In the last fast content creation article, we discussed how you can use audio recordings to create tons of content at lightning speed. Here we’ll discuss various tools that help facilitate this process.
When you start switching over to this method, you may find several hurdles to production. For example, how do you overcome the issue of creating on the go?
What if you have the time to create an audio but not necessarily a blog post?
How can you make this activity super-efficient so it won’t become more of a time suck?
Here are some ideas.
Creating Your Audio
Now, there are tons of really easy ways to create audio on your computer or phone.
Lots of people have some kind of audio notes program on their phone, but then sucking the audio off the phone into another program is a problem. Or for those who are less computer-savvy, making the recording with the computer’s software, but not knowing how to find the file is an issue.
For these kinds of issues I’d suggest finding a program that will host your audio for you. I tend to go for programs that have paid subscriptions, rather than free services. But to start off, as long as the program allows you to back up your recordings, free programs will do as a starting point.
Phone It In
My favorite paid program is Hipcast. That’s because one of the ways to create an audio is to call in to a number, enter your PIN, and decide whether or not to publish the audio. It can also be set up to auto-publish to your blog immediately, manually post at any time, and create one or many podcasts for your collection of audios.
Built in players and Other Fun
For ease of use, I’m fond of Audioboo. Since I’m verbose, the 5 minute time limit helps me get in all my high points in one take. It also has a player you can pop easily into your site. For the enterprise level, I’d go with Podblaze.
Transcribing Your Audio
Whether you’re transcribing audio to create an article, or to accompany a PDF, there are lots of inexpensive ways to do this — some are even free for those just starting out.
The Personal Touch
If you don’t have an assistant who can transcribe your thoughts on a daily basis for future blog posts, you can find a decent person on Fiverr, or ODesk - sometimes you can even get several small jobs done for as little as $5. Half an hour for five bucks is quite a steal, and some will turn it over to you in less than 24 hours.
Just like free though, cheap comes at a price. It may take a couple of tries to find a great person. Once you do, they could still disappear – some of the remote workers are in college or holding down full time jobs outside of their Fiverr work.
You could also add a virtual assistant who has this task as a primary function. My advice would be to hire them for several projects, until you find a great match, then find out if they’d be available for ongoing work.
Google Can Help Out
If you have an Android phone or an IPad 3 or higher, try your built in speech to text program – just create a new email, click the microphone button on your phone and start talking. When you’re done, send the email to yourself.
The complication of this method, of course, is that you may not have a way to record what you’re saying. But this is perfect if you just want to create a short tip, and don’t need the audio file.
Test it out a couple of times first – I find success varies from device to device. My Droid does this task with near perfection, only requiring edits for technical terms. My Samsung Exhibit… well it’s a sorry excuse for a phone in a number of ways.
Google’s Chrome browser also has a way for you to enable speech input, but it’s far from perfect. For example, the microphone only appears in small text fields. If you have Google Voice, and can keep your messages short, it will transcribe voice mails you send to yourself. Note that you can download or listen to the recorded message from the Google Voice control panel, or from the app on an Android phone.
The Software (and software assisted) solutions
You can also get this done with software. I prefer Dragon Naturally Speaking. I have a Maryland accent with influences from UK and African dialects, and it does a close to perfect job right out of the box. I do have to train it from time to time, but it’s not nearly the time-sucking bear of an activity that it was, say, 3 years ago.
Most people will be fine with the Home version, but there is a Premium version available - this PDF from the Nuance website compares all the versions available. I just upgraded to the latest premium version because I like that it will transcribe audios I’ve already created. Make sure you comparison shop and look for coupons – Dragon often goes on sale or gives shoppers at Amazon a better price.
On my previously mentioned Samsung phone I use Speakwrite. Human transcription is about 1.2 cents a word, turn around is often less than three hours for short documents. If I need it done professionally, and don’t have a trusted VA, I go to them.
You don’t always get the same person, but they do often obey the same set of standards. So to minimize editing, be sure to indicate when there’s a new paragraph, and spell out technical jargon.
It’s great for recording and transcribing phone interviews too. And there’s a web version if you don’t see the need for it on your mobile.
Next time, we’ll talk about creating one piece of content and leveraging it for multiple purposes, using audio – without sounding like you’re just repeating yourself.