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Build Your Own Alexa Flash Briefing Skill in Under an Hour

Build Your Own Alexa Flash Briefing Skill in Under an Hour

I just lately had the chance to talk on the Social Media Advertising World, on the subject of constructing chatbots for advertising functions. It was a thrill to current on the subject to a large, reside viewers. Nevertheless, attending the presentation of different advertising professionals was equally thrilling.

Lou Mongello, an award-winning podcaster, introduced on the subject of constructing a group via podcasts. His story is a captivating one, as he’s a former lawyer who left that profitable subject to focus all of his time on podcasting, talking and sharing his ardour. What does Lou podcast about? Walt Disney World. And he’s incomes a wholesome six-figure revenue doing it.

supply: WDW Radio Podcasts

What’s Lou’s Secret?

Lou has been podcasting commonly since 2003. He leveraged the first-mover benefit by being one of many first to get into podcasting and has been constant in offering high-quality audio content material.

Simply as Lou was one of many first movers in a brand new advertising medium, content material entrepreneurs which might be on the lookout for an analogous benefit can leverage a brand new advertising channel introduced by Amazon on the Alexa voice platform: Alexa Flash Briefings.

Whether or not it’s a flash information briefing or a podcast on thought management, right here’s what you must find out about constructing, launching and sustaining an Alexa Flash Briefing Skill. #alexa #flashbriefing #martech Click on To Tweet

What’s an Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing?

A just lately launched talent, Amazon’s Alexa Flash Briefing is a micro-podcast that’s delivered by way of an Alexa-enabled gadget (Amazon Echo, Dot, and so on.) at a daily cadence. For those who personal an Alexa system, you open the app and ask Alexa to put in a brand new flash briefing talent. Then, every day you’ll be able to ask “Alexa, what’s in the daily news?” or “Alexa, play my flash briefing.” Then every micro-podcast that you’re subscribed to will playback by way of Alexa.

I discover myself utilizing this talent repeatedly with the Dot in my main bedroom as I’m getting ready for the day. It’s simpler than pulling out my telephone and searching down the newest information feed or podcast, and that’s the reason it’s going to rise in prominence.

These flash briefings could be precise information updates, or they are often extra of basic thought management. In contrast to podcasts that may stretch on to a full hour or extra, flash briefings are usually solely four to eight minutes in size. Many present flash briefing publishers don’t create any new content material for his or her Alexa expertise, and as an alternative, take audio snippets they have already got and repurpose them on the Alexa Flash Briefing talent. We’ll talk about this technique in extra element, additional on in this text.

Alexa Flash Briefings have been formally launched about 18 months in the past, although they’ve solely lately begun to take off as content material entrepreneurs have found them, and as so many further Alexa-enabled units have been bought over the 2017 vacation season.

Why construct an Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing now?

As described earlier, certainly one of Lou Mongello’s key elements to his content material advertising success was that he obtained into a brand new advertising platform early on, and was constant in his supply. As we see from the current CES battle between Google and Amazon, voice-enabled units are a central focus level for each corporations. Apple can also be leaping into the fray. These corporations see a future the place voice interactions will grow to be a serious income, and as such, they’re doing every thing they will to get their very own voice-enabled units into shopper’s houses.

supply: CNN

With this wild proliferation in the variety of Alexa-enabled units comes nice content material advertising potential for people who construct an Alexa Flash Briefing talent now, and persistently replace content material for that briefing. As you set your content material ahead, achieve critiques in your flash briefing talent, and achieve momentum together with your listener rely, you’ll shortly discover that you simply personal this new content material advertising channel.

What are the prices related to constructing an Alexa Flash Briefing talent?

For those who’ve managed or hosted a podcast earlier than, you realize that for every hour of programming you publish you’ll possible spend between 2 to six hours recording and modifying that content material. Flash Briefings can comply with that very same time dedication ratio or might be significantly much less overhead. Right here’s how:

  • Flash Briefing content material might be recorded audio or text-to-speech. Textual content-to-speech is significantly much less of time a dedication, as you merely present Amazon the textual content you need after which Alexa will rework it into its native speech.
  • Content material on your briefing can come from already present sources. I’ve seen some podcasts take their 40 minutes of polished content material and cut up it into 5 days value of Three-minute snippets… simply one of the best and most concise content material from their podcast. They then present that to Amazon for his or her Alexa Flash Briefing, and it really works fairly nicely.
  • Some Flash Briefings use interview format, and a few are a single particular person speaking to the viewers.
  • Briefings could be up to date weekly, a number of occasions every week, every day, and even hourly.

As you’ll be able to see, the time dedication for the totally different codecs can range wildly. The precise value of manufacturing could be very minimal, as there’s free manufacturing software program you should use (see under).

Splendid publishing cadence for Alexa Flash Briefings

The primary query I obtain when educating others about Alexa Flash Briefings is: “How frequently should I publish my content?”

Build Your Own Alexa Flash Briefing Skill

When establishing your Alexa Flash Briefing, Amazon asks you this similar query and supplies you with three choices: Weekly, Day by day, Hourly. They ask you to decide on the “closest” match. The great factor is, that Amazon isn’t going to carry you to this. One of many extra in style briefings I take heed to publishes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That’s the greatest cadence for that writer as a result of that’s what they’ve time to decide to.

The perfect cadence for you’ll possible be based mostly in your availability to publish. So long as you’re offering high-quality content material, that your viewers feels compelled to revisit, you then’ll see that even a weekly cadence must be positive in your model.

Build your personal Alexa Flash Briefing talent in beneath an hour

Content material creation

One of many extra frequent questions I get about constructing bots or Alexa expertise is the place to get content material concepts. For a daily publication corresponding to a flash briefing, this query turns into much more essential. Listed here are 3 ways you possibly can simplify your seek for recent content material to cowl in your flash briefing:

  • Subscribe to business publications
    Relying in your business, there are possible a number of on-line publications that publish common content material (typically even every day content material) that you should use for concepts of content material to cowl in your flash briefing.
  • Re-hash previous content material
    I’ve additionally seen manufacturers take weblog posts that they’ve already revealed, and use these for concepts on content material. Key right here is to ensure you’re pulling concepts out of your content material that has extra shares and views, to make sure you are sharing content material on the flash briefing that may resonate.
  • Spin new content material
    One other concept for manufacturers creating content material, particularly these creating podcast content material, is to take content material you’ll be releasing quickly and share it in the flash briefing format. You’ll be able to then tease, on the finish of every briefing, that there’s extra content material obtainable in your weblog, podcast, and so forth.

Instruments for constructing your Alexa Flash Briefing

Recording your content material and getting it on to the online requires simply two instruments: Audacity and Amazon AWS.


Audacity, pictured above, is a free software you can obtain to your pc for recording and modifying audio content material. It’s the fullest featured audio recording/modifying platform that can also be straightforward to make use of and free. You possibly can obtain Audacity for PC, Mac or Linux.

Amazon AWS

With a purpose to get your Alexa Flash Briefing onto Alexa units the world over, the audio file must be saved on a server that’s simply accessible to Alexa, and safe. The most effective place that matches each of those necessities, and is among the extra reasonably priced choices you will have for internet hosting your audio information, is Amazon AWS. Amazon supplies a free storage account for the primary yr, and after that storing your audio information will value just some dollars a month.

Launching your Alexa Flash Briefing on Amazon

The precise creation of your Alexa Flash talent takes lower than an hour and solely must occur as soon as. After you comply with the under steps you’ll be arrange, and all you’ll have to do every day you publish new content material is edit a single file and add your audio content material. The content material updates ought to take lower than 5 minutes every time.

Step 1:

Create an Amazon Developer account. These accounts are free, and if you have already got an Amazon account you employ for purchasing, be happy to make use of those self same login credentials, although you’ll nonetheless have to register for the Amazon Developer account instantly.

Build Your Own Alexa Flash Briefing Skill

Step 2: 

Log into the Amazon Developer Console, and click on the Alexa menu merchandise…

… and click on the “Get Started” button beneath the Alexa Expertise Package object. Be happy to learn any of the content material on this web page, although you actually don’t have to. You’ll be able to go straight on to the “Add a New Skill” button to start constructing the Alexa Flash Briefing.

Step Three:

Now choose the Flash Briefing Skill API choice, select your language (as of writing it is just obtainable for English, German and Japanese), after which identify your talent. That is the identify listeners will see when including your talent to their Alexa, so make sure to make this identify good! Click on on “Save” to maneuver alongside.

Step four:

You don’t want to vary any settings on the subsequent two screens, so click on “Next” after which “Next” once more. Now you get to pick what Alexa says if there’s a drawback fetching your present. Maintain it easy, with one thing generic akin to “The show is temporarily not available.”

Now click on the “Add Feed” button. That is the place it will get enjoyable!

Add in the “Preamble,” which is what Alexa will learn instantly earlier than enjoying your audio file. One thing comparable to “In today’s marketing technology news” is an wonderful intro. All the opposite fields are self-explanatory, at the least right down to the URL subject, which is essential sufficient to cowl in the subsequent step.

Step 5:

For the URL above, that is now the place you level the Alexa Flash Briefing Skill API to your audio file. That is the place the Amazon AWS server area comes in to play. On the server, it is advisable retailer the audio file and the .JSON file that incorporates the code wanted for Alexa to seek out the audio file.

This sounds much more difficult than it truly is.

Here’s a brief video that exhibits you methods to retailer the information in your Amazon S3 server:

<iframe width=”560″ peak=”315″ src=”″ frameborder=”zero″ permit=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>

And right here is the .JSON instance code you’ll have to level Alexa to the audio file you simply saved to your Amazon S3 server. The under image exhibits what this instance seems like, however to get the precise code, or learn up on the few parts included in the code, you are able to do so right here.

Step 6:

After you enter your URL and click on “Next” you’ll be taken to the web page the place you possibly can check your Alexa Flash Briefing. Click on the toggle over to “Yes” in order that the talent will present up in your personal Alexa app in your telephone. Solely it is possible for you to to see it at this level. Add the talent to your Alexa gadget and check out it out by saying “Alexa, play my flash briefing.”

Isn’t this candy!? Now click on “Next” to complete establishing your Flash Briefing Skill.

Step 7: 

On the Publishing Info web page, you get to place in a couple of further fields. Whereas most of those fields are self-explanatory, there are a pair issues to level out:

  • Testing directions are what the workers at Amazon will see earlier than approving your Flash Briefing. You must maintain it actually easy right here in order to not delay the approval of your talent. One thing similar to “This is a simple flash briefing that plays a short, 3 to 5 minute, audio file” will do effective right here.
  • Within the Brief Skill Description and the Full Skill Description, that is precise content material that might be proven to potential listeners as they flick through obtainable flash briefings, so make them good!

Step eight:

Lastly, go forward and fill in the few crucial knowledge factors for privateness and compliance, and click on the fantastic “Submit for Certification” button.

Often, inside 24 hours, your talent can be authorised and you may start to push out high-quality audio content material to your adoring viewers!

What to anticipate out of your Alexa Flash Briefing

As most content material entrepreneurs intimately perceive, there isn’t any magic bullet and no sustainable quick-win that may take your content material from zero to sixty. Such is the case with Alexa Flash Briefings. At present, the viewers for Flash Briefings isn’t big, primarily as a result of Amazon hasn’t but marketed them closely. That stated, there are some huge manufacturers already utilizing Flash Briefings and it is just a matter of time, very similar to with podcasting, earlier than consumer adoption skyrockets. When that point comes, when you’ve got an established Flash Briefing, you’ll be poised for fulfillment.

What I like to recommend for the faint of coronary heart is to get a presence established. Even when you can solely decide to a weekly content material replace, that may suffice. You possibly can all the time improve your publishing cadence as extra customers come on board. Within the meantime, securing your model identify, particular key phrases, and a few early consumer evaluations will guarantee you’re in the suitable place when the individuals come. As one in every of my favourite films, Area of Goals, proclaims, “if you build it, [they] will come.”

Build Your Own Alexa Flash Briefing Skill



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