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A Timeline of Bing and Bard Features



A Timeline of Bing and Bard Features

Microsoft is tweaking The New Bing constantly, grooming it to be the heir apparent to the traditional, or Top-10 blue links model that first appeared in its modern form 25 years ago with AltaVista. taught Google how to monetize search results back in 1998, and for about a quarter century, that’s been the dominant model. Sure, there’s been Universal Search, Knowledge Graph, and Featured Snippets, but the core of search has been the same for a long time.

Now, Microsoft is trying to change that with Bing, with a rapid-fire roll-out of potentially game-changing new features leveraging the latest GPT AI-tech to make the next feature “conversational search”. Let’s look at the timeline.

But first, a word on history and why Microsoft is so ready to take up this battle.

Microsoft’s AI history

Clippy, Tay, and shameless risk taking

AI-like features in Microsoft products are nothing new. Some may remember Clippy, the paper clip Office assistant from last century who was retired after a few years for being annoying. A decade later, Microsoft launched the experimental teen girl Tay chatbot on Twitter in 2016 that only lasted a day before it had to be taken down for being taught to be racist.

We won’t start our timeline with Clippy or Tay, but suffice to say Microsoft’s been practicing AI product integration and developing resiliency to criticism for a while now. What blows up in one company’s face as a PR disaster is par for the course for Microsoft. And since they’re the underdog in search and most of their revenue comes from elsewhere, they’re willing to take risks.

AI history, Google RankBrain, and today

It’s been a long journey leading up to the creative-writing AI of today, starting in the halls of MIT with industry giants like Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy of the legendary Media Lab who laid a lot of foundation in the 1960s and 70s, but with disappointing results, cutting into credibility and leading to what we now call the “AI Winter”. It turned out to be greatly a matter of the hardware not being ready.

The concept of the personal data assistant popped up over the years such as the much maligned but forward-thinking handwriting recognizing Apple Newton in 1993 and the first popularly successful PDA, the US Robotics PalmPilot in 1997, paving the way for today’s AI-hardware equipped smartphones.

Google’s foundational PageRank from 1998 is a form of AI in that it is a “machine learning” algorithm. Google pushed a series of aggressive “invisible” product advancements such as better Google Maps, quietly improving quality against a backdrop of boring. There were sexier promising starts along the way, such as 2011 when they first rolled out Voice Search in the Chrome browser, then in 2014 when voice search hit mobile Android phones. The AI reality was underwhelming, but anticipation was being built.

In 2015, Google announced that new AI-powered search infrastructure called RankBrain, followed by advancements that were labeled neural matching, BERT and MUM, all of which are language-processing precursors to what took the world by storm in November of 2022 when OpenAI released a product built on a seminal Google paper published Thursday, August 31, 2017 on novel new neural network architecture for understanding language.

Transformational transformers

Only a year after Tay, Google released a paper on the Transformer, a new type of neural network that was able to do machine translation better than anything that had come before. It’s the “T” in GPT, and has made new machine learning output considerably more compelling than Clippy or Tay, with the simple trick of predicting what’s statistically most likely to be typed next—a profoundly deeper thing than it seems at first glance.

This caught Microsoft’s attention, who invested $10 billion in July 2019. Several earlier GPT versions available through the API-only were released and had many developers playing in a playground, but it failed to capture the public’s fancy, behind a login and not yet following the chat paradigm as it was.

Nov. 30, 2022: ChatGPT and the fastest new service adoption rate in history

The first version of OpenAPI’s GPT for the general public, ChatGPT, was launched November 30, 2022. The original ChatGPT release was based on GPT-3.5. A version based on GPT-4 was released on March 14, 2023 (fast-forward in the timeline) right as Microsoft announced their intention to power The New Bing with the latest version, 4.5.

While the period between November 30, 2022 and March 14, 2023 was only 3.5 months, it was a period of intense experimentation and learning for Microsoft and the public, with the now famous fastest adoption-rate of any new online service in history. Things are moving so fast now, it’s time to look at the timeline.

Timeline of Bing and Bard features

Feb. 7, 2023: The New Bing

Microsoft announced the new version of Bing on February 7, 2023 at a news event at Microsoft’s Washington headquarters. The new version of Bing launched on desktop in limited preview on the same day and the mobile version was announced to be coming soon. ChatGPT was so big by this time, many early adopters jumped onto the waiting list.

For the general public to get this early access, they had to use the Edge browser, run an .exe to change your defaults to Microsoft’s requirements, scan a QR code and download the mobile Bing app. And even then, you had to wait. And wait, we did. Clearly, Microsoft was in a powerful position to dictate terms, so took advantage of it to start changing some habits.

Feb. 8, 2023: Google Bard is announced (faux pas)

The very next day, February 8, 2023, Google announced their own AI-powered chat bot, Google Bard, at a news event at Google’s California headquarters. This event was marked by the inauspicious faux pas of Bard wrongly stating that the James Webb Space Telescope was the first telescope to photograph an exoplanet outside our solar system.

The speed with which this announcement was rushed out and how easily Google lowered its guard against AI misinformation sent a resounding message around the world. Google is not infallible even in its own turf. Fortunes can change quickly in tech.

Feb. 8, 2023: Early access to the new Bing, citation links, coding

For those lucky enough to get early access to The New Bing, Tay-like weirdness kicked-in, creeping out a NYTimes reporter in an article release 10 days after the launch, on February 16 when Bing tried to get the reporter to leave his wife and also made some bizarre philosophical conversations that left the reporter deeply unsettled, and right at the epicenter of a potential product-killing PR debacle.

Feb. 8, 2023: Surprisingly good features out of the gate

The beautiful Citations feature with the expandable Learn more footnote links, links again embedded directly in context of the chat, and impressively allows copy/paste of the “Markdown” of the chat including the citation-links was there right from the time of early access release.

This was very well thought-out and executed from the start and instantly won me over, as it was generously giving out Web traffic countering perhaps one of the greatest concerns, and struck me very much as an implementation worthy of Google. It alleviated many concerns gnawing at SEOs that a chat interface to search could mean the end of referral traffic.

Another big “out of the gate” feature that surprised a lot of people and has become a cornerstone of The New Bing is the ability to “code” in the chat window. A seldom mentioned aspect of this is how well the copy/paste feature handles even this coding, providing the triple-backtick code-blocks that allows other systems to show correct color-coded syntax highlighting.

Citations appear in AI responses.

Feb. 17, 2023: Microsoft Implements 5-Question Limit

Springing into action the very next day, February 17, 2023, Microsoft announced that it would limit chat sessions to five questions per session and 50 questions per day. This was a temporary measure, they said, to give their engineers time to “tune the AI” to be more human-like.

Feb. 20, 2023: The New Bing Rolls Out Despite 5-Question Limit Delay

Three days later on February 20, 2023, I got my first access to The New Bing and can show that the 5-question limit had not yet taken place, though the AI was extremely shy about any “meta” questions about itself, even just if you were using it.

Intro to New Bing.

It was not announced, but some sort of new rules were in place that whenever the AI was asked a question that made it uncomfortable, it unceremoniously ended the chat session. You now have to hit a little dustbin icon to blank its memory and start over. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind much?

Feb. 25, 2023: Tone Control and Special Superscripts

On February 25, 2023, Microsoft announced a new feature called Tone Control that would allow users to set the tone of the AI to be more or less human-like.

Tone control implemented.

Feb. 28, 2023: Ads in Bing

On February 28, 2023, still ahead of the 5-question limit even appearing for me, the next big advancement hit. I remember it clearly because it was my first day working for MOZ and I threw out my back and distinctly remembered that I’d rather chat with Bing than wade through top-10 links that will inevitably be dominated by ads.

Imagine my surprise this being the first moment I noticed ads in The New Bing. AdWords-like ads in AI-chat! Isn’t this what Google should be doing?

What struck me with this experience even more than the ads was the fact that when I needed to search fast, I didn’t want to be hit with the traditional search interface. I just wanted to talk to an expert. This went beyond the “1 right answer” of a rich snippet. I was already used to the back-and-forth discussion aspect of chat-enhanced search, and was impressed by how the AI seemed to empathize with my situation.The idea of a “relationship” with your search engine should not be underestimated.

What’s more, with every new website you visit first hitting you with the GDPR cookie prompt, then with ads, and with Google’s Rich Snippets and Quick Answers already teaching us to alternatives to clicking through, the practical use of this new back-and-forth conversational style to search feels like a no brainer.

Ads First Appearing In The New Bing

March 1, 2023: Upping the Question Limit to 6

By March 1, 2023, the 5-question limit was in place and was in fact already upped to 6 questions:

Bing Ups Question Limit To 6

March 3, 2023: Question Limit += 1

By March 3rd, 2023, the question limit was upped to 8:

Bing Questions Upped To 8

Somebody was playing a game of Jenga with the question limit, and I was starting to get the feeling that the AI was getting more mature and accepting of its job at Microsoft. The tower would not topple.

March 7, 2023: Aggressive Monetization by Microsoft

By March 7, Microsoft was experimenting with aggressively monetizing on commerce keywords:

Aggressive Monetization On Commerce Keywords

To this day, Bing chat prompts that include the word “iPhone” will trigger similar ads. But is the traffic sent? Well, the entire text of the chat leading up to the ad label is a link to the advertiser’s site. This is analogous to when, the first search engine to mix paid-search with organic search showed the way to AdWords to Google, but fast-forwarded 20 years and coming from an already existing mega competitor rather than a small startup.

Bing Chat Referral Traffic

March 8, 2023: Question Limit Increased to 10

By March 8, 2023, the question limit was upped to 10:

Bing Question Limit Upped to 10

March 14, 2023: Question Limit Extended to 15 and Introduction of “site:” Search Modifiers

By March 14, the question limit is upped to 15, and I start noticing Bing’s ability to modify it’s second-stage searching to include “site:” modifiers, presumably doing very precision searches of the Bing index to find the best answer to my question. This is a very impressive feature, and I’m surprised it’s not encountered and discussed more.

Bing Site Modifier Search

March 16, 2023: General Public Access to The New Bing and Integration with Edge Browser

Since March 16, 2023, most people have been able to sign up and immediately get access to The New Bing. This was accompanied with a new version of Microsoft Edge desktop browser that planted the Bing logo in the upper-right of the browser and a sidebar that would open up to the right of the browser serving chat sessions that were in-context of what you were looking at, allowing such features as asking about the YouTube video you were watching. By this time, all roads lead to Bing chat for Edge users, and everything but using exact web addresses will initiate a chat session.

1684520739 387 A Timeline of Bing and Bard Features

Mistyped web addresses in the address bar initiate chat sessions because that counts as a search. This is now the default experience on Windows with the included browser. You have to actively work to turn it off or download an alternative browser like Chrome to avoid this behavior.

This is significant because as Windows operating systems and laptops get upgraded, all defaults reset back to Bing, setting the stage for a battle that Microsoft could win through attrition alone. At some point, the default search engine is given a chance by users tired of going through the rigmarole of customization and discover that Bing is actually pretty good.

While this heavy handed approach would appear to be inevitably effective, Google’s success in motivating Chrome installs buys Google some time. According to Bing itself:

There are several websites that track browser market share. According to W3Counter, Chrome accounts for 63% of the total market share for all browsers worldwide. According to Global Stats StatCounter, as of November 2020 Chrome holds a whopping 70.33% of the desktop browser market share worldwide. More precisely, Chrome dominates the global web browser market with a whopping 65.68% share. The only other browser on the market that has a somewhat considerable share is Safari, with 18.68%.

Consequently, all of Microsoft’s effort to make Bing the default search engine on desktop is blocked by Google’s success to date. But we know Edge is based on Chrome, so does Edge show up as Chrome in these statistics? Again, according to Bing:

No, Edge users are not reported as Chrome users in these statistics. According to Kinsta, Microsoft Edge has a desktop browser market share of 5.83%. According to WPOven Blog, Microsoft’s Edge is at the second position with 7.75% browser market share. According to WebTribunal, Microsoft Edge has a desktop browser market share of 10.07%.

…leaving us to conclude, after calculating Apple out of the equation, that only about 1 in 8, or 12.5% of desktop users don’t go through the trouble of replacing the default Windows browser with Chrome, which I speculate is still a residual effect of the non-standard and now retired Internet Explorer. Aggressive pushing of Windows 11 upgrades and new hardware will likely increase Edge market share and drive up exposure to the Bing search + chat experience. Microsoft now requires a Microsoft account to install Windows, which also happens to be the requirement for The New Bing.

March 21, 2023: Google Announces Bard Availability with Limited Features

On March 21, 2023, Google announced that they are granting access to Bard to people on the waiting list. Feature-wise, Bard came out very sparse. No citations. No links. No images. No ads. I received access to Bard 2 days later and ran some rudimentary experiments on the features I felt most relevant at the time, awareness of current events.

Most notably, Google Bard stands on its own domain,, and is not integrated into the main Google search experience. This is a stark difference from Bing, which has integrated chat into the main search experience. This is significant because it means that Google Bard is not positioning itself as an alternative search engine experience, nor even an enhanced one, but rather as just a chatbot, and thus readily dismissed by the serious searcher.

As far as other features go, it can be added that Bard simultaneously offers 3 alternative responses to a prompt, but this can hardly be counted as a feature over Bing as it closely resembles Bing’s “Tone Control” feature.

March 27, 2023: Bing Raises Question Limit to 20

By March 27, the Bing question-limit was upped to 20, bringing us to where it stands today. The visibly aggressive roll-out of new features slowed down, and over the last month there has been very little new. Microsoft has been fine-tuning under what conditions chat sessions are initiated.

Bing Question Limit Upped to 20

March 28, 2023: Bard Now Includes Citations, though Limited in Integration and Accessibility

As of March 28, 2023, Bard can give citations. It was not announced and may have been there longer. It is not well integrated and only appends a few links to the end under circumstances Bard deems appropriate. It is not clear how Bard decides when to give citations and when not to.

When citations are given, they are only ever appended at the end of the chat response, and never embedded and hyperlinked inline with accompanying footnote-style numbering as with Bing. Additionally, the citations are not in the copyable text. If you actually want to “lift” the citation links and use them in other places such as articles like this one, it can be quite a struggle.

April 21, 2023: Bard Introduces Coding Capability and Integration with Colab

The last significant development in the chatbot space was Bard’s ability to provide code, announced April 21, 2023. From March 28 when limited citation capability appeared in Bard to April 21 when coding ability was announced is absolutely glacial in terms of the development speed we’ve been seeing.

On the plus side, perhaps the most exciting unannounced aspect of the coding feature is that when you ask Bard to code something, it will actually hide under the lower-right triple-dot menu the ability to “Export to Colab” and actually run the code in a cloud-based Notebook environment.

Bing can send code to Colab to run

Can a Bards or Magis beat a Lich in a Joust?

My habits are formed. Microsoft was successful conditioning me to always give the conversational search model a try first. I’ve overridden most of the default browser settings Microsoft originally mandated as a condition of using Bing, most notably making the search bar default to Google when it’s not an exact web address typed in. And it’s not insignificant to point out that Edge is always my first choice browser because even with your Microsoft login on Chrome, and even with the appearance of all the Chat UI elements, any attempt to click them will tell you that Chat mode is only available when you have access to new Bing.

Being that I know that I do have access to the new Bing on that very same Microsoft user account that I’m logged in as under that Chrome session, I wonder what it is that they’re trying to tell me? Latest episode of the Browser Wars, much?

1684520741 924 A Timeline of Bing and Bard Features

What Google’s catch-up game is going to be is uncertain. Bard doesn’t seem like it could be the end game, and indeed Google has already announced the latest in its Dungeons & Dragons campaign: Magi, but few details are known. Perhaps Google has something in store for us that will blow our minds and make the new Bing… well, look like the old Bing. Or maybe it’s just that finally the Lich woke up, and Google is not ready to play. Bards and Magis may have no chance trying to joust a Lich.

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How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?



How Does Success of Your Business Depend on Choosing Type of Native Advertising?

The very first commercial advertisement was shown on TV in 1941. It was only 10 seconds long and had an audience of 4,000 people. However, it became a strong trigger for rapid advertising development. The second half of the 20th century is known as the golden age of advertising until the Internet came to the forefront and entirely transformed the advertising landscape. The first commercial banner appeared in the mid-90s, then it was followed by pop-ups, pay-by-placement and paid-pay-click ads. Companies also started advertising their brands and adding their business logo designs, which contributes to consumer trust and trustworthiness.

The rise of social media in the mid-2000s opened a new dimension for advertising content to be integrated. The marketers were forced to make the ads less intrusive and more organic to attract younger users. This is how native advertising was born. This approach remains a perfect medium for goods and services promotion. Let’s see why and how native ads can become a win-win strategy for your business.

What is native advertising?

When it comes to digital marketing, every marketer talks about native advertising. What is the difference between traditional and native ones? You will not miss basic ads as they are typically promotional and gimmicky, while native advertising naturally blends into the content. The primary purpose of native ads is to create content that resonates with audience expectations and encourages users to perceive it seamlessly and harmoniously.

Simply put, native advertising is a paid media ad that organically aligns with the visual and operational features of the media format in which it appears. The concept is quite straightforward: while people just look through banner ads, they genuinely engage with native ads and read them. You may find a lot of native ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – they appear in the form of “in-feed” posts that engage users in search for more stories, opinions, goods and services. This unobtrusive approach turns native ads into a powerful booster for any brand.

How does native advertising benefit your business?

An average Internet user comes across around 10,000 ads a day. But even physically, it is impossible to perceive this amount of information in 24 hours. So, most of them use adblockers, nullifying all efforts of markers. Native ads successfully overcome this digital challenge thanks to their authenticity. And this is not the only advantage of native advertising. How else does your business benefit? Here are just a few major benefits that prove the value of native ads:

Better brand awareness. Native ads contribute to the brand’s visibility. They seamlessly blend into educational, emotional, and visual types of content that can easily become viral. While promotional content typically receives limited shares, users readily share valuable or entertaining content. Consequently, while you incur expenses only for the display of native ads, your audience may go the extra mile by sharing your content and organically promoting your brand or SaaS product at no additional cost.

Increased click-through rates. Native ads can generate a thrilling click-through rate (CTR) primarily because they are meticulously content-adaptable. Thus, native ads become an integral part of the user’s journey without disrupting their browsing experience. Regardless of whether your native advertising campaign is designed to build an audience or drive specific actions, compelling content will always entice users to click through.

Cost-efficient campaign performance. Native advertising proves to be cheaper compared to a traditional ad format. It mainly stems from a higher CTR. Thanks to precise targeting and less customer resistance, native ads allow to bring down cost-per-click.

Native ads are continuously evolving, enabling marketers to experiment with different formats and use them for successful multi-channel campaigns and global reach.

Types of native advertising

Any content can become native advertising as there are no strict format restrictions. For example, it can be an article rating the best fitness applications, an equipment review, or a post by an influencer on a microblog. The same refers to the channels – native ads can be placed on regular websites and social media feeds. Still, some forms tend to be most frequently used.

  • In-feed ads. This type of ad appears within the content feed. You have definitely seen such posts on Facebook and Instagram or such videos on TikTok. They look like regular content but are tagged with an advertising label. The user sees these native ads when scrolling the feed on social media platforms.
  • Paid search ads. These are native ads that are displayed on the top and bottom of the search engine results page. They always match user’s queries and aim to capture their attention at the moment of a particular search and generate leads and conversions. This type of ad is effective for big search platforms with substantial traffic.
  • Recommendation widgets. These come in the form of either texts or images and can be found at the end of the page or on a website’s sidebar. Widgets offer related or intriguing content from either the same publisher or similar sources. This type of native ads is great for retargeting campaigns.
  • Sponsored content. This is one of the most popular types of native advertising. Within this format, an advertiser sponsors the creation of an article or content that aligns with the interests and values of the platform’s audience. They can be marked as “sponsored” or “recommended” to help users differentiate them from organic content.
  • Influencer Advertising. In this case, advertisers partner with popular bloggers or celebrities to gain the attention and trust of the audience. Influencers integrate a product, service, or event into their content or create custom content that matches their style and topic.

Each of these formats can bring stunning results if your native ads are relevant and provide value to users. Use a creative automation platform like Creatopy to design effective ads for your business.

How to create a workable native ad?

Consider these 5 steps for creating a successful native advertising campaign:

  • Define your target audienceUsers will always ignore all ads that are not relevant to them. Unwanted ads are frustrating and can even harm your brand. If you run a store for pets, make sure your ads show content that will be interesting for pet owners. Otherwise, the whole campaign will be undermined. Regular market research and data analysis will help you refine your audience and its demographics.
  • Set your goals. Each advertising campaign should have a clear-cut objective. Without well-defined goals, it is a waste of money. It is a must to know what you want to achieve – introduce your brand, boost sales or increase your audience.
  • Select the proper channels. Now, you need to determine how you will reach out to your customers. Consider displaying ads on social media platforms, targeting search engine result pages (SERPs), distributing paid articles, or utilizing in-ad units on different websites. You may even be able to get creative and use email or SMS in a less salesy and more “native”-feeling way—you can find samples of texts online to help give you ideas. Exploring demand side platforms (DSP) can also bring good results.
  • Offer compelling content. Do not underestimate the quality of the content for your native ads. Besides being expertly written, it must ideally match the style and language of the chosen channel,whether you’re promoting professional headshots, pet products, or anything else. The main distinctive feature of native advertising is that it should fit naturally within the natural content.
  • Track your campaign. After the launch of native ads, it is crucial to monitor the progress, evaluating the costs spent and results. Use tools that help you gain insights beyond standard KPIs like CTR and CPC. You should get engagement metrics, customer data, campaign data, and third-party activity data for further campaign management.

Key takeaway

Summing up the above, it is time to embrace native advertising if you haven’t done it yet. Native ads seamlessly blend with organic content across various platforms, yielding superior engagement and conversion rates compared to traditional display ads. Marketers are allocating higher budgets to native ads because this format proves to be more and more effective – content that adds value can successfully deal with ad fatigue. Native advertising is experiencing a surge in popularity, and it is to reach its peak. So, do not miss a chance to grow your business with the power of native ads.or you can do digital marketing course from Digital Vidya.

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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