How it Works / FAQ
Giving your content a voice is quick and easy with Shoutworks. No more hiring expensive developers to work for weeks to produce an Alexa Skill—now, you can leverage voice to inform, engage, sell, and support in the click of a button.
How does it work? Well, we’ve learned just about everything there is to know about publishing voice apps, including Alexa Skills, and we’ve done the hard work of automating most of it. This way, instead of getting lost in the code, you can worry about what really matters: Engaging your people.
Try our WordPress plugin completely free, and start giving your web content a voice today. If you’re still not sure about something, here are a few of our most common questions and answers about how Shoutworks… well, works!
The most popular Alexa skills do one simple thing really well. How about a skill that generates leads by offering people a discount or freebie, getting them to submit their email? Or a skill that gets more mileage out of your content by letting people listen to Alexa narrate your blog posts or tweets?
For more inspiration, check out these examples of skills you can make with Shoutworks.
The key to getting your Alexa skill discovered starts with the invocation name. If you set an invocation name that people actually say to Alexa, then there’s a good chance she will direct them to your skill. If two skills have the same invocation name, Alexa always gives the most popular one.
So how do you become the most popular skill in your category? Build up momentum. We help with this by featuring Shoutworks-made skills in our newsletter. You can also put the “Live on the Alexa” badge on your website.
Then, post the link to your skill in all the Facebook groups that relate to your subject. If you make a skill full of recipes, for instance, you should post in groups about cooking, groups for parents, etc. That should give you the early user boost you need to get to the top of Alexa’s search results.
The top skills on the market are those that give people a short dose of something they need or want regularly. News and weather do well, but so do inspirational quotes, useful announcements, advice, and humor. You can’t go wrong with something short that you know your target audience will need or want to hear regularly, like your take on current trends, or the weekly specials or deals at your store.
In the Create Alexa Skill tab of the Shoutworks plugin, after you have tested your skill and are happy, click on the [Publish Skill] button.
You will no longer be able to test the skill or use it until it goes through Amazon’s SKill review process. Amazon’s review process has an automated component and a real-person component. This means that on weekdays, you can have a Skill published within 3-4 hours, but on weekends, you might have to wait 3-4 days for a real person to make the final checks.
Just download the “Live On The Alexa” button file from your downloads page (check number 5), and put it right on your website so everyone knows your business is voice-enabled!
We’re building a version of Shoutworks that will work with any website, but for now it’s just WordPress. The good news is that it’s super easy to create a WordPress installation on any domain! All you’d need to do then is activate the Shoutworks plugin on it, and you’re ready to edit and publish your Skill. This is still much easier than coding your Skill from scratch.
In very rare cases your Skill may be rejected. It could be that your invocation name is too similar to someone else’s or that some content on your site does not pass the standards set by Amazon. If this happens to you please contact us at Support@Shoutworks.com.
This is what you say to Alexa to bring up your Skill. For more information on the difference between a Skill Name and its Invocation name, check out our guide on the difference between the two.
Amazon can be a bit strict about the Invocation Name in particular. They stress that the invocation name must contain only lower-case alphabetic characters, spaces between words, possessive apostrophes, or periods used in abbreviations. When using abbreviations, include a space after each period. Other characters, like numbers, must be spelled out.
Not at the moment, but in the future you will be able to. For now, if you want to publish multiple skills, we ask that you create a new account with a new email address for each new Skill you want to publish. Please get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some assistance here.
That’s good news – it means they’re testing your Skill! As you know, Amazon reviews every Skill that is submitted, and they can be pretty thorough. One of Shoutworks’ most loved features is the ability for users of your Skill to send you an email just by speaking to Alexa. When you receive an email from an Amazon email address that just says “Test”, that means that someone at Amazon is trying out that feature. We recommend responding to that email with a little “thank you!” for the nice tester at Amazon, who’s taking their time to try your new Skill.