Last week, XAPP launched our new Voice CastTM for Podcasts solution. Most people will be immediately drawn to the fact that you can enter some data into an online form and then the XAPP platform goes through the process of testing and submitting to Amazon for certification. Most podcasters can complete the process in about five minutes and certification is complete in a couple of days. That means you can enter your podcast information and have a custom Alexa skill for your podcast within a week. It’s simple and offers near instant gratification for podcast hosts.
Voice Cast doesn’t replace your podcast hosting platform. It complements that service with a much better listener user experience on Alexa. Many podcasters are surprised when their podcast shows up on Alexa, usually through a TuneIn integration. This is great until someone actually tries to listen. Alexa’s core technology simply doesn’t enable listeners to consume podcasts the way they do on other devices. You have to listen to the entire podcast in one sitting or start from the beginning when you come back. It is a totally a broken user experience. That is what we set out to address with Voice Cast for Podcasters.
Persistence Means Starting Where You Left Off
The first feature we added is session persistence. All that means is that the system remembers where the listener left off. We all expect this from our mobile podcast apps. Surprisingly, it is not a feature of the Alexa AudioPlayer today. Voice Cast for Podcasters fixes this user experience. It remembers the user and their previous session. When the user asks for your podcast again, it picks right up where they left off earlier; that is, unless you want a different user experience based on the format of your podcast.
User Experience Customized by Format
XAPP has already launched over 50 podcasts on Alexa so we were exposed to a wide variety of show formats. Different formats have different optimal listener experiences. You can categorize podcast formats along a spectrum of ephemeral to evergreen. Ephemeral podcasts are time sensitive. The content is only relevant for a short period of time. Content such as traffic, weather and local news can fall on this edge of the spectrum.
The other end of the spectrum are evergreen podcasts. This content format has no time-based element. Think of it this way. Ephemeral content is the morning traffic report. It has no benefit to you beyond that morning. Evergreen content could be any story from history or something that addresses timeless truths. The value doesn’t degrade at all over time.
Between these two extremes are content that isn’t exactly ephemeral, but is intended to be replaced by your newer podcast episode. Sports shows like The Totally Football Show out of the UK or Kirk and Callahan from Boston’s WEEI are good examples. These sports podcasts are continually updated and listening to an episode from last month lacks context from what has happened in the intervening weeks.
There are also different types of evergreen content. Some podcasts are serialized where the order of the content is important. That is the idea behind the name for the Serial Podcast. You definitely want to listen to the episodes in order. Otherwise, you will miss important elements of the story. Sword & Scale’s true crime stories fit the definition of stand alone evergreen content. Each episode stands on its own and there is no requirement to listen in order.
Voice Cast for Podcasts lets you designate the appropriate user experience for your content format. If you have a podcast that is dynamic and your listeners will want to only hear the latest episode, you can set the experience so only the most recent episode plays. Alternatively for both replaced and stand alone formats, when a user asks to start your podcast you can offer to resume where they left off or to play the latest episode. This puts control in the hands of the user. Voice Cast lets you decide on the optimal user experience.
Other Features and More to Come
Persistence and format customizations are just two of the features offered by Voice Cast that are not available elsewhere for customers. In addition, listeners can also access you podcast from the Alexa app on Android devices and the Amazon app on iPhones. We also have a number of new features planned for this year. Our intent is to continually improve the podcast experience on Amazon Alexa. You can start today and benefit from many of these new features when they are released.
A key benefit of acting now is that you can start building your audience on Alexa while competition is limited and you can take advantage of our 67% discount pricing. This will only be available for a few more days and at under $10, it is both easy to set up and easy to afford. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us using the button below or you can click the Voice Cast button to learn more about the service and get started. We are big fans of podcasts at XAPP and are committed to bringing a great listening experience to Alexa. We look forward to helping you grow your audience on smart speakers.