In the last episode with Ryo Chiba, we discussed how to increase organic traffic by creating a product that markets itself. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss three shifts impacting content marketing and how we can leverage them to grow our business: artificial intelligence, user-generated content, and credibility marketing. We will also go over one tip on how to organize a content team.
Impact of Artificial Intelligence
How is artificial intelligence influencing marketing?
“Marketers are just starting to implement and discover tools around more advanced text generation systems,” Ryo said. “Really what it’s going to result in is a commodification of basic content. It’s really going to drive the price of creating rudimentary content down to zero, and it’s going to put more emphasis for marketers on being able to create content that stands out from the rest of the pack.”
Many people are already familiar with technologies such as deepfake and descript. Deepfakes are synthetic media where a picture or video of a person can be turned into a picture or video of someone else. For example, a man who resembles Tom Cruise could be made to look like him with very little evidence that it is a deepfake. Descript can edit audio content and use a synthesized voice feature. These can both largely impact the way video content and podcast content are created.
Ryo believes that the AI tool of generated text will become especially useful to marketers. There are new advanced systems that can create very human sounding AI generated text.
“This has really massive implications for marketers because it means that instead of paying somebody to write the content, you can have AI assistants to help you write whole articles,” Ryo said. “It can get a little dangerous obviously because in the hands of the wrong people you can easily create lots of spammy content.”
Ryo explained that AI enabled text generation tools are going to show up a lot more in the marketing industry. Marketers will likely become just as familiar with text generated AI as they are with spell check.
“AI is going to help write the content but people’s hours are going to be spent figuring out, ‘Okay, how can I take this to the next level—to speak with unique data, more trustworthy sources, or a better design?” Ryo said.
While text generated content can make creating content easier and cheaper, marketers are going to have to spend more time making their content stand out from the rest while keeping a personalized and human-touch to it.
Impact of User-Generated Content
Many people don’t realize how much their customers are talking about their products or services. “User-generated content can be a gold mine for people to identify and repurpose that for their own marketing channels,” Ryo said.
We can ask for customers’ content, get the rights to it, and then leverage it on our website or other marketing channels. Our customers become a free source of marketing for us that is often more credible than our own content is.
“My previous company tended to specialize in finding that content on social media and getting the rights to it,” Ryo said. “In terms of being able to take advantage of that, I think the first step is figuring out where your audience lives, and then setting up some searches and alerts to watch when people bring your brand up in conversation, and starting a conversation from there.”
We can go to different channels such as Twitter or Instagram and use different tools to find where our keywords and company name are being talked about in conversations. This could mean tracking specific hashtags as well. Once we get an alert saying our customers are talking about our brand, whether good or bad, we can go and comment to begin a conversation with them.
Typically, if someone is posting about us, it is either because they loved their experience with us or hated it. If they loved it, we can reach out to get a testimonial to use on our website or ask to share their post. This will feed credibility to our brand. If they hate it, we can use this as an opportunity to get feedback and correct the negative experience before it becomes worse.
“We subscribe to multiple Slack groups where content marketers and SEOs hang out,” Ryo said. “We’ve set up alerts to listen to keywords for alternatives and ourselves. When people mention us and they mention they’re having a great experience, we’ll direct-message them and ask them to set up a call with us so we can learn more about their experience, and then we’ll turn that call into a testimonial video or a customer story.”
Slack is a business communication platform that offers features such as private groups, direct messaging, and chat rooms organized by topic. It has the ability to identify trends and keywords to provide insights about our brand. Ryo uses this software product to help track conversations about their company.
Another way they monitor conversations is by having a teammate block out 30 minutes of their day every morning to comb through a specific list of communities to look for opportunities. “What’s really worked for us is just getting in the habit of scheduling time, and then making room for it in our busy days to actually take on the work,” Ryo said.
The hospitality and tourism industry does a great job at leveraging user-generated content. Companies in this industry, such as hotels or restaurants, often utilize customer reviews and will post content their customers create for them such as pictures. When it comes to travel, customers seek out reviews and authentic pictures of a location so user-generated content becomes, as Ryo said, a “gold mine.”
One specific hotel chain Ryo worked with used user-generated content really well. They used customer photos on their Instagram and TV screens in their hotel, and they printed tweets and testimonials from guests onto key cards. When a guest would slide the key card into their hotel room door, they could read someone’s positive experience about the hotel.
Impact of Credibility Marketing
The most important tectonic shift I talk about at Monetization Nation is credibility marketing. As customers become less trusting of ads and what we say about our own business, we need to find other methods to build credibility such as utilizing user-generated content as we discussed. Another way to build credibility is by showing our audience that we really know their wants and needs.
“Companies that I’ve seen really succeed in building credibility are companies that are really able to identify what their audience is looking to learn more about,” Ryo said.
One of the companies Ryo works with is a credit card aggregator. They meet their customers’ needs really well by having a very intensive research process baked into everyone of the content pages they create. They research to find what questions their customers are searching in Google around specific credit cards, where it gets very granular, and then they create content to answer these already existing questions their customers have.
“People like it if you’re a content marketer who’s familiar with [their] niche,” Ryo said. “Do a really good job of answering [their questions], and I think that leads to credibility and trust, not only with the search audience but also with Google. That is really what’s allowing them to rank high in the search results, because when users trust the content, when users interact with it and stay on that page, and click around. Google is constantly measuring that, and using that to figure out who should rank at the top.”
The strategy of finding the most commonly asked questions and answering those questions on our pages, is a very valuable strategy. About eight or nine years ago, I stumbled upon this strategy by accident as I was helping a company build a new website which wasn’t showing up in any search results. We found the 200 most common questions asked within their niche, and we answered those questions in our content. Within 12 months, that company website became number two or three on Google for their primary keyword.
I think one of the reasons this works so well is that we’re filling an existing demand. We’re not creating an article and then trying to find an audience for that article or piece of content. Instead, we are finding where there’s an existing demand, what people are already searching for, and then writing the article to exactly match that question. By filling an existing demand, we’re going to get a lot more traffic.
“I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes that anybody who’s starting content marketing makes, thinking . . . they need to stare at a blank page and put everything that’s in their head onto it,” Ryo said. “It’s really [about] diving deep into your audience’s head, figuring out what they want, and then catering to that. Figure out what their passions and interests are and what is driving that.”
One of the most useful places we can look for common questions is just Google search results themselves. We can search for a question and look at related questions. Ryo has also built a free tool with his venture, Topic, where if you search for “People also ask” on their website, and give it a keyword, it’ll give you the questions related to the keyword search in Google. You can find this tool at UseTopic.com/people-also-ask.
This is something that can be useful for not just blogs, but also podcasts, videos, and all other content. Ryo believes that Google is moving towards a model that will also allow podcasts to rank in their search engines. We have seen blog articles and videos show up when we search questions, and podcasts are likely to follow suit.
How to Organize a Content Team
Ryo believes that one of the most common issues most people have is thinking they need to hire people for their content team who are both creative and analytic. They think their content marketing team members need to have a creative and analytic mindset if they are to produce great content. However, those things are often contradictory ways of thinking.
“There needs to be an expert who is more on the analytical side doing the research, and then somebody else who is able to turn that analysis into something that is entertaining and consumable,” Ryo said. “If I was putting together a team from scratch, one key thing I would do is hire separately for those roles, and make sure that it’s not just one person in charge of both, because you really need those two separate pieces in order to produce content that’s comprehensive and high quality.”
Thank you so much Ryo for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- AI text generation systems are likely going to result in a commodification of basic content, driving down prices and putting more emphasis for marketers on creating content that stands out from the rest of the pack.
- User-generated content can be a gold mine we can repurpose for our own marketing channels to increase our credibility.
- We can monitor conversations around our brand and keywords and then join those conversations to gain testimonials or solve negative customer experiences.
- We can create our content around existing demands and questions our customers already have to increase our credibility.
- To create a great content marketing team we should hire those who are creative and those who are talented with data and analytics. We shouldn’t hire one person to do both.
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