Shoutworks is a powerful tool. It helps you get your words, your ideas, and your brand onto the hundreds of millions of Alexa devices out there, enabling you to engage your people on a whole new level.
I know, I know, this sounds great, but how does Shoutworks actually do it?
Look no further! This post explains what Shoutworks is capable of, in concrete terms.
If you’re more into video, watch this 1-minute YouTube clip showing how it works.
What is Shoutworks?
First things first, Shoutworks is a WordPress plugin. It plugs right into the back of your WordPress site, and gives you a way to create a new Amazon Alexa skill from new or existing content on your site. We’ll develop other integrations eventually, but right now we’re all-in on WordPress.
That said, there is a workaround for non-WordPress folks. If you don’t have a WordPress site but you still want to use Shoutworks, send us a message and we’ll spin up a light WordPress site you can use just for Shoutworks.
What does it do?
Shoutworks’ features fall into four categories: Inform, Engage, Sell, and Support. I’ll take you through each one and show you exactly what it does. The best way to see for yourself is to try it free, of course, but this is for those of you who want a little preview!
The Inform tab tells Alexa how to introduce you. So whatever you type in here will be what Alexa says as soon as someone calls up your new skill.
For example, inside your Shoutworks plugin, let’s say you type this into your Inform tab:
Looks like a pretty good intro.
Now let’s say your skill name is “Business Quotes”.
Someone says, “Hey Alexa, give me Business Quotes”.
In response, Alexa will say, “Welcome to Business Quotes”, then she’ll say:
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make it look this easy, but that’s all there is to it. See the magic? 🙂
Let’s talk about the possibilities.
Now let’s move over to the Engage tab within the Shoutworks plugin. In the Engage tab there are three distinct features, Quote Of The Day, Flash Briefing, and Blog Content, each with its own section. You can set up each feature however you want!
For instance, you can make a Quote Of The Day skill with quotes from your favorite authors.
Or you can create a Flash Briefing which reads out a short news briefing that gives the latest headlines for California real estate, bond markets, startup launches, cattle ranchers, ballet dancers… The list is literally endless.
Here’s how it looks.
Within each section, if you click the “View List” button, it takes you to view a list of all the items of content that will be used for this section. Shoutworks has some default posts here, but feel free to delete these and add your own.
Clicking “Add New” does, well, just that: it starts a new item within that section.
You can change the number of items, or “feeds”, that Alexa has access to for each section. This just refers to how many items Alexa will present to users at any given time.
What happens if you un-check the checkbox? If you do, it means that the section you un-checked will not be included in your Alexa skill.
Only want to have a Quote Of The Day skill? Just uncheck the boxes for the other sections.
Quote Of The Day and Flash Briefing
Both the Quote Of The Day and Flash Briefing features work in essentially the same way.
When asked for the Quote Of The Day, Alexa will present whatever content you add to the Quote Of The Day section. Same goes for the Flash Briefing.
To see what items are already there, click “View List”.
Of course, to add a new item, you can just click “Add New”.
You can put any content you’d like in here. We prefer to copy-paste (making sure there’s no formatting weirdness—for instance, don’t copy-paste from Microsoft Word).
Or you can compose your Quotes or Briefings right there in the editor if you’d like. There are no constraints—the canvas is yours!
The Blog Content feature is really neat. It instantly turns your blog into an Alexa skill.
That is to say, it will take content directly from your Posts section, and put that content into your Alexa skill automatically.
So whatever posts you have in your Posts section in WordPress, they will be read aloud by Alexa whenever someone asks.
Have an existing blog with posts already created inside this section? Great! Your posts will be automatically included in your Alexa skill.
This is undoubtedly the easiest way ever to create an Alexa skill: a few clicks and Alexa will be reading your blog aloud to anyone who asks. Pretty cool huh?
Same as the other features, Alexa will read out the most recent posts first. If someone has already listened to your most recent posts, Alexa will say: “There are no new items. Would you like to hear previous items?”
To refresh your existing content, all you need to do is change the “Published on” date on the top right-hand side when you’re editing the post.
The Deal Of The Day feature is perfect if you want to let people know about a new promotion, especially if you have new deals daily or weekly that people may want to know about regularly.
This feature works in much the same way as the Quote Of The Day and Flash Briefing features above: whatever you put into this section is what Alexa will say.
To view all the Deals that are included here, just click “View List”. To add a new one, click “Add New”.
Just like above, you can un-check the checkbox if you don’t want your skill to include a Deal Of The Day section.
Last but not least, here is one of the most exciting features of Shoutworks. It lets people send you a thank you message, support request, or ask a question—all through Alexa.
With this feature, Alexa becomes kind of like your front desk assistant in homes everywhere. Her powerful AI will listen to what the person says, faithfully write it down, and send it to you via email.
You just put in your support email, and anytime someone wants to send you a message through Alexa, you’ll receive it.
Preview and Publish
Of course, you can test your skill before publishing it to the world. Just add your email on the “Create Alexa Skill” tab, click Create, and you’ll receive an email with the link to test a private version of your skill.
You can go back and add, delete, or change any item of content you’d like. Then, when you’re satisfied, press Publish and we’ll automatically submit your skill to Amazon for review.
Amazon’s review process usually takes 1-4 days to finish. But once it’s done, your skill will be out there for the world to use!
Imagine broadcasting your insights, latest news, or favorite quotes (or jokes) to thousands or even millions of people using the massive installed base of Amazon Alexa.
There are other no-code Alexa skill creators out there, but none that are as easy and fast as Shoutworks.
What will you use your new voice-AI robot army for?