The Amazon Echo and other smart speakers are changing the way consumers digest media and ask Google questions. Smart speakers can help with numerous tasks, from creating shopping lists, determining what to wear, and using smart home accessories. They can also help users learn about breaking news, top stories, and find information about topics. If you ask Google Home to tell you the news, it can play some of the top headlines from top media companies.
Similarly, Alexa has what it calls Flash Briefings. The short-format audio roundup is a new frontier in the realm of voice search and streaming. And, it’s beginning to be used by people to reach their audience in a new way.
Ross Brand is a pioneer in the live streaming field as both a prolific content creator and thought-leader exploring the different ways to leverage live video to grow your business or brand. We were able to sit down with him and talk about one of the newest tools that marketers can use to reach a broad audience of people.
What is Alexa Flash Briefing?
It is basically a short audio report that owners of an Amazon Echo, or other smart speaker devices, can listen to. This brief clip is recommended by Amazon to be 10 minutes or less on either a daily or weekly basis. You can use it to reach your customers, fans, and other people who are interested in the subject matter. There are still a lot of opportunities for people to incorporate this platform into their marketing. While many news and media organizations have taken advantage of Alexa Flash Briefings, overall it’s in its early stages.
Alexa Flash Briefing also allows the user to pick and choose want they want to hear about, whether it’s news, pop culture, weather, sports, technology, social media information, or more.
A quick aside– for businesses, particularly local businesses, it’s getting more and more vital to reach the top in voice search engine optimization. People are starting to use these smart speakers to search for anything and everything. If someone is searching for a pizza restaurant in your area and you sell pizzas, you want to be the one Alexa or Google Home picks. A smart speaker comes back with only the top pick. It’s not like a Google Search Engine Results page, where if you are on the page on you have a chance of being clicked on.
A Flash Briefing is considered a skill (what Amazon calls an App). And for many, this is a perfect time to polish up your skill set and begin to use Flash Briefings as a way to reach more people. Similar to when podcasts were first introduced, Flash Briefings aren’t currently widely recognized or used. It’s doubtful you would get the kind of audience you could get for other kinds of content distribution methods. However, as we saw with podcasts, it’s more than likely that Flash Briefings will continue to gain popularity as more people begin to use smart speakers.
Eventually, we can assume that this will be one of the primary ways people will receive information. According to Brand, it’s better to begin now and get good at, then wait until it’s a necessity.
Who uses it?
Much of the content is being developed and shared by news organizations and media companies. So far, most briefings are top story news reports, industry news, and pop culture news. Typically, it’s hosted by one person with some supplemental interview audio clips. Right now there aren’t many with a sales approach, Brand said. There aren’t any calls-to-action or the like, it’s more of a long game to reach people in their homes or offices.
How can brands use it?
The most logical way to use Alexa Flash Briefings is to share short informational briefings about your industry and things that would be useful and valued by customers and fans. Typically, Flash Briefings are pre-recorded at least once a week. Use it to offer tips, industry news, inspirational quotes, professional insights, and more.
Because it’s a new format if a business starts one they can help guide the application of the platform.
“There will become an opportunity for almost any business,” Brand said. “You have your flash briefing and you can talk about a new product release or say at the end, oh, by the way, we have 25 percent off XYZ.” If they’re interested, the listener can then go ahead and order the product through the device.
How do I get started?
To get started, you have to sign up as an Amazon Developer. It’s free to create an account. You can do so here. Once you’ve registered, you will create Flash Briefing Skills in the Amazon development console.
To create a skill you provide information, configuration, and defined feed that provide the content for the skill. Feeds can be text-based or audio that you own or have the rights to distribute.
What does it take to make a good briefing?
Really all you need is interesting content! Keep in mind, most people want quick updates, so ten minutes or less is really all you need. Some Flash Briefings aren’t even longer than a couple minutes. This is because people prefer to listen to several of them in a row, one right after another.
Highlights work really well. If you already have a blog, video, or live stream about a current topic, you can turn it into a highlight reel of some of the most important topics you discussed. Instead of searching for your blog or social pages, your audience can easily digest what you have to say in just minutes.
Or, you could use it to offer quick tips, update people on industry news, find inspirational quotes, or give your professional insights. A real estate agency might, for example, create a five-minute Flash Briefing to share price and inventory updates alongside investment and home buying opportunities in their market.
Can you foresee yourself taking advantage of Flash Briefings? Let us know if you find this to be a valuable tool to reach your audience. Just remember, this format is in its early stages and has room to grow!
We covered this topic on our weekly #TrainingTuesday live stream with special guest Ross Brand! Watch it here: