Adding podcasts to Alexa devices

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

As I mentioned on this livestream, there’s a place for Alexa and Siri and other voice devices. I use both. Alexa on the TV and my PC. Siri on my Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone. My podcast can be accessed on either.

From a company perspective, it’s important to be accessible on all channels where consumers search for you.

The below shares some ways on how to add your podcast to Alexa devices. The easiest way however is to simply add your podcast to Amazon Music, which launched after the below was originally published.

Read next: Are you ready for voice search SEO?

Alexa podcasts are a thing that I didn’t really think about just a few years ago. As Scot and Susan Westwater share in their book “Voice Strategy” 75 million American households could have an Alexa-type device as early as this year.

If you are a podcaster, why would you leave your podcast off that platform? The video above and on YouTube here share how to add to Alexa podcasts. Marketers that are part of a Content Performance Culture certainly try to squeeze the last bit of performance out of every piece of content asset and being on Alexa-devices does help.

Do we really need Alexa podcasts right now? I liken it to:

All those are things I didn’t think I needed or even wanted – until I tried them. Scot and Susan also reminded us on this podcast and in their book, that often when people say “that won’t happen” it will happen. Remember when people didn’t think consumers would use their phone to buy things? That’s certainly something many of us do now.

So, I don’t need those things, but they are an improvement to life and make certain things easier. It’s easier to work in first class, the AirPods are great for conference calls and HD TV certainly makes the viewing experience better! Alexa-devices appear to have taken off and likely will take off more.

Let’s see how you can easily add your podcast and website to Alexa.

How I got my podcast listed as an Alexa skill

The process to get on there was quite simple. Let me walk you through it.

1 – Get an Alexa Developer Account

That sounds scarier to a non-developer like me than it is. Just go here and sign in with your regular Amazon credentials!

2 – Start creating a new skill

3 – Choose flash briefing

There are other more custom options available, but I found the flash briefing by far the easiest to set up. Plus, consumers can use this as part of their daily news consumption. If you had a new episode and they enable your skill it will get played.

4 – Build

On this page you have to enter your RSS feed URL. For WordPress sites, like this one, that’s usually at <URL>/feed. Your podcast likely already has one. I shared in this article about the Google Podcast Manager how you can find it in Anchor.

For a website feed, click “text” and for a podcast feed click “audio.”

5 – Distribution

Under Distribution, you have to find a relevant category and share the links to your privacy policy and terms of use pages.

You can find examples of mine here:

I already had them set up, but if you don’t have them it doesn’t take very long.

6 – Submit for review

This can be found on the left currently on the Alexa developer dashboard:

The review process took just a few days and I was approved in no time. Once it was live people can go to their Amazon account – for example – and enable it. Here’s how that looks:

How will consumers find Alexa podcasts?

This is harder than it should be as of this writing. You have to send them to your Amazon product page and they have to manually enable it there.

Searching on Amazon also works but is best when results are filtered by Alexa Skills as opposed to All Departments.

My Business Storytelling Podcast Alexa skill can be found here. 

Then simply click on ENABLE to have it work on all of your Alexa-enabled devices:

That process is a bit of a barrier certainly for consumers, but I would expect that this would get easier.

Do Alexa podcasts only work on smart devices?

No. You can also download the Alexa app on your smart phone and use Alexa that way. “Hey Siri, please open the Alexa app.”

That’s how I used Alexa in the video discussing this topic. I have the app on my iPhone and my iPad.

Alexa Podcasts conclusion

Even though I haven’t bought an Alexa-device (yet) it’s still worth trying to syndicate my content through that channel. Plus, the Return on Effort is high. I’m already producing a podcast. It’s not automatically pushed to Alexa, just like all the other podcast networks. Once it’s setup it’s not more  work on an ongoing basis.

If you want to dive a touch deeper into Alexa development this next section might be of interest.

How about writing custom interactions?

That works, too. I haven’t done it, yet, but according to this email, it’s possible:

Personally, I won’t make it this complicated yet for my strategies, but this is something to consider as well. Depending on your niche it could help you differentiate.

Pieces of this article were published in 2018. The entire article was updated and republished in May 2020.

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