Podcast 47: Chatbots and virtual assistants are still young – it’s down to copywriters to help them grow up

Without great copy, chatbots and virtual assistants would be useless. It’s time for copywriters to stop worrying about SKYNET and get back to basics.

We’ve all seen the media hype about how robots are going to take over the world like SKYNET. But while some people may worry about Arnie turning up at their door, copywriters need to stay grounded and focus on making chatbots genuinely useful through great copy.

Chatbots and virtual assistants (VAs) might be new, but the theory behind them has been a big part of websites, search and gaming for decades.

Think of a chatbot or VA as an elaborate search bar on a website. You ask it questions, it finds the answer and fires it back to you in the blink of an eye. But what if I use the word pants instead of trousers? (I hear you ask). This is exactly what any self-respecting search bar (or chatbot, or VA) should account for and learn from.

In our latest podcast, Emily, David and George discuss all things bot, and where copywriters fit in to this brave new world.

They take a look at:

  • The difference between a chatbot and a virtual assistant
  • Top tips for writing for chatbots and VAs
  • Why fun interactions with bots have a serious side
  • Fiona’s interview with tech entrepreneur, Wo King of Hi9
  • The best and worst bots around today

Disclaimer: As Chatbot Champion (yes indeed!) for Radix, George has come up against a fearsome array of bots. Cortana tried to defend herself and Alexa refused to comment – so if this podcast goes a bit Jeremy Kyle, don’t blame us.

Download the episode here; right-click and use “save as” to download. Or listen in the player at the top of the page.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Alternatively: add our RSS to your preferred podcast player.

Music by Industrial and Marine.

Build a bot

Thanks to Samphire Amps, of Electric Dialogue, for pointing us towards Chatfuel.

If you want to send in bot name and personality suggestions, you can email them to podcast@radix-commuinications.com.


Nick developed his copywriting skills in retail, e-commerce, and politics, writing for brands like John Lewis, Tesco, and IHG – and even Members of Parliament and the House of Lords. Today, he’s a favourite among our public sector, retail, and cloud computing clients for his ability to translate complex subjects into audience-relevant and reader-friendly content.

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