Voice search presents a huge opportunity because there is a scarcity of content. Instead of competing with 1.03 billion search results on Google, you can be up against ten on Amazon Alexa (for “financial advice” at least).
Looking for great podcasts about voice technology? Here are some of our favorite episodes that aired in roughly the last six months. Get notified via email when we publish Part 2.
Download these for offline listening for your next flight or road trip to hear a nice overview of voice technology, voice marketing, speech recognition, Alexa Flash Briefing, podcasting, smart speakers and voice assistants, and the future of voice-first interfaces and computing. #Voicefirst baby.
For anyone new to voice or even if you’re familiar but want to learn more - this list is for you. In no particular order:
Podcast Episodes about Voice Marketing and Technology that You Need to Hear:
The Last Interface with Brian Roemmele on Voice First Health ep. 27 with Teri Fisher.
About: The future of Voice: The Last Interface, the Intelligence Amplifier and the Wisdom Keeper. (February 19, 2019)
Be Here First: The Future of Voice-Interface Marketing on The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast - Emily Binder with host Rob Kischuk. (May 16, 2019)
About: Voice search, voice SEO, brands must play in Alexa's ecosystem, the power of Flash Briefing and tips for a good one.
Podcasts of the Future – Bryan Colligan, AlphaVoice – Voice Tech Podcast ep. 010 with host Carl Robinson.
About: Bryan Colligan is the co-founder of AlphaVoice, the easiest way to get your podcast and audio content onto Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Bryan shares his vision of how the podcasting and voice technology worlds are set to collide, and how the implications will be felt by platforms, content producers and consumers alike.
Voice Strategy with Emily Binder of Beetle Moment Marketing on Alexa in Canada with Teri Fisher. (February 26, 2019)
About: The power of voice marketing, what sonic branding means, and why Flash Briefings are such an incredible opportunity when it comes to getting a brand’s voice heard in the voice-first world.
Heidi Culbertson CEO of Marvee on Voice and the Elder Community – Voicebot Podcast Ep. 68 with host Bret Kinsella. (November 5, 2018)
About: Culbertson discusses voice UX principles and how requirements must be modified when serving older users. She also discusses the Marvee Alexa skill, what the team has learned about elder users and why they are changing the skill significantly to better align with user needs. Heidi is a former professional tennis player and a cool and interesting lady. We polled several people to recommend episodes featuring women and nearly all mentioned this episode.
This Week in Voice: Season 3, Episode 13 - Emily Binder and Voicify’s Jason Fields with host Bradley Metrock.
Topics: Amazon's Super Bowl Ad, Siri Shortcuts, Walmart pulling out of Google Express, and whether or not smart speakers are good for kids, and gender and bias in voice design. (January 31, 2019)
What to Know about Voice AI w/ Katie McMahon at SoundHound - DataTalk podcast with host Mike Delgado.
About: Touch, Type, and Swipe era is giving way to #VoiceFirst.
Top Five Tips for a Great Flash Briefing - Daniel Hill from The Instagram Stories Flash Briefing on Beetle Moment Marketing Podcast ep. 33 with host Emily Binder. (April 28, 2019)
a16z Podcast: Talent, Tech Trends, and Culture with Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, and Tyler Cowen (this is not 100% focused on voice but Andreessen’s points about technology and innovation definitely apply. He says the big box store is going away, which obviously relates to voice enabled shopping. (December 29, 2018)
This Week in Voice: Season 3, Episode 9: Brian Roemmele with host Bradley Metrock (November 15, 2018)
About: The current state of #VoiceFirst technology and what stories were top-of-mind in 2018. Brian is called The Oracle of Voice for a reason, so we consider this evergreen.
A note about representation: we want to feature more women hosts or solo guests. If you have any suggestions, please comment or tweet us @beetlemoment and we’ll review the episode to potentially be included in Part 2. Thanks!
Before you start any of the below tactics, benchmark where you are now - what gets measured gets managed.
Record how many listeners you have using the Amazon Developer measure tool.
Then track the increase you’ll see over the next month as you implement these steps.
Read on for the best ways to grow your Alexa Flash Briefing audience.
Alexa Flash Briefing Terminology
Alexa: Amazon’s virtual voice assistant which powers millions of devices like the Echo family of devices.
Skill: Like apps on your phone, Alexa provides skills enabling customers to create a personalized experience. Skills provide weather, traffic, news, trivia, cooking, exercises, etc. There are now thousands of skills from companies and organizations like Domino’s, Starbucks, NPR, and Uber and individual creators (like you).
Flash Briefing: A quick overview of news and other content such as business or financial advice, music, comedy, podcasts, and sports. Customers hear their Flash Briefing by asking their Alexa-enabled device, “Alexa, Flash Briefing” or “Alexa, tell me the news.” Flash Briefing comprises at least one Flash Briefing skill.
Flash Briefing Skill: This is a type of skill. It provides content for a customer’s Flash Briefing (typically composed of several Flash Briefing skills). Anyone can create a Flash Briefing skill. In this post, I often refer to a “Flash Briefing” to mean your particular briefing (AKA skill) because this is how most people talk about it.
So, how do you get people to listen to your Alexa Flash Briefing?
Cadence and Content
Publish your Alexa Flash Briefing daily. Amazon wants more content. If you only publish weekly, that’s okay, but aim for daily if possible. (You could always reduce the frequency later, or split the baby and update three times per week.)
Tip: Batch recording sessions. Come up with fifteen content ideas, then record them in one sitting. Batching is an effective way to be more productive because it lets you avoid task switching costs.
Keep it under two minutes. This is the listener sweet spot. Not only will they appreciate brevity and listen all the way through, but it’s also likely Amazon will reward briefs whose listeners don’t skip ahead or become bored and exit. (Much like YouTube rewards videos with the most watched minutes and those that keep users on the platform longer.)
Optimize Your Skill Title and Keywords
Just like a product listing on Amazon, take advantage of every field on your Alexa Flash Briefing skill’s page (it’s essentially a product detail page as far as Amazon SEO is concerned).
Title – Name your skill with a short, clear name that tells users what it is and contains at least one top search term. For example, if your brief is about local news, the title should contain your city name. This is almost better than containing “news” because you may appear in search results for anything related to your city – not just “news”, which is much more competitive.
Keywords – You can select up to thirty single words as your descriptive keywords. These and your description are important real estate. Do some keyword research and include terms that people search for related to your content or industry. If you’re lazy, type the first few words of a typical search query into Google and look at the suggestions that appear.
Share Your Skill on Social Media
Sharing on social has the best ongoing effort-to-reward ratio (it doesn’t take much time and can reach lots of people). Try it two ways:
Share with your social network (existing connections).
Write five different social posts that promote and link to your skill. Schedule them in advance with a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. Don’t overpost, maybe 1-2 times per week on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. For Pinterest, pin once to the keyword-rich board(s).
Track post-performance. Determine which posts receive the most engagement (e.g., Twitter shows each tweet’s impressions and engagements). Keep top performing posts, reschedule them, and continually iterate by tweaking words and length to find the most effective language.
Entice. When you publish new Flash Briefings, post teasers on social. Create curiosity! For example, here is a post which creates curiosity and provides clear instruction:
“Tune into today’s Flash Briefing to hear about the greatest marketing trick of the century. How to listen: 1) Enable the Skill here: [LINK TO SKILL]. 2) Say “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing? on your Echo or in your Amazon app.”
And that last part: yes, bonus! Users don’t need an Echo to hear your brief.
Anyone can turn their phone into an Echo device by downloading the Amazon shopping app.
The circle in the top right of the app activates Alexa. Try it!
(Smart move, Amazon - now everyone with the shopping app has Alexa, Echo or not.)
Join and Share with Interest Groups
Reddit hosts communities with people who have an interest in Amazon Alexa and Echo.
Publicize your skill in a few of the top groups.
But remember, don’t just self-promote.
First, help others. Try their skills then leave reviews on Amazon.
Interact, introduce yourself, and ask people to enable your skill and provide feedback.
Here are some general Echo and Alexa groups on reddit:
Find niche groups based on your topic. For example, if you focus on meditation, you could hang out here.
Look for similar interest groups on Facebook. Then rinse and repeat.
Make it Easy to Share
Create a shortlink to your Alexa Flash Briefing Skill (use bit.ly, Googl, or a custom-branded one, which is even better). Try Plink for an automatic 1-click podcast listen experience (if your briefing is available on podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts and Stitcher).
Do this immediately to reserve the shortest and clearest custom link.
Make the shortlink easy to read using words that easily separate. Make it easy to type and use all lower case (shortlinks are case sensitive). For example, mine is bit.ly/beetleflash (for Beetle Moment Flash Briefing).
You can then easily share the shortlink:
In your social bios (i.e.-Instagram, Twitter, and your email signature)
You can do this verbally if you plug yourself on a podcast or other interview. Save new listeners from searching – make enabling your skill a one-step shortlink process.
Share Archived Briefs
Use the same formula from above and give people an accessible, easy way to hear your content anytime.
Copy any MP3 URLs from your past briefs and add to blog posts with clear titles and ideally a bit of introductory text.
Ratings and Reviews
The faster, the better.
Begin to rank for your keywords before the Alexa ecosystem becomes more crowded.
Join a Facebook group related to Flash Briefings. If you want to join our private #FlashBriefing Slack channel, contact Emily and send a link to your briefing.
Or use reddit groups to connect with others who might review you.
We all operate on the reciprocity norm.
Leave reviews for new contacts from these groups or fellow creators you’ve found on Twitter.
It’s easy to reach out to almost anyone through Twitter or LinkedIn.
If you enjoy a briefing, tweet the creator and let them know. That puts you on their radar, and they’ll be more likely to return the favor after seeing your review.
Archive and host past briefings on your website or blog. I recommend Pippa to make embedding audio on blogs and social easy. (Get a $25 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for a year of Pippa hosting for your Flash Briefing or podcast here.)
Benefits of doing this:
An evergreen place to send people to hear your content
Your hard work won’t disappear
A convenient way to entice reviews. End with a CTA like this: “Please rate and review so others can find this skill! [LINK TO SKILL]
Have a page of your website called Alexa Flash Briefing and post each brief or a handful of your best ones.
For example, here’s my Alexa Flash Briefing page with some of my favorite briefs.
If you publish daily, this could get cumbersome, so feature the top ten.
Put a big clear button or link to “Enable this Flash Briefing Skill” at the top and bottom of the post(s).
Use your skill icon, make it clickable to your Amazon skill or your episode archive like mine below, and you’ll be on your way to showcasing your Alexa Flash Briefings and gaining a wider audience.
This post originally appeared at spinsucks.com in August 2018. It was updated for this blog in May 2019.
Do you know what Venmo is doing right with sound in their app? Facebook and Instagram have some catching up to do. Press play for this 1-minute Flash Briefing:
Never miss a daily briefing about voice marketing and more!
Say, “Alexa, Flash Briefing.”
Don’t have Alexa? Get Daily Beetle Moment on Google Home (Google Play Music) here.
🔊 SOUND ON 🔊
00:00:02.506 --> 00:00:06.806
Facebook has no sound. Instagram has no sound of their brand.
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This is a huge miss.
00:00:08.766 --> 00:00:14.752
There should be an audio mark that plays when certain things happen or even at least when you open the app. Let's talk
00:00:14.803 --> 00:00:17.566
about just Instagram for a second. If you think about Venmo:
00:00:18.306 --> 00:00:24.375
There's a cash register cha-ching sound when you receive money. And you actually have a physical reaction to that where you get a
00:00:24.425 --> 00:00:28.306
little dopamine rush, you feel good, it's a positive sensation - good association - with
00:00:28.626 --> 00:00:29.026
00:00:29.766 --> 00:00:30.266
Facebook and Instagram
00:00:31.106 --> 00:00:38.070
have a lot of things going on in our body, a lot of reactions in our brain, major hormonal and neurotransmitter shifts
00:00:38.131 --> 00:00:44.006
happening as we scroll and like and see comments and get those emotional strokes (ego strokes).
00:00:44.686 --> 00:00:48.286
But there's no sound to it. Huge miss.
Marriott International's new Bonvoy loyalty program is well-researched and globally applicable. About the name: Karin Timpone and team chose "Bonvoy" because it works in many languages, such as Chinese. This is key for a global brand. That covers the linguistic / text part. But what about the entire sensory brand?
Voice Shopping - Market Size
The voice shopping industry is on track to reach $40 billion by 2022. Companies must invest not just in how their brands look and read, but how they sound. Brands need a distinct, recognizable identity on screenless interfaces (voice assistants, smart speakers, etc.)
Ecommerce of all kinds including booking travel will happen through voice more and more, until it is primarily done through voice.
Mastercard for the win:
The sonic brand is the sound equivalent of the iconic red and yellow circles. Hear more. It will play every time someone pays with MasterCard. This will diminish the standard two-year learning curve for audio branding.
Can you guess what is missing from Marriott’s otherwise great campaign?
I don’t hear an audio mark. The background music is well done and you could say this is part of sonic branding, which is more overarching than an audio logo. (I would liken sonic branding to marketing as a whole, and an audio logo to advertising.)
Marriott needs a singular audio logo in order to set themselves up for marketing through voice. Reservations will increasingly be booked through voice. In-room voice will present even more opportunities to play a short song, a set of notes that capture the essence of Bonvoy.
Example - future use case: With my voice, I use my Google Assistant to book a reservation through Bonvoy. I should hear an audio logo when the reservation is successfully made. I should hear that same bit of music when I arrive in my room and turn on the TV or pick up the phone to call the concierge. It should play when I open the Bonvoy app too.
Post script from Emily:
As a travel credit card point hacker, I was disappointed to see that SPG and Marriott Club access went away when my Marriott Gold status became Bonvoy Gold Elite. Club access is one of the most beloved perks of this status granted by cards like the American Express Platinum (watch my video about AmEx Platinum authorized user benefits).
Customers in the point hacking world of TPG and friends aren’t happy. Much like Delta Sky Clubs, which are not directly profitable to maintain, the benefit of customer loyalty and delight for the premium experience is worth it in the long run. People love the Sky Club and people loved Club access at the Sheraton etc. I’d be 100% happy with Bonvoy if this Club perk transferred over to the new program without having to upgrade my tier.
Michelle is not the only one who’s asked. So let’s all share. Here are the top stats about the power and rapid growth of voice technology, voice search, and #voicefirst marketing.
Voice Marketing Stats for 2019:
In 2018, voice purchases increased 3x on Alexa compared to the 2017 holiday season.
Typing is very slow compared to what our brains can process through speaking and listening.
The average person speaks 110-130 WPM (words per minute).
However, we have the mental capacity to understand someone speaking at 400 words per minute (if that were possible).
We only type 38-40 WPM. Think about the implications for voice search:
Two stats from my most recent podcast focusing on Alexa in-skill purchasing (ISP) and high conversion rates inside skills for purchases with voice:
Early results show that voice skills have higher conversion rates for purchasing than any standard website or mobile experience. E.g.: Two skills with very high conversion rates for upsell to premium version (34-50%): Big Sky (weather) and Escape the Airplane (game). -voicebot.ai, 1/24/2019
Voice in the car - huge opportunity: twice as many U.S. adults have used voice in the car compared to smart speakers and monthly active users are 60% higher.
75% of smart speaker users interact with their speaker daily.
Ownership rates for smart speakers are nearly equivalent among people 25, 35, 45, or 55 years old. -Edison Research, The Smart Audio Report - 7/18/2018
Want more information about voice? Great resources:
voicebot.ai - the most comprehensive and updated voice stats and news
The Smart Audio Report from Edison Research and NPR, Spring 2018. (Sample: based upon a national online survey of 909 Americans ages 18+ who indicated that they owned at least one smart speaker)
This Week in Voice Podcast - Bradley Metrock’s show, part of the VoiceFirst.FM podcast network. Bradley and a rotating panel of voice technology experts discuss weekly news relating to voice technology. Get it on iTunes.
Daily news: I talk about voice marketing on The Daily Beetle Moment (daily under three minutes on Alexa Flash Briefing and Google Home)
I have guests on my weekly podcast about marketing, usually focusing on voice: Beetle Moment Marketing Podcast (on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify)
Listen on your favorite podcast player:
TuneIn: on your smart speaker, say:
"Alexa, play This Week in Voice."
"Hey Google, play This Week in Voice podcast."
Timestamps and stories (sources linked):
1) 04:15: Amazon's Super Bowl ad, featuring Harrison Ford, is already drawing positive reviews in advance of the big game
Amazon is reassuring us that they can be trusted (PR wake)
“Not everything makes the cut” re: Amazon Alexa hardware
I love this - very Bezos: Queen: “Don’t Stop Me Now” plays at the end
Celebrities and testimonial - well cast, diverse (Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Broad City women, astronauts)
A little creepy
Transparency about product failure - brands can make mistakes (this is the zeitgeist we’re in)
10:35 - Amazon Alexa microwave
Moore’s Law (Jason)
15:45 - another Apple security breach with Facetime Groups - microphone on before call is answered
17:50 - is Apple’s quality decreasing?
3) Voicebot.AI Story of the Week: Walmart pulls out of Google Express and Google Shopping Actions
This is about DATA
Remember Mattel’s Aristotle, a 2017 Alexa kids smart speaker that never made it to market? Because privacy concerns.
“Mattel announced on Wednesday that it was canceling plans to bring to market a smart device called Aristotle, which was aimed at children from infancy to adolescence and was set to hit stores in 2018.” -NYT, 10/5/2017
What is “post-gender”!?