What Is an Alexa Flash Briefing?

A flash briefing, also known as a “skill” is a short audio clip that can be activated by saying: “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing”. All currently available Alexa Flash Briefings can be viewed on your Amazon account. Topics range from news (not surprisingly most popular), daily inspirational quotes, fun facts, science facts, niche quick “how to” briefs and pretty much anything else under the moon you may be interested in. Typically they are between 1-10 mins, be aware that most are closer to the one minute mark. The idea here is to give value very quickly and do it daily!

Why Should Podcasters Make Daily Alexa Flash Briefings?

As a podcaster you already make audio content so this is a small extension to the work you already do. You need to treat Amazon in the same way as you treat YouTube or iTunes – it is yet another platform to get your work onto. Amazon is not a small platform and is likely going to grow through the years. Hopping on this right now will likely be one of the best investments you can make for your podcast RIGHT NOW.

Amazon Alexa Stats You Can’t Ignore

Will anyone actually download my briefing to their device? Is this going to be effort worth my while?

  • 39 Million Americans use a smart speaker. That is 16% of the Country! The numbers are rapidly growing – don’t forget that Alexa has been around since November 2014 only. Recent year has seen a huge popularisation of this device – it helps that other companies now jump on board of tech with virtual assistant in your house.
  • Currently 11% of the share goes to an Amazon devices and 4% to Google.
  • As of today there are 777 flash briefings available to choose from – number is growing rapidly at the moment (time to jump on this early!). Like self-publishing, which Amazon is also popularly known for, this has the potential to become overpopulated. The need for quality, creativity and difference are still equally important more-than-ever!
  • With current reach you have a potential to reach 27mln people DAILY!

How to Create Alexa Flash Briefings on Amazon

  1. Create an RSS feed – this is where you are going to upload your awesome audio. As a podcaster you already have a podcast host – you can potentially use the same host to create Alexa Skill RSS Feed. More information on technical feed requirements from Amazon here.
  2. Register as an Amazon Developer. All info on this here.
  3. Create a Flash Briefing Feed (or Feeds) – A Flash Briefing skill can contain multiple feeds of text or audio content. Typically each feed focuses on a specific genre of content such as sports or local news. Niche down as much as you can – the key here is to create targeted and focus content for specific group of listeners. Alexa will read a text feed, called text-to-speech (TTS) or play audio you upload.
  4. Provide all of your details as a publisher of the skill.
  5. Submit your skill for review – Amazon similarly to iTunes will hand approve your skill to their platform.

How to Make Alexa Flash Briefings

Amazon gives you two options – you can either write your briefings and let text to speech do the work OR you can record your own audio and upload audio bites to Amazon. If you are a podcaster then you are already equipped and experienced to record your own audio! The process is exactly the same as recording and publishing a podcast. You will need to focus on the content. Here are some of our tips on making great sounding Alexa skills:

  • Provide content daily (day to day users ask Alexa for briefings daily – they are called “DAILY” briefings. Don’t miss the boat on that!
  • Make the content short and to the point – 1 – 3 mins is the sweet spot.
  • Focus on GREAT quality of audio. Nobody likes to have hard to grasp audio coming out of their speakers.
  • Even though you provide content daily you can pre-record it. Unless your content revolves around time sensitive news there is no reason why you shouldn’t batch-record and upload the briefings.
  • Treat Amazon’s platform as a brand new audience potential. Don’t just recycle old content – create something specific for the purpose and link all the dots together (your briefing can point to the podcast or your website, similarly – your website can point to the briefing).
  • Focus on one thought per briefing – it can take some adjusting – especially if you are used to recording one hour long episodes. You have to step into the shoes of a news desk reporter – straight to the point and with no time for “Hello” and long winded “Goodbye”.

How to Audio Brand Your Alexa Skills?

Unlike with your podcast you certainly do not have time for a 30 sec intro to go into your daily briefings. You need to go straight to content! Audio branding is important – it keeps the familiarity to the brand in audio form. It’s your audio logo for the brand you have – use it where you can! There are some very subtle ways in which you can introduce your audio branding to the new platform. Some ideas below:

  • Add a short website address sting at the end of each briefing. Something that sounds like this (you want this to be literally few seconds long):

Short Website ID

by Music Radio Creative | BlueSkiesRadio.com

  • If you are using specific theme for your audio brand you can introduce it to your Alexa briefs too. This could be a simple swoosh (made with music of your choice)
  • You can simply play music under the whole Alexa briefing (a little like you already possibly do with talk over music for your podcast).

Questions and Answers About Alexa Briefings

  • What if I don’t podcast and don’t have desire to record my own content BUT would like to use Alexa Flash Briefings as part of my marketing strategy?

You can still utilise the platform and submit written script for their native text-to-speach service to do the work. Or if you wanted this to have more personality you can work with a voice artist to record those for you. It is important to work with a voice experienced with presenting jobs – not every voice is capable of this! The cost for a minute recording would be likely in a region of $30-$40. This is something we can help with – get in touch with our team and we can find suitable voice for your briefings!

  • How often should my briefings be posted?

Definitely daily. Small nuggets of information are a key here. You can pre-record and batch schedule.

  • Can I use snippets of my exiting content as “recycled” briefings?

I would definitely say NO. Gary Vaynerchuk does it on his daily briefs (which are GREAT btw) – however he is likely one of a few people who can get away with that. He uses some key points from his existing content. The audio quality isn’t always great, often the briefings cut in what feels like mid sentence and as a listener you know it is just part of something else. In our opinion having briefings made purposefully is the key. They need to sound good and they need to make the listener feel like real “news” delivered to them daily.

  • Can I outsource post production of my briefings?

Yes – we can help with that at Music Radio Creative. Get in touch with our team for your quote!

Do you have any questions about Alexa Briefings? Post away in the comments below!