A week ago, one of my They Ask, You Answer clients asked me if they should hire a new in-house content manager after their old one had to move to New York for a family situation. My client's concern was the growing uncertainty around Generative AI.
This is something I have thought a lot about since a fateful dog walk in the early spring of this year. As my husband and I walked the beautiful streets of an ancient suburb of Florence, we argued about the impact ChatGPT would have on content. My first reaction was: "OMG, what will generative AI do to search? Will content even matter anymore?"
Having done Inbound Marketing for the past 12 years and being a digital marketing and sales coach, the impact on my business and those of my clients was inconceivable. Since that walk, I have spent about a day every week learning and working with Generative AI. I have talked to tons of people who are a lot more educated on AI and smarter than me.
In this article, I am going to share with you my thoughts on the topic:
Don't worry about Generative AI killing your blogging, you have bigger fish to fry
Generative AI shifts the focus from information to intelligence. Customer behavior will shift from clicks to conversations.
Helpful, educational content is (as it always has been) the fuel to the engine. That won't go away.
You Have Bigger Fish To Fry Than The Question If Gen AI Is The Death Of Blogging
Let me start by saying this: If you worry about Generative AI being the death of blogging, you are worrying about the wrong thing.
A few days ago, Marcus Sheridan, the author of the book They Ask, You Answer, posted a passionate video on Linkedin summarizing my sentiment better than I could:
In essence, the word "blogging" refers to the activity of writing blog posts and is often used by content marketers who write articles for the sake of writing articles: to rank on search engines for specific keywords with the goal of generating organic traffic.
In the ago of generative AI, writing articles for SEO have zero value. We have seen previously high-traffic websites lose 70-80% of their organic website traffic already. So, stop "blogging" and start answering your customers' questions by creating educational content in the form of articles, LinkedIn posts, videos, podcasts, etc.
Just for the record, I disagree with Marcus on one thing. I find it highly unlikely that Google, one of the largest AI company and long-time generative AI researcher and investor, will go away. In my opinion, Google Search will morph into a complete conversation-driven experience in BARD, Google's conversational AI chatbot that uses PaLM 2.
But, for argument's sake, let's say search takes a drastic nosedive. What then? Let's have a look at what that could look like as prospects move from clicks to conversations.
Generative AI Sparks Shift From Clicks To Conversations
In her Inbound 2023 keynote, Hubspot's CEO Yamini Rangan addressed the fact that Generative AI is moving us from the age of information to the age of intelligence. That's a genius way of looking at it.
It is undeniable that technology is changing at a never-seen-before rate, and although some still believe it is a fad like Bitcoin and NFTs, Generative AI is already drastically changing the way our customers shop and buy. As businesses, it is our job right now, to understand how our customer journeys are evolving as a result to ensure we continue to grow customer connections.
Traditionally, when a customer is looking to buy something, they go to Google, enter a search term, click on a result that seems to be most relevant and read through the information on the website. They look at different pages, filter out what is relevant to them, and find what they need. But all the clicking and reading is time-consuming hard work.
Now fast forward to the era of ChatGPT, a.k.a. today. Customers want to have a 1:1 helpful conversation with a chatbot using natural language to quickly find exactly what they need. Clicks become meaningless, and conversations are where the money is.
But not everything will happen in ChatGPT, BARD, or Generative AI Search summary pages. Once a prospect comes to your website, they expect to have an AI-powered chatbot that provides them with everything they need through conversation. In fact, 55% of companies expect that by the year 2024, people will be more likely to use chatbots instead of search engines to get answers, according to Hubspot Research.
Educational Content Is The Fuel That Keeps The Generative AI Engine Fat & Happy
In nature, those organisms that adapt swiftly and effectively to changing environmental conditions are the ones that thrive and succeed. Those failing to adapt will ultimately become obsolete and wither away. This principle holds true in the digital landscape as well. Just as in nature, you must be willing to adapt.
Generative AI develops at an unprecedented pace, and no one can predict with certainty what the world looks like in even 12 months from now. So, how do you know where to invest your marketing dollars, and will hiring a content manager be worth hiring?
My approach to generative AI would somewhat follow the advice Nassim Nicholas Taleb gives in his book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable:
“This idea that in order to make a decision, you need to focus on the consequences (which you can know) rather than the probability (which you can’t know) is the central idea of uncertainty."
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
My Advice: Be agile and always do what is best for your customers
We have seen that organizations who have embraced They Ask, You Answer are doing really well in the generative AI search context.
So, my advice: buckle up and strap in. We will be in for a wild ride. We have to keep a close eye on things, and we will have to adapt as we go. In other words, create the most helpful, unbiased, trustworthy content you can, but that might mean filming educational videos, building a personal brand on LinkedIn, sending newsletters with a strong editorial point of view, and writing articles, whitepapers, and pillar pages.
The "What" might change, the "How" and the "Why" won't. Do the best you can with the information you have.