Step-By-Step Guide to Build Your Own Flash Briefing Alexa Skill
Before Realtor Michele Bellisari built her own Alexa Skill, in her case, a flash briefing, she talked with friends who were already doing it and watched YouTube videos to understand the process better. Then, she tapped into the following tools, most of which offer both free and paid plans.
- Recording app (via Anchor.FM, now part of Spotify)
- Hosting platform (via Buzzsprout)
- Design tool for creating cover art (via Canva)
Bellisari likens the process to creating a podcast, where you need a recording tool and a hosting platform. She uses Anchor for recording right from her smart phone, then uploads the audio file to her computer. She uses Buzzsprout to host her flash briefings and her real estate podcast (both called The Real Estate Influencer Buzz).
Once she had the tools, Bellisari used the free Alexa Skills Kit to walk through Amazon’s “skill-building journey.” This includes sections titled learn, design, build and launch.
Bellisari followed this step-by-step process and designed a skill. Then she moved to the build step, where she followed the fill-in-the-blank blueprint prompts.
You don’t need to know how to code, as Amazon handles it all on the back end. By having your host platform set up beforehand, you’ll have the RSS feed link you’ll need to add to the skill. Ditto for the cover artwork that you must add to the skill setup.
Bellisari says Amazon requires two pieces of cover art with specific pixel sizes of 512 x 512 pixels and 108 x 108 pixels. (This is where Canva comes in.)
You must complete all of these steps before Amazon approves your skill, which typically takes a few days. If Amazon feels your skill isn’t up to par, it won’t approve it as-is but will tell you why so you can make the required changes to resubmit.
Lisa A. Beach is an Orlando-based freelance journalist. Find her at LisaBeachWrites.com.