Because I choose to follow conventional wisdom (for once), just about every Bredemarket blog post is adorned with an image. (I should be adorning each post with a video, but that’s another story.)
Most of my blog post illustrations come from Wikipedia because of the ease in legally using most Wikipedia images.
But what if I want an image that I can’t find on Wikipedia?
Yes, it’s an acronym. For Do It Yourself. (I’ll explain my fascination with acronyms in a minute.)
Mitch Wagner does it himself. His latest post for Silverlinings is accompanied by generative AI artwork, created by Midjourney. The image conveys the exact message that Mitch wanted to convey. To see the artwork, read Mitch’s post.
But I’m not using Midjourney; I’m using something else
I haven’t jumped on the Midjourney bandwagon yet. So far the only generative AI art application I’ve used is Craiyon. It’s extremely easy to use, doesn’t require you to set up and account, and has some nice options including the generation of nine images at a time so you can pick and choose the one you want.
But so far I haven’t generated a Craiyon image that is as impressive as the one that Mitch generated on Midjourney.
More recently, for one of my other blogs (jebredcal) I wrote a post entitled “AAC (acronyms are confusing)” in which this image was the featured image.
Not as detailed as what Midjourney produced. And frankly, I had to type in the KYS myself, even though I specified in my Craiyon prompt that the sign had to say “KYS.” I got a blank sign instead. Maybe Craiyon can’t read or write.
While I agree with the second part of Bain’s assessment where he won’t enter into a contract that works for him, remember that the other party won’t want to enter into a contract in which Bain gets all the winnings. Or if they do, they’ll mutter about Bain under his breath and find a new contractual partner when the opportunity presents itself.
Hard sell (win-lose) is of limited value. Win-win is better. If you can establish it.
Why should I listen to your pitch? (Or why should you listen to mine?)
A business relationship starts with one party approaching the other. Perhaps it may be a question, or perhaps it may be a pitch. We all get pitches. Some of us (including Bredemarket) give pitches.
What determines whether you respond to a Bredemarket pitch?
If you know that you don’t need marketing content at all, you won’t need Bredemarket. (I can perhaps dispute your assessment, but if you’re not ready to create targeted marketing content, you’re not ready.)
If you already have access to great content creators, you won’t need Bredemarket. Just treat your content creators well so they continue to advance your business.
If your company is outside the United States, you can’t use Bredemarket. My company isn’t mature enough to handle the complexities of international business.
If your company offers finger/face identification services, you can’t use Bredemarket because of that pesky day job.
If you need me to be available Monday-Friday 8-5 Pacific time, you can’t use Bredemarket, again because of that pesky day job.
What determines whether Bredemarket responds to a company’s pitch?
Again, your product or service has to benefit me, Bredemarket, and my current status as a small part-time business.
I don’t need payroll software. I’m a sole proprietor.
I don’t need your phone answering service. I already have a free one, and most of the voicemails I get are spam. I’m not going to pay to get spam.
I’m not interested in your list of leads. The fact that you have me on your own list of leads shows how poor your lists are.
And no, I don’t need your (INSERT SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT SERVICE HERE) offering. If your (INSERT SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT SERVICE HERE) is going to take off like gangbusters in the next 6 months, why are you so stupid as to sell it to me, rather than keeping it for yourself?
Beyond the pitch
So we don’t respond to pitches if they don’t benefit us.
In the same way, we don’t sign contracts if they don’t benefit us. And we certainly don’t remain in long-term business relationships if they don’t benefit us.
Yet people still pursue the win-lose model. If you want to score a single sale and move on from a disappointed customer and find your next target, win-win isn’t for you.
I don’t work that way, in Bredemarket or anywhere else.
Three benefits of win-win relationships
Since I’m writing this to potential Bredemarket clients, let me share three benefits of our working together in a win-win model.
From the first six questions onward, you and I will collaborate on the deliverable Bredemarket prepares for you, ensuring that you get precisely what you need.
As we continue to work with each other, I will have an understanding of what you need, and you will have an understanding of what I can deliver. This speeds up the deliverables, an added bonus.
My hope is that my Bredemarket work will benefit your business.
One of my six questions involves the goal that my deliverable is supposed to satisfy, and after the content is available we can see if the goal was met.
While we both need to realize that inbound marketing is a long-term approach, hopefully the content will start to move the needle forward.
Example: I’m writing this post in April 2023. Will it work as a “secret salesperson” to attract someone to Bredemarket in April 2024?
At the same time, what I learn about your business will benefit me.
For example, I’ve already described (on page 6 of the e-book I talked about here) how the practices of one of my customers influenced Bredemarket’s own practices.
Increased profitability for both of us
After all, incoming money is a necessary component of business. I get paid for my Bredemarket work, and my work helps you increase your revenue and profit, based on what we decided during our collaboration.
Of course, this assumes that you want to make money. If your goal is to bankrupt your business, Bredemarket could theoretically help you with that also. But I won’t, because that increases the chances that you won’t pay me.
Go out and win-win
So whether you select Bredemarket for your writing needs or not, take care to pursue win-win relationships with your partners. You’ll establish long-term relationships, and (in most cases) you’ll feel better about yourself.
I was in Mexico City all week for a marketing sprint. Definitely a tech company sprint, with t-shirts and everything.
But what generative process selected the word “bleary” to use in that post?
I’m not sure about the specifics about why (geddit?) I chose that word, because I hadn’t heard the word “bleary” during the sprint. I was listening to a lot of music this past week, but none of the songs included the word “bleary.”
Many of the lyrics I heard were in Spanish.
One lyric repeated the phrase “take me to church”; it was not a religious song.
Another had some lyrics I choose not a print in this blog or anything else I write. (The song had an aquatic theme.)
I had an arrangement to meet a girl, and I was kind of late And I thought by the time I got there she’d be be off She’d be off with the nearest truck driver she could find Much to my surprise, there she was sitting in the corner A little bleary, worse for wear and tear Was a girl with far away eyes
It’s Saturday morning in California, and I’m a little bleary-eyed after a trip to Mexico City in connection with my day job. I was going to sleep in this morning, but I ended up reading a Forbes article that Mitch Wagner shared. Then I thought about it. Now I’m thinking about it some more.
Shrivastava then goes on to say that this affects the Upwork, Fiverr, and related platforms in two significant ways:
People like Shea are less likely to go to Upwork and Fiverr to seek people for non-specialized tasks. After all, even the cheapest content creators from the most impoverished developing nations cost more than today’s free generative AI tools.
People seeking jobs on the platforms are trying to get an edge by using…you guessed it, AI.
In early April, business consultant Sean O’Dowd uploaded two job postings on Upwork and within 24 hours he received close to 300 applications from freelancers explaining why they should be hired. Of the 300 proposals, he suspects more than 200 were done by ChatGPT, he says.
Obviously O’Dowd isn’t going to pay for something he can get for free, and others who hire freelancers caution in advance that they won’t pay for work in which the freelancer uses AI.
(I assume in this instance “use” means “generate the majority of the content automatically.” Shrivastava mentions a graphic designer from Nigeria “who uses ChatGPT to help him ideate,” and I’ve used the same technique myself. For this post, I asked a generative AI tool to describe the benefits of case studies for Inland Empire businesses. I threw out everything that the tool wrote except for five short bullets. Which I then changed to six short bullets.)
What the Forbes article didn’t say
Rashi Shrivastava was examining the relationship between generative AI and freelancing TODAY. That in itself is a handful to analyze, but there’s an entirely different question to address.
I addressed this other question in a Bredemarket LinkedIn post earlier this morning providing my thoughts on Wagner’s share of Shrivastava’s article. Now I’m going to be lazy: not by using generative AI to write the following paragraphs, but to simply reprint what I already said on LinkedIn. (I guess I could use generative AI to rewrite the post using different words, but…well, we’ll get to that.)
There are so many things to unpack here, but I will confine myself to one (for now):
What happens when (not if) the better generative AI tools are no longer free? What happens if the better tools cost MORE than a beginning writer in a developing country? Or the worst (best?) case scenario: what happens if the highest quality tools cost more than an experienced writer in a developed country?
As time passes, we will see significant differences in these tools.
Some will crank out basic work with outdated data; these will be “good enough” and will be cheap and may even continue to be free.
Other tools will be constantly be retrained and provide proper attribution of training data. Because of significant investments in R&D, the better tools will provide higher quality work – maybe even better than Mitch Wagner’s work (or my own). Perhaps you may even need to “program” them – an order of magnitude more complex than proper prompt phrasing.
At that point, someone requiring high quality content may decide that it’s cheaper to let a human do it.
What generative AI says
So that was what I’ve written about a future in which the quality and cost of generative AI tools will vary dramatically. But what would generative AI write about its own future? Since the service is still free, I thought I should ask.
In the past I posed a question to generative AI asking if it was after my job. If I recall correctly, I posed the question to Google Bard, and it diplomatically answered that humans can never be replaced. (But what was the source of its information? Google executives who want to minimize the chances that Congress will clamp down on generative AI use?)
In this case, I’m turning to ChatGPT. My prompt was “What happens to the economics and usage of generative AI when the higher quality services are no longer free?” The remainder of this section is ChatGPT’s response.
If higher quality generative AI services are no longer free, it is likely that the economics and usage of such services will be affected in several ways:
Reduced usage: Some users may be deterred from using the service if it is no longer free. They may look for alternative solutions or reduce their usage of generative AI altogether.
Increased cost: Users who continue to use the service may have to pay for it. This could increase the cost of using generative AI, which may limit its adoption.
Competition: If one provider starts charging for generative AI services, it may create opportunities for other providers to offer similar services at a lower cost or with better features. This could increase competition in the market and ultimately benefit consumers.
Quality: If providers start charging for their services, they may have more resources to invest in improving the quality of their generative AI. This could lead to better results and more satisfied users.
In summary, the economics and usage of generative AI may be affected if higher quality services are no longer free. However, the impact will depend on the pricing strategies of providers and the behavior of users in response to the change.
Postscript: a little more about Mitch Wagner
Why did Mitch Wagner share the Forbes article in the first place?
Because generative AI affects him. Or maybe it doesn’t.
Read his LinkedIn biography (as of today; writers sometimes like to edit themselves) and judge for yourself if generative AI threatens someone with his broad experience.
I’m a marketing writer and tech journalist, with more than 25 years of experience telling stories about companies using technology to deliver business value.
I’m expert at interviewing, researching, writing and editing articles and newsletters for audiences at all levels of technology understanding on daily, weekly, and monthly deadlines. I’ve worked solo, led a small full-time team, and large teams of freelance contributors. I’m skilled in hosting podcasts, webinars, and video.
Previously, I worked at Oracle, part of a team of writers, editors, and designers telling stories about how the company and its customers are innovating and inspiring.
Prior to Oracle, I was an executive editor and writer at top tech journalism publications, covering the early days of the Internet, social media, and wireless communications.
But once I started writing the document, I decided that one case study wasn’t enough.
So I wrote four mini-case studies in the same document, briefly describing how I helped four Bredemarket clients create different types of content so that they could win more business.
I helped one client to quickly generate consistent proposals. One of the client’s salespeople even provided me with a testimonial. (You may have seen it before.)
I helped another client share persuasive case studies. The client kept on coming back to me for more case studies—a dozen in all—and other work.
I helped a third client position via blogs and a white paper.
Finally, I helped position a sole proprietor.
After the four mini-case studies, I briefly described how Bredemarket works with clients. (Sleep is involved.)
I didn’t get into my six questions, since I already wrote an e-book on that topic, but I did provide an overview of the initial meeting, the content iteration process, and my work for hire policy (which explains why I didn’t name the four clients listed above).
So would you like to read my four mini-case studies?
Here is my latest e-book, “How Bredemarket Can Help You Win Business.”
Here are six benefits that you can realize from case studies.
Case studies build credibility for Inland Empire businesses
You can claim that you do things from here to Rialto, but you’re claims may not be credible if you don’t have independent confirmation.
Independent confirmation adds credibility.
Which is why I like to quote this testimonial that Bredemarket received from a client.
“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”
Although the testimonial writer wasn’t from Inland Empire business, Bredemarket can provide the same services for local firms. And I hope you are just as happy with the result.
Case studies build trust for Inland Empire businesses
With credibility comes trust. When potential customers read your case studies and find out what you’ve done for others, they’re more inclined to trust that you can provide similar benefits to them.
Case studies increase awareness for Inland Empire businesses
Traditional sales funnels start with awareness, since people won’t buy a product or service unless they’ve actually heard of it.
Case studies offer a mechanism to tell a good story about how someone faced a problem, chose your solution, and achieved wonderful results. Regardless of the specifics of your case study outline, it probably includes a problem, a solution, and results somewhere in there.
And entertaining stories can be told again and again as you share your case studies on social media…and others share your case studies on social media.
Case studies highlight the expertise of Inland Empire businesses
As potential clients learn about you, they also learn about your expertise, or what you can do. For example, people who need proposal templates and who read the testimonial above learn that Bredemarket can create proposal templates. And when they read a case study about your product or service, they learn about your expertise in your particular area.
Case studies increase the online visibility of Inland Empire businesses
Credibility, trust, awareness, expertise.
The “so what” here is that in the same way that your friends can refer people to your business, your case studies can refer people also.
As your case studies highlight your credibility and trust, provide awareness, and demonstrate your expertise, your products and services (as documented in the case studies) become known to search engines, especially if you’re resharing via social media. And as the search engines record your case study content, you gain a “secret salesperson.” I wrote about this a couple of years ago, quoting Rhonda Salvestrini:
Content for your business is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic. It’s your secret salesperson because it’s out there working for you 24/7. And it’s evergreen, so not only is it working…day in and day out…it’s available years down the road.
To prove the point that online content provides long-term benefits, I just conducted an incognito Google search for the words rhonda salvestrini secret salesperson.
Salvestrini’s own LinkedIn page was only the second result.
The first result was my 2020 blog post.
The third result wasn’t from Salvestrini either. It was a Facebook page for an old personal blog of mine that happened to reference those four words.
If you were searching for Salvestrini’s website and ended up at my blog post, I should clarify that I didn’t intentionally hijack Salvestrini’s traffic to draw it to my content. By happy accident, I just happened to use the magic words that drew searchers to my post. But if you’re interested in Salvestrini’s services, go to her website RhondaSalvestrini.com.
Now imagine the power if a potential customer is searching for their preferred terms and finds your case study.
And your secret salesperson isn’t secret any more. (Sorry Freddy.)
Case studies increase revenue for Inland Empire businesses
As a business owner or marketer, you are always looking for ways to increase visibility and attract new customers. In today’s digital age, inbound marketing has become an increasingly popular strategy for achieving these goals. Inbound marketing is all about creating content that is tailored to the needs and interests of your target audience, and using that content to attract potential customers to your website.
At its core, inbound marketing is about helping clients make money. By creating content that is specifically designed to appeal to your target audience, you can increase your visibility and attract more potential customers to your business. This is why inbound marketing has become such an important part of the marketing mix for many businesses today.
One of the key components of inbound marketing is blogging. Writing blog posts that are specifically designed to attract potential customers is an incredibly effective way to increase your visibility and attract new business. By writing blog posts that address the needs and interests of your target audience, you can create content that is both informative and engaging, which can help to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry.
The goal of inbound marketing is to increase your visibility and attract more potential customers to your business. By creating content that is tailored to the needs and interests of your target audience, you can increase your chances of being found by potential customers who are actively searching for the products or services that you offer. This can help to increase your website traffic, generate more leads, and ultimately increase your revenue.
One of the key benefits of inbound marketing is that it is customer-focused. By creating content that is specifically designed to address the needs and interests of your target audience, you can establish a strong connection with potential customers, which can help to build trust and establish your business as a trusted partner in their success.
If you are a technology firm in the Inland Empire, inbound marketing can be an incredibly effective way to increase your visibility and attract new business. By working with a team of inbound marketing experts, you can create a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy that is specifically designed to address the unique needs and interests of your target audience. This can help to establish your business as a thought leader in your industry, increase your website traffic, generate more leads, and ultimately increase your revenue.
In conclusion, inbound marketing is a powerful strategy for helping clients make money. By creating content that is specifically designed to appeal to your target audience, you can increase your visibility and attract more potential customers to your business. If you are a technology firm in the Inland Empire, inbound marketing can be an incredibly effective way to increase your visibility and attract new business. By working with a team of inbound marketing experts, you can create a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy that is tailored to the unique needs and interests of your target audience.
When I meet with a client, I ask my six questions (actually more) and then create marketing content with a customer focus…for a fee.
But now some alternative, no-cost methods for content creation are available. But are they any good? Let’s test one of them.
Feeding the six questions to ChatGPT as a prompt
If any of you have used generative artificial intelligence, you know that you feed a “prompt” to your generative AI engine of choice, and the engine then returns a result.
Here’s a prompt that I recently fed to OpenAI’s ChatGPT:
Write a blog post based on these six inputs: (1) Why: help clients make money (2) How: offer inbound marketing services to clients (3) What: write client blog post to attract business (4) Goal: increase client visibility (5) Benefits: increase business via customer focus (6) Target audience: Inland Empire technology firms
I’ve reproduced the response verbatim in the following post, including the title that ChatGPT supplied. I could probably play around with the prompt and get a response that is more on target; the prompt that I fed to ChatGPT ended up with a huge emphasis on inbound marketing.
What do you think? Is generative AI “good enough” to put Bredemarket and other content marketers out of business? Or do experienced and talented human writers provide enough added value so that their content stands out from the crowd? Personally, I think I could have written something much better…but I could be wrong.
If nothing else, I wrote my post (and this one) in less than 15 minutes, versus the 2+ hours I spend on my previous post and the underlying web page. So if I’m primarily interested in churning out quantity rather than quality, ChatGPT is my friend. And if my post receives incredible traction, ChatGPT is really my friend.
By the way, I’ve done this before, but this time I’m posting the generative AI post with no modifications.
Now that’s Ontario California, not Ontario Canada.
Let me quote a little bit from the page I just created.
For example, let’s say that an Ontario, California content marketing expert wants to target businesses who need blog post writing services. This expert will then create a web page, and possibly a companion blog post, to attract those businesses.
If I’m going to talk about blogging, I need a blog post to go with it, right?
The other purpose of this blog post is to direct you to the web page. I don’t want to repeat the exact same copy from the web page on the blog post, or the search engines will not like me. And you may not like me either.
Needless to say, you only need to read the web page if you’re an Ontario, California business. Well, I guess Fontana businesses can read it also; just ignore the video with Mayor Leon and substitute a video with Mayor Warrent instead.
The web page addresses the following topics, among others:
Why do you want to use content marketing to promote your Ontario business? (The web page also addresses inbound marketing.)
Why do you want to use blog posts to promote your Ontario business?
How can an Ontario business create a blog post?
How can an Ontario business find a blog post writer?
She notes that a company’s clients don’t care if your vacuum cleaner has a washable lifetime filter. That’s just a feature, or what the product does.
Your clients care about eliminating extra costs, which is the benefit that the washable lifetime filter provides, and why the client should care.
How do you discover benefits?
Let’s say your boss tells you to write about the washable lifetime filter. Imagine that you’re conversing with one of your clients, and you tell them that your vacuum cleaner has a washable lifetime filter.
You respond that the client only has to buy one filter, rather than buying a new one every few months.
(Yes, your client may ask the “so what” question several times, like a small child. And you should do the same, to dive down into the true benefits of a particular feature.)
To the client’s last “so what” question, you respond that the client will save money!
Now the client is impressed and knows why they should care about your washable lifetime filter.
Quantitative benefits are great
In certain cases, the client may be even more impressed if the benefits can be expressed in numeric form.
For example, let’s say that a disposable vacuum cleaner filter costs $35 and lasts for 6 months. I have no idea whether these numbers are accurate; my last name isn’t Hoover, after all.
Whoops, not those Hoovers. I couldn’t find a picture of William Henry “Boss” Hoover or son Herbert William Hoover Sr.
Back to my guesses about disposable vacuum cleaner filters. If my numbers are correct, you can tell your client that your washable lifetime filter can save the client $700 over a ten-year period. Depending on your price points, the savings may be more than the cost of the vacuum cleaner itself. (Again, I’m not Hoover, so don’t quote me.)
With a couple of fancy leaps of logic, you could then say to the client:
“Would you like to MAKE money by buying this vacuum cleaner?”
Hey, whatever works. I’m a marketer, not a salesperson.
But qualitative benefits can be just as great
You can’t always quantify benefits, because to quantify benefits you need data, and you may not have the data close at hand. The data may not even exist.
This won’t stop your marketing efforts, though, since qualitative benefits can be just as powerful as quantative ones.
You probably already saw the words “empowering people” in the title. Sure, people like health information…but they really like power.
There are more examples within the article:
Referring to an underlying report, the article states that “The first section describes Apple’s focus on personal health and fitness features on Apple Watch and iPhone that offer actionable, science-based insights.” So what? It turns out these actionable, science-based insights “help protect users’ health and safety.”
Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, is quoted as saying “We believe passionately that technology can play a role in improving health outcomes.” Nice, but Williams subsequently returns to the power theme: “…they’re no longer passengers on their own health journey. Instead, we want people to be firmly in the driver’s seat.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Apple has referred to empowering the individual. The company has done this for decades. Remember (then) Apple Computer’s slogan, “The Power to Be Your Best”? If you missed that particular slogan, here’s a commercial.
There’s not one statistic in that commercial. It doesn’t say that the Macintosh computer would equip you to jump 5% higher, or sing on key 99.9% of the time. And Apple Computer didn’t claim that the Macintosh would equip you to draw bridge images 35.2% faster.
But the viewer could see that a Macintosh computer, with its graphical user interface, its support of then-new graphic programs, and (not shown in the ad) the ability to distribute the output of these graphic programs via laser printers, gave Macintosh users the power to…well, the power to be their best.
And some potential computer buyers perceived that this power provided infinite value.
As you work out your benefit statements, don’t give up if the benefits cannot be quantified. As long as the benefits resonate with the customer, qualitative benefits are just fine.
What are your benefits?
Before you draft your marketing material, or ask someone to draft it for you, you need to decide what your benefits are.
I’ve written a book about benefits, and five other things that you need to settle before creating marketing content.
Click on the image below, find the e-book at the bottom of the page, and skip to page 11 to read about benefits.