Does Your Chatbot Need A Copywriter?

Clients are responsible for providing quill pens and non-toxic ink.

As developers build better and better bots, they must remember that on the other side of their bot’s interface is a living, breathing humanoid.

Chatbot Copywriter, that’s me, fancies himself as a bit of a nerd, but as hard as I stared at yet another javascript tutorial, all those parantheses, curly parentheses, semi-colons and colons just defeated me. Sure I could handle a bit of HTML and CSS, but the idea of coding at the cutting edge of technology looked like a distant, and fast disappearing dream.

So it was a very pleasant surprise when a leading edge (note I’m varying my cliches there) technology came along where the most fundamental coding language of all turned out to be the one I knew best. The English language. I am a total whiz at that. Turns out I could code and create with language and logic all at the same time with a text editor, a little JSON, some helpful writing tools like Pullstring and OnSequel, and my brain. Oh joy of joys.

Chatbots Want To Be Loved

It’s going to be many, many moons before a chatbot is able to machine and reinforcement learn enough to process that contextual natural language it needs to instantaneously respond to a query or question by a human, as if it was another human. For the foreseeable, chatbots are just bots, and context, nuance, sub-text, humor, empathy and other stuff what humanoids are good at is just double-dutch to a bot. Which is a major problem, because in order for your bot to make it in the already wickedly competitive bot-scape it has to be loved by the humanoids it serves.

Right Now, Chatbots Have To Be Scripted To Be Loved

Copywriters nose a thing or too about Chatbots

In the famous play “Cyrano de Bergerac”, Roxanne falls in love with a handsome but witless Christian after his letters and serenades are scripted by Cyrano. For the purposes of this analogy, the bot is Christian, the user is Roxanne, and Cyrano would be, well me. And before anyone gets too curious, I have a normal sized, unremarkable nose, nothing like the twinkie-shaped proboscis you see above.

But you get the point. We want our bots to be like dashing but doltish Christian. We want them to succeed. To make the user fall for the bot or at least, like it, be engaged by it, or not be enraged by it, it has to be given some wit, some poise, some personality. Not too much, but just enough to signal to the user that hey, this bot’s almost human. I can trust it.

“So Why Can’t I Write The Dialogue”?, Says Node.js Developer

You can, you absolutely can. And maybe you’ve got the chops to deliver just the right amount of personality and wit to your bot. But even if you’re a writing genius as well as a node.js genius, you should still have a writer check your work to make sure you’re not just in love with your own prose, or just in case you’re keeping the trash and throwing out the jewels.

But if as is more likely, you’re a developer who recognizes that maybe a writer could help, either a little or a lot, then call the Chatbot Copywriter. I can assess and audit your dialogue, and suggest changes that you can incorporate. If you want, I can help you shape the bot’s voice and personality, design the bot’s interactions pre-code, and help you analyze testing responses, and then help you update it after its shipped and in the wild. I can do as much or as little as you want me to do.

Chatbot Copywriter Is Part of The Development Team

Which brings us back to the wonderful teamworkiness of the whole thing. Finally, a guy who codes in English is part of a Development team. Heck, I even know how JIRA works, and build my own websites. I even know that GIT is a way that a large development team can coordinate its contributions, rather than a wonderful old seventies British insult. I can help create your interaction tree, or just adjust it for you, and deliver it to you from a branch that you can merge into your development master.

And the reason I can do this is because, at last, finally, brilliantly, happily…

Words Are Code.

Take heart. I am here for you.