Former Sirius FM DJ Kate Bradley Chernis has launched Lately which has just delivered a 12,000% increase in content engagement for one of their clients, Gary Vaynerchuk. They are able to repurpose blogs, press releases, newsletters, white papers, video and audio transcripts and other evergreen content into dozens of pre-hashtagged and pre-short linked social media posts.
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Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kate Bradley Chernis, who is on time, she's punctual, but she launched a company called Lately. We got straight into it, and when it comes to the problem Lately is trying to solve for entrepreneurs, Kate says it's twofold. The first problem is the pain point of writing and the fear of the blank page. Believe it or not, not only is that a problem for most people, but marketers especially have a problem with writing. Kate says they don't like it, so they hire out consultants to do it or they push it off to other people. On average, it takes 12 minu es to write one single social m dia post, so that tells you w at goes into it. The second roblem they solve is the unlocki g of the content they create. enerally, long-form content like blogs, videos, podcasts or newsletters takes several ho rs to create, and then most of he time, nothing happens with i . Maybe there's one public sho t out, "Check out my blog," wh ch Kate believes is the most va id call to action on the face o the planet, and then that's t. And so, that's what Lately m gically solves. How does Lately solve those problems? Initially, Kate did I then asked Kate if they also deal with trending hashtags or this manually when she used to own a marketing agency for Walmart, and she got them 130% ROI year over year for three years. At the time, it was just her. Now, it's automated. With a blog, a newsletter, a press release, a video, or a podcast, you can put it into Lately, co nect your social channel , and then Lately analyz s everything you've ever publis ed. They study your analyt cs, they look at the highes engaging posts, and they create a writing model based on what t ey learned that your custom rs like, respond to, r share. They take that long- orm content and examine that f r that same content. They loo for those magical keywords a d phrases that light up our audience, and they pull quot s into social posts based o what they've found. In o ly 1.8 seconds, you get hundred of pre-vetted social media p sts that they believe your aud ence is going to want to watch, read, or listen to. social media channels that are trending with certain conversations. She says that companies always want to know what's trending in the world, and more often than not, it's not what's trending with their own target audience. And so, they create these word clouds that show you, again, what words your audience are engaging within your own content, and they create clouds of hashtags, too. That allows you to look at what's trending with your audience on a daily basis, which is very valuable. Customers will look at their analytics on Lately and have a look at what's trending before writing the blog post. I put in one of the links to one of my blog posts from my EastWest PR website, and I got 71 different derivations, which I thought was amazing. My next question for Kate was how they're able to prioritize which ones to use. They found that in order to scale, especially as smaller businesses, you need to be everywhere all the time, and you need both quantity and quality. With those 71 social posts, Lately would recommend two things. First of all, you don't want the AI to run on its own. You want to put your human eyeball on each of the 71 posts. Take a few minutes to go through and grab around 30 that are really awesome. Crack a joke. Maybe add a different hashtag. Throw in something that showcases your personality. Kate says that's the difference of starting at third base and getting the home run or not. On its own, Lately is awesome. On our own, us humans are awesome. But when you combine humans plus Lately, that scores the run, and that's the most important thing. Another thing Kate recommends is that you schedule all, let's say, 30 or 40 you decide to use, but do them out over time. Nowadays, we've all been learning to make legacy content in real time. Her example was our conversation, as it will be relevant whether someone hears it today, tomorrow, or next year. So, say you're publishing on Twitter, publish your posts for the next 10 weeks or so. What's amazing is that because none of them are the same, you get a much higher reshare percentage, even from the same people, because people love quotables. They love to share, and that's what we all want. It's like getting to sample the food at a grocery before buying it. It's the same idea. Kate says you're giving them a little sneak peek of what's really inside that content you have My next question for Kate was in terms of integration, how people prepared. end up not duplicating or having multiple systems to manage. She says Lately replaces all those other platforms, because it is a really robust and powerful platform where you can do everything you did on those other platforms. When Kate developed this idea for Walmart back in the day and got them that 130% ROI year over year, what she started with was the organization of the marketing. What Kate shared next she said may fascinate the marketing nerds. It was Walmart's corporate company and the foundation, so nonprofit for profit, the IRS or the government in America, and then So first, she organized all that, everything from the the National Disability Institute, United Way Worldwide, Bank of America, AT&T, and these national and global companies all had franchises, and then they also had tens of thousands of other small and medium businesses and nonprofits participating. There was a good cause that everybody wanted to help market, but in order to do that, she wanted to know more about these companies. Auditing all 20,000 was a tall order, so she created an easy way to quickly understand what was happening and what their skill levels were like. She discovered that, whether it was a library down the street or the largest retailer in the world, they all had the same problems. calendar to what content they were pushing out and where it was going. She made sense of it, and that helped her uncover the redundancies. This lack of consistency is the key in marketing. That also helped her understand the writing problems and then unlock the content, which are all the things that have gone into Lately. Like what happens to all entrepreneurs, they built an organization system, because that's really the meat of what she had done, but it turns out that that's the unsexiest sell around. Nobody cares about organizing, but they did care about this little feature that they had that let you push a button and create 100 social posts in 1.8 seconds. They learned to redesign and remarket the product around that, and so everything else in the background comes as a second "Aha" moment which takes their customers aback. We've talked a lot about text, but then what about audio and video, I asked Kate. Kate shares that she asked one of their interns to take a podcast and transcribe it for her by hand, and then they would go through and run the transcription through Lately and push a link back to the full podcast by hand. She then asked the intern to select the best parts by hand to see if that could be done. It took a year and a half, and it never got done. Kate had all these podcasts lined up, but they were collecting dust. Eventually, some customers started asking for this to be automated, so now, they can also take podcasts and videos, and run through them through the same system. Again, you upload your content to Lately, push a button, and they automatically transcribe the whole text, which you can then use as a blog post if you want to, and they will instantly find the smartest quotes that they know your customers will want to read, hear, or watch, and they will match the video clips up with that, so you get 100 mini movie trailers to promote this podcast for the next year. That's an amazing opportunity, which you can presumably plug into something like Otter or Repurpose, since we over at EastWest PR have already got these distribution channels in place, but you can publish straight from Lately, Kate says. You can download it and put it where you want to, or you can publish straight through them. The kicker is that they're working with Gary Vaynerchuk or Gary Vee, and he launched an entire Twitter channel that's fueled 100% with Lately's AI. Currently, they are getting him a 12,000% increase in engagement, which is quite impressive. If Gary Vee wanted to grow his audience in China or Japan, Lately also works in different languages. Surprisingly enough, Kate and her team didn't know at first that this was possible, because they hadn't tested it. They only found out it worked when their customers tried doing it. Once they found out, they optimized it for a better customer experience. It's important to them, because most social media platforms don't always cater to the rest of the world. Apart from superstars like Gary Vee, Kate shares that they've also been working with SAP, Microsoft, AB InBev, but also small customers, like small business solutions. Gather Voices, which I've talked about before, is one of their customers as well. They work with mid-sized businesses like Amerifirst and Husky. Lately enables companies to have a multilingual campaign with a central technology platform. That, for me, is a glorious solution for those of us that are taking content everyday and repurposing it across different regions. One of the things they did with the Walmart project was they started to write social posts in Spanish. They weren't very good at speaking Spanish, so they had to bring someone in to help them. That was almost a dozen years ago. They were just discovering that the population they were trying to reach largely were Spanish-speaking. And so, you can do that now with Lately. They don't have a translator built-in yet, but Kate says not to worry as that feature is coming soon. When it comes to integration to apps like WeChat, Weibo, and Yoku, Kate says those are also on their roadmap. My next question was on the pricing. As Lately is a growing company, they've pulled the pricing off to be mysterious, but also because they're consistently testing it out. They have clients that are small, medium, and large. Essentially, she says the pricing starts at $300 per month with annual contracts per license. They also do a sliding scale fee, though, and it really depends on the qualifications of the customer. It depends on the depth of your usage and how many licenses you plan to buy. If you're going to buy 100 licenses, that price will go down and you could get a bulk deal. They're still studying theit customers, and that's why Kate says it's really important to get on a call. They treat their small customers the same way they treat their very large customers, which is with lots of love. They're very nice and fun, so it's a painless 20 minutes. Another awesome feature of Lately is that you can stack accounts upon each other. There can be a national or global account that acts as a puppeteer for all of its local franchises and you can use the AI conte t to syndicate across thousan s of channels. That's how they work with their larger cus omers. For agencies like mine Kate says that you can buy a icense and have multiple cl ents, but it'd still be a single login, so that makes it really easy to bounce between di ferent clients without that pa n of coming in and out and t en keeping the logins privat on the client behalf. As far as the limits, they've m de Lately very friendly, and they're always playing with it. gain, that's something they cater to per customer. She ays they just changed it, so sh can't rattle off what the One of the most important things for them over at Lately is not only does the AI require a human to make it awesome, but that marketing runs on emotion and only a human can translate a hug to a guinea pig through a Zoom screen. (She's referring to my friends, Basil and Piglet, who are outside right now in the garden.) Having tried Lately, it is an amazing engine for creating a huge amount of great content from a small start. From our five-stage SPEAK|pr methodology which is Storify, Personalize, Engage, Amplify, and Know, this is personalization at scale, content creation, and amplification. Lately seems to be a really useful tool to help you not only come up with lots more content from one s mple piece but distrib te it as well, and so if yo 're interested in learni g more about their features and ervices, you can go on to their ebsite. You can also reach Kate t @latelyaikate