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Ross Simmonds Reveals the Future of AI in Marketing
Episode 632nd April 2024 • Distribution First • Justin Simon
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In this week's episode, Justin Simon and Ross Simmonds tackle AI marketing dilemma head-on. They dive into the power of AI in content creation and distribution, laser-focusing on the tools and specific prompts that can multiply your efforts without sacrificing quality.

Ross also lifts the curtain on the vital human element that guides the AI process, ensuring that the content doesn't just exist – it excites, it engages, it executes. It’s about striking that sweet spot between AI efficiency and human ingenuity. So, if you're spinning your wheels trying to figure out how to use AI in your marketing, this episode is for you.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • How AI can boost content creation efficiency
  • Why human oversight is vital in AI-generated content
  • Ways to refine AI content prompts
  • The impact of AI on marketing careers
  • Strategies for repurposing content effectively

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Transcripts

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Hey, everybody. Before we get started, I want to thank my friends at Hatch for

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producing this episode. You can get unlimited podcast editing and

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strategy for one flat rate by visiting Hatch

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FM. All right, let's get in the show.

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Welcome to distribution first, the show where we flip content marketing on its head

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and focus on what happens after you hit publish. Each week, I

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share playbooks, motivations, stories, and strategies to help you repurpose and

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distribute your content because you deserve to get the most out of everything you

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create.

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Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week's episode of distribution. First, could not

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be more excited to have Ross Simmons back on the show. Anytime I get to

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chat with Ross, even pre call, I'm like, man, I'm just, I'm loving

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this. I'm feeling inspired and happy. So, Ross, man, thanks

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for coming back. Thanks for having me back. I'm excited to chat. As you

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said, the feeling is 100% mutual. I love chatting with you, love what you've done

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for the community, and continue to do with the, with the industry at large on

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the distribution front. So I'm excited to chat today. It's going to be fun. Amazing.

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Yeah. And I'm sure we will touch on some of the distribution stuff as well

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at some point. Anybody watching this is seeing a little book back there

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behind Ross that he's been talking about a little bit

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on social if you're following him. So we'll get there at some point. But I

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would. Ross has also, if you've been paying attention, really been

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shifting more into AI, how marketers can use

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AI and not be afraid of AI, but use it

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wisely. Yeah. I've noticed in the, in my

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world, I'm kind of, I was a little bit leery at first.

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Cause, like, man, is this another. Honestly, it was like, is this another clubhouse? Is

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this another, like, you know, a fad or is it? But then it just became

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too obvious for, like, this is not going away. Right. But

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I'm curious to hear from your standpoint, like, I was in the same spot.

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Yeah. Yeah. Like, when I first got a glimpse at some

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of these tools and stuff, I was very anti it. And I like to say,

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like, like, I thought, oh, this tool will never be as good as me.

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This tool will never be great. I'm not even going to give it a chance.

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And then I realized that AI for marketers is

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kind of like onions for kids when we're young.

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It's not that great because it's like, we don't want it. We don't dig it.

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We're not feeling it. But as you get older, you realize, like, onions are key.

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Like, if you throw onions into a dish, it can elevate it

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significantly. And I think AI works the same way. If you throw

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AI into the mix and you are not necessarily an expert, if you're

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not bought into the idea, you'll probably get mediocre results and then you'll

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walk away. If you don't understand prompt engineering and you get a response back

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that's mediocre, you'll walk away and you'll say that you had a bad taste

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in your mouth. But when you commit to trying it and trying it in different

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ways with different prompts, with different strategies and techniques, you start

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to realize that this technology is going to fundamentally

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change humanity for a very long time.

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And yes, there's no question you can wait on the

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sidelines and allow it to kind of evolve and change and work through all of

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the bugs. But I believe right now what

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AI is doing to our industry in the

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world is very similar to what social media did to our

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world probably 1520 years ago. And I think a lot of

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people are resistant the same way that people were resistant

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about social. And to me, this is one of the

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most exciting times to be in the digital marketing world

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because the change is happening quickly. There's no question that it can

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accelerate and improve our capabilities, our capacity, and I don't see

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why any marketer would ignore it today. Yeah,

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and I think sometimes you just need to have your eyes up. Like, the more

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I've seen for how people are using it or some of the tools that are

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being brought out and, like, the amount of speed at which I can

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get things done now compared to when I used to be able to get things

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done. I mean, the other day we were talking about the membership

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before I'm building up this membership, and I was like, oh, I need to, like,

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do an onboarding sequence. I need to do an onboarding

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video. Well, I had all this base work

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that I had created and thought of. I was then able to go into chat,

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GBT, prop my way into a full on

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onboarding email series and video

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script in an hour, hour and a half. You know,

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where, I mean, that's, that's weeks worth of work. And just

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two or three years ago. Yeah. Like, the efficiency gains are, in

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my opinion, one of the most underrated elements of AI. Like, yes, there's

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a lot of validity to the idea that AI is going to have a hard

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time replacing human creativity and being able to take lived

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experiences and combine that with an opportunity and come up with something that

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connects with culture. Those are true, real

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concerns. But here's something that people don't recognize. A lot of the things

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that we do on a day to day basis are very reputable tasks. They're tasks

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that other people have done in the past. They're tasks that other people have written

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about in the past. And they're tasks that AI can actually replicate quite well, especially

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if you give it a task to do it. Take, for example, the task that

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we all have as owners. When we're trying to brief someone on how to do

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a project, we need to delegate a task. Let's say it's video editing.

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Typically, we have our best practices around how we would like our

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videos to sound, how we would like our videos to kind of tell a story.

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We want a certain type of hook, all of those things. You can literally take

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a voice note using your phone today, explain and

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vomit all of your ideas into that voice note, upload it to

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chat GPT, and then tell chat GPT to use the audio to understand

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your concepts, your ideas, and write an SOP that you can use to

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brief a new video editor on this project. And then in

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the matter of seconds, you literally have taken two minutes to

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record, 2 seconds to upload. You hit enter, you now have

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an SOP. You can copy and paste that into a Google Doc. Maybe you read

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it or you don't. You pass that off to this video editor and you ask

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them if they have any questions, and that allows you to then fine tune and

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improve based off of their responses. That task and that

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energy would have traditionally taken probably four to 5

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hours of time for someone to create. Now it can be done in

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the matter of minutes, and you can do it at scale. So you

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can no longer just, you don't limit yourself to that video thing. You can start

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to do it for Twitter. How do we manage our Twitter account? How do we

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manage responses? You can get all of this directly out of the chat

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TPT and order these tools and inform, ultimately

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your team on your best practices. And that's where I find the most

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significant advantages come from, is by accelerating and improving

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your ability to have standardization across your, with content that is

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rooted exclusively in your own IP and your knowledge, which you have shared directly with

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the AI. Yeah, and it makes me think too. Like you said, it might take

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four to 5 hours to do that task. And I'm thinking in my brain, as

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somebody who doesn't always love perfect

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process and like that type of tax would actually take me four or five days,

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because I'd be like, start and stop, start

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and stop. Right. And, and so I think that's where those type of

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things can be. Especially for like, if you know where your weak spots are.

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Yeah. Where you can kind of fill gaps internally. I mean, that's where,

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I mean, it's, it's small things. It's everything from

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AI can create meta descriptions way smarter than you can. You know what

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I mean? Like those type of things where it's like you're saving hours

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and hours of time. Yeah, 100%. And there's plugins now

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that can go directly into Google sheets where you can have like a GPT

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prompt where you can literally just say, okay, these are the titles of all

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of our blog posts. Hey, chat GPT. Using best practices around X, Y

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and Z, I want you to write that meta description. You drag that cell and

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it's going to write those meta descriptions for every single element within that

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spreadsheet. Similarly, you can take looms that

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you record. If you record looms or videos for your team, you can take the

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transcripts and upload to chat GPT and ask chat GPT to

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turn those transcripts into a blog post or turn them into an

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internal document that breaks down how we do certain things. I've

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gotten so many resources and assets built

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directly from that process that it is ridiculous

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and it saves me a ton of time. So the team no longer has to

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rely on me to now have a conversation again. They have a central

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system with pretty much my entire brain uploaded and downloaded for them to

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consume and to use when they're trying to be informed on how to do a

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certain task. Dang, love that. Yeah, and like

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you said, that scales, because now you have it, you need to do that task

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again. It's there, you've got it. And again, you might need to adjust it a

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little bit, but. Right, and that's where the magic happens. Right? Like, I

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think one of the issues that I have with the state of the industry today

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is that a lot of people are making the mistake of assuming that AI replaces

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everyone and that they no longer need humans. That's not

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reality. Sure, some tasks are no longer needed, but I

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do believe that humans still play a pivotal role, especially in

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marketing and communication, when we are thinking about distributing

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content or creating content. Does AI play a role? Yes,

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but I don't believe that AI can manage the full spectrum of

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the content that is being created, the stories that are being told,

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or even determine whether or not an ad or a visual that it's created through

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mid journey is actually worth being amplified and promoted. I think there's still

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some human element that needs to be applied to it. So the way that we

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view AI a foundation, is that AI is more of an augmentation tool

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tool rather than a replacement tool. So when we're thinking about using

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AI to create a long form blog post or an ebook, we're not thinking about

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HTPT. Write us this ebook and then we walk away. We're ensuring

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that the same way that we would brief a writer as a human, we're

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giving as much details as possible around what we want

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this piece to cover. Then chat GPT will give us a very

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bad or mediocre draft, a draft that somebody could have probably

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written if they were fresh out of school. No shade, but like that's what you

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would get. We then take that and then we revise it, we update it, we

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improve it. We have a checklist of what we call the content elevation list, and

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then we elevate that piece to meet our standard. And then once it's meet our

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standard, then we are confident that we can share this with an editor who does

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a final review, and then it goes to the client. We do that same thinking

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and approach to content distribution efforts, to content creation efforts,

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you name it. That is where I think the biggest gap exists today.

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A lot of people are thinking, I'm going to connect chat to the back end

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of my CMS and let the words run. And then they get surprised

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when Google erases them from the Internet. No, that's what you

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get. You tried to game the system by publishing mediocre content,

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and now you get below mediocre results. You need to add the

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humans on top of the AI driven content to

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reach content excellence. And then you actually have things that are worth

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promoting and distributing. I've used this example a couple of times, I'm

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sure on the show and definitely in conversations with other marketers. But I, and I

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heard Daniel Priestley say this from Scoreapp and

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oversubscribed and all that. And he said, because score app, he built

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his tool with AI built into it, and he was describing it and he

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said, you gotta like, yes, you can build a landing page. But

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he said, it's just the cake. A bakery isn't going to go out

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and sell just a plain cake without icing. It's on

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the humans to go add the icing, to add the decoration, to

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add the stuff on top. That's going to actually make that thing desirable

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and want to be able to actually enjoy, consume and all that

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stuff, right? 100%, yeah. I think

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it's the analogy I like to also give is like, Iron

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Man, Tony Stark exists, and I know some listeners have no idea where

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I'm going with this. Might not follow any Marvel movies, but I'm a comic book

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geek, so bear with me for a second. But Tony Stark as a human has

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tons of flaws and is filled with lots of issues. If you

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poke him, he's going to feel pain. But when you put on the Iron man

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suit, he has superpowers. And I think AI is the same way. Me

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as Rossimans, the human, I am a human. Cool. But when

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you give me AI tools, I can do things in a

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time span that would have not been humanly possible

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before. I am able to execute and implement

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tasks that I couldn't do before simply because I have this tool.

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So I think when I talk to brands and I talk to people about, like,

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how should they view AI, view it as an accelerant and as an

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augmentation, and realize you're still very important. You have to guide it, you

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have to direct it, and you need to understand the value of a good prompt

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to be able to make it all work. So I guess for

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anybody listening, and I'll throw a link to it in the description as well. Ross

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has a full course that's super reasonably priced and you can go get

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it. It's got a whole, a whole ton of prompts. I got it at the

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beginning of the year. And so if you're. Because I think for me, one of

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the biggest roadblocks for folks is like, what the heck do I

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ask? What am I asking for? What are those type of, like, you, you were

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talking about the SOp thing. I never would have thought about doing the Sop thing.

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So, ross, tell me, what are some of the main things I need to be

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thinking about as far as, like, general, I'm a content marketer, or I'm

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running a small business trying to do content marketing. What are those type of things

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I need to be thinking about prompting? Yeah, so the AI marketing console

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is the course that I launched, and it's because, again, I'm a geek and I

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love video games, and I think, like, this needs to be thought

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of like a system. The technology changes so quickly

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that we need to have system thinking across the board with all AI,

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whether we're talking about audio AI, video AI, or written

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text AI, and it's all covered within the AI marketing console. We have to have

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systems in place for how we will use these tools. So when we're thinking

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about prompts for written text, there are a few simple things that you need to

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remember and keep in mind. First, you always want to be very, very

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clear to the AI with what you want. A lot of people make

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the mistake of saying, chat GPT, can you write me a blog post? That's not

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enough. You need to be very specific. What is the goal of the blog post?

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What are you trying to get it to do? And then if you can give

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it an exemplar and an example of exactly how you want it

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to sound so it can kind of go into the back of its brain to

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say, all right, I have a framework that I'm going to apply to it. It

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makes it better. So what can you do in that case? You can say, hey,

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chat GPT, please. I always like to use my please and thank yous just in

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case the AI comes to life someday and doesn't try to get me.

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I like to do that. And then you're going to say something like, I want

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you to use the inbound marketing model to identify

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ten different types of blog posts that I should create, and then it's going to

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give them to you. So now chat GPT has understood that inbound marketing model

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and it's making recommendations based off of top of funnel, middle funnel and bottom of

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funnel. Great. That could be good. What would be ten times

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better is if you gave it context around the types of

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content that you wanted to give you back. And the way that you do that

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is you give it a Persona. So I would oftentimes tell chat

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DPT not just, hey, can you write this for me? I would say

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you are a digital marketer named Ross Simmons name

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Seth Godin or whoever that is, like your goat in the

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industry, and then ask them to create a recommendation like they would.

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Then they're again going to understand what's their style, what's their approach, and

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then they're going to craft it in that format. Now, at this point, you will

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probably have better results than the vast majority of the people who use

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chat GPT. And the system that you put in place after

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that is essentially, let's do some chain prompting to now take these

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titles and turn them into full fledged blog posts. So I want

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chatgpt to now write me briefs. And from those briefs, you ask

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Chatgbt to turn those briefs into full on blog posts. And then you

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communicate that back over to editors. They review, they edit, and they bring it to

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life. Now, this is where it starts to get really, really

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interesting, because now within chatgpt they have a section called

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Dolly, which allows you to have images. And you can ask

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Chatgpt to create the social media graphics that should

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go with that blog post. And it will read it, it will understand the

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context, and then it will give you an image that it thinks is relevant to

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that piece. You can then talk to it just like you would a designer with

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recos and insights around your brand so it meets your brand quality guidelines.

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All of that stuff to modify it and tweak it to hit your best

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practices. There's also a GPT plugin. I

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believe plugins are getting replaced in chat GPT. So it might be just called GPT

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in the future, called whimsical, where you're able to even say to chat

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GPT, I want you to create a flowchart. Let's say, for example, I wrote a

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blog post about the 20 things that you need to know about

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content distribution in 2024. And in that blog post, I had a

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section that talked about the workflow of distro. I could say, hey,

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chat DBT, I want you to create a workflow visual using

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a diagram and a chart that showcases how someone

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can go from an asset to 20 different assets. And

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chat DPT will actually design that for me. Now,

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let's just say that that graphic wasn't exactly what you wanted.

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You can now download that graphic, upload it back to Dolly and

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say, design this in a way that hits this type of state,

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this type of style, and it will do that for you. That whole

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process took me a long time to articulate with

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words, but as an actual executor, it probably took

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about an hour of time. Within that hour, you were able to

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create ten blog posts, titles, probably get five

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briefs, five final drafts, and imagery for all of that

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content. This is why I believe this technology

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is absolutely going to fundamentally change the way we do our work.

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Yeah, I love that. So it's funny,

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I haven't experimented too much with the image stuff yet, knowing that it's in chat

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GP. I'm going to have to do that now. But one of the things in

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Ross's course is he has a bunch of sort of image prompts.

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Like there's really like, in my mind anyway, there's like sort of

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the AI for content, traditional, like

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written type content, maybe even some video stuff, which is super wild, which I know

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you're experimenting with that next, and then you've got, and

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then you've got images, which is a whole other world, but some of the just

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the prompts alone for images are really, really cool and interesting to

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just go through and try different styles. You know, I was playing with one, it

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was like retro fujifilm something. Or I'm like, oh, this is sweet. I would,

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you know, I would have never, would have never thought to try that.

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So yeah, it's super cool. But the thing that I think is really

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interesting is for your company too. You can start to tailor

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those things with your own custom templates where if you get an

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outline for a bottom funnel blog, for instance, you can

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rinse and repeat that as the basis for the brief that AI creates

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for you. Exactly. Yeah. It just allows for so

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much more scale and efficiencies. And one of the other

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efficiencies that I found with AI is you can take a blog post that

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you've written and we talk about this awesome often. So I know you're going to

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love this, but you can take a blog post that you've written and you can

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ask chat GPT to write a script that would live on TikTok or that would

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live on YouTube with that same concept. And then you can do

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two things. One, you can go the old fashioned approach where you set up your

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camera and you read that script and you say it into a camera and now

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you have a video. Or you can take that script that you just got chat

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DPT to create and you're going to upload it to a tool called

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did or eleven labs or hey gen, which are AI

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tools that create essentially deepfakes of yourself. And you're going to

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have AI Ross or AI Justin go on

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and look just like you would standing in front of a camera, read

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that script, and then you're going to upload it to TikTok, you're going to upload

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it to Instagram, you're going to upload it to YouTube and you're going to

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essentially articulate that script without the words actually coming out of

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your real mouth and instead it coming out through a synthetic version

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of you and you throw some hashtags on it and you get some comments.

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Why do I know this works? I experimented with one of these. I took

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a script from a blog post that I wrote. I downloaded the entire

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script, I uploaded it to eleven labs, and I got our video editor

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to place video on top of it and I uploaded that to YouTube. It's called

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what is on site SEO. And I encourage folks to check out that video on

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my YouTube channel. It sounds just like me. And people sent it to

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me saying, ross, I love how deep you went into this video. It's

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not me. I never actually said those words, but it is me. But it's not

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me. And that is the wild part of this entire space is like,

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you don't know who is and isn't really an

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AI. It's going to be wild. It is going to be wild. It's going to

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be absolutely. I've even started playing with some of that stuff with, like, inside of

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descript and inside, like, there's all, I mean, there's all sorts of stuff. And for

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me, I was like, it's not perfect, but for

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30 seconds of audio that I had to give

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you, it's freakily shocking. It's more, honestly, it's

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like pacing more than the, than the audio. Like, the audio

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sounds great. It's just you're not quite on how I would pace, so.

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But it'll get there. It's oh, 100%. It's all wild because, like, I

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was, I was working with a brand and I had to send them a 30

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minutes video. And in the video, I think I said, here are four ways

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instead of saying five ways. And in descript I could actually

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edit my words. So instead of saying four, I could

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change it to five. And then it replicated my voice and changed it to five

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and I sent it back to them and they were like, we don't know how

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you did that, but thank you. And I was like, exactly

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wild. It is a wild time to be alive. But that saved me

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literally a lot of money because I would have been, I would have

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had to go, I recorded it in a nice studio, I booked a studio

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and I said the wrong thing. I would had to go back to the studio.

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I would add, to set up camera, I would have had to record, I would

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add, find out what shirt I was wearing, make sure that I looked the same,

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everything was looking good. But instead I just changed the words and

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AI picked up my voice, threw it in, made my mouth look like it matched

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and what a time to be alive. Amazing.

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Amazing. For the traditional sort of marketer thinking about doing

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this, one of the things I think, and you brought it up with the video

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script is the ability to take the one thing you've

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made and maybe not straight, repurpose it like

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you maybe traditionally would think of repurposing, but repurpose that

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into multiple other things. Right. Like I was able to, like I

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mentioned earlier, like, take an email outline

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that came from like, basically an outline of how I'm going to onboard and then

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I could come up with a full on email sequence and then from there, I

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could say, take everything you know about this email sequence and write it out in

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a perfect how to step by step video. Yeah. And so it's

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like, those are the types. And instantly, you know, and again, is it perfect?

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No. Does it maybe need a little bit of massaging? Yes, but I can do

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that in minutes instead of hours. 100%. I think it's,

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we're going to live in a time very soon where

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the responsibilities of an individual marketer goes up and a lot of

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people are afraid of that. But because of our capabilities now, thanks

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to AI, you should be able to get more done. You should be able to

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execute more frequently tasks and do more. And I think that's

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going to wreak a lot of havoc on a lot of folks because the

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expectations for marketers is going to rise due

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to the fact that we should have AI in our back pocket. And that's

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why I launched the AI marketing console is because I am

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ridiculously confident that this technology

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is going to wreak havoc on the careers of people who do not embrace

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it. And I think it's important for

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repurposing for paid media, for creation

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all of the things AI should be a part of your mix and that part

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of your tools that you're using today. I mean, I can say, just speaking from

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me, running my own business, I got on a call a couple weeks

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ago with somebody and it's like, dude, you're just a machine. Like, you're

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stuck. I've just, well, how are you? You're in my feed and then you're in

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my inbox, and then you're like, why are you doing it all? And it's like,

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really? It's me, but it's me using AI as my,

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my assistant. Like that. When I first heard somebody say that,

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and you're, you're speaking the same language there. Like, that completely

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opened up my brain to, like, not be afraid of it and be like, oh,

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no, no, no, you're my intern now. You're, you're my marketing

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manager now. You're, you know, 100%. I am with you

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100%. I don't even just view AI as my assistant. I view it as my

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mentor. I use it as my partner in crime,

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my colleague. It's not just someone that I'm giving tasks

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to, it's someone who I will use as like a,

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someone to just, like, bounce ideas off of. So I'll ask Chatjpt,

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like, I don't know if you're familiar with. I think it's called the trillion dollar

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coach Bill Campbell. He coached like all of the top execs at

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Google and brands like that. I will tell Chat TPT to

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think like him and personify him and be him. And

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then I'll say, this is what I'm trying to work through. What advice do you

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have for me? And then it is good advice,

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or I'm trying to make a decision on whether or not I should take on

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a project and I need to bounce the idea off of chat GPT

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on like the pros and cons and tell it to go and do some total,

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addressable market research. So hey, chat GPT, I have these two ideas.

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Please do a deep dive on what you believe might be the opportunity

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worth chasing. Thinking about the total number of,

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amount of impact, how much time it's going to take, the investment

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that I will have to make, both from a time and cost perspective. And the

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responses are always enlightening and eye opening.

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So for me, I don't think you should view it just

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as the intern. Also, don't be afraid to ask it for advice and get

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guidance on things. And of course, sometimes the advice will be bad and it will

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be wrong, but that's okay because at least it will start to open

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little doors of sequences where you can poke in and navigate and say,

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I never would have went down this path. Nope, not for me. Shut it. And

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then on to the next one. So I use it as not just an assistant,

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but also as a mentor. And I think that there is a ton of value

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in using it for that and for brainstorming and things like that too. That's

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amazing. Brainstorming is huge. The mentor thing, I've, I've maybe done it

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not maybe as strongly as you have there. That's really cool to think about.

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Like, I've used it as like an, like a really strong editor

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at times where, you know, for, hey, you are X, Y and Z, like

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edit this thing. What, what's missing? What would make this stronger? What, you know, and

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that way it's not like. And then from there you can take that and either

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you can implement those changes yourself, you can do more prompting if you want

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the AI ad to do that, but it's a good way to use it

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for. Yeah, getting advice. Getting. I've

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uploaded like literal sales calls to chat GPT and been

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like, look, I just had this sales call with a company would love to get

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your feedback on what I could have done better. Oh, that's so good. And then

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it will tell me, like, I've had times where it says the best amount of

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time to actually talk on a call is, on average, about three minutes for the

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person who's pitching. You went long. And I'll be like, cool, I need to slow

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down on that. Or it'll say, like, they brought up this major concern, but you

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didn't really address it. And then I'm like, right, I should have listened a little

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bit closer to that. You can get some ridiculous value out of

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that. Just, again, playing the mentor role. Hmm. That's

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amazing. I've done sales calls, but not from that perspective. That's super

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cool. Yeah. I mean, even with the sales call thing, too, it's

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like, just as a reminder, okay, what are the.

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If I've done this, like, even if the sales call didn't work

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out, right, it's going back and saying what were the

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biggest problems that they were having? And then it's like, oh,

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cool, now I can create some. Give me. You know, and that now you're starting

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that chain over again, and then you can frame it up to say, like, off

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that sales call if you're talking to Jane. Jane is the

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avatar for all the content in this thread. And so everything that

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I'm going to be creating is for Jane. Exactly. Even though we didn't make

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the sale. Right, exactly. And what you can say is like, hey,

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chat GPT, recognizing we didn't close that sale, but I want to nurture that

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relationship with Jane three months from now, what are some pieces of content that I

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could create that I can send to her that will demonstrate why we would have

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been the right partner for? Then you get that answer, then you go and create

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it. Or you ask chat GPT to create it, and then you can nurture that

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relationship down the road with those same exact assets. It's

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interesting, I saw a quote from Sam Altman a few weeks ago,

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and it was like he believes that

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95% of the roles and the work that marketing

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agencies do is going to be completely replaced by AI.

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And that, to me, was like, okay, hmm,

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this is the goat of AI right now, talking about

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how 95% of the tasks that marketers do could be

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wiped out. And in some cases, I

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think he's right. A lot of the repeatable tasks that marketers do

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on a regular basis will be replaced by AI, because we're still in

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early days of this technology. But the

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creativity, the connection to culture, the human touch, the things that

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make you unique, and the things that allow you to get closer to your customers

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on a human personal level will never be replicable by

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AI. And because of that, I think there will always be

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room for great marketers, great storytellers, great creators and great

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creatives. But if you are mediocre and you are average,

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now is the time to invest

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ridiculously in elevating your skill sets. Because the

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talent that is going to be required to win in this new

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age is going to be beyond mediocre. And

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that would be my big message to anyone who wants to get into

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marketing, who wants to continue to have a long career in

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marketing. Things are going to change. And I encourage you to really

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double down on some of those even soft skills that a lot of

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people have put to the wayside for the last little bit

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around management. Empathy, communication,

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internal relationships, sales, all of those things are going

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to matter more than ever before. Yeah. The days of

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scooting by at a place because you're a cog in the

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machine and they need XYZ thing

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every week. And so I'm irreplaceable because they need that.

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That's, that's going to be long gone because what it's going to be,

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and you know, think about it, too, from somebody who's managed teams

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or if you're not great at what you're

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doing or bringing something else to the table.

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Right. That's a lot of my time,

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you know, this running teams, is it. Your time is always spent on the person

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that's not doing the good work versus this. And now there's a very

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easy alternative that even if you try out, well, we're going

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to try out AI and see if we can replace these systems in these. Even

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if you can't nail it 1000% right, you're probably going to get

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pretty close. And I think that's where teams and companies are

Speaker:

going out. Especially we had the continued and tech mass

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layoffs. I think it's going to be curious. Eventually money

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will come back. Everything's cyclical, but what our teams going

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to look like when the money comes back. Right. And I think that's the biggest

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thing that a lot of people don't realize is there's two forces going on

Speaker:

right now that are not necessarily in the favor

Speaker:

of people who are mediocre. One, globalization

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is happening. Brands can now employ and hire people

Speaker:

from all over the globe. We have all gone through the work from home

Speaker:

experience. Thus people are more and more comfortable with outsourcing

Speaker:

and partnering with people on a global scale. Due to that, the

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competition for jobs is at an all time high.

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In addition to that, we throw in the mix. AI. Great.

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Now, not only are we competing on a global

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scale, but we're also competing with the smartest technology

Speaker:

since Siri. Right? Like, okay, how do

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you compete with that? You need creativity. You need to

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be good at communicating internally, you need to be good at

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being able to pick up on new trends, understand culture, understand

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storytelling, understand community. The whole idea of a t

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shaped marketer just got a lot more interesting, where not only do

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you need to be deep in one thing, but you also need to know

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a lot of the soft skills to be the balancing act to all of

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those skills that you've gained. It's a wild time, and I

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really do believe that more than ever before, people need to invest in

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themselves and try to find companies. If you are early on in

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your career, find companies to work for that are going to invest in your

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education and invest in your development and skills by not only giving

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you room to learn, but also giving you projects that allow you to

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learn. Yeah, it's. And to me, the other aspect of it, which

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is, honestly, I'm super bullish on, it's why I'm doing a lot

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of things I'm doing is learning together. Right?

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Yeah. Being in community with people who are trying to do the same thing.

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So then you don't have to sit in a silo and try

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to figure out if this tactic is the right thing or if

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this is what I should be leaning on. What, what are other companies vps

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telling them that they're focused on? The more you can get those answers

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and have those questions sort of figured out and really

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understand, I think, from the macro perspective, why are

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we doing what we're doing here? You know, when I was running a team, that

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was the biggest thing. It was like, do you know why we're doing what we're

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doing here? I don't need to know, like, you know, the how, like, you know,

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your individual tactic. I think the hows are what's going to be

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outsourced. Right. But it's like you as a human, you still have to know

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the why. Why am I telling the story I'm telling? Why am I

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telling this story and not that one? Why am I talking to this audience and

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not that one? And then that's what's going to inform all of these

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other things, 100%. Like communities built my career, my entire

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career was built on the back of communities. So hearing that you're launching one getting

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got me really excited because I think we need more communities, especially

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focusing on things like distribution, but like, communities gave

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me not only the access to the right people to build relationships, to

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unlock, again, new opportunities. But also the idea

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of publishing my thoughts in front of a community and allowing that

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community to be essentially my crowdsourced space

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to give me feedback and thumbs up or thumbs down or

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debate and argue and fine tune my thinking. There's a lot of

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value in communities, and especially early in your career,

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if you are not already where you want to be, find a

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community where you can really make it your own and add as much

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value as possible. Because when you add value to these communities, you get value

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back. And that value that you get back will literally last

Speaker:

the rest of your career. So I don't know where I'm going with that,

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but long response to probably not even a question.

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Communities are good, are great. Definitely encourage people to join communities.

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It's a great place to be. Yeah, it's that shared experience. It's that.

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Again, I think, like, you can learn so much by yourself, and I'm a

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huge, I'm a huge advocate. Like, I've, I've said this.

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Anytime anybody asked me about, like, career growth or what do you, it's like,

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work harder on yourself than you do at your job and you will, you will

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succeed. Like, I truly believe that if you are improving

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your skills, your mindset, how you're thinking about things, how you're

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trying to, if you're focusing on growing like most people are

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not, you know, that's the other thing too, right? Like, most people are not focused

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on growth at all. They're just like, focused on surviving. So if you, if

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you turn that dial just a little bit and want to focus on

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growing yourself, you'd be complete game changer. Yeah, I 100% agree.

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I can remember my first job. I came in relatively fresh

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out of school, and my mission was to kind of

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be able to compete with the peers who I knew were making six

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figures. And I was coming in very junior and I wasn't making that. And I

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was like, all right, I need to be able to do everything they did. So

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I blocked off time in my calendar, even after hours, where I would go

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in and read all of their work. I would go on websites like Slideshare. Back

Speaker:

in the day, it was a great place for reading briefs and studying

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documents. And I would study how to write a creative brief, how

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to manage a project. What does it mean to be a project manager? I

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wanted to understand the entire system in the entire.

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And I viewed myself as a, essentially a computer, and I need to download as

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much info as possible. And I grinded and I put in that work. So

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eventually I could get on stage. I can have these conversations with

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my colleagues and my peers at the time and be able to say, like, look,

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don't look at me as just some young 22 year old who doesn't know

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anything. I need you to understand that I have put in the time to

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understand these channels, this network, social media, this is now

Speaker:

my thing and I'm going to own it. So my advice to folks who are

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early in their career would be to be known internally as

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the person who understands things like AI better than anyone else.

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If you can be positioned internally as the person who is

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obsessed, that knows how to use all of the tools, who

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understands what perplexity is, who understands what chattypt is, who

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understands mid journey and can support the team in those efforts, I

Speaker:

can say with confidence, if you still do your job and you deliver

Speaker:

value and you are seen as the expert in that world,

Speaker:

you will not be on the list when layoffs come, you will not be on

Speaker:

the list, not even close, because the leadership team is going to view you

Speaker:

as somebody who has a key role in the future at being able

Speaker:

to grow that. And with that, it's a soft skill

Speaker:

that is showing your willingness to adapt,

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learn, be agile, not be stuck in your

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ways, not be boots in the sand. I'm not moving. This is how

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I've always done things, you know, which all of those things add up to say,

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like, all right, the world is changing, Ross is with. Us,

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you know, yeah, 100%. Like, be great, try to be

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great at your job and don't get caught up in the

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noise and the chaos of, oh, you just do the bare minimum and get

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by. No, like you're talking about your livelihood, folks. Like, life is

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hopefully long for you. And in life you're going to do a lot of

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things. If some of it is self employment, amazing, go do that. Be a

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run your own show. I'm a huge fan of side hustles, of

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entrepreneurship, all of those things. I'm a big believer in it. But I also recognize

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that some people want to have a full time career and that's their goal and

Speaker:

their ambitions, great, do that too. But recognize that

Speaker:

if you want to thrive in your career, you are very likely

Speaker:

going to need to differentiate, especially with the rise of

Speaker:

AI and the technologies that are coming down the pipe across our industry.

Speaker:

Yeah, it's becoming more and more. As somebody who worked in

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house for over a decade and then is now building his own thing, I

Speaker:

can speak from first hand experience that I

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had to learn my craft. But then I had to learn about

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marketing in general. It wasn't just websites, it wasn't just copy. I had to learn

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about how does the ads that they're running tie in with the thing I'm

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doing here? How does this work with that? Right, like you're expanding and learning. And

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then it was, how does, oh, how does this tie into the business? How does

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this tie in what sales is trying to like and now run my own business?

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I'm just doing everything. So it's like, you know, crash,

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crash, crash course and everything. So.

Speaker:

All that stuff. How can I expense this coffee? That's the question.

Speaker:

Real quick, before we wrap, I'm curious because this is actually something that one of

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my clients brought up with me, and I wasn't sure I had a great answer.

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So I was curious to ask you, how do we think about

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plagiarism in a world of AI? Knowing

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we can do a lot of things, how can, and with

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the core updates that Google's doing and all that type of stuff, how can we

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as marketers feel confident that, like, I'm tapping into every bit of

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potential that AI is giving me, but I'm not crossing some sort of

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mysterious line? Yeah, it's a great question. So

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there's two trains of thought that I apply to plagiarism with

Speaker:

AI. The first one is, you always want to do plagiarism checks

Speaker:

at the end of producing an asset. So there are a ton of plagiarism

Speaker:

checkers that will actually analyze what you've created across the Internet

Speaker:

and determine whether or not things were plagiarized and whether or not they need to

Speaker:

be rewritten, redeveloped, and rewrote. That's the first piece.

Speaker:

Always embrace plagiarism checkers to make sure that you are not taking someone

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else's ip and turning it into something. Now, the little Internet voices

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might be saying, yeah, but Ross, it was trained on other people's content, so it's

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plagiarism. Anyway, I hear you. This is my thought on that. The

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same way that I learned content marketing by reading

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blog posts from some of the great content marketers, AI

Speaker:

has learned content marketing by reading content from some of

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the greatest marketers. If I want to learn how to be

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great at sewing, I'm going to read a ton of books

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on sewing, and that's going to form my thoughts and my perspective

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on sewing. If I decide that I am great at sewing and then I write

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a book on sewing, I'm very likely not going to go out

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into the wilderness. And think back to ten years ago when I was

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informed by a famous sewer who wrote a blog post or an article on

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that and then use that as a quote and source them as the ip of

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that original idea. It's not going to happen, right? All of the

Speaker:

greats learn from other greats. You don't see LeBron James

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saying, oh, that shot was created by Michael Jordan. You don't see Michael Jordan talking

Speaker:

about how every shot that he did was inspired by Doctor J and Doctor

Speaker:

J doing the same thing for Will Chamberlain and then will Chamberlain with Bill Russell,

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blah, blah, blah. It doesn't work that way. And the same thing exists with AI.

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AI has learned from humans the same way that we as humans

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would have learned from other humans. The only reason why me and you can even

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have this conversation is because over the course of our life, people

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have taught us English and we can speak English. But every time I talk

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to you, I might be plagiarizing things that my dad would have said. My dad

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always said, long story, a little bit longer. That is like my go

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to line, but I'm not saying source. My

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father, Hank Simmons, I'm not doing that right. So I think a lot of people

Speaker:

get caught up in this idea, not realizing that all ideas that we

Speaker:

have as humans are taken from humans in the past, that we've

Speaker:

interacted with and that we've connected with. Unless you're in a research lab and you're

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coming up with new things in math, but that's a whole different ballgame. So for

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me, long story, little bit longer, I think the

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plagiarism side, run your checks. But also, when it comes

Speaker:

down to it, folks realize that the ideas that AI has

Speaker:

captured and is grabbing are very similar to the same ones that you

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would, except instead of it being flesh and chemicals

Speaker:

inside of our brain, it's pixels and data inside of a computer.

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Yeah, it's like the. I gave him credit because earlier Daniel

Speaker:

Priestley talking about AI. But at some point, I will not. At some point, I'm

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just gonna, you know what I mean? Like, it's gonna be so baked into the

Speaker:

conversations that I'm having. I'm just like, yeah, AI's like cake. And it's like that,

Speaker:

you know, like, I think about all the books, all the books that I read,

Speaker:

and it's like, oh, that's a really interesting idea. That's a, that's a way to,

Speaker:

to build a business, or that's a way to frame this up. I mean, I

Speaker:

was watching a YouTube video the other day, and, you know, some guy's pitching his

Speaker:

framework, and I'm like, boy, that's a lot like so and so's framework that.

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That I saw over here. Right? So it's like, I think the more

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comfortable and confident you can be, unless it's like a named

Speaker:

process thing that you, you know. You know, I was talking with

Speaker:

somebody earlier, everyone. The flywheel. Like, the flywheel's been around. Like,

Speaker:

Disney had the flywheel, then so and so had the flywheel HubSpot. At this flywheel,

Speaker:

everyone's flywheel, flywheel, flywheel. It's not a new concept. Yep. Right. But coming

Speaker:

back more, you know, I see it all the time now. It's like, you got

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to build, you know, build this flywheel, do these things. So, yeah, it's. It's

Speaker:

the classic nothing is new under the sun.

Speaker:

Quoted by someone else. Someone else said that? Absolutely, man.

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So before we wrap, I do want to touch on the book, because we

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didn't talk too much about it, but I'm super pumped for it. Why don't you

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talk to a little bit about the book? I don't know when you're officially releasing

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or doing anything, but let me know about this, man. I appreciate it. So, April

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9, the book is officially going to hit the stores, the shelves, etcetera, etcetera. It's

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called create once, distribute forever, which is the mantra and idea that I've

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kind of fine tuned and spent a lot of time and energy thinking about over

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the last few years, especially when I think back to, like, my early days in

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marketing, where I was creating a lot of content, but I actually wasn't getting any

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results. And then I realized that the reason why I wasn't getting any results is

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because, yes, the content was good, but my audience was small, and I needed to

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get that content into a larger audience to increase my

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sample size, to ultimately drive more results. And in this book,

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I wouldn't say it's exclusively around content distribution, but it's

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also around creative distribution, business

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distribution, startup distribution, organizational distribution.

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Whether you're running a store on Etsy, you're running a blog, you're running a

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YouTube channel, whatever it might be, distribution is very likely

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the one thing that's holding a lot of people back from their dreams. And my

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goal with this book is to unblock so

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many great creators, so many great minds, so many great companies from

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being in their own way as it relates to distribution and giving them not

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only the playbooks, but also the confidence and the systems that they can use. To

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understand how important it is to distribute their stories and amplify

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their message to maximize their likelihood of actually becoming

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successful. Love it, man. That's how I got into the distribution game myself,

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is just the understanding of, like, the things you

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create. That's step one.

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Exactly, exactly. That's 100% it. Like, we oftentimes

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fall into the mistake of thinking just because we created

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something, we can pop the bubbly and celebrate when in reality, that's when the

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job starts. The job starts after you have created this thing and you need to

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get the word out about the thing that you've developed. And for a lot of

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people, the reason why they don't amplify is because of fear. And

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on the other side of that fear is the outcomes that most of us actually

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want one. Yeah. And it's interesting, too, the more, I mean, I'm sure you know

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this from working with all the companies you work with. The volume

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play of just, we're going to create as much content as humanly

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possible with no utter strategy. We're just going to, you know, spray and pray and

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make this thing work that is long gone.

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And, I mean, it's really eye opening. Some of the companies I've been

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working with recently, like, for core products, we're

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talking about a couple pages driving the vast majority of the

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content around there. And so it's like, okay, let's do a better

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job of amplifying those bad boys if they're the ones that are driving

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it. Exactly. If you're seeing the results off of a few

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assets, then pour the gasoline on the fire. Right? Like, don't just

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say onto the next one, let's create something new. Let's see

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and look at what's working and try to milk that for all it's

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worth. And the best brands do this every single day.

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And when you can crack that code as an organization, it just

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unlocks ridiculous potential and opportunity. And like you said, too, I think the

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underrated thing, when I talk about it as well, that usually

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when I say it, it kind of lights up for people, is around. You're

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amplifying your business, you're amplifying your message, you're amplifying your story.

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Like, you're not just distributing a piece of content. Hopefully. Hopefully you're

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distributing your point of view. You're distributing all of those things that

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you wish people would understand. You're not forcing them

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to take all this time out of their day to understand that, oh,

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you've got this blog post, like, no, you're just presenting it

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to them in unique ways and native ways wherever they're at. So where

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eventually, over time, oh, Ross talks about x, y,

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and Z. Oh, Justin talks about x, y, and z. Cool, I'm in.

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That's it, 100%. And everyone's like, oh, but I don't want to say the same

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thing over and over again. And it's like, folks, how long has nike

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said, just do it? A very, very

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long time, and you're afraid to share blog posts twice in one

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week. Really think about that. Like, it makes no sense. It makes

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absolutely no sense. So I encourage people to get out of your own way

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and just try it. And that's when the light bulbs start to come off, when

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they share something in week one, and then they share the same thing in week

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two, and they see that the amount of impact was the exact same.

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Ah, cool. Nobody's commenting saying, why'd you share this

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again? Everybody's just doing what we wanted them to do

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twice. Ching, ching. And what it does is it, when it,

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when I started implementing this system, what it does is it completely

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unlocks the amount of content that you realize you even need to be, need to

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be making to be successful. You can create a big old engine

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and be successful and do that, but you can also

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be super lean, be super strategic, amplify

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distribution. And I said it in an episode a couple

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weeks ago, but I don't have to do a podcast every week to get a

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content engine that goes for the year. You know what I mean? Like, I don't

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have to. It's fun. I love having the conversations, but it's sometimes even for me,

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I'm like, boy, I'm creating so much good stuff. I'm

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struggling to keep up with the amount of, you know, stuff that I can create.

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I try my best to build those systems in place, but it's just once

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you learn the process of repurposing and distributing that content, it just opens

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up. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And that's what I hope people can

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get out of the book. It's exactly that. It's breaking down how you can get

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more out of the things that you create that are already valuable, that already educate,

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engage, entertain, or empower people, and then give you the ability to say,

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okay, how can we get the most out of this thing and get this story

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out here? And my hope is that the book will deliver the playbook and much

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more for people. Love it. I'm pumped to read it. I'm super excited. And

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Ross, man, thanks for coming on the show again. It was a blessed talking to

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you. Thanks for having me. This was fun. I always appreciate again, like I said

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last time, I appreciate what you do for the industry overall and thank you for

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beating the horn around distribution. The world needs it. The industry needs it

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as well. Thank you so much for having me. Awesome chat soon man. Cheers.

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Alright, I hope you enjoyed this episode of distribution first

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and thank you for listening all the way through. I appreciate you so,

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so much and I hope you're able to apply what you learned in this

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episode way or another into your content strategy as

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well. Speaking of strategy, we have a lot of things going on this year that

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are going to help you build your brand, ten x your content and

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transform the way you do content marketing. Make sure to subscribe

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to the show and sign up for my newsletter at Justinsimon Co.

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So you don't miss a thing. I look forward to serving you in the next

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episode as well. And until then, take care and I'll see you next

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time.