Text-to-speech comes to LexBlog Platform with ‘Voice’

This feature can be seen first on two Baker McKenzie publications.
eric-nopanen-8e0EHPUx3Mo-unsplash

Image via Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

How does a blogging platform evolve? For that matter, how does blogging in general evolve? That question, surfaced in a Twitter exchange with Bob Ambrogi and others, got me thinking—not only on the question at hand, but its veracity and how I’d phrase the answer.

Bluntly, people aren’t going to stop writing words on the Internet. Publishing written content digitally, the essence of blogging, isn’t going anywhere. As folks bounce from Facebook to LinkedIn to TikTok to podcasts, the written word will still be here.

And people will want a place on the web that is their own.

Still, a publishing platform must evolve with the times. It must continue to adapt to meet new behaviors, to reach readers in ways and places they’ve come to expect.

With that, we have Voice. A new feature on the LexBlog Platform, visitors will now have the option of listening to a blog post instead of reading it.

What is it?

It’s pretty simple, honestly.

Voice is powered by Amazon Polly and allows users to listen to posts using a simple player at the top of each piece.

And on the law firm/blogger side, they can chose from a male or female voice in America, English or Australian accents. We may add to that as needs arise.

When a user hits publish on a post, Voice automatically sends that post to Amazon Polly, which creates the audio file asynchronously—so users don’t have to wait. The audio file is hosted in the cloud, loading quickly for users on the front end.

The feature is immediately available to add for all LexBlog users on our Blog Premier plan, and can be done so in a matter of days—if not hours.

You can see it in action now on two blogs from Baker McKenzie, The Employer Report and Canadian Labour and Employment Law.

How did it come to be?

As the last sentence may give away, this initially came in as a request from Baker McKenzie.

“We were beginning to hear from our clients, and potential clients, that the option to listen to content in favor of reading was gaining traction and becoming a preference,” said Jessica Meyer Place, Associate Director of Business Development & Marketing at Baker McKenzie. “The same was true for many of our own attorneys who use this type of feature on sites such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and so on.

“Ultimately, it’s about reaching people where they are—and being flexible with the mediums we use. It’s nice we can have the best of both worlds with our blog.”

When a firm like Baker & McKenzie comes to us with a challenge like this, we have to take a serious look. And, as I mentioned in our last post announcing a new feature—that being our new Social Cards—one of the nicest things with our managed platform approach is that when we develop a new feature, doing it the first time is a challenge but once it’s done, it’s done and can be rolled out as desired.

“The implementation was great and did not take a lot of heavy lifting on our end,” Place said. “We brought the request to LexBlog, and they said, “Let us chat about it,” quickly coming back with a, “Yeah, I think we can do this!”

I say this a lot internally, that as Director of Product at LexBlog I’m in the fortunate position of chatting with clients, taking ideas back to the actual smart folks on our team who build this stuff and then, once they do that, getting to brag about it despite serving only as a conduit.

“A few details needed to be ironed out and in no time, the feature was live on our blogs,” said Meyer Place. “The best part is that it came at no extra cost to us because the feature landed on a plan level that our blogs were already at.”

*****

Speaking of plan level, if you have a blog or blogs on our Blog Premier plan level, your subscription already includes this. If you’re looking to add this, just let us know.

Colin O'Keefe
About the Author

As Director of Product at LexBlog, Colin leads the Product team and guides LexBlog clients and community members on blogging digital publishing strategy. A professionally-trained journalist, he’s applied the trade by helping keep LexBlog at the forefront of blogging and digital media trends for more than a decade—split up by a four-year stint helping lead the Seattle Mariners’ digital marketing efforts. He’s a fan of those M’s, the Green Bay Packers, Seattle craft beer, pinball, jogging and ebikes.

Subscribe
Subscribe to 99 Park Row via Email or RSS
Please enter a valid email address and click the button.
Recent Posts
More content can be found in the Search section.