS provides currently over a hundred of different services, which can be identified as building blocks to be used to build applications. Those, for example, are compute, database, analytical, artificial intelligence, networking, development, IoT, management services, and many more. We released Amazon Polly at our annual conference re:Invent in 2016. Since then we were working on making it even more accessible for end users.
WordPress is one of the most popular platforms on the planet, which allows people to share their ideas and passions; it’s a platform which can be used by anybody, even by a nontechnical person, who just wants to share with others their thoughts. That’s why we decided to integrate Amazon Polly with WordPress–to make it extremely easy for people (even nontechnical people) to extend their WordPress websites, blogs by new capabilities, to create new channels of communications. Now it’s not only about ‘readers’ – now it’s also about ‘listeners’ – who wants to listen to the latest blog post while they are driving a car, riding a bike, or maybe just cooking a meal for their family.
Have you gotten any notable feedback on the plugin so far?
More than 90 percent of the AWS roadmap is based on customer feedback, and the Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress is an example of that. We have been working with some companies during the initial phase of creating the plugin, which allowed us to develop it based on their comments and suggestions.
The most popular comment which we received was that our plugin created new opportunities because it creates new communication channels which weren’t accessible in the past and they are very happy because of it. But, how we like to say on Amazon, this is still day one and we will continue to work on the plugin and add new capabilities based on our customer’s feedback.
Want to learn more about the rise of voice technology in WordPress? Check out this free webinar.