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 Big Podcast Daily 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.

Would A “Podcast Genome Project” Help Podcasts Be Discovered?

How does Pandora pick its music recommendations? They have a team of trained musicologists who listen to each song in the system and categorize it by tracking over 450 musical attributes.

The company wants to do something similar for podcasts to help podcast listeners easily browse and discover new shows.

Here are my suggestions for the first 10 attributes to get the Podcast Genome Project off to a good start…

  1. host doesn’t get to the point
  2. multiple guys smoking weed talking about movies
  3. multiple guys drinking beer talking about sports
  4. couple who shouldn’t be married giving marriage advice
  5. parents who overshare about their kids
  6. host uses “the radio voice”
  7. sounds like it was recorded in a cavern
  8. another podcast about making money online
  9. host appears to be dead — GET THE DEFIBRILLATOR!!
  10. dub-step intro music

Our biggest dilemma as podcasters isn’t a lack of discoverability, but that we have nothing worth discovering. There are already plenty of great methods for podcast discovery, such as the “listeners who subscribe to this podcast, also subscribe to these podcasts” options which help to organize and distribute word-of-mouth and other discovery methods that are already in place successfully working.

Would a Podcast Genome Project be helpful to you as a podcaster? Only if you have a podcast worth listening to.

We need more great podcasts more than we need new methods of podcast discovery. If you need help making this happen, check out Big Podcast Daily via Apple Podcasts or Google Play and never miss an episode!

Should You Upgrade Your Podcast Mic?

Should you upgrade your podcast mic?

Watch this video for the answer…

Would a “better” guitar improve this performance? No.

If you’re no good on Audio-Technica’s ATR2100, you’re not going to be any better on one of their higher-end models.

It’s easy to confuse consumption with action because buying something feels like we’re working. If you want to improve your hosting skills though, the only way to do that is follow this three-step formula:

  1. Outline an episode.
  2. Record it.
  3. Edit yourself.

That’s it. If you want more specifics, I have a daily podcast for podcasters that can help you get more out of the process, but like buying a new mic, it’s not going to help you skip it.

If you want to be a great podcast host and have a great podcast, there’s no getting around the work it’s going to take to get there.

Apple Podcast Analytics Is Live

Apple Podcast Analytics is now available via Podcasts Connect.

To see analytics for your podcasts, once you log in your account, select “My Podcasts” in the top left corner, then the purple “Podcasts Analytics” icon.

Podcast analytics

WARNING: You May Be Depressed

Like a photo taken using an iPhone X, you’re able to see far more details on Apple Podcast Analytics than were previously available. And if you’ve been thinking “downloads” are the metric of how successful your podcast is, you might find the “truth” Apple is now sharing with you shocking.

You now have access to these three numbers:

  1. Number of devices accessing your podcast.
  2. Total time your podcast has been listened to.
  3. Time per device that your podcast has been listened to.

Note that this is just for access to your podcast via Apple’s Podcasts app. You likely have more people listening to your podcast than what you’ll see on Apple’s Podcast Analytics page, but according to a study done in 2015, 82% of mobile podcast listening happens on iPhones with 78% done via Apple’s Podcasts app, so it’s a fairly good indicator or how well you’re doing as far as listenership.

Want help boosting these numbers? Get daily podcast marketing tips via Big Podcast Daily, the marketing podcast for podcasters  You can subscribe now using Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music.