What is an Alexa Flash Briefing and Why Do Small Business Owners Need to Know About Them?

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Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Jen Lehner, @jenrgy. Jen is a digital marketing strategist specializing in helping business owners create an effective marketing strategy using social media and digital tools. She also teaches others how to create online courses to monetize their expertise, and speaks at businesses and universities about the fast-changing world of digital media. Learn more at https://jenlehner.com/

SmallBizLady: What is an Alexa flash briefing?

Jen Lehner: A flash briefing is a short audio clip (10 minutes or less) that is broadcast over an Amazon device like an Amazon Echo or an Amazon Dot. You don’t have to have one of these devices to create or listen to an Alexa flash briefing. You can actually listen through the Alexa App. Usually, these are little news clips or industry tips.

SmallBizLady: Why do small businesses need to know about flash briefings?

Jen Lehner: This new marketing channel allows us to reach a whole new audience that we would never otherwise be able to reach, for free. Pretend it’s 2005, and I’m urging you to start a YouTube channel or a podcast. Knowing what you know now, would you do it? Of course, you would! That’s what this is. It’s a huge opportunity, and by this time next year, the opportunity to stand out won’t be as big as it is now.

SmallBizLady: How do people listen to the briefings?

Jen Lehner: I think that’s what makes this so amazing. Your listeners enable your briefing in the Amazon store and then when they want to listen, they say “Alexa, play my flash briefing.” It’s so easy for them to access that if your broadcast is good. You can quickly become part of the listener’s daily routine.

SmallBizLady: This sounds super technical…is it difficult to set up?

Jen Lehner: Not at all. Setting it up in Amazon takes about 45 minutes, and then you never have to do that again. The actual content creation is so easy that you could technically record and upload from your phone if you want to. I don’t really recommend that, but it can be done.

SmallBizLady: In your book, you mention that there are search engine optimization (SEO) benefits to a flash briefing. Tell me more about that.

Jen Lehner: On each broadcast, I always give at least one call to action. This is almost always directing them to a notes page I’ve created specifically for the flash briefing. As my listenership grows, so does the traffic to my website.

SmallBizLady: Many small business owners are already overwhelmed by content creation and have very little extra time to add something new. Is this time-consuming?

Jen Lehner: This content is very easy to create, which is why I love it so much. If you sit down with a legal pad and jot down 31 of your favorite industry tips, or inspirational quotes, then sat down to record each of them, you would have a months’ worth of content completed. I love that you can batch these, upload, and schedule all at once.

SmallBizLady: What are some pro-tips you can share with us for having a successful flash briefing?

Jen Lehner: Because this is so new, people are still trying to figure out what makes a “good” briefing. So far, the ones that are getting the best results keep the recordings brief (3 minutes or less), there is an audio brand (short music at the beginning and end), there are several reviews, and the content is valuable.

SmallBizLady:  Can you share some examples of flash briefings that you listen to that you think are good examples?

Jen Lehner: Small Business Marketing Tips, Everyday Positivity Flash Briefing, The Instagram Stories Flash Briefing, The Pitch with Amy Summers, Biz Life Mashup, and Beetle Moment Marketing

SmallBizLady: How do you find listeners for your Alexa flash briefing?

Jen Lehner: Marketing a flash briefing is much like marketing anything else…you can email your subscribers about it, put a link to it in your email signature, run Facebook ads to it, tweet about it, and even print the link on your business card.

SmallBizLady: In your book, you mention that you re-purpose your flash briefings. Can you share some examples of this?

Jen Lehner: There are so many ways to repurpose a flash briefing. My favorite thing to do is upload it to Headliner t App because they turn it into an audiogram for free, with captioning. You simply upload the recording and your logo, and they turn it into a video file that you can share anywhere. I like to send it out via Messenger bot to my bot subscribers.

SmallBizLady: What sort of business is NOT a good candidate for a flash briefing?

Jen Lehner: I honestly can’t think of any industry that can’t benefit from a flash briefing. Even if it’s not something a brand would use for marketing, it would be amazing to use internally, as well. A larger company could have a daily announcement, school districts could use flash briefings to make an announcement, and municipalities can do the same.

SmallBizLady: What sort of financial commitment is required to start a flash briefing?

Jen Lehner: The only expense you will incur by having a flash briefing is for your hosting. I use SoundUpNow.com. I upload the audio to their site and schedule it. It’s very inexpensive, at about $15 a month. (I have a coupon code that knocks off about $5/month if you want to share: FRONTROW.

SmallBizLady: What do you think is in the future for flash briefings?

Jen Lehner: Here are some really important things to keep in mind: Flash briefings are part of the largest store in the world. Many people are already making actual financial transactions through their Amazon devices. Right now there are 70 car models that have included Alexa as a standard feature. Soon this will be all vehicles. This is a huge opportunity that everyone with a product, service, or message should consider for their business.

If you enjoyed this interview, please join us live on Twitter every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET. Just follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat, and don’t forget to follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

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