In today’s episode, Jay asks, “How can we influence large language models to show our brands more favorably?” To accomplish this, you need a robust PR strategy to get your brand mentioned widely across the internet. I explain how language models work and why broad exposure is key to optimizing for them. Tune in to learn more about this important emerging strategy for marketing!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Jay asks, How can we influence large language models to show our brands more favorably? So call this language model optimization or AI optimization, if you will, I should probably come up with a bunch of other phrases that I can get trademark.
The answer to this question is challenging because it depends.
It depends on the model.
It depends on your domain, and it depends on your resources.
Fundamentally, it’s important to understand that a language model is nothing more than a statistical database.
It is a database of probabilities that one word is going to be followed by the next word or one word is going to be in proximity to another word.
So for example, if I say, I pledge allegiance to the if you’re an American, you can’t you almost have this reflex to yell flag, right? Because that’s the next word.
If you are English, you would say if I say God save the most people reflexively will still say Queen even though it’s now technically God save the king.
Just because we have these statistical associations in our heads.
And that’s what the language model is, it is a series of statistical associations.
So what Jay is asking is how would you get a model to associate a brand with other phrases and words so that in natural conversation with a language model, your brand would naturally be invoked.
That’s the heart of the question.
And the answer to that question is, it’s really hard.
It is really hard because these models are trained on essentially the public corpus of text on the internet, right? They are trained on things like common crawl, which you can go check out at common crawl.org.
You can even download it.
If you have six petabytes of disk space available, which most of us do not.
That is the sum total the public crawlable internet and that’s how these models are built and trained.
And so from a basic structural perspective, the way for models to associate your brand with your topics of choice is to have a lot of content all over the internet mentioning your brand and the topic of choice, right.
So for most brands, particularly larger brands, this means you open your wallet and you hire the best PR team or the best PR agency you can possibly hire and you get yourself everywhere, right? Yes, absolutely.
Go get that placement if you can in the New York Times, but equally important would be like the East Peoria sunset evening news, right? I’m making that up.
From a reputation perspective, from a human perspective, obviously being in the New York Times is better more people read the New York Times than the East Peoria sunset news.
But from a language model perspective, the amount of text in a New York Times article versus an East Peoria sunset news article is probably about the same.
And so having 100 local newspapers covering your brand from a statistical representation perspective is better than one article in say, the New York Times.
Now, obviously, there’s there are many human reasons why you still want to be in the New York Times.
But what this means from a PR strategy is you want to be everywhere.
You want to be everywhere you can possibly be scale as much as you can to to build your brand and be in every podcast as long as they put up transcripts be on YouTube all over the place, make sure transcripts are getting loaded to YouTube, closed captions that have the words properly in there.
You want to be on Instagram, you want to be on anything public, you want to be on Reddit, because Reddit is crawled like crazy, you want to be in Wikipedia, anywhere that your brand can be that had that will have the statistical associations of the topics you are about.
You want that out on the internet and you want a lot of it.
Now this is again, this is a change from normal PR strategy.
Normal PR strategy breaks media up into like tiers, what tier one tier two, tier three, and more value is placed on the tier one publications, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, whatever.
In the language modeling space, it’s all the same.
So if you can get 100 articles about yourself in tier three media, and you get none in tier one media, that’s okay.
That is perfectly okay, because you are still getting that data out there where it is then crawled by language model companies and assembled and built into their language model.
And so it’s it’s a bit of a flip.
But that’s how you would do that.
That’s how you would influence these things.
Again, bear in mind, these are trained on the public corpus of data about the internet.
You’re gonna have to spend a lot of money to this a lot of money, if you wanted to influence it, because you need to be a lot of places, a lot of the time.
And that costs big dollars that that costs big dollars to pull that off.
But if you can do it, it’s very, very difficult for anyone else to take that mind share because you’re everywhere.
For brands that don’t have a gazillion dollars to spend on on PR company like Trust Insights, for example, having an open policy like, hey, we will show up as guests on any podcast that will have us have it having a policies we’re gonna blog every single day, whether we need to or we mean it or not.
Having policies as yes, we’ll guest blog anywhere that will take us to the extent that you can do those things and get your brand and your topics associated in text on the internet, you will do better than a company that’s not in terms of what the language models will see.
We are also seeing things like the way Microsoft Bing works and way Google’s search generated expense experiments work where they are pulling from traditional SEO databases, traditional search databases.
So when you ask a big question, it does not ask the GPT for model for the answer.
It asks the GPT for model to write a Bing compatible query that it can then go and search a database for.
So traditional SEO still really important, because it looks like more and more that’s the way the big public models are going to be generating fresh information, they will talk to, you know, the traditional search engine, get the text out of the search engine search engine and then rewrite it into a conversational tone for for chats.
So you want to make sure that you are investing heavily in SEO so that you are in those databases favorably.
At the end of the day, you want to be everywhere, everywhere you can be.
And the nice thing is, if we’re wrong about this, and this isn’t how to influence LLMS, you still win, right? Because you’re still in publications, people are reading, you’re still in, you know, in the news, you’re still all over the place.
And so you still win one way or the other.
But it’s a really good question.
It’s an important question.
And it’s, it’s good for marketers to be thinking ahead now, how do we influence these models in the years to come? Because as time goes on, they will get more complex, they will get more skilled, they will get more knowledgeable.
And the early movers, the early adopters will have the advantage people who have more text on the internet today than a competitor will do better in language models tomorrow.
Thanks for asking.
Talk to you soon.
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