Marketers are always on the look-out for new ways to get their brands in front of their target audience. And technology has opened up a lot of doors for content creation. One unique platform that brands should take advantage of is Alexa’s flash briefing.
While voice assistants are booming in popularity, there are still not a lot of options for digital marketers to build brand awareness with voice. There are ways to optimize content for voice seo — keep a conversational tone, have an FAQs page, optimize speeds and mobile content, etc. But, flash briefings are one of the only ways to create original content exclusively for voice assistants.
What is a Flash Briefing?
Flash briefings are miniature audio clips (less than ten minutes long) that are played on Amazon’s voice assistant. The audio can be pre-recorded in your voice (or others) or can be submitted as text-to-speech for Alexa to read aloud. Alexa users download your “Flash briefing skill” from the Amazon store to add your original content to their daily flash briefing.
Flash briefings typically offer tips, industry news, product updates, inspirational quotes, or professional insights. You are reaching out to an audience that is already engaged in your topic and so, it’s important to keep the content relevant and helpful, and not salesy.
Flash briefings are like bite-sized podcasts – they offer just the right amount of daily information keeping their user interested and informed, while also keeping your brand at the top of their mind.
How do I Create a Flash Briefing?
To create a flash briefing skill (or app), you will need to open a developer account with Amazon. From there, you will create an RSS feed, a preamble and recording for your briefings.
Once you have published, customers can enable your flash briefing from the Alexa app. If you want to link to longer content, users will see a card in the Alexa app that will link to full stories or additional videos.
If you’re not sure what to talk about in your flash briefing, start by repurposing other content. Whether you draw from a popular blog post or recent podcast, it’s a great idea to focus on your area of expertise.
Flash briefings are an opportunity for your brand to be of service by sharing information and simultaneously get some name recognition.
Currently, flash briefings creators aren’t really focusing on sales, rather they’re focusing on offering valuable content, interesting knowledge, and new information. As this is what users are presently looking for, your flash briefings should stay in this realm and avoid any explicit calls-to-action.
Flash briefings don’t have to be updated daily, but if you can create a compelling, short-and-sweet, consistent approach to briefings you will be more likely to get in the homes of your target audience.
Publish at peak times, like early in the morning, and try to keep your briefings brief, only a couple minutes. They can find your longer content later but you don’t want them to skip ahead or exit while listening.
Once you have created your flash briefing, promote it! They aren’t too many brands taking advantage of flash briefings currently. So, get in the game early and get your name out there. Post teasers on your social media accounts to get people to listen to the “exclusive” content you’ve created.
Why Should I Create a Flash Briefing?
Flash briefings may seem like a lot of work or maybe even a waste of time, but there is a lot of excitement around voice assistants right now and as a marketer, your goal is to meet people where they’re at. You are already creating content, so why not transfer this material to a unique medium that could get you some brand recognition?
A few other reasons why you should create flash briefings:
- Build your presence on all technological platforms.
- Access new customers looking for relevant content.
- Interact with consumers in a medium they are excited about.
- Add a level of interaction that humans are looking for from brands.
- Get in front of your audience everyday (if you are diligent).
Modern-day consumers want everything as personalized and accessible as possible. If you can get in their homes and offer relevant high-level insights in bite-size pieces, you will, at the very least, make a friend for your brand. When you offer free valuable content, you build trust and credibility for your business.
Social media feeds are crowded enough and people are busy. Providing content that they can listen to, enables them to multitask and still retain the information offered. Most flash briefing users incorporate their listening into morning or evening routines, so daily engagement is higher than other mediums.
SEO is moving towards quality content over keyword stuffing and voice is moving in that direction too. Consumers want information of value – they want your brand to make them smarter.
And users don’t even have to own a smart speaker to access Alexa. If they have the Amazon shopping app, they can download your flash briefing and listen from their phone (hint: it’s the little speech bubble on the right of the top search bar).
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Flash briefings aren’t the only way to create voice content, but they’re a great place to start.
You can also build a podcast skill through Alexa. Podcasts do take time to create, but if you’re already investing in a podcast, why not advertise on an extra platform that allows users to tune in natively on their Amazon devices.
Additionally, if you get in the game early, you are more likely to have your desired invocation match your brand. As more companies offer flash briefing and podcast skills, invocations are only going to get clunkier (e.g. “Alexa, play my accounting podcast” vs “Alexa, play my modern day accounting best practices podcast”).
Google Assistant does offer an equivalent to the flash briefing, called “My Day.” If you ask Google to “tell me about my day,” you will get updates on the weather, traffic, and other news items. As of now, it doesn’t seem that you can advertise a specific brand’s content through “My Day,” but Google uses top rankings to offer the most relevant information.
Right now, digital marketers don’t have a lot of ways to infiltrate voice assistants, but flash briefings are a great opening. Whether you are a law firm, a retail owner, or a freelance programmer, you have valuable knowledge to offer – so, give voice branding a try. Everyone else is listening, so you might as well say something.
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