There’s so much talk out there about how platforms like ChatGPT and other forms of AI and machine learning will slowly replace the work done by people in B2B content marketing. Is this true? Should we completely rely on these new technologies to improve our B2B content marketing and promotion?
Join us as we discuss these topics and more with expert content marketer Ren Agarwal (CEO, StoryAZ Studio), who helps to debunk some myths around AI and content marketing. During this conversation, Ren talks about the importance of leading with strategy and research, and how content marketers can leverage AI and machine learning to improve their work. Ren also highlights the mistakes to avoid, the limitations of AI, and elaborates on some future trends that he believes will greatly impact B2B content marketers.
Christian Klepp, Ren Agarwal
Christian Klepp 00:03
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.
Christian Klepp 00:44
Okay, welcome, everyone to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today I am joined by someone on a mission to help clients strategize, write and edit content from A to Z for better growth. So coming to us from San Francisco, California, Mr. Ren Agarwal, welcome to the show.
Ren Agarwal 01:09
Thank you, Christian, happy to be here.
Christian Klepp 01:12
Great to be connected Ren and hold on to your seats everybody because we are going to be talking about a very, very pertinent topic, which is, I would say impacting anyone in the world of copywriting and content marketing or marketing in general, wouldn’t you say?
Ren Agarwal 01:31
Christian Klepp 01:33
All right. Well, here we go. Let’s kick off this conversation Ren with a quote from the American theoretical physicist and futurist somebody called Michio Kaku. So he said, there are dangers, but only dangerous if people don’t understand where technology is taking us. So the reason why I bring up that quote is because in today’s conversation, we are talking about how chatGPT and other AI or machine learning platforms could signal the end of content marketing as we know it, potentially a controversial topic. But over to you. Why should B2B marketers and anyone responsible for content out there take this topic seriously?
Ren Agarwal 02:15
Yeah. Well, I think we have to take it seriously, because it’s a innovative technology. That is one of the fastest growing in history, if not the fastest growing, there’s over 100 million people that have in some way interacted with ChatGPT. And there’s, of course, lots of variants out there. So, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a movement, if you will, and it’s important for marketers to tune in understand what this is all about. Use the tool. But most importantly, you know, not to panic. And, you know, I’ve been online as everybody else has been, and who’s paying attention to this topic. And there’s a lot of, you know, kind of uncertainty and fear out there. And that I think really is unfounded.
Christian Klepp 03:13
Yeah, I’d like to dig into that a little bit further, why would you say that it’s unfounded?
Ren Agarwal 03:18
You know, because I really think about ChatGPT as a tool, and, you know, humans forever, have been creating new tools and new innovations and adapting to them. And anything that we create, whether it’s a product or a service, a group and association, there’s a value chain involved, right? There’s, if I think about an advertising campaign, you have to understand the brand, you have to understand the business objective, you have to understand the call to action, maybe the modes and methods of producing that advertisement. And so there’s so many different steps and layers involved. And various tools have come to us over the years that we use today. They change jobs, they evolve jobs, and ChatGPT will certainly do that, whether it’s in content marketing, or other kinds of professions where this kind of large model may be applicable.
Christian Klepp 04:26
Yeah, no, that’s incredibly interesting. And I think you’re right to say that, you know, let’s not all panic at the disco just yet. I mean, the machines are not going to rise up and take over the world. But we need to be cognizant of these trends on these changes and how this evolution, this technological evolution is impacting the work that people like you and I are doing on a daily basis, right.
Ren Agarwal 04:53
Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Christian Klepp 04:56
On to the next question, which focuses on What are some of the common mistakes and misconceptions you see out there when it comes to ChatGPT? And what is what is it that you think people are getting wrong? And what should they be doing about it?
Ren Agarwal 05:10
Yeah. So, you know, one of the biggest users of ChatGPT might just be high school students. And the reason for that, at least in the United States, right? If you go out to Tik Tok, and you see students who are just ecstatic, I mean, they’re literally like losing their minds watching ChatGPT do things like write an essay for them, comparing and contrasting characters in The Tale of Two Cities, or writing an essay on the causes of the Vietnam War, You know, and that’s because ChatGPT has essentially taken lots and lots of information out there that already exists online. I think I heard something like they’ve ingested information, 60 times the size of Wikipedia. So it’s an enormous amount of information. And when you’re writing a report for school, you’re really looking back, aren’t you? It’s so it’s backwards looking information. And in that case, a tool that’s vacuumed up all this information is going to just regurgitate that information for you. So when people see, you know, some of these stories, they begin to say, Oh, my God, you know, this thing is just writing content. And it is. It’s writing a book summary, or is writing a research paper, or you can ask it to, I think some teachers are even asking you to write a lesson plan for a sixth grader. But that’s kind of misunderstanding what marketing and creativity, which is at the heart of marketing. And even at the heart of business enterprise is really all about, you know, creativity is really about uniqueness, ChatGPT. And these kinds of tools are about interchangeability. So, you know, they’ll go out there and find a piece of content, find another piece of content, interpolate and say, this piece of content should go after this piece of content. There’s nothing unique about that. And so I think that that misunderstanding leads, people say, Well, this thing is going to just do all the writing for me. But you know, really good writing, really good marketing, that captivates audiences that brings in new customers, is really about uniqueness. Right? We have a lot of content out there already. You know, but quantity has not resulted in a lot of quality. You know, I think this really explains, and maybe we should have a podcast on the separate topic, but really explains the Tik Tok phenomena. Because what people are really out there doing is they’re looking for authentic reactions from people. And what happens today is when they find an authentic reaction, everybody just gives it a thumbs up. Because they’re like, Yep, I feel the same way. Because in a sea of content, everything has become so you know, maybe it’s all become Hollywood, it’s so processed. And essentially, human beings are calling out for authenticity and connection, right? A contact a contact, excuse me with the reel. And if you’re going to just use, you know, ChatGPT, or one of these other writing software programs that are kind of popping up everywhere, and there’s going to be dozens and dozens of these as startups get funded. And they try to see how far they can go. You know, it’s really not the work that serious writers, serious marketers actually do.
Christian Klepp 08:44
Absolutely, absolutely. You touched on so many important points. And I’d like to go back to some of them. Uniqueness, and you know, how creativity, a big part of creativity is about uniqueness that that certainly is a point worth repeating. Why? Because I think one of the things that I tried to look up at least anyway, with regards to ChatGPT, is that it does… while it does help, like, you know, what you said, it pulls a lot of data that’s already existing online, and it helps to aggregate all this data, within a matter of seconds. Like, I think I mentioned, I, I gave it a bit of a spin like a few hours ago before conversation, and it was amazing how quickly it churned out an answer in the, in this kind of like formatted content. But one thing that I did lack, to your point, was a bit of that human touch. It didn’t feel like it was actually a person that wrote that, right? It did feel a little bit mechanical, at least in my opinion. I suppose at the end of the day, I can totally see how this kind of technology will be catering to the lazy side of human nature where people that don’t want to do the work themselves. It does serve its role I would say in Content Marketing for people that are okay. They want to churn out like this micro content quickly. There’s certainly a time and place for that. But in the grander scheme of things, I mean, to your point is, is this really the right tool to use if you want to do more of this, like higher level work?
Ren Agarwal 10:19
Christian Klepp 10:20
That’s open to debate. And that might to your point be a topic for another podcast interview together with Tik Tok.
Ren Agarwal 10:27
Yeah, yeah. Well, if I could just kind of piggyback on what you’re saying is… Absolutely short form content, if you’re looking to create 140, 280 characters? Well, once again, if you think that just putting out, you know, robotic language, is going to help your cause whether you’re a marketer for a software company, or you are a social media analyst for a consumer packaged goods company, you know, I’m sorry, you know, that is not the thing that gets customers to sit up and say, of all the things that are coming through my feed, let me click on that one that sounds robotic. And so to what you said, the lazy approaches will very, very quickly become jokes and memes, you know, and they will name companies by name and say, yup looks like they’re using ChatGPT again, and you will be the butt of a meme on the internet laughing at your ability to be humorous or to connect with consumers, especially for the next generation, which is already suspect of a lot of the content that’s coming at them.
Christian Klepp 11:46
What role do you think strategy and market research and data play when it comes to effective B2B content marketing?
Ren Agarwal 11:52
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s really the foundation, isn’t it? I mean, when we work on a project, you know, we have to do a lot of homework. We want to go out and see what’s already come before. What’s the company’s voice, what’s the tone that it likes to use? Who is its audience, to the extent that we can create personas. We will try to do the to the best that we can, of course, personas are limited and lacking as well. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for what I would call real world contact. And I remember early in my career, people saying to me, you really got to get out of the office and stop just reading the manuals. So you got to actually go out and meet the customers, and understand why they’re using our products and services. Because unless you have that felt sense of any business, you can’t actually, you know, conduct business, you can’t be an effective marketer or communicator at all. So, you know, that research builds the foundation for then engaging in the creative ideas. And for any of us that have worked in marketing, worked in a in a creative way. You know, we understand that those ideas come from many places, it’s not just sitting at the desk and saying, Okay, I’m going to be creative now. You know, sometimes people say, I had a great idea in the shower, or, you know, when I was driving into the office. Well, why is that? Well, it’s because we’ve almost turned off our left brain. And we’ve let our right brain really think about the bigger issues and make random connections, you know, but ChatGPT is very much a left brained approach. Let me tell ChatGPT to give me five tweets on a new software product that I’m launching tomorrow. Well, I can tell you what ChatGPT is gonna give you already, you know, Hey, are you looking to kind of scale up your operations more efficiently? Use our software product, right. So, you know, that research, however, is something that ChatGPT can help you with, because, you know, as you said, it generate information really, really quickly. So you can ask it, questions. But what does that sound like? That sounds like a search engine, doesn’t it? So really, what’s happened is over the last 20 years, we’ve had zero innovation really when it comes to search engine technology. And in fact, search engines have gotten worse. You’ve got more ads on the search engine page. Because of content mills, unfortunately, you have a lot of sites and pages that aren’t informative at all. And then they’re just to game the SEO, search engine processes. You know, that’s been a real limitation of search engines. Well, anybody that’s been using ChatGPT will tell you that they use search engines less. Because I can just go ask you the question and it’ll bring back lots of information. Now you have to be careful. And we should talk about, you know, the problem, some of the problems that we already know about ChatGPT. But, but essentially ChatGPT is wonderful to go out and do research and bring back lots of information. Because search engines are so cumbersome, and have really not innovated for two decades.
Christian Klepp 15:33
Just give me a second here while I absorb all those insights. But um, thank you so much for sharing that. I think you brought up some really great points that I’d like to go back to some of them, one of them being like, yes, absolutely, like search engines have become cumbersome. And something you brought up earlier about, like some sites that are like ranking very high on Google that are not informative at all, well, they probably pay to be there. And that’s, that’s why you get those results, right. I mean, that would almost be the most plausible explanation. The other one is about understanding who their customers are. And this is going back to like content marketing 101. But I do remember another guest on the show, mentioning that she’s been doing this probably as long as you have. And she can immediately tell if a piece of content was written by someone who has never spoken to a customer, just by the way it was written. And also probably by the lack of understanding of who the target audience is, or the target reader are, what they’re looking for, what their motivations are for looking for this particular type of content, and how will this content help them at the end of the day? Right. So there’s a lot of these answers were rather questions that need to be answered by said content marketer.
Ren Agarwal 16:52
Christian Klepp 16:53
Yeah. Go ahead.
Ren Agarwal 16:54
Well, you know Christian, I mean, that is so problematic, because as you and I were talking a little while ago, yeah. When we think about the buying journey in B2B situation situations, the vast majority of these buying journeys involve prospective customers doing an enormous amount of research, even before they talk to a representative of your company. And you don’t even know that they’re out there looking for a software product or looking for an industrial product, a service, but they are accessing your content. And if you know, as your previous guest said that, you know, some of this content is being created without talking to a customer or not really speaking to the customer directly, customers will see that. And that means that your company will not be on the short list of vendors that are actually being evaluated. So the days where, you know, we would do a lot of what we call shoe leather, go door to door with our direct sales force, and sat at these meetings, and, and kind of, you know, pitch products and services. And I started my career at Hewlett Packard and, and that’s what salespeople would do, they would kind of be in the field, they would go and do meetings with people that they knew, and they would show up, and they would do a PowerPoint presentation or demo on a product. That’s fundamentally changed. That is not the way that products and services and B2B industries are being acquired. And content marketing is really the driver now, for customers to get smart on what you offer, for them to feel like you really understand their pain points, and that you might be a good vendor for them.
Christian Klepp 17:30
Absolutely, absolutely. You really hit the nail on the head there about content marketing being the driver, because at the end of the day, they are spending a lot of time conducting their own research and informing themselves before they even approach said service provider. And if you don’t help them along in that journey, and help them to make an informed decision, then you’re not going to you know, you’re not going to be on that vendor list. Right. So moving on from that to the next question, where I’d like you to break it down for us a little bit. What is it that you think people need to understand? And you’ve mentioned some of these already, but like, what is it that people need to understand about ChatGPT and B2B content marketing? So what I’m trying to say there is, how can marketers use a combination of the tools to deliver a more effective outcome?
Ren Agarwal 19:32
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s a very good question because it’s very practical. You know, it gets to the heart, really, of professionalism and professionalizing, continuing to professionalize what we do and the people that are our colleagues. So the first thing I would say is that, ChatGPT or any of the other language tools out there and like I said, there are lots already and more on the way These are fantastic. I mean, I know a lot of writers that use Grammarly, for example, you know, great, you know, some people use grammar checking within Microsoft Word. You know, Google Docs has some capability to help you with grammar where it even suggests language. So we’re already using some of these AI tools every day. I think, with ChatGPT, what you need to know about ChatGPT is a couple of things, I think, really important. Number one, obviously, it’s experimental. It’s data cuts off in 2021. So if you are relying on ChatGPT for current information, it’s not there. And you know, so you’re gonna have to use search engines and, and, you know, stay current on what’s actually happening, because of that cutoff date, which is also one of the problems with these with these large language models, not only have they already consumed practically all the information that’s out there, you know, there might be some intellectual property implications to that, you know, like, where do they get the content? What’s in there? Does the client content have bias? You know, a lot of people have written about that. I know, that’s not specifically what we’re talking about today. But, you know, if it’s already brought in all this content, where’s it going to get this additional content? And how is this going to keep up to date with what’s happening? It’s not a real time product, you know, like a, like a search engine would be right. So that’s, that’s really important to keep in mind. You know, the other thing is that ChatGPT has the ability to answer questions that you put to it. And the better question that you put to it, the better response you’ll get. And you can even do, you know, sometimes you can follow up on a thread with subsequent questions that might refine the answers that you’re getting. The limitation to that is that I found that ChatGPT tends to error out a lot. So you have to keep refreshing it, which means you lose a little bit of that dialogue, because it doesn’t then remember kind of what’s happening. So asking questions, asking smart questions, you’re gonna get some more answers to it. But it is, you know, it does error out occasionally. It also do does something that, you know, computer scientists have been talking about, which is called hallucinating. So I’ll give you an example. I asked ChatGPT to go out and tell me what an article was about. And I put the title and the link in there, and it came back and I said, Oh, this article, and it was about really the upcoming problems of for the startup ecosystem, after SVB. And it was a big article in The New York Times on Monday. And ChatGPT came back and said, Oh, this article is about how SVB bank is changing its lending guidelines. And I said, no, no, that’s not correct. And so ChatGPT, apologized very nicely and said, Well, can you please give me the URL, so I gave the URL, it summarized it incorrectly again. Well, then I copied the whole New York Times article, and I put it into ChatGPT. And I said, Please summarize it now. And the third time it still summarized it, erroneously. And there are lots of examples like this out there. So you can use it to ask questions, you can bring back a lot of research, but you have to verify it. If you just rely on what it said, you’re gonna get yourself into trouble.
Christian Klepp 23:51
And there, therein lies I think the heart of the matter. And probably one of the main points of discussion during our conversation today, right? Where the reason why we’re having this conversation is because you’re trying to like raise awareness for the fact that this type of technology does come with limitations. And to that point, Ren, I’m glad you brought that up, because that’s one of the first things I saw, there was a window that popped up and ChatGPT saying that the data cuts off in 2021. So I was like, Uh huh. Alright. So that in itself was already a limitation, right? You have to be cognizant of that. Because otherwise, I think that was such a great case study that you brought up. You can keep feeding it with information, but if it’s, if it has this limitation, it’s never going to come back with an accurate answer. Right. Number one. Number two, yes, of course. There’s other tools out there. I mean, I myself use Grammarly and I have to say I’m one of those people that doesn’t always agree with everything Grammarly suggests, right. Because again, it is AI and you still require somebody on the other end of that spectrum, acumen, to then make a judgment about whether you’re going to act upon those recommendations or those corrections, or whether you’re going to say no, actually, I don’t agree with that. And I’m going to skip it. Okay, fantastic. So Ren, we get to the point in the show where we’re talking about actionable tips. So give us something actionable here. And the question is, at the end of this conversation, what are three to five things that you hope the audience can walk away with, after they listen to our discussion?
Ren Agarwal 25:30
Yeah. Well, I don’t know if there’s an order to what I’m going to suggest. But let me suggest a couple of things here. And to the best of my ability, one would be, there’s absolutely no reason to panic here. You know, I think, like any new tool that comes up, you know, you have to kind of understand how to get this tool into your toolkit. And just the way that we’ve done with Google AdWords, or the way that we’ve done with email marketing systems, the way that, you know we’ve done using WordPress, or people that use Yoast for SEO, people who use Google Tag Manager, right. These are all things that we’ve had to learn over time, and they’ve actually made us more efficient and effective, but they haven’t eliminated. And maybe this is my second point to haven’t eliminated, you know, Christian, something you always talk about, I think, very eloquently, which is the importance of strategy in marketing. You know, marketing is a strategic function, whether you’re a B2C company or B2B company, because there’s so many things that you have to synthesize to be a good marketer. And, and so, you know, ChatGPT doesn’t obviate that. You still have to be, you know, really good strategist. And as a good strategist, I would say that you have to learn how to use this tool. And one of the things that I would say is, after you kind of sat down and said, What are you writing about, you know, draft a whole bunch of questions that you have about the subject that you want to write on, and go ask ChatGPT, you know, so do research, use ChatGPT, to do some research, first of all, and ask him, What did I ask it the other day? I said, you know, what is the popularity of Pokemon Go? And it came back and it said, Well, I don’t have current data. But a couple of years ago, it was ranked 16th in terms of XYZ statistic. And, and then, so I had a couple of data points at my hand, then I could go verify those to make sure it wasn’t, quote, unquote, hallucinating. And then, you know, once I had that I can begin to kind of work with those facts and figures, which was really, really helpful. I can sometimes say, I can ask it to cite a reference, hey, where can I find a reference online? Can you give me a URL that cites that facts? That’s another really helpful way. Now you see, I’m using it as a search engine. Right? So now that you’ve kind of gathered some research, and as you know, people write in different manners, I love a good outline, as you begin to kind of outline what is your thesis? What are your sections? Where are your examples going to come from? What you can do is break it down and take individual sections to ChatGPT, you can ask it, you know, further questions, Hey, I’ve written this paragraph, can you give me some ways that I can add more detail to it? And it might come back with a lot lots of horrible examples that you’ll ever use, right? But it might, you know, also spark some ideas. And I don’t think actually ChatGPT is that great of a vehicle to give you new ideas. But what it does is it helps you rule things out. Yeah, that’s a dumb idea. I don’t want to go in that direction or this direction. And then you really kind of come back to your own creative thinking and expertise, right. As I was thinking about this podcast, doing some work, and I learned that expertise comes from the Latin meaning “one who is experienced”. And I thought that was really helpful, because as an experienced copywriter, you know, you have the expertise to understand what makes for a good article, you know, and so you can go and, you know, ask specific questions and get more data and get more research and kind of bring that in. So I think you know, using research and ChatGPT is really helpful. The fourth thing I would say is that you know, when clients say to you Well, what why don’t I just do this in house? Why do I need a copywriting agency or you know, you know, or general marketing agencies to write this for me, I’ll just write it myself. I’ve got ChatGPT? Well, I think the answer to that is some of the things we talked about earlier. Which is that, are you looking for something that’s unique? Or are you looking for something that’s just recycled? Because we’ve all been to, you know, because I’m based in San Francisco, I’ll just say, we’ve all been to software company websites. And after you spend some time on the homepage, you still don’t know what they do. So, you know, there’s a lot of content out there that, in fact, is already recycled, you know? And so that’s one thing how I would respond to that. The other way I would respond is that remember, copywriting isn’t just mashing together a bunch of words, it’s, what are we writing about? Why are we writing about those things? Where are we going to present this information? Right? What are we wanting the reader of this to do? From what I can tell so far, ChatGPT, will regurgitate a lot of words and a lot of sentences, a lot of paragraphs. But it’s not really towards any goal. You know, it’s more like, what a high schooler might use it to write a book report, or might use it to write a term paper, you know, a research project where the whole purpose of high school is to understand what’s come before so that you build a foundation. So you can go into life and build on top of that, as human society has done forever. Right. But that’s not what a ChatGPT does. But that is the assignment of good content writing, which is to understand how do you influence the direction that a prospective buyer might be interested in? Or how do you inform prospective buyer or other stakeholders? I mean, really, do you want to use ChatGPT to, to distribute internal communications to your employees? Will they not see through the fact that this was just generic generated from a robot? Do you want to write a thought leadership article from a CEO using just ChatGPT? You know. So the other thing that we also have to remember is that copywriters do other kinds of heavy lifting, don’t they? And content marketers, you know, you maintain an editorial calendar, you go and interview subject matter experts. You do multiple drafts, you go ask for input and feedback and incorporate that into your product. So don’t forget about all of the things that actually go into the creation of content.
Christian Klepp 32:44
Absolutely, absolutely. Those are some fantastic points. And thanks again for that. And you know, it’s going back to what you were saying earlier, which is something that I’ve always kept in mind with with my own work is, and one of the reasons why I’m utterly convinced that AI is not going to replace us anytime soon. I do makes… even with B2B content writing, I still throw in that occasional anecdote, those quotes. Why? Because if you’re trying to make something that’s very technical, very, to a certain degree, a little bit heavy in a particular industry segment, and you’re trying to make that a bit more palatable for everybody else. I mean, it’s always important to bring it back to something that people can relate with, something that has that, again, I can’t stress this enough that human touch when people read that, that they might even have a little bit of a chuckle to themselves, or if it’s a very heavy topic that it becomes a little bit lighter. Right. Yeah. And that’s something that at least from my own experience, AI hasn’t, hasn’t reached that level yet. And I’m not even sure if it will.
Ren Agarwal 33:50
Yeah, well, you know, interestingly, creative types in Hollywood have been tasked to go out and look at this thing to see if he can help with things like script writing.
Christian Klepp 34:02
Script writing. Yup.
Ren Agarwal 34:03
And there’s a famous example where Alan Alda from M*A*S*H. For those of you that might have seen it, it’s been off the air for decades. But Alan Alda kind of went to ChatGPT and kind of played with it for a long time was trying to reimagine the last episode of MASH. And his judgment when he came away from it is: I think the script writers are fine. This thing isn’t even close to being able to write a legitimate script. I heard another anecdote where Hollywood writer said, oh, yeah, you know, I was using ChatGPT to kind of imagine a scenario where there’s a husband and wife scene, and they’re on vacation. And I wanted to get ChatGPT’s help in what the dialogue would be between these two. And by the way, this is a story there’s a recounted in a new eBook out by the founder of LinkedIn, who also is an investor in OpenAI, so there’s, so this writer in Hollywood says, Now look what happens. Right? So ChatGPT kind of writes… Oh, well, you know, the husband asked the wife, hey, we don’t have any secrets. We’ve been married for a long time. And no, we don’t. And it’d be really bad for us to have any secrets with it. And, and the wife and the dialogue says, No, of course, we wouldn’t have any secrets. And then the husband says, well, who’s I can’t remember the name he used… but who’s Bob? And? And that’s, and that’s all schmalz? Right? So the Hollywood writer saying, yeah, that’s all schmalz there’s nothing there. But the Hollywood writer says, Okay, watch what happens now. And the wife says, Well, how do you know about Bob? And the husband says, I saw something, I think it might have been like a text or something, or email, and it said, you know, I’m really like to talk to you, you know, please contact me. And so he’s, uh, who is Bob? And he says, are you having an affair? And she says, No, it’s nothing like that. He said who is Bob? And she says, Well, five years before I met you, I had a kidney transplant, and I got it from Bob. And the Hollywood writer was like, isn’t this great? Well, I’m looking at that and going, No, that’s not great. I mean, you know, that’s, that’s still schmalz. So if, if a Hollywood writer is saying, hey, that’s really creative. I’m like, wow, I would have expected more from the writer, than that, you know, kind of creative impulse. But and I’m picking on Hollywood in this conversation only. Because, you know, why not? But yeah, but I think we underestimate our remarkable creativity, which is why every once in a while when one of these independent movies come out. Everybody is like, Oh, my God, how did that movie out of nowhere win the Oscar and everybody tries to create that movie concept. Well, the reason is that, you know, theater goers, people who love film aren’t idiots. They know a great story when they hear one. You know, it’s not just another Marvel story, right? We know how that’s going to go. So Everything Everywhere All At Once, this year’s Oscar winner, people were really captivated by the story because it was something totally different, right? And that’s what we expect from really great creativity. Everything else is just entertainment. And it’s kind of like, yeah, you could take it or leave it, you know, but it’s not the great punch line. It’s not the Oscar winning movie, it’s not that great song that becomes a classic, you know, that creativity, I would argue, is still very much right brain, and is very much the purview of great writers.
Christian Klepp 37:53
I think that was the perfect example to bring up on this podcast where we’re talking about copywriting. But well, thanks again for that. And thank you to all Michelle Yeoh for, for the movie. But you’re absolutely right to say, let’s just talk about that one for a second. Because, you know, we’ve got this movie that, you know, it’s unique, it’s it has a different angle, it’s got this, this different and unique cast of characters. And so completely different from, to your point, the cookie cutter story, right? That we’re all used to, and you hit the nail on the head with the MCU. Or you just take your pick, even some, some Netflix series that are out there. It’s interesting to see, like, even my wife and I are watching some of the shows, we almost know what’s going to happen at the end. Why? Because we’ve seen this type of story play out before this, this format, this template, whatever you want to call it, right?
Ren Agarwal 38:52
Yeah. And now, a writer is, you know, interested in this kind of thing, because they’re on the clock. And they have to very quickly produce stuff, even though if it’s not very creative, and very interesting and very good. But that has consequences. Right? Yeah. I mean, that’s why there’s money losing years for studios. That’s why a lot of movies flop and you, it’s not about the amount of money you put into these films. It’s about making a connection with the audience. Yes. And so we understand the economic constraints that are at play here. But we also have to understand that things that seem like they’re the next great thing, time will tell. But the really important thing for us to do, you know, in our industry, is to really understand this and begin to steer it and begin to be involved with the conversation to help educate people that know. You know, I saw a headline today that said 300 million jobs are going way around the world. Well, you know what? There’s been other incredible advances in technologies that have come. Some jobs are lost, other jobs are gained. And that’s just how innovation works. But innovation doesn’t stop. And human creativity doesn’t stop. And I think that’s a really, really important thing to be involved with that conversation. And to think really hard about these issues and not just accept what somebody might be saying about, oh, my God, this is going to eliminate all copywriters, it’s going to eliminate all attorneys, you know, I’m like, if it’s gonna eliminate legal work, that was just busy work anyway, well, great. Maybe we don’t need that level of legal work. You know, maybe we need to be focusing on really important contracts and legal work, you know what I mean? And if ChatGPT is going to do away with Twitter, hurray. Because, you know, is that adding any value to anybody’s brand? Really, you know, so if ChatGPT is going to just churn out quick tweets, and that’s gonna mean nobody really pays attention to it. That’s not such a bad thing.
Christian Klepp 41:02
I totally agree. Totally agree. Speaking of things that will happen, I mean, I usually try not to do this on the show. But let’s look into the crystal ball for a second here right. Ren, where do you see all of this going? If we were going to look like maybe, maybe not 20 years, but like, 10 years down the line? Where do you see all of us going with ChatGPT? And what kind of an impact is it going to have on content marketing?
Ren Agarwal 41:26
Yeah. You know, I’ve been thinking about vinyl records. You know, and it’s become a really big thing among young people. And they talk about vinyl records, because they like the fidelity, they like to cracks, they like various things about the sound that comes out of vinyl records, as opposed to the, you know, the bits that are sampled, you know, in the digitization of music, you know, and I was thinking about that, because I think content is unfortunately going to get a lot worse. And I think that we’re going to have maybe an entire generation of folks graduating from high school, that are going to be robbed of those really crucial four years, where you learn to analyze, and synthesize and write and think all of those great things. But I hope I’m wrong. You know, I hope that I know, there’s incredible teachers out there, I know, they’re already thinking about, Hey, how can I get students to be collaborative project with ChatGPT, you know, create even bigger assignments, because I know that they can do a comparison of literary characters now by asking ChatGPT to do it. So maybe there’s different prompts. And so, you know, I think teachers are going to try to do this, but I think there’s also going to be a lot of laziness, unfortunately, you know, kind of in the system. But I think that writing, unfortunately, is going to get worse, because there is going to be a temptation to rely on these writing tools, that once again, are just recycling content that already exists out there. And that might be wrong, you know, and that might be biased. And that’s unfortunate. But I think that that is not that big of a surprise, because look at what’s happened on social media and what’s happened in other platforms where content has become, you know, kind of plastic in many ways.
Christian Klepp 43:36
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I’m really glad you brought that up, because it brings me back to my high school days. And, you know, back then, when we were required to study English literature, so with the likes of Shakespeare, and what have you, there were a lot of classmates that opted to go for the cliff notes. Why? Because a cliff notes would like filter all that stuff out. And you know, you’d have these summaries of each chapter of that specific Shakespearean tragedy and what have you, but I opted to go down the harder path and read the works themselves, like for example, and that’s how I learned to, not just appreciate the writing, but immerse yourself a bit more in the story as complex as that might appear. Like, for example, when I was reading the tragedy of Julius Caesar, which is one of the classic Shakespeare ghost stories, because there was a ghost in that one, but if you just read through the Cliff Notes, you’re gonna, you’re gonna miss out on the build up to that point, right? And it’s there and it’s to your point, it’s, people are just, laziness is certainly one thing. The other one is really they just won’t, there’s people out there always are trying to look for the shortcut. And to a certain extent, and I’m not trying to like, you know, diss this AI and machine learning here. It has its time and place, but if you’re Just gonna use it because you want to take the shortcut. And I believe that was your point, then that’s the wrong approach.
Ren Agarwal 45:06
Yeah. I mean, you know, Julius Caesar, at the beginning of Julius Caesar, right. Julius Caesar’s wife is, has actually convinced him to not go to the assembly where he’s ultimately killed in the assassination. And Julius Caesar accepts that. But then somebody from the Assembly actually comes in said, but you’re Caesar, nothing can, you know, nothing can kill you. So there’s all of these omens there, that this isn’t the right thing for Caesar to do. And unless you read Julius Caesar, you know, you don’t actually understand the beauty of that language of how it unfolds. And in fact, there are many omens out there today, that say that we need to really be progressing with this kind of technology very carefully. Either we will see these omens, or it will be the Ides of March for our professionals….
Christian Klepp 46:10
I was just gonna pull that one out, the Ides of March, but you beat me to it (laugh)
Ren Agarwal 46:15
You know, or for jobs or for careers. But we have to pay attention to these omens, we have to pay attention to the limitations that really are here and that are staring us right between the eyes.
Christian Klepp 46:29
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Ren, if you’ll oblige me. I did play around with ChatGPT before this conversation, and I did ask it one question, which is pertinent to this discussion. Wait, let me pull it up. I asked, Will ChatGPT replace copywriting in the long run? Alright, and this is what it…, this was its answer, so just hold on to your seats. As an AI language model, my main purpose is to assist humans in generating high quality content more efficiently and effectively. While I can generate text and provide suggestions, I do not think that I will replace copywriters entirely. And that was the AI saying that right. And that went on to say, copywriting involves more than just producing text. And this was really to your point. It’s frightening how similar it is. It requires creativity, critical thinking, and a deep understanding of the target audience and the brand’s voice and message. While AI models like ChatGPT can assist with generating ideas and providing suggestions, they cannot replace the creativity and strategic thinking that a human copywriter can bring to the table. And I’ll just read this last sentence before we continue. Furthermore, copywriting involves understanding and interpreting complex cultural and social nuances, which can be difficult for AI to fully comprehend, if at all, alright, in my opinion, while AI language models are constantly improving, they are not yet at the level of understanding and interpreting cultural and social nuances with the same level of nuance and depth as humans. That was ChatGPT’s answer to my question.
Ren Agarwal 48:10
Right. And the reason it can answer this way is because some human has actually written about this already and put it out on… whether it’s on Wikipedia, or one of the other search, the websites, which ChatGPT is gone and vacuumed up all that information. Remember, I said, you know, there might be some intellectual property issues here, because where did you get all this content to begin with? Humans wrote this content. And so some human is actually talked about what copywriters do, all ChatGPT is doing is it’s going out there, bringing that information in and saying, here’s the answer, because that’s what the humans are saying. And so that’s why it might seem like Oh, my God, it sounds so human like, Well, the reason it sounds human-like is because it’s looking at binary bits of information, language that already exists out in the internet, you know?
Christian Klepp 48:59
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I thought that was an interesting one to share for this discussion. So a lot of thanks for your patience. But once again, I mean, Ren, we could have gone on for another five or six hours, just talking about this, and of course, other topics. But thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, obviously, based on your expertise and experience. So quick introduction of yourself and how folks out there can get in touch with you.
Ren Agarwal 49:26
Oh, sure. So my agency is called StoryAZ.studio. We are based in San Francisco. We are a copywriting and content marketing agency. We work on all forms of content creation. Our clients tend to be healthcare, education software. We work with startups. We work with financial services companies. And you know, really the reason that is clients bring us in is because they are looking for expertise on how to capture so many variables that express our brand, with our customers to engage with them in a very personalized, authentic way. So you can come to the website at StoryAZ.studio and check us out and also check us out on LinkedIn. Follow us. We post regularly we’d love to hear from you.
Christian Klepp 50:31
Fantastic, fantastic. Ren, once again, thank you so much for your time. Take care, stay safe and talk to you soon.
Ren Agarwal 50:37
Thank you, Christian.
Christian Klepp 50:38
Bye for now.
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