There was so much chatter, news, and developments in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in 2023. As we head into 2024 and we start hearing a lot more about further maturation of AI (in particular, multi-modal AI); the importance of genuine human connections becomes increasingly evident. It’s not going to be just about embracing AI, but also about merging the technology with traditional marketing to create more meaningful and authentic relationships, and building our communities. More than ever, it’s about building relationships and nurturing communities.
One powerful way to foster connections is through local events. This doesn’t have to be an event that you host, but you can also support local events that others are putting together as well. This is particularly helpful if your business is neighbourhood specific, or if there are events that you feel strongly about.
This doesn’t even have to be something big; it doesn’t even have be something official. If for example, you’re part of a religious group that gathers on a regular basis, or a book club; you might want to bring around coffee or cookies for the group to share. Another example might be if you run a coffee shop and there’s a cycling group that meets regularly, maybe opening an hour early so that the group can congregate there early for a pre-ride caffeine hit.
Expressing gratitude goes a long way, and it’s an amazing way to show integrity and care. Building trust is essential, so demonstrating your appreciation of those in your community engages them so that those within your community feel valued and respected.
Personalised, branded promotional items like greeting cards is an effective, and inexpensive way that you can show that appreciation. For myself, I love using ‘Thank You’ cards. You can use tools like Canva to help design one and have them printed at your local print shop. They cost less than something you’d buy at stores like Hallmark, and you can include your logo within your design. Handwriting the message inside beyond platitudes is a great show of sincerity; it shows that you’ve put thought into the relationship. And plus, it’s also nice for people to receive something in the mail that’s not just spam. Another reason I like using ‘Thank You’ cards so much, is also because of its versatility. You might be thanking someone for helping you with a project, it’s applicable for suppliers, and you can also use them for clients.
Content Marketing: The Reign of Authenticity
Of course, content is still king! And here’s where we start talking more about utilising AI. Don’t be afraid of it! AI can be a powerful ally in content creation. Embrace it to enhance your storytelling and messaging. It can help you generate topics to cover, help you research those topics, and it can definitely help with your grammar. Just please, please, PLEASE don't let it replace the human touch that makes your content unique.
Be personal, share your real-life experiences. Use the wisdom and knowledge that you’ve accumulated over the years to help people get a deeper understanding of the topic you’re covering, and let people get to know you a little bit better. Share your opinions. It really helps to show your authority within a topic when you’re able to talk about a topic from your experiences. And also, don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability. Not only does it humanise you, it also helps to show that it is indeed, authentically you, and not lazily slapped together with AI.
For this, I really recommend people to try podcasting; and more specifically, video podcasting. I just talked about what to include in the content, but again, video podcasting shows that it’s really you delivering the content and not something that’s AI generated. On top of that, the brilliant part of video podcasting is how many ways you can use that content.
You can post the full-length video podcast on YouTube. You can use the audio of the content for Spotify. You can use the transcript of the content and easily turn it in to an article. You can cut up the video for TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. You can use quotes within the content as social media posts. Just one 10-minute video podcast can turn into at least 10 different pieces of content marketing. I’ll likely put out an article at a later date to speak specifically about this because it’s such a great marketing tool.
This is also another way where AI can help you. I just talked about how AI can help you research and generate topics. AI can help you automatically transcribe the video podcast. Beyond that, there are AI tools that can assist in editing and optimising content. Tools that can help you cut the content into smaller snippets. The following are a few examples to get you started. Please note that these are just examples, are not listed in any particular order, and there are definitely many more that you can choose from:
Video podcasts add a personal touch. It allows your community to see the faces and emotions behind your brand. It’s a great engagement tool that can help to generate conversations and discussions. And of course, it helps to set you up as an authority within the topic.
SEO - Navigating the Basics
The fundamentals of SEO remain grounded in relevance, quality, and authority. Consistently creating new, high-quality content that is relevant to your audience establishes authority and improves search rankings.
This brings me back to that video podcast and using AI. Using AI to research topics to talk about helps to ensure that the topics that you’re covering are relevant. Using AI to edit and check your grammar helps to ensure that you have quality content. And as people start discovering your content, and it starts being shared with others, will help to amplify your authority.
Another way of building up your authority is to build a network of backlinks from reputable sources. This enhances your website's credibility. Collaborate with others in your industry and create a web of interconnected, trustworthy links.
Email Marketing: A Timeless Gem
Your email list is the second most valuable digital asset that you own. Please treat it like the treasure that it is, because these are people that have given you permission to reach out to them. It’s a great way to continue nurturing your clients and potential clients with relevant and engaging content. Please, for the love of all that is good, do not flood your subscribers with daily emails (I’m talking to you BANANA REPUBLIC).
Combine content creation with lead magnets to grow your email list. Offer valuable resources, such as checklists, recipes, or quizzes, tailored to your audience's interests. As an example, if done well, and properly, the average quiz format lead magnet, converts to get you an email address at a 40% rate (according to convertkit.com).
As we step into 2024, the integration of AI is not a replacement for human interaction but a means to enhance it. Build your communities with care, create authentic content, navigate the SEO landscape with relevance, and cherish the timeless value of email marketing. As AI matures and continues to become more robust, it’s a tool that we can embrace to generate a more human experience, connecting on a deeper level with our target audiences.