Strategies for Smart Speaker

“Not another platform!”  I can hear you; already stretched digital teams raising legitimate concerns about asking how they can do a quality effort in this new audio command environment.  After all, media companies still have broadcast, website, mobile, social, OTT and podcasts to manage.

SmithGeiger research shows a surge of smart speaker use nationally (ask your SmithGeiger consultant for the very latest figures) and this growing audience is often seeking news, weather, traffic, and sports…the very strengths of local newsrooms through these devices. 

As someone who has five smart speakers in my home, I can testify to their utility and not just to set reminders and tell the time. The smartest of our clients have realized this opportunity and drawn on their research and our partnership to address the five challenges of any new platform. 

1.    What Does The Audience Do/Want (And Where Does That Intersect With Your Brands)?
2.    What Does The Technology Allow (Creating Skills Is No Longer A Specialist Activity)?
3.    What Does The Content Sound Like (What Content Should Your Team Create For This Platform)?
4.    What Does The Marketing Look Like (How Can We Show Off Our Capabilities With Audio)?
5.    What Does The Monetization Add Up To (What Are The Seven Ways To Make Money With Audio)?

The smart speaker has the potential to remove the need to use some traditional local media offerings. It is simple to get a general forecast for the weather, a quick take on the news from a national news flash, and to catch up on scores. With many more new skills coming online each day, the opportunity for the local news consumer to in some ways be satisfied with automated replies is clear. 

What is clear is that your brand has to be something worth asking for and your responses need to showcase the local knowledge, personalities, and minute by minute updates that your team can provide in a way no machine or national content platform can.  

In conversations with radio groups I have stressed that smart speakers are creating an exciting new opportunity. While clock radios disappeared from many homes (as more and more people kept their phones on the bedside table), smart speakers can be found all around the house creating new opportunities to encourage people to listen in. 

Action steps we recommend? Here are seven that have helped teams imagine the possibilities ahead:

1.    Place Smart Speakers in your newsroom/conference room and use them for their capabilities (set reminders of meetings starting each day…no need to corral the staff), playing music (if you start meetings with such), ask questions that your viewers might be asking and gauge the usefulness of the replies. 
2.    Test your competitor’s offering. Give it a letter grade up against what your team offers.
3.    Try a new skill a day. There are many websites and apps that list new skills that can inspire your team to think of the services your team can provide. 
4.    Survey your audience. SmithGeiger can offer detailed questions but even in your own building you can survey those who have them, why they use them and what they wish our team would provide. 
5.    Repurpose your audio. Your apps and website can house audio files. For inspiration on how to embed audio, check out NPR which has a foundation in audio story telling. 
6.    Don’t forget your podcasts. Playing them in your home or at work for your team can be a good way to showcase and evaluate your work in audio long format story telling. 
7.    Take one to the set. Be careful, Alexa will of course awaken with her name but your team can craft meaningful presentations of how you use it, like it, and encourage the audience to try it at home. 

SmithGeiger has much more detailed information available for your team to consider. Just reach out to your consultant for one of our detailed action plans for support of your growth in the smart speaker space.