How To Grow Your Podcast Audience Via Amazon Echo

AmazonechoFirst of all, if your podcast is listed in major podcast directories, such as TuneIn, Apple Podcasts, and Google Play Music, it’s already available via Amazon Echo.

But there’s a second way for you to access Amazon Echo users, even those who “don’t listen to podcasts.” It works similarly to the subscription feature used by traditional podcast distributors, such as Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music — you set it once and new episodes are automatically received (and in this case, automatically played) as part of Amazon Echo’s “Flash Briefings” feature.

How It Works:

Amazon Echo users ask, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?”

Your podcast will be automatically start playing, if Amazon Echo users have selected it to be part of this daily update.

Because “a daily update” is basically what Amazon Echo’s Flash Briefing is, this distribution method works best for short (under 10 minutes), frequently-released audio content consumed in the morning, such as news, religious devotionals, and anything designed to quickly inform, inspire, or motivate. If your podcast doesn’t fall into one of these categories, you may want to consider creating custom content (or doing a special edit of your podcast) to be distributed this way.

To make it possible for Amazon Echo users to include your audio content as a Daily Briefing, it needs to be listed as an “Alexa Skill” on Amazon. This is both free and easy.

Want an example of how it works? See my Alexa Skill listing for Build A Big Podcast and click “Enable.”

big podcast alexa listing

How To Make Your Podcast (Or Other Audio Content) Available Via Amazon Echo:

1. Create an Amazon Developer account.

2. Select Alexa from the menu.

Alexa bar

 

 

3. Select “Get Started” under Alexa Skills Kit.

Alexa start

4. Click on “Add A New Skill.”

Alexa add

5. Select “Flash Briefing Skill API” as the type of skill and use your podcast’s name for in the “Name” field.

Alexa skilltype

6. Skip the “Interaction Model” page (this information is not necessary for a Flash Briefing) and go to the “Configuration” page.

7. Enter “[PODCAST NAME] is not available at this time” in the Custom Error Message.

Alexa message

8. Click “Add new feed” and enter your podcast’s feed information on the “Configuration” page.

Alexa feed

Here are the settings for your feed.

  • The “Preamble” is what plays before Amazon Echo plays your podcast. It lets listeners know the subject of your podcast and your podcast’s name. “In podcast marketing advice from Big Podcast Daily” is the preamble for Big Podcast Daily.
  • Name = the name of your podcast
  • Genre = where the content of your
  • The type of content is “audio.”
  • Feed Icon = the image to be shown within the Flash Briefing settings in Amazon’s Alexa app (see image to the right)

IF YOUR FEED ISN’T ACCEPTED: If your feed isn’t accepted, you may want to review Amazon’s requirements for feeds. One of those requirements is that audio feeds, which is what you’ve got, need to be HTTPS. There are also requirements for the audio files you stream. I suggest Libsyn to handle your hosting/feed (use code “big” to get a free month) and Auphonic to bring your audio up to speed.

9. Go to the “Publishing Information” page and:

  • Select the category that best describes your podcast.
  • Input “This is a podcast with an audio feed” in the “Testing Instructions” box.
  • Input 2-3 words to describe your podcast in the “Short Skill Description” box — I said “podcast marketing” for Big Podcast Daily.
  • Input a summary of your podcast in the “Full Skill Description” box. This is the description that Amazon Alexa users see in the Alexa app.
  • Upload images for the Alexa app and Amazon search (108×108 and also 512×512)

Your “Publishing Information” images will look like this in Amazon’s search:

IF YOU NEED GRAPHIC HELP: Canva makes it easy to create podcast (and other) graphics. You can use ResizeImage.net to resize graphics.

9. Fill out privacy information.

10. Test everything using the Alexa’s beta test option.

If you don’t own an Amazon Echo, you can test using the Alexa app. You can also invite other people to test.

11. “Submit for certification”

That’s it! Once you’re approved, which shouldn’t take more than a couple of days, you podcast will have access to a brand new audience who might not normally access your content via traditional methods, such as Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music.

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