Posted on Leave a comment

Content automation and Microsoft’s new OneNote Dictation tool

Creating content is really hard. I’ve been blogging now for the last 15 years and I can tell you, any way I can find to make it better, faster and more efficient, I will do it. So in this post I’m going to share why it’s important and what I’m doing in this area. This post was mostly dictated with some manual intervention from me. And I start the automating in this post with the new Table of Contents block announced recently which lists the main points I’m covering.

Importance of content

First a small note on content creation and why it’s so important? This deserves an entire post but let me just say that content is important if you want to create attention and be found, and fresh content is the most important in this regard. So regularly creating new content is something to strive for and that is the hard part. That’s all I’ll say on this for now.

Automation

I’ve written several posts around automation and I’m using several tools to automate the way that I blog. Here’s a post written with the help of Writesonic, an AI tool that takes suggested prompts from you and generates content. You can tweak that content and I had to do about 40% of that in the post. I thought it was pretty good. But the percentage of input that I had to provide was not ideal, I felt. I also felt it took away too much input from me, at the same time. I guess this balance is just something I would need to get used to.

Another way that I’ve tried to automate things is by curating content and sharing it with readers. I’m using Microsoft Power Automate to bring content in from the web through an RSS feed and automate blog post creation. This is working really well and here is where I explained the process.

Hacks and shortcuts

There are other ways to make content creation easier that I’ve discovered. One way is through automating processes within the tool that you use. I use WordPress for example and for my featured images in every post, I use a plugin to create default featured images, based on tags I assign to a post. With WordPress I also use the copy post or page function if I’ve got a really good format that I want to reuse for a new post. It words kind of like a template. The other thing I do with WordPress is create reusable blocks of content which I use frequently in posts. Finally, with Jetpack Social, I automate the sharing of posts to social media. All these activities shave many minutes on my publishing process and it all adds up.

Speech to text

Now onto the main point of this post, which is the use of Microsoft’s OneNote dictation tool, it’s just been announced. As I mentioned at the beginning, this post was mostly dictated by me, although there has been some manual intervention. I have to say I’m really impressed with the speed and the accuracy of the translation. One thing I would suggest is to take out the auto punctuation (do that in settings), because this adds full stops in when you’re pausing, and it’s probably a little too much and fast. Otherwise, I’m really impressed and this post has taken a very short period of time to create and check. I’d say that I dictated about 85% of this post and the rest was manual intervention.

If you consider it and use it in the same context (to create written content) then read my conclusion for some pointers.

Conclusion

I’m going to use this function more for future posts. One thing I have to say, I did use some bulleted points to guide my dictation and I would suggest you do the same. It’s important to have an outline for your posts and not just “shoot from the hip”. So in other words, some upfront preparation. Having said that, it’s also very useful to have your raw thoughts captured and then be able to improve and enhance them manually.

Leave a Reply