Create custom flash briefings to reach a larger audience through a new medium.

In this article:

  • Set up Amazon Alexa
  • Create a custom feed
  • Connect Alexa and MAZ
  • Publish!

Set up Amazon Alexa

In the MAZ dashboard, navigate to Content and then Channels. Scroll down to Amazon Alexa and flip the switch on.

Then, select Set Up. You’ll navigate to a screen to connect your Amazon Developer Account.

Select Amazon Alexa under Developer Access. You will then navigate to an external link to sign into your Amazon Developer Account and set up your feeds.

Once signed in to Alexa, navigate to Skill Builders. This dashboard will show all of the skills, and in our case, flash briefings, you’ll create for Alexa. Enter a name for your skill, select Flash Briefing, and then Create Skill.

Create a Custom Error Message, and then add a new feed. Enter a preamble, name of the feed, content type (text [for Alexa to read] or audio [for Alexa to play]), and genre. The feed URL is how you connect Alexa to MAZ; in the MAZ dashboard, copy the JSON link and paste it in this field. All that’s left is adding your feed.

Back in the MAZ Dashboard, select the Content Type, audio or text. Make sure you choose the same content type as chosen in Alexa. 

You can now create feeds within MAZ to publish your flash briefings.

IMPORTANT: Alexa will read up to five items.

Create a custom feed

From the Content section, navigate to +New, +Feed, and then Feed Builder. Name the custom feed and select Save. Now, add text or audio file(s) for your flash briefing.

Adding Text

Create a feed of text for Alexa to read. Alexa will read both the title and the body of the article. Add a series of articles that include a title and summary of its contents, or add one article to summarize the entire daily news flash briefing. Select +Item at the top right of your custom feed, then select Article. Then select URL or Inputs; either copy and paste a URL of your article, or select from your Input library. Select Save.

Adding Audio

Create a feed of audio file(s) for Alexa to play. Select +Item at the top right of your custom feed, then select Audio. From your Input library, choose Select next to your audio file.

NOTE: Audio may be a better option to avoid mispronunciations and the option to brand your flash briefing.

Connect Alexa and MAZ

Now that you have a custom feed set up, connect this feed to Alexa. Navigate to Outputs, scroll down to Alexa, and select Feeds. Select +Feed, and then select the custom feed you created from the Input Library.

For best practices on making your Alexa Skill more discoverable, take a look at the following resources from Amazon!

Let’s do it!

Now you’re ready to publish news flash briefings to Alexa. Update the custom feed with new briefings and remove past ones to continue to engage your audience every news cycle.

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