WordPress and Alexa

Read this post to me:
Voiced by Amazon Polly

At tonight’s WordPress Tunbridge Wells Meetup the topic under discussion was using WordPress as a backend to provide content to Alexa. The presentation / discussion was led by Kane Simms from the VUX World podcast, the leading podcast for all things “voice”. 

We had an excellent initial discussion about “smart speakers”, how they are growing in popularity and becoming more and more prominent in everyone’s day-to-day lives. After this, we moved on to talk about the actual implementation of Alexa Skills and how by using the Alexa Skills Kit you can build your own skills. But how do you use WordPress as the endpoint for the content for the skill? Well, of course, there is a plugin for that!!!

VoiceWP

VoiceWP is a plugin that allows you to expose WordPress content to an Alexa Skill in two different ways, either as part of a Flash Briefing skill or as part of a News skill.

Flash Briefing

With the flash briefing skill, the content is included in a users Alexa flash briefing, which is a small news feed that the user configures to have particular items in it. From the WordPress admin, you can add new briefing in, either as text or an audio file, and then publish these, either directly to the briefing or at a pre-determined time and date, as you might do with new posts. When the user calls upon the flash briefing with Alexa, your latest published briefing will be included in the briefing. To set this on the Alexa platform is very straightforward, really all you need to do is provide the skill with the endpoint for the feed and you are away.

News

With the news skill, published posts can be listed, search for and then read by Alexa. There is a bit more set up involved in this, however, the VoiceWP instructions and step-by-step setup process in the WordPress admin looked very comprehensive and within about 15 minutes Kane had managed to get a skill up and running, listing the latest five posts and then getting Alexa to read a post back to us.

So head on over to the Github repository for VoiceWP and see what you can do with it.

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