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23 Apr

Turn unread newsletters into AI podcasts

Datum: 2024-04-23 12:05
A middle-aged man is running through a sunny Swedish countryside.

There are many newslet­ters I want to con­tin­ue sub­scrib­ing to, but my time han­dling email is pre­cious, so I have a hard time read­ing them all. How­ev­er, when I’m dri­ving, cycling, or on the go in oth­er ways, I have plen­ty of time to lis­ten to podcasts.

(For those who pre­fer watch­ing rather than read­ing, I made a short video of parts of this tip:)

I would have had time to listen

Imag­ine if I could lis­ten to the newslet­ters I don’t have time to read,” I thought some time ago. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, few newslet­ters also exist as pod­casts (I don’t know of any else that comes in both text and audio for­mat than my own Done!, actu­al­ly). How­ev­er, a sin­gle com­ment on LinkedIn from my speak­er col­league Daniel Karls­son gave me the idea to cre­ate an auto­mat­ic pod­cast of newslet­ters using AI.

It became a pod­cast, after all

Said and done. When I receive a newslet­ter in my email, I quick­ly skim through it, mark the sec­tions that inter­est me, and for­ward them to a spe­cif­ic email address with a sin­gle click. At the receiv­ing end, an AI reads the texts and cre­ates mp3 files from them (this is what it might sound like, for exam­ple ). When the files are saved, they appear as new episodes in the Auto­mat­ic pod­cast” that I lis­ten to in the app where I lis­ten to pod­casts. I can now lis­ten to what I didn’t want to spend time read­ing when­ev­er I want.

Does this sound like some­thing for you? You can do as I do.

Do this

I have built the solu­tion in the automa­tion ser­vice Zapi­er and use Ope­nAI’s Text-to-Speech mod­ule to con­vert text to audio. There­fore, you need a sub­scrip­tion to Zapi­er (the cheap­est one above the free ver­sion is suf­fi­cient) and a sub­scrip­tion to Ope­nAI’s API.

  1. In Zapi­er, cre­ate a new zap (i.e., a new flow of activ­i­ties trig­gered by a trigger).
  2. Let the trig­ger that starts the flow be an email (from you) com­ing to the unique email address you get when you add the app Email by Zapi­er” as a trigger.
  3. Then cre­ate the activ­i­ties you need to remove junk” from the email using the app For­mat­ter by Zapi­er”, so you only have the clean text left as much as pos­si­ble. (At the very end of this post, you will find a map of all steps I have includ­ed in the Zapi­er zap”👇🏻.)
  4. Cre­ate an activ­i­ty that takes the text and lets the app Ope­nAI, Con­vert Text to Speech” read it and spit out an mp3 file.
  5. Cre­ate an activ­i­ty that saves the mp3 file in a cloud stor­age ser­vice you use (I have cho­sen Dropbox).
  6. Cre­ate an activ­i­ty that, after the mp3 file has been saved, cre­ates a new post in the RSS feed you define in the activ­i­ty. Now, the zap is ready in Zapier.
  7. Add a new pod­cast in the app where you lis­ten to pod­casts. Where you’re prompt­ed to enter the feed” for the pod­cast, enter the address of the RSS feed you received in step 6 above.


(I know this is a some­what more advanced tip than many oth­ers I have shared over the years. But, since I have such great use of this solu­tion, I could­n’t help but tell you about it.)

A quick, read summary

If you cre­ate a sim­i­lar auto­mat­ic pod­cast of the newslet­ters you don’t have time to read, you can stay up to date on the top­ics that are impor­tant to you to a greater extent than oth­er­wise. You will be served a quick sum­ma­ry” of what’s new and you can go back to the orig­i­nal email and read more care­ful­ly if there’s some­thing you want to delve deep­er into.

How do you do it?

Have you cre­at­ed anoth­er text-to-speech solu­tion that helps you in your dai­ly life? Email me, please!

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This is what the flow (“zap”) in Zapi­er looks like

These are the steps that the Zapi­er flow con­sists of in my solu­tion. Maybe this image can help you cre­ate your ver­sion more easily.