Marketing Podcast for Shopify Merchants: The Ecommerce Coffee Break

The powerful blogging capabilities of AI | #178 Rob Chinery

May 01, 2023 Claus Lauter: Ecommerce Podcast Host | Shopify Partner | Marketing Optimizer Season 4 Episode 41
Marketing Podcast for Shopify Merchants: The Ecommerce Coffee Break
The powerful blogging capabilities of AI | #178 Rob Chinery
Show Notes Transcript

Join Rob Chinery, founder of Jolt, a new Shopify app, on the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast, as he delves into the game-changing blogging capabilities of AI and how it can elevate your blog content. Don't miss out on this informative discussion.

On the Show Today You’ll Learn:

  • How to generate abundant content quickly with AI
  • Why is merchant blogging crucial for your store's success?
  • How to optimize AI to create effective blog posts
  • How to streamline blog post creation with a single app

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Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the E-Commerce Coffee Break podcast. Today we want to talk about something that, , is on the task list of most merchants, but probably not the favorite one, but it's actually quite important. We want to talk about content creation specifically. , block style creation.

So every Shopify store comes with a block. Most Shopify merchants do not really facilitate that in a way that it should be done. Cause it has a lot of advantages for a Shopify merchants. Now, a lot of merchants say, it's not really in my time to create a lot of content, they do outsource it. And there is a new way that can help with that.

And that's what we wanna talk about today. We want to talk about the. Powerful blogging capabilities of ai. So artificial intelligence is your friend here with me on the show after today as Rob Chinery. Rob Chinery is a Shopify developer with over five years of experience. He got his start in Shopify development by helping business migrate their sites from other e-commerce to Shopify.

And he began developing Shopify apps two years ago and recently launched Jolt. So Joel is a tool app that helps you with block and image creation, and that's what you wanna dive into it. Hi Rob, how are you today?

Rob Chinery: Good. How are you?

Claus Lauter: I'm very well, Rob. Tell me how did you get into the idea of using AI to help merchants with content creation?

Rob Chinery: In the last few months, most people working in tech have jumped on the, AI bandwagon to some degree. Whether it's just playing around with, chat G B T or actually integrating it into, their business processes. I saw a lot of potential for, streamlining the process of using AI to improve your business processes, particularly as a Shopify merchant.

that obviously aligned with my skillset as a Shopify developer. Seeing people already start to use these AI tools, , to achieve what the app does, but with more friction, led me to develop a solution that just makes it , as seamless as possible to use these tools to benefit your store.

Claus Lauter: And tell me what are the biggest benefits for a merchant to have a block on their store?

Rob Chinery: Like you mentioned, a lot of Shopify merchants I think, don't recognize the value , of having, a blog on their site. The blogging functional is built into every Shopify plan. There's a number of benefits to having a blog.

SEO being probably the most prominent. Having those blog articles, I think there's a stat that, sites with an active blog get, over 400% more indexed pages on search engines. That's a pretty significant number of index pages compared to sites that don't.

But then there's a whole host of other benefits conversion rate. Having a blog provides you an opportunity to, communicate more with a customer , to convince them why they should ha buy your product. Just engagement, bounce rate, everything, pretty much every key, metric that you care about as a Shopify merchant can be improved with a blog.

Before we had access to these AI tools, it could be difficult to maintain a blog, especially if you're a small team, it takes a lot of time and resources to manage a blog, a quality blog yourself, or, it would be expensive hire someone to manage that for you.

The fact that now every site can maintain a blog. I think that's a pretty powerful, advancement. 

Claus Lauter: You mentioned that it's not very easy to write a high quality blog specifically when it comes to s e o. Tell me a little bit about the factors that usually play into writing a good blog post.

Rob Chinery: In the past, some sites had already tried to use AI to generate. Blog posts. I'm sure we've all seen content on the internet that, you click through and you read it and after you know about two sentences, you realize this is not something that was written by a human, or at least not a very smart one if it was.

It just doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't make sense. I don't know a major company that, , has , a whole probably team writing their blog content you can immediately tell the difference.

It's something that's engaging, it's something that, has structure to it. Makes sense. That's what search engines are gonna reward you for. There's obviously technical, Portions of it as well. Having content that people are interested in, and content that's going to keep them reading.

keep them clicking, to have content, written by AI that, is trained to mimic these high quality, articles that are already out there, it's definitely a powerful tool in terms of being able to put things together that it already knows is effective, on other sites.

Claus Lauter: Okay. I understand that your does not only create, the text, the copy for you, but also does image creation. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Rob Chinery: I'm sure many of your listeners have probably played around with ai, image generation in the last few months. It's another new exciting advancement in ai. That was something I paired with it because, most blog posts are gonna also need at least a featured image.

That's something that's built into Shopify where, you have the body of , your blog article, and then there's also the option for featured image. Of course, you can also incorporate images into the body of , the article, but at the very least uh, a quality blog article should have one featured image and then the body content.

, in order , to make it a complete solution for generating a blog article. Let me give merchants the option to also create a custom image that is relevant, is high quality, that matches the content of their article. It's still a little bit of a challenge sometimes.

People sometimes expect to be able to just type in the exact specific description of the image they want and just get it in one shot. And if you've used AI image generation, it doesn't typically work like that. But, it's advancing rapidly. With a little bit of, playing around, you can get pretty good results now.

I've seen some of our users get, , really incredible images that definitely elevate their blog posts. So to have that option in there, you never have to leave the app, , to make a complete blog post. You can generate every single part of a quality post, right from within the app, which is within the shop by admin.

Claus Lauter: Okay. That sounds like a huge time saver because usually if you are working with a IU jumping from one app to another, every app has its own flaws or workflows. Coming to workflow, what's the workflow? What do you need to do as a merchant to create a content? 

Rob Chinery: Since the idea was to streamline the process of using AI to generate this content, I wanted the app to be as simple and as intuitive as possible. When you install the app, it's free to install. Click install as you would any standard Shopify app.

The first screen is pretty much just a box with, text field in it where you can enter subject of your article. There's some settings you can choose the language. , but then there's also an advanced mode if you want to customize your article further.

And what that allows you to do is choose the tone of the article. You could select the product to incorporate into the article. so say I wanted to have it write an article to sell a mountain bike, I can set the tone, I can choose a mountain bike product from the site.

It'll include the image and it'll write me an article about, here's why you should cycle through, whatever mountains. And by the way, , our mountain bike is a fantastic option for that.

And then with a link to it. Those additional options, really let you, take full advantage of the AI capability. And then you can also have options for including keywords, excluding keywords, things that are more s e o focused. My idea was I wanted to give users the option depending on, their skill level, their experience level with ai and with this type of, process. I wanted to give them the option. Or do you want just a super simple, just enter in a prompt, get an article, do you want to play around with the settings more, for a more customized experience? Once you're generate an article, generating an image, you can literally just click on the article within the app, generate an image, type in your description for the image.

And then once you get a result that you're happy with, you can just click a button and it saves it directly to the article. And then also there's an option as well in the app separate from blog portion of it that just generate images, for you anywhere on your site. If you wanted to just generate an image for your homepage, banner for, any custom page through your site, you can also generate those images and automatically save them right to your, file section on your in your shop play admin.

Claus Lauter: Okay, that sounds great. When it comes to languages, you mentioned it works in different languages. What languages does it support?

Rob Chinery: The app supports French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. The blog article content, it's pretty high quality for all of those languages. it's gonna be the best in English just because that's what most AI is trained the most on.

But, it can definitely put together high quality content in those other languages. image prompts sometimes can be a bit trickier depending on how they've been trained. But for most of the languages, especially if you're not looking for anything too crazy, you can get pretty good results from all of those languages.

Claus Lauter: That's awesome. One question that I have, and it might be a stupid question, but with the image generation, do you need to follow some copyrights mentions in there or does that work?

Rob Chinery: That's one of the nice things right now with AI image generation and, it is an evolving topic, because, AI image generation is a new field. there's pending, Legislation and legal issues and things like that.

, but as of right now, you can generate, an AI image and you own it. You don't have to credit a photographer. You don't have to, pay royalties, anything like that. when you generate an AI image, you own that. That's that.

So it also simplifies that and it reduces costs because, to go out and purchase a stock image is much more expensive. You can run into to things like needing to credit and pay royalties. 

Claus Lauter: Good point in regards of SEO o does it also create a title and meta-description tax, or how does that work?

Rob Chinery: It creates the title. Once you create a blog post, you can click on it if you want, go right to the blog article editor within Shopify, and it's all set up for you. It does create meta type of information.

You can add and customize that however you'd like as well. not every article result is the same. If you've used ai, you'll see you can enter the same prompt and you're not gonna get the same result typically. And again, once you generate it, you're free to customize it just as you would any article that you wrote from scratch. Everything is visible in terms of what it generated and what content and what s e o information is in there.

Claus Lauter: Okay. What happens if you already have a block on shop five? So you do it manually, statically in the past and now you use, yields and on top of that, how does that work?

Rob Chinery: Yeah, so that's one of the great things actually. It can just integrate perfectly with what you're already doing. Even if you have a full-time writer and you're gonna have them continue to write every blog post, if you install the app, when you go into the dashboard, you'll see all of your blog posts that you.

Or that your writer manually, created. You could generate images for those if you want. So say, you have no issue writing the post, but you're having trouble finding, , relevant images. All of those articles are listed just as any articles generated by the app would be.

And then if you decided you wanted to generate Some AI articles as well. They would just be mixed into the same list. You could, go through generate images, click through to each one. There's really no distinction within the app, between, custom created articles and AI created articles.

You're free to, mix and match and use whatever, features of the app, and we do have a lot of users that, that already do have active blogs. But maybe just want to increase the output of the content that they're, making or, like I said, they want to generate images for their existing articles.

Claus Lauter: Okay. sort of Answered my question, but, when it comes to the output or the frequency or best practices, what do you see? , works best.

Rob Chinery: It's good to have, at least one blog article per week. that keeps customers interested. It makes it look like , you're running an active site with activity happening.

It doesn't help conversion rates when a customer goes to a website and it looks like nothing's been updated in months or years. To have an article every week, I don't think you could go wrong having them more frequently than that either.

And the app makes that extremely simple. You could do one every day if you wanted. I would say at least once a week would be, ideal.

Claus Lauter: Okay. a huge advantage there. Not only for SEO and engagement, as I said, also for reputation. So you have a better reputation if there's an active site and people see that's something going on. And then I also think that with the block, again, I think a lot of Shopify stores do not use that to the extent they should.

You create over time a lot of organic traffic, which might be difficult to get the right rankings with product detailed pages. So I see a lot of advantages there. Tell me a little bit about the pricing structure.

Rob Chinery: The pricing is extremely simple. It's free to install there's no pretrial period, nothing like that. Completely free to install. You get, 10 creations per month for free. So that could be 10 articles, 10 images you could mix and match them however you'd like. , you don't get access to the advanced feature or you can customize , the tone and add products, unless you upgrade.

The upgrade price is, it's $10 a month. There's just one plan. With that you get 300 creations per month, which, I haven't seen any users hit that limit yet. It's a pretty generous limit. 300 articles, images, whatever. And then you get access as well to the advanced creation, which, I know a lot of our users have found valuable, especially if they're trying to promote their products through the articles.

We have users , that install and stay on the free plan cuz they don't need more than 10 per month and maybe they don't need to integrate their products into their articles. it can get addicting once you get into the app.

I'm sure people that have played with AI have seen this, when you're getting, Cool results you want to keep seeing, all right, we'll generate me an image for this. Generate me an article about this and it can get kind of addicting , to see, what the capabilities of the AI are and especially when, there's potential , to improve your sales and your business.

The simplicity of the plans, is important cuz you shopped by apps before and we can get complicated and confusing sometimes when there's five, six different plans. In order to get a certain feature you need to, find certain plan that includes that feature.

So I want to keep it simple and you can use it for free if that's all you need or for $10 a month, you can get access to everything.

Claus Lauter: Okay. No, that's absolutely no-brainer. Benefits and advantages are absolutely clear and for that price, I think there's no reason not to install it. Before we come to the end of the e-commerce coffee break, I wanna ask you a little bit about, because you are so close to that topic, where do you think.

Does the train go with AI within this year?

Rob Chinery: AI technology's constantly improving. Rapidly. We've seen just in the last few months, it's really impressive how far it's come already and in such a short amount of time. For me, I'm constantly staying on top of the latest advancements.

I've already, switched over some of the, AI models both for the blogging and the image generation a few times. As newer, more advanced, more efficient models have come out. I try to update the app as quickly as I can to get those, Integrated so that users , are having access to , the latest, most advanced.

Some of the biggest advancements that are in the pipeline that we've seen some demos of, that maybe aren't necessarily available to the public yet. But I think. Pretty soon. The image generation it'll be easier to get exactly what you're looking for in fewer attempts.

If you're looking for a very specific, , visual of, a person doing something, it doesn't always come out exactly how you want. but, , with each advancement in the model, it definitely is getting easier and easier and taking less and less, tinkering to get what you want.

I know that That's one of the goals of these Organizations that are developing this technology is to make it so that the ai, can give you exactly what you're looking for in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort. And I think that goes for the blog articles as well.

Typically I think you get pretty good results on the first attempt, but, there's definitely room there to improve on the depth of the content in the articles, and as well as the length of them. Right now the app typically , generates articles of like up to maybe a thousand, 1500 words max.

The capabilities are out there right now to generate longer articles, but, the cost is higher. So I think also costs could come down to make that more feasible. But, for the articles, , the length and the depth and, maybe even more variety and certain things, definitely, improving over time.

But I think the images right now is where there's a ton of potential. Improvement and we've already seen it. Even, my users, that used the app when it launched last month compared to now, have seen a huge difference , in the image generation capabilities just because of the advancements in the models and, adopting those new models as soon as they become available.

Claus Lauter: A hundred percent agree there. Robert,

where they find out more about j?

Rob Chinery: They can go to jolt, that, has Most of the basic information, but I think really the best place to find out about any Shopify app is, on the Shopify app store. aside from the information in the app listing on there, the reviews I think are incredibly useful.

I always look through reviews. Joel already has, , ten five star reviews, it's pretty difficult as a new app generate reviews early on. I've been pretty happy with those results so far. Seeing reviews from other merchants that have had great experiences with the app, I think is more useful than almost any other information that you can find as a merchant.

Claus Lauter: Absolutely right. Yeah. I will put the link in the show notes as always, and you just one click away. And I think it's an all brainer to put it on your store and start grading blog posts there. Very straightforward and there's so many advantages it is in doing that. 

Thanks so much, Rob, for your time and have a great day.

Rob Chinery: Thank you.