Did you know that you can use your Amazon Echo to listen to personalized news content on-demand?
I’ve been using Amazon Alexa Flash Briefings for the past 18 months – I started out listening to a wide variety of content, then began the process of making my own Flash Briefing, called “The Instagram Stories“, which is now up to 21,000 subscribers and 25 Five-Star reviews. (If you want to read the story of how I got started, including getting permission from Instagram’s legal team, you can read that here.)
Here’s all the tips and tricks I’ve learned in my time working with Flash Briefings.

Flash briefings are great for users

  1. Flash Briefings are a great way to get news or other information without needing to read.
  2. They’re voice-enabled. Just say “Alexa, play my news” to get started.
  3. Flash Briefings are very short. Flash Briefings are 1 to 10 minutes in length, and typically just a few minutes.
  4. It’s perfect for getting caught up on a variety of different topics very quickly.
  5. They will be part of your daily routine. Once you start using Flash Briefings, they will soon become a regular part of your morning.

User Pro-Tips for Flash Briefings

  1. They can be part of Alexa routines. You can set up a routine around the words “Alexa, good morning” that will turn on the lights, then start the coffee maker, then start playing your Flash Briefings.
  2. They’re customizable around your interests. TV news and radio news don’t let you pick what you’re interested in – they just show you what they think is important. By browsing the Alexa app or searching https://amazon.com/skills, you can find Flash Briefings to stay updated on topics you care about.
  3. You can listen hands-free. You can listen while driving, walking, cooking, getting dressed, or other activity that requires your hands.
  4. You don’t need an Amazon Echo device to listen. You can open the Alexa app (for Android or iPhone), then say “Alexa, play my news” to listen wherever you are.
  5. You can listen through headphones (bluetooth or wired) by using the Alexa app.  This is a great way to listen without waking your spouse or while commuting on public transportation.
  6. Flash Briefings can be re-ordered to ensure you hear your favorite ones first.  Using the Alexa app, click the hamburger icon, then select “Settings”, then “Flash Briefing”, then “edit”. Drag the order of Flash Briefings using the 2 horizontal lines next to each briefing.
  7. Adding Flash Briefings from inside the Alexa app adds new Flash Briefings to the top of your list. Adding Flash Briefings from Amazon.com adds new Flash Briefings to the bottom of your list.
  8. If you’re tired of a Flash Briefing, you can turn it off. Using the Alexa app, click the hamburger icon, then select “Settings”, then “Flash Briefing”, then “edit”, then slide the blue toggle to the left to disable a Flash Briefing. You can also go to Amazon.com, search for the Flash Briefing, and push “disable”.
  9. You can have subscribe to different Flash Briefings from your spouse or other family members if you have separate Amazon accounts. To set this up, open the Alexa app, open Settings, then Accounts, then “Recognized Voices”, then “Your Voice” to create a voice profile. When you want to play your own Flash Briefings, say “Alexa, who am I?” to your Echo device to see who’s account the Echo is currently logged into. If you’re not in your own account, say “Alexa, switch to (Your Name)’s account,” then say “Alexa, play my news” to hear your own Flash Briefings.
  10. Automatically skip Flash Briefings you’ve already heard. When Alexa recognizes your voice based on a voice profile, Flash Briefings will automatically skip the stories and news items you’ve already listened to, ensuring you only hear the freshest content.
  11. Flash Briefings are very easy to create and maintain
  12. You can build your own for Flash Briefing for free that will be listed on Amazon.com. To do this, you need a method to record, and a place to host the files. I recommend the hosting company Effct.co to get started for free.
  13. You can batch record your Flash Briefings and set the files to post automatically each day.
  14. You can share your Flash Briefing onto iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, TuneIn, and more, for people who listen to those platforms.
  15. You can build authority by giving information on a topic you’re knowledgeable about.
  16. You can build a community by giving other people interested in a topic a place to hear daily updates about a niche topic.
  17. You can publish an English Flash Briefing in the United States, the UK, Canadian, Indian and Australian Amazon Stores by pasting the same file location into a new skill in each country.
  18. If you base the title of your Flash Briefing on a keyword people are searching Amazon.com for information on, you will get subscribers from that Amazon.com search. For instance, when people search “Instagram” on Amazon.com, my Flash Briefing pops up on the 2nd page of search results.
  • BONUS: Once you’ve built your own Flash Briefing, you can teach others how to build their own Flash Briefings by following the same process.