I recently interviewed Blinkist CEO Niklas Jansen about his company and foray into the world of Amazon Alexa skills. Amazon Alexa seems like a natural channel for Blinkist which already has thousands of hours of audio content that summarizes leading non-fiction books. However, the company didn’t just make its audio available to Amazon Echo users. Instead, it worked with a local agency, Onsei, to tailor Blinkist content to the Alexa environment. The effort paid off.
The Blinkist Minute Experience
Blinkist Minute is one of the best designed Alexa skills I have come across. When you first launch the skill a friendly male voice actor tells you about it and what to expect. He then launches into the day’s Blinkist Minute which is a short explanation of a non-fiction topic.
The skill started with an overview of the Pomodoro method of productivity. However, it didn’t stop there. The stream automatically went into the next Blinkist minute — you can say Stop or Exit to end the session. The second piece was particularly interesting because it switched between male and female voice actors. It also ended with a promotion for a Blinkist book offering.
Voice Actors Improve the User Experience
The use of voice actors really improves the user experience over just hearing Alexa’s voice. Intonation and emphasis are important for educational topics to accurately convey meaning and increase user interest. There is also a bit of humor sprinkled into the content which is a nice touch.
It Works on Google Assistant and Google Home Too
The Google Home experience is much like the Amazon Echo experience. On Google Assistant, Blinkist Minute provides images that accompany the segment’s title and also includes chips, the shortcut buttons that enable you to skip ahead by tapping on a button before the app is ready for a voice prompt.
A Good Example for Audio Publishers
During one recent morning, I learned from Blinkist Minute about productivity, why the price of meat is low today compared to previous generations and the value of monopolies. All included promotions for Blinkist books on the topics. It is a good mixture of useful content and promotion.
It is also worth noting that the company created a new product when launching this skill. Instead of just making its audio content available in the 15 minute segments, it compacted key learnings from the books Blinkist summarizes and offered those as nuggets of wisdom and learning. This is a clever adaptation of a big content catalog that presents the opportunity for both frequency of use and long session duration since they play continuously until you exit. Other audio content publishers can benefit from the strong example Blinkist provides on delivering voice-first experiences for consumers.