Since the arrival on the scene of “AI”–artificial intelligence software, chatbots, and voice-activated systems and devices–content publishers have been anxious about how best to meet the demands of these new modes of communication and get their content out into the brave new world.
But there’s nothing to fear. Preparing your content for AI involves the same steps you should already be taking to prepare your content for publication anywhere. If you are paying attention to content quality and relevance, freshness, structure, naming conventions, metadata, and relationships, you are preparing your content for AI. AI is just another communications channel. Yes, it can be more daunting, but it can also be a helpful exercise to think about what happens to your content in AI contexts. (There’s no better way to learn how stilted your content is than to hear it read by Siri or Alexa!)
Here are some tips for preparing content for cross-media delivery that also will help prepare it for AI:
- Write succinctly and clearly on subjects that interest your target audiences (which, by the way, means you need to really know your audiences).
- Pay attention to how the content sounds when read aloud.
- Use the terminology your audiences use to describe the information and services you provide.
- Organize that information the way your audiences think about it (follow their mental models–again, this means knowing your audiences).
- Relate like to like with metadata (taxonomy and tags) that help pull together content so audiences looking at one piece of information can easily find other relevant information. Use linked open data and standard vocabularies whenever possible, to boost your content’s shareability and help you wield more influence within your profession’s information ecosystem.
- Structure your information consistently, according to digital publishing standards and standard semantic markup language, so any system can interpret your content–for instance, by knowing what is a title, a summary or abstract, body copy, a task list, a tutorial, content information.
- Make sure instructions and tutorials are written as numbered steps.
- Design for real users, test with real users: Make sure your content, sites, mobile apps, and other digital products are designed with your actual target users in mind. This means doing up-front research involving them, and recruiting them at various junctures to test your content and products so you can refine the work accordingly. Lather, rinse, repeat–your feedback loop with users should never end.
Finally, remember that “AI” is a very broad umbrella term that encompasses natural language processing (which, among other uses, helps chatbots respond appropriately to human speech and text), and machine learning (which can, for example, parse enormous data sets and help researchers find new cures for disease). The term can seem intimidating, but all you need to consider as a publisher is that AI is another communications channel for you to use to get your content out there to the people who need it. The smart steps you take to prepare your content for distribution in desktop, mobile, and search, will also help your content work well in AI applications.
Want to talk about getting your content ready? Contact us.