- At CES, Walmart shows off the future of content and AI in retail
- What’s coming up for brand content in 2024
- Brands are a top destination for many former journalists and editors, according to new research.
The future of AI and retail
At CES, Walmart announced that it has built a new search function – powered by generative AI – which will understand the context of a customer’s query and generate personalized content (and product recommendations) in return. That content could answer questions or provide suggestions. Users are also invited to continue asking questions. The company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, gave an example of a parent planning a unicorn-themed birthday party for their child. Instead of searching for products, the parent could simply ask AI to help them plan the party. The result: Products, but also tips and practical content for the party.
Why it matters: The promise of AI-driven brand content is on full display with this initiative. The experience a consumer has on a brand’s website is no longer simply transactional, but includes content. As we noted earlier this week, content is poised to become a core competency for companies in the coming years – it’s no longer simply a marketing function, but also the way companies can build on transactions.
What’s next for brand content
Brand publishing will mature further as a discipline in 2024 as it plays an increasingly important role in many companies’ strategies. But as content becomes more central to the way businesses attract and engage both external and internal audiences, content operations will also face greater scrutiny and pressure to perform in the months ahead.
Heading into 2024, brand publishers now face many of the same challenges plaguing the traditional publishing industry: Declining organic distribution and growth, growing competition for consumers’ attention, increasingly discerning audiences, and a tightening of the purse strings.
Where are editors going?
Brands are a top destination for many former journalists and editors, according to new research. The Talent Fairy, a recruiting company, surveyed 268 people who worked in content in October last year. Highlights from its findings included:
- 82% of respondents were looking for a new job – 19% said they were out of work.
- 21% of respondents who left journalism for a brand said they “regretted it.”
- 36% of those who left journalism were working in content marketing – the majority of them at agencies — while 24% were working inside a brand for an owned-and-operated publishing initiative.
- 85% believed that the content marketing industry is growing. “Each passing year gives non-media companies more understanding of how they can use all of us talented editors and writers the traditional media industry created but can no longer support,” one survey respondent wrote.
What’s next: The survey highlights some of the broader brand publishing trends we’ve been tracking in recent months. In an era of regurgitation and AI-generated content, journalism and journalists can be a powerful differentiator for brands that are serious about creating quality content. The data backs that up: 43% of 1,006 consumers responding to a Toolkits October survey said they trust brand content more when professional journalists create it. As the traditional media industry continues to shed jobs, an increasing number of journalists will continue to move into brand roles, attracted by what they perceive as more stability – and usually, more money.
Project management tool Trello’s blog is being integrated inside WorkLife, parent company Atlassian’s brand publication. The seven-year-old blog focuses on stories about productivity and remote work. The move is part of the overall integration of Trello into Atlassian – which happened almost seven years ago. Here’s our interview last year with Atlassian’s head of content, Natalie Mendes, in which she explained how she thinks of the publication’s overall editorial mission.
Lawmakers say AI tools must pay publishers
At a Senate hearing about AI’s impact on journalism, lawmakers on both side sof the aisle agreed that generative AI tools and companies must pay media companies money for using copyrighted, original material to train their LLMs. Speaking at the hearing, media execs including Curtis LeGeyt, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Danielle Coffey, CEO of the News Media Alliance, and Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, all spoke in favor of licensing. However, those pushing back argued that it could be impractical, or even impossible, to try to implement any kind of licensing solution – and favor companies with deep pockets who have the money to actually pay for those licenses. The question now is how far will lawmakers go to turn requests like this into legal requirements – and crucially, what kinds of “media companies” are protected under these kinds of proposed rules.
Fox launches protocol to help media companies track AI content
Fox launched a new blockchain platform to help media companies and publishers track how content is being used online, including to train LLMs. Verify is currently being used by some Fox properties, and the company plans to license it to more publishers.
A new home for Trends
Hubspot appears to have moved The Hustle’s Trends product – which is no longer paid – into the main Hubspot site. Trends was previously a paid intelligence and community product that was part of the Hustle, which Hubspot acquired in 2021. Trends was launched in June 2019, born as an attempt to diversify The Hustle newsletter’s revenue away from being 100% reliant on advertising.
Typeface AI to help marketers with content assets for campaigns
Typeface AI – which helps marketers use AI for content creation – announced a new partnership that will make its tech available within Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Customer Insights tool. Essentially, it’ll help marketers express marketing goals in plain English and spit out highly customized content aligned with an organization’s tone, voice and style.