Ginger Zumaeta is CEO of Motive3, a messaging and storytelling consultancy advising companies on positioning and communicating big ideas.
Mid-market companies are in a unique position. You need to produce more content than ever before, but you also need to maintain your unique brand voice.
AI can help you achieve both of these goals, but it requires some pre-work. Otherwise, if you’re like me, you’ll find you spend as much time trying to get your AI to produce the results you want as you would have if you had just created the content from scratch.
I tend to think of AI as the best and most knowledgeable intern you could possibly have. The pros: It’s smart and follows directions well. The con: It doesn’t ask any clarifying questions. Which means you’ll get exactly what you asked for. So you better be very clear about what you want.
You wouldn’t tell an intern to go write an article about your product without giving them some background information and training first. Well, the same goes for your AI.
So how can you use AI to scale content production without losing your brand voice?
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Define your brand voice.
What are the core values of your brand? What kind of tone do you want to use when communicating with your audience? What kind of language do you want to use? Formal? Conversational? Technical?
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand voice, you can start to create a set of brand voice guidelines. These guidelines should be specific and actionable, and they should be shared with all of your team members involved in content creation.
Here are a few tips for defining your brand voice:
• Think about the personality of your brand. Are you friendly and approachable? Or are you more formal and authoritative?
• Consider your target audience. What kind of language do they use? What kind of tone do they respond to?
• Be consistent. Your brand voice should be consistent across all of your content, from your website to your social media posts to your blog articles.
You might even consider the four dimensions of tone to guide you.
2. Create a comprehensive messaging playbook.
Your messaging playbook is a document that outlines your brand’s key messages and messaging pillars. It should also include your brand voice guidelines and other information that is relevant to your content creation process.
Your messaging playbook will serve as a North Star for your content team, ensuring that all of your content is aligned with your brand’s overall messaging strategy.
3. Integrate AI into your content production process.
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand voice and messaging strategy, you can start to integrate AI into your content production process. There are several different ways to do this.
For example, you can use AI to generate content ideas, write blog posts and even create social media posts. However, it’s important to show your AI what good looks like. Feed it a few blogs that have performed well for you in the past, tell it to analyze a few social posts that you like and upload a few examples of your newsletters. The more you train it, the better your results will be.
When choosing an AI tool, it’s important to select one that allows you to customize the output to match your brand voice. You should also test the tool thoroughly before using it in production. I even encourage our clients to use several simultaneously.
At Motive3, we’ve been using ChatGPT, Bard, ClaudeAI and even Jasper. But just as with an intern, so far none of them have been able to produce content unsupervised. AI will get you to about the 80% mark. The rest is all you. Your AI is a helper, not a replacement for real humans.
4. Monitor and measure brand voice consistency.
Even with the best AI tools in place, it’s important to monitor and measure brand voice consistency on a regular basis. This will help you identify any areas where your content is falling short.
There are several different ways to measure brand voice consistency. You can use manual reviews, surveys or even AI-powered tools. Give your AI some original content written by your team, then some AI-assisted content, and ask for it to assess how consistent the brand voice is.
5. Update your brand voice guidelines and messaging playbook regularly.
Your brand voice and messaging strategy should evolve over time as your company grows and changes. It’s important to update your brand voice guidelines and messaging playbook regularly to ensure that they are still relevant and accurate.
Here are a few additional tips for using AI to scale content production while maintaining brand voice:
• Start small. Don’t try to replace all of your human content creators with AI overnight. Start by using AI to generate content ideas or to write social posts based on your original blogs.
• Experiment with the AI tools you use. Not all AI tools are created equal. Some tools are better at generating certain types of content than others.
• Train your AI tools. The better you get at prompting, and the more you show your AI tools good examples, the better they will become at understanding your brand voice and messaging strategy.
• Review and edit all AI-generated content. Even the best AI tools can make mistakes. It’s important to review and edit all AI-generated content before publishing it. Never ever use a stat it provides you with without cross-checking it.
By following these tips, you can use AI to supercharge your mid-market brand’s voice and scale your content production efforts without losing your unique identity.
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