So, you’ve built a chatbot, launched it on your site and sent out a press release. And no one cares! Welcome to the cruel uncaring world of trying to promote a chatbot – and how to try and generate some coverage.
Chatbots are fun to design, easy to build and a great way to create attention for your business, large or small. They can engage with customers, help develop more data on what they want, provide 24/7 information and free up valuable human support or troubleshooting resources. But, when you launch the bot and expect the analytics page to light up, in most cases it won’t happen.
Any business knows that it needs a little hype when doing anything online these days, with many competitors launching similar products. Fortunately, chatbots are good news makers. Any time a bank or airline adds a bot feature to its website or social media, it is guaranteed some coverage in the specialist trade press. Perhaps even in the national or local media depending on scope. But how will actual customers get to know about it?
Singapore Airlines generated an impressive amount of coverage with the launch of Kris while NatWest Bank is making waves with Cora. Beyond that initial coverage, to gain any further press in the wider media, the chatbot needs to perform some task that captures the imagination.
To gain further attention, the business needs to prove itself or do something quirky to raise its profile. Look out for research on chatbots in your field. There are so many pieces about the future of chatbots in a particular vertical or market, that it should be possible for most bots to generate at least some extra coverage.
To spice that angle up a little providing statistics can provide great return. There is still very little data about chatbot success, so any company with a report showing “our chatbot saved xx man hours per week,” “we saved $$$$$s on costs” or “the chatbot boosted our interactions by xx%” will be eagerly gobbled up by the specialist media. Stats can be carefully phrased not to give too much detail away to rivals, helping improve coverage, interest and exposure, but again most likely largely within your own business sector.
To gain public interest the chatbot needs to do something interesting. The ones that gain media attention are those that do something truly social, like dating advice, recommending movies, ordering take out food and so on. Perhap the best press so for a chatbot is the legal droid that helped overturn parking tickets. Why can’t yours play simple games or quizzes to improve knowledge?
Of course, if the chatbot goes wrong, or can be easily corrupted, then plenty of negative press will ensue. Remember Microsoft’s Tay who became racist thanks to over-aggressive user interactions?
Finally, if you’re looking some excitement, then a little hyperbole can always help, businesses and brands are forever talking about the “digital human” or an “AI genius” when referring to even a fairly basic chatbot. There’s nothing wrong with a little grandstanding, but do ensure your bot can deliver. Perhaps the best way to do that is to give it an exciting name and ensure it has some personality.
This all needs to be considered when building the concept for a best-featured chatbot. That’s where the likes of SnatchBot comes into play with no need for coding skills. Instead, designers can focus on the conversational structure, and giving the bot some personality to help make it amenable to users.
Advanced features like natural language processing or actual AI are highly marketable, but many businesses are still happy with a plain and easy to modify scripted bot. Whatever the bot, analytics will help the business see where press is being effective, or when (if you are lucky) the bot goes viral and picks up wider attention.
However you plan or market your bot, focus on what it can do, and ensure it does it well before launching any media effort. And spend the time to see how successful bots do things differently to win them some consumer love and respect.