For content creators, the demands of generating content can be quite daunting. One post per day, or one big piece of content per week. Sometimes you struggle to think how you can do it realistically. Recently, I tried voice dictation to produce content faster. Here are my thoughts.
What is voice dictation?
If you’ve ever watched Madmen, you see how senior executives used to come up with ideas and take note of them. They would speak into a dictaphone for hours about a topic where they brainstorm and come up with ideas on their own. Then, they would give the tapes to their secretary to type them up.
This is dictation.
Fortunately, nowadays there are free online tools that convert spoken word into text nowadays – to varying degrees of accuracy. There’s one native in Word too.
Why dictate your content?
Having tried it for a couple of articles now, I can see 2 main benefits:
- Getting over the blank page syndrome.
- Writing out a lot of content very quickly.
1. Using voice dictation to overcome “blank page syndrome”
For many people looking to start content marketing, the challenge is knowing what to say. You sit, staring at a blank page without knowing what to say. In this scenario, dictation can be really helpful as you can just start talking about a topic without much structure. It can help you work through your ideas while you work out that structure, and even use some of what you said out loud in your content.
2. Writing a lot of content very quickly.
On the flip side, when you do content marketing a bit more and you have a structure, you learn how to overcome that anyway. I’ll cover my tips for this in another article.
Essentially, you have your content planned out, and you may even define headers and a synopsis for each article. In this case, it’s not a problem of not knowing what to say, but it’s a problem of needing to produce a lot of content. Having your structure planned out means that when you dictate your ideas, they will more likely be useable in text. And, as many of us can speak faster than we type, that’s incredibly valuable (on the face of it).
Additionally, it can allow for more free-flowing thoughts to develop. The challenge with writing is that we can’t stay out of our own way. Sometimes we just need to ignore little spelling mistakes and overly repeated words in order to let the idea flow. But so often, we tend to stop, revise that line, look for a better way to make that point, or find a more compelling way to say our go-to phrase. And this can get in the way. When you’re dictating your thoughts, you avoid all of that. Once it’s been said, it’s been said and you can move on – it’s written down and you can come back to it later. This was a huge benefit for me, personally.
However, there are limits to dictation too.
The limits of voice dictation.
The significant drawback is undoubtedly needing to back through your ramblings and convert them into a legible, engaging piece of writing.
When trying this out, I talked for about 20 minutes about a complex topic. I started over a couple of times, but I found that I greatly over-explained the topic to that point where it wasn’t valuable. And I’d written about 7 pages of text. The worst part was, that there was some good content in there. But I only needed 500 words!
Undoubtedly, I will be able to use some of that for other content and articles. But the idea of sifting through that 7 pages another time fills me with dread.
Tools for voice dictation to produce content
There are a few tools out there to help with voice dictating your content. However, for myself, I just used the built in dictation in Microsoft Word.
Microsoft has the benefit of their Cortana Smart Assistant which has learned speech recognition in the same way that Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri have.
While it isn’t perfect, there are definitely worse options out there. I have used Siri to dictate notes before and found that to be very accurate. I would have tried Google, but the functionality wasn’t available on my Google Docs for some reason.
Needless to say that I have explored many tools out there. If you are interested, I recommend trying this list of voice-to-text tools.
But overall, my advice would be to stick to free ones. Any voice dictation will require some editing anyway, so simply dictating rather than typing should be 80-90% of the total potential time-saving.
Is dictating your content worth it?
So, in summary, do I think it’s worth it to dictate your content? I think it is an incredibly effective way to convey ideas very quickly, and have that in written form for you to put in blogs. And I am definitely going to use it more often moving forwards.
In theory, you could try being more precise with what you say. Maybe try pretending you’re on a podcast so that you think more about what you’re going to say beforehand, and then when it comes to recording it, you’ll naturally be more composed.
Either way, I would definitely recommend trying it out.
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