How to turn your WordPress blog posts into a Podcast with Anchor
You might have noticed that my three most recent blog posts have now been turned into an audio version, with a link shared within the posts. The audio version can be uploaded easily to popular podcasting sites, such as Spotify, Google Podcasts (allow 7 days) and lesser known ones, such as Breaker and PocketCasts. This latest post demonstrates how this can be done, with a tutorial video and reference to a post published on 22 February by WordPress author, Austin Lau. It also refers to Anchor – a podcasting site made by Spotify. This is my new public profile on Anchor which shows the three podcasts so far. Click here to open my Spotify ‘show’ in a browser, or in the desktop app if you already have that.
As Lau states, “Anchor, part of the Spotify family, powers 80% of all new podcasts on Spotify, with free tools to easily create, distribute, and monetize, no matter how you record — including podcasting with your WordPress.com blog!
Creating an Anchor podcast from your site is free and seamless. After all, you’ve already got a whole blog’s worth of written content to use. With Anchor, all that’s left is converting your words into audio, which can be as easy as using your blog to quickly record a text-to-speech version.”Lau, A (2021).
I found out about this by chance the other day, as I scheduled a new post. This feature arrived on 22 February. For simplicity, I chose ‘Teacher Phili’ for my Anchor account, so that it synchs with everything else that is online and public about me. This is also what my ‘show’ on Spotify, which was enabled on 5 March, is called. However, it might be better to create a name and description which better fits what the podcast is about, especially if you aim to monetise your podcasts through sponsorships in Anchor. Linking your Anchor account to your WordPress one might be sufficient, but you could think about the potential reach of the audio and what you aim to get out of doing this. I chose a ‘Matrix’ cover art as it looked cool, especially given the black, white and green font colour branding of Spotify. Anchor keeps account of unique listens and, in time, analytics on geographic region, gender and age can be generated. Given that WordPress apparently is the Content Management System for 40% of the sites on the Internet and that many of these are individually managed personal and business blogs, this could prove quite popular in the long run.
The easiest way to turn your WordPress post into an audio version is at the point of publication. You will need to create a new Anchor account to link with your WordPress.com account — existing Anchor accounts cannot be linked at present. You can also convert all of your newly published posts on WordPress.com into podcasts as well, which I did for two earlier posts – Time for Change? and The Mental Health of Language Teachers during Covid-19 with more to be added soon. I recorded a short one about an existing podcast interview and their is a tutorial below about the process.
The easiest way to convert it is using text to speech, which will use one of two US-accented voices – ‘Remy’ (female) or ‘Cassidy’ (male). Now, a podcast would ideally have the real voice of the presenter (or any guests) and this is possible, but you will need to record the audio yourself or, maybe, get some guests in! Direct text-to-speech is similar to an audio transcription of an article. But it can causes a few, minor errors as the text in captions next to an image will also be read out, while quotations come up with a ‘greater than’ (sic) reading. If you just want to focus on the content, then this is perfectly fine. You also might want to re-type the title of the post as a byline, as I have done on this post, because the title does not get read out when choosing this method. With text-to-speech conversion, your blog can be podcast-ready in a few minutes, as was mine when I first tried it. Once in Anchor, episodes can be edited, with modified titles, descriptions, as well as the addition of music and transitions.
There is already a tutorial video from Anchor for creating a podcast from your WordPress blog. This goes into more details about the options on the platform. However, I decided to make two myself as this is more personal and relevant to the readers of my blog. The first is an introduction to using Anchor, using the text-to-speech option. The second tutorial focuses on recording an audio yourself. You can watch these below or on YouTube.
Note: Check what version of WordPress you are using. If you are already on Anchor, you will need to create a new account for this purpose. Some users have tried to connect an existing anchor.fm account and the anchor.fm/wordpressdotcom link just redirects to the “Episode” dashboard with no connection with WordPress capability or text-to-speech function. They also tried making a new anchor.fm account and ran into the same issue.
Anchor (2021). How to convert your blog into a podcast with WordPress.com. Available at: https://youtu.be/8vjCRG1i9jo.
Lau, A (2021). Turn Your WordPress.com Blog into a Podcast with Anchor. Available at: https://wordpress.com/blog/2021/02/22/turn-your-wordpress-com-blog-into-a-podcast-with-anchor/.