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When robots start creating news, brands need to change how they communicate

Hotwire Global

Whether we like it or not, robots and artificially intelligent (AI) technologies are becoming part of our everyday lives. This AI revolution is now expanding to the media industry, with the rise of what is called robo-journalism.

The Australian media landscape has already gone through significant changes over the past decade in order adapt to a world with ever-shortening news cycles and the rise of social media as a news source.

Also known as automated journalism, robo-journalism is one avenue media outlets are exploring as a means to cope with the 24-hour news cycle, shrinking newsrooms, and reader expectations.

According to our latest report, The Australian News Landscape of 2019: Is The Robo-Journalism Era Already Here?, Australians still very much value investigative work and journalism, and aren’t ready to jump head first into an automated news era:

  • 47% feel that the internet and smartphones have detrimentally affected journalism
  • 51% see ethical issues with stories prepared by robots
  • 1 in 5 Australians would rather pay for news prepared by humans than get news for free that is made by a robot
  • 86% of people feel that a publication should clearly disclose when a robot journalist has prepared an article

 Despite this, technology related to robo-journalism is definitely evolving:

  • 59% of Australians think it is likely they have already read articles prepared by robots
  • 57%of people, and 78% of 18-24 year old, would read a piece of journalism prepared by a robot journalist if it was free.
  • Breaking news (32%), local news (25%) and financial reports (24%) are the top 3 types of news articles that people would read if it was prepared by a robot

In this era where we are increasingly relying on robots to drive and promote content, there is an appetite from the general public for authentic and human-led stories. This means brands – and journalists – need to increasingly adapt the way they craft stories to add value and differentiate from robot-led content.

How can you build engaging content in 2019?

Here are a few tips to make sure you stand out and grab your audience’s attention despite the flow of automated and click-through based content out there.

1/ Use what makes us human: our capability to analyse, think critically, and feel

The complexity of the human mind and emotions will never be replaced by robots, and those are the qualities required to build content that is meaningful and engaging, as well as create unique points of view.

Brands tapping into those unique human skillsets will be the ones thriving from a content and communications perspective in 2019.

2/ Tell people things they don’t know already

In the era of automated content, it is very easy to come across a number similar stories and pieces of content coming from different brands. Many organisations today build entire content strategies by either re-using what they’ve done in the past, or following what their competitors do.

In an ocean of similar information, uniqueness is what will drive people’s attention and help you build a true thought leadership position.

3/ Use new formats for telling your stories, such as interactive content, and video

Consumers and business leaders today are increasingly time poor. While written content is still very much valued, more visual content is on the rise and brands investing in this new type of communication today will be the ones thriving tomorrow.

In the next coming years, we’ll see more brands using the power of storytelling through video, or interactive content such as infographics, dynamic white papers, and more.

While business decision makers and consumers are increasingly looking online for information before making a purchase, brands cannot risk a strategy of creating content for the sake of it. There needs to be a tailored approach to each piece of content, and the use of our human skillset to stand out, to cut through the noise.

Download the full whitepaper, The Australian News Landscape of 2019: Is The Robo-Journalism Era Already Here?