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AI, Storytelling and Everything in Between: Insights from BrightonSEO 2023

AI, Storytelling and Everything in Between: Insights from BrightonSEO 2023

BrightonSEO is a two-day search marketing conference that took place in Brighton in September, gathering inspiring leaders in both Search, Content and Influencer Marketing to share ideas and promote innovation in the industry. This year, Kaizen sent a few team members to contribute to the conversations and bring insights back home. See what Hannah Laker and Samuel Dawson, from our copy team, had to share about their experiences:

9:30am on a mid-September morning, the sun is shining, the sea is calm, and hordes of happy digital marketers are gathering for another knowledge fest at the world’s largest search conference, BrightonSEO. 

With talks ranging from ‘How to make sure your brand messaging doesn’t suck’ to ‘A 12-step-guide on writing your own website,’ day one of BrightonSEO’s main conference was a real treat for Kaizen’s copy team. We learnt a lot, laughed a lot, and thought a lot about what we could bring back with us – aside from the copious amounts of great merch.  

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling 

For me (Hi, Hannah Laker here, Copywriting Assistant at Kaizen), one talk in particular stood out from the rest. As a copywriter, I love stories. Whether it’s a 500-page book, a seven-part Twitter thread, or even that wonderfully descriptive paragraph on the back of most wine bottles, if there’s a story to be read, I am here for it. 

So when Pascalle Bergmans, founder of PresenTales, took to the stage to enlighten us about how storytelling can help level up SEO, I was all ears. I wanted to share some of my key takeaways, to hopefully inspire more of us to keep telling stories, no matter the medium. 

How do people make decisions?

Aristotle’s communication theory says that every good story should be 10% ethos (building the credibility and trustworthiness of the communicator), 25% logos (including important things like facts, numbers, and data) and 65% pathos, which is all about emotion. 

Emotional urgency is exactly what drives people to make decisions. It’s not enough just to get eyes on your website – you need to make them want to stay there, and build a strong enough story to spark a real connection with your brand. 

Storyselling is what we need to inspire people to make a decision. We are all human after all, and we need to tap into those human emotions. To understand this a little better, we look to science, as there are some key players at work whenever we make a decision in life:

How do you speak to these hormones?

In order to appeal to our audience, we need to speak to these hormones. We need to take our customers on a journey, by structuring a story that improves the user experience, adds a personal element, and diversifies the way we talk about a product or service. 

Here’s how: 

  1. Build the world – Create a space that people want to be a part of
  2. Show you understand the problem – Don’t go straight into the solution, show your audience that you can relate to the issue at hand 
  3. Outline the challenge – Tell people exactly how hard this problem might be to solve, and show them that they are doing the right thing coming to you for help 
  4. Introduce the solution – Now we have the audience invested, tell them exactly HOW you can solve the problem
  5. Show them the new world – What will this look like? You want your audience thinking ‘I want my life to be like this’
  6. Explain the results – Show the audience you’ve done this before and make them believe you really are the brand to help them 
  7. Call to action – Tell the customer exactly how to get involved

Why does this matter?

We need to remember that we’re writing for people, not just for Google. Views on a page don’t always equal sales. 

Harnessing the power of storytelling means your customers won’t just view your product page/blog post/email newsletter/TikTok video and move on. It means they’ll see your world, and they’ll want to be a part of it. 

AI and the Human Element 

One of the most interesting topics for me (a fellow Kaizen Copywriting Assistant, Samuel), was that of AI, which seemed to find its way into most of the talks. I have admittedly avoided machine learning software in my role, in fear of helping the technology’s plans for world domination. 

Fortunately, we’re not in one of Asimov’s sci-fi worlds (not yet anyway) and BrightonSEO speakers, such as Tereza Litsa, shared an overall positive message for its application in search marketing. The marketing consultant opened my eyes to how AI can help us improve our work processes, without losing the human element. 

What do we have that AI doesn’t?

Tereza’s answer to this question was easy: our brains. With growing fears of AI taking over our jobs, people may be forgetting the skills that simply can’t be replicated:  

It may be hard to focus on these elements, especially when part of your work process takes up a lot of time. This is where AI comes into play. Tereza firmly believes that merging human skills and AI will guarantee success, particularly in marketing and SEO.   

Collaborating with AI in Marketing & SEO

The one thing we all need to remember is that we have control over the design of our workflows. That means that you can decide how much of a role AI will play in your work. Tereza revealed four AI use cases that can help to improve your work efficiency: 

AI can make us efficient, not obsolete! 

Tereza laid out five simple steps to improving your marketing workflows with AI: 

  1. Review your current process to find out what needs improving (hopefully with AI’s help)
  2. Explore how AI can make you more efficient by deciding on the best AI use case for your process and choosing the best tools for it (e.g. AI keyword research tools)
  3. Train yourself to understand how the AI tool works
  4. Train the AI tool to understand your brand’s tone of voice, personality and target audience
  5. Add context: You are the one who understands how to approach your audience, and therefore deliver a level of quality control that AI can’t
    The talk ended with a quote that supported everything Tereza covered and encouraged listeners to adapt their working styles: AI won’t take your job. It’s someone using AI that will take your job” – Richard BaldwinSo to conclude, the Ancient Greeks really knew their stuff, storyselling is our new favourite word, and robots won’t be completely taking over (just yet). We’re excited to keep exploring how we can really use AI to our advantage here at Kaizen, and it’s safe to say both of us are more inspired than ever to keep telling stories. With that said, if you find yourself after any form of copywriting support, make sure to give the team a shout. And in the meantime, see you next year BrightonSEO! 
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Bianca Avelar

Bianca joined Kaizen in 2023 as a Marketing & Culture Assistant. From managing our social media channels to devising internal marketing strategies, she supports all marketing needs.

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