In case you haven’t been following my writing, I talk a lot about text-to-speech (TTS) software and its benefits for publishers and content creators. This entire blog is, in large part, an ode to technology that has significantly impacted the digital publishing sphere for the better.
It’s pretty obvious how. People are listening more than ever before and TTS makes that possible for a wide array of publishers who want to provide an audible version of their content, all in an effort to meet the demands and expectations of a growing listenership.
But what about other, not-so-obvious scenarios? What role does text-to-speech play outside of the usual schtick?
I am pleased to say that text-to-speech is a highly appealing proposition for a variety of business environments, such as:
Improving comprehension of your messaging
Audio content can help your intended message resonate and lead to better understanding and retention of concepts.
As such, TTS can have a transformative role in your messaging because it is inexpensive, scalable, and simply latches on to existing infrastructure.
These innate qualities of text-to-speech software can be utilized in any business sphere, where it can assist in getting a message across more clearly and strongly. In other words, using TTS allows your audience to better understand and interpret the content on your website and blog.
A huge notch in the pro column is audio’s immersive nature that resonates with consumers, particularly during uncertain times. One recent study showed that audio content connects and engages audiences at a much deeper level than other media types, forming emotional connections and capturing attention.
This leads directly to:
Creating a unique brand voice
TTS is also highly customizable. In addition to sounding natural and smooth, with proper rhythm and intonation, voices created in this way can be trained to produce a specific speaking style. This includes distinct variations and inflections on syllables, phonemes, and words.
Through Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML), speech can be further enhanced and customized by inserting elements like:
- Acronym pronunciation
- Any other pronunciation-specific instructions.
You can use these options to create a unique voice representing your business which will get a better and stronger presence in the ears of listeners.
As a step further, you can even train a custom model based on your own voice recordings so you can create a unique voice for your business.
In the ear of listeners, a brand voice can tell a lot. When we listen, we can obtain specific information and meaning from the speaker’s inflections or intonations as our brain develops an ear for sound, structure, and form. Some nuances that are context-relevant like sarcasm are much more easily communicated via audio than text.
Thanks to huge advances in audio AI, the newest TTS systems now come with a variety of options to make the user experience more pleasant and accessible. As people tend to speak differently both language and style-wise, we are as close as possible to imitating human speech to adapt to different contexts and improve listening experiences overall.
Allowing visually impaired and illiterate people access to your content
Did you know that WHO estimates that there are at least 2.2 billion people who have a near or distance vision impairment?
Are you perhaps familiar with the fact that one in five adults in the United States has low English literacy skills? This means they have difficulty understanding, evaluating, using, or engaging with written texts.
Text-to-speech can be immensely helpful to both these massive segments of the population who find reading difficult or even entirely impossible when accessing necessary information.
By being able to convert text into a natural-sounding voice in an instant, TTS removes these obstacles and opens a world of opportunities for many marginalized groups, making the Internet a more inclusive place.
For the illiterate and people with low reading skills or learning disabilities, audio is an excellent bridge between decoding and comprehension. In fact, research has shown that audio can help automatize said processes.
Sure, listening also has a few disadvantages but there’s no denying that some things are communicated far more easily through audio than text.
It’s simple, really. A business that deploys TTS on its website or any other online real estate gains access to a larger and more diverse audience. You don’t want to leave anyone behind or have them discard you instantly because your poor user experience prevents them from enjoying it.
Heck, now even Ikea has an audio catalog, close to four hours of audio descriptions covering each of the 286 pages from this year’s catalog. If that isn’t a sign of audio’s power and importance, I really don’t know what is.
Plus, being more accessible via audio is a good thing as certain people are no longer out of the mix. A win-win scenario.
We live in a fast age where tasks are done on the go and multitasking is everything. Thanks to the convenience and accessibility of text-to-speech, users now frequently opt to listen to the content they want wherever they are, while carrying out other tasks.
This means they listen to content while browsing websites, working, playing games, cooking, washing the dishes, driving, commuting, waiting at the doctor’s office, and so on. Now that I think about it, it would be easier to list places and scenarios where they are not listening.
So, as a business that has any form of textual content, you are in serious danger of missing out on a growing base of listeners interacting with you.
Between being more accessible to your audience now and thinking about their future needs and demands, raising the bar in the content department should be more of a priority now than ever before.
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