Just a Few Words – For Alexa and Google Home

by Dec 4, 2018Blog, Content | Social Media | Email, Video/Audio/MTFW

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The Rise of Voice Technology 

Voice technology and smart speakers are gaining popularity. An article by PSFK earlier this year said 65% of people age 25 to 49 interact with an AI assistant (which is another term for a smart speaker) at least once a day.  

It is likely that this technology will follow a path similar to the rise of mobile.  A decade ago, the first smartphones were a novelty. While some people still hold on to their flip phones, most have made the transition. And today users expect websites to work seamlessly on their mobile devices.

Industry experts predicted the rise of mobile, but it wasn’t taken seriously by many businesses until websites that didn’t prioritize mobile stopped appearing in Google search results.

We are at that same tipping point with voice technology. While some users misunderstand or mistrust smart speakers, the Echo Dot was the top-selling product on Amazon for the 2017 holiday season and will probably be on the top product list again this year. 

Marketers Need to Ride the Wave.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Lindsey Anderson, the powerhouse behind the Traffic and Leads Podcast.

We talked about her latest passion, smart speaker marketing. With almost 40 million of these devices (Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc) in homes all across the country, Lindsey is convinced there is a huge marketing opportunity as people turn to these devices for updates, news, headlines, inspiration, and business tips every single day.  All of these short (1 – 2 minute) micro-podcasts are hosted in the Alexa Skill Library and delivered on command.  “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” 

Getting Started

Her enthusiasm for this new micro-podcasting platform was so contagious and her arguments so compelling, I decided to give it a try. As a podcaster, I already have the software (Audacity & Lame – both free to download) and equipment (I just bought a new blue Yeti – $129) so getting the first thirty episodes recorded was pretty easy.

However, the instructions to set up the Alexa Skill library seemed a little intimidating. Then I discovered the Smart Speaker Hub. This hosting and scheduling tool is complete with short tutorials to walk me through the setup. The entire process took under an hour. The hardest part was waiting the five days to have the skill approved by the Amazon team. 

The waiting is over and we have  launched Just a Few Words – A daily marketing tip for business owners.  Each episode runs between 1 and 2 minutes, just enough time to present one idea or tip.

How much can you actually say in a minute? Well, I am from NYC and I do talk pretty fast. So, with a little practice, I found I could create short, interesting soundbites in under 90 seconds. Here’s an example. 

How does Micro Podcasting Fit in Our Marketing Mix?

As I started recording the programs the biggest question I wrestled with is how does this fit with everything else we are doing? We already host a podcast – More than a Few Words,  weekly Facebook Live videos, online training, blogs, newsletters, white papers, etc, etc, etc. The answer to that question was a rationalization and audience definition.

More than a Few Words – These weekly conversations with industry experts from around the country bring a range of perspectives to our audience every Friday. Their involvement also helps Roundpeg connect with a national audience. Beyond distribution on a range of podcast sights, we always bundle one of the new episodes with our weekly resource kit.

Because we use these programs in multiple ways, most of the conversations are designed to be evergreen, as relevant a year from now as they are today.

Facebook Live – In contrast, Facebook content is disposable. What is interesting today is buried in the newsfeed tomorrow, so it needs to be timely.  Monday mornings are a great time to talk about trends as they happen. So if IHOP makes another marketing blunder or another company decides to update their logo, we will be ready to talk about it.

Also, Facebook is much more personal, as the content sits in the newsfeed alongside pictures of cats and babies. This is where we share photos of life at the ‘Peg so our Facebook Live will shift slightly to include more behind the scenes looks as well.

Webinars – These 30 – 60 minutes programs are designed to provide step by step instructions. Developed with a companion workbook the recordings of these programs make up an important part of our weekly resource kits.

Just a Few Words – This messaging is being delivered to our most distracted audience. In general, people listen to Flash briefings as they get ready to head out for the day, so it is unlikely they will stand still and listen, or write something down. Instead, we want to create a quick impression, maybe prompt a thought and drive them to our website for more information. The primary purpose for this content is to inspire and help build our brand.

Curious, But You Don’t Have a Smart Speaker? 

Well, you can always put one on your holiday wish list. Or you can actually load skills to your iPhone with the Alexa app. And if you want to just check out a few more sample episodes, hop over to Soundcloud. If you do listen, we would love to know what you think. Leave a comment here or a review on Amazon!