They Ask, You Answer Mastery

A coaching & training program that drives unmatched sales & marketing results.


Sales Performance Mastery

Improve the competencies and close rates of your sales organization.

Web design

Website Mastery

Web design, development & training for your team.


HubSpot Mastery

Everything you need to get the most from HubSpot.

AI Mastery

AI Enablement Mastery

Unlock the power of AI in all aspects of your revenue operations.

Discover how IMPACT’s services can help take your business to the next level. Book a free 30-minute coaching session Book a free 30-minute coaching session
Learning Center
Learning Center

Learning Center

Free resources to help you improve the way you market, sell and grow your business.

Discover how IMPACT’s services can help take your business to the next level. Book a free 30-minute coaching session Book a free 30-minute coaching session

Free Assessment: How does your sales & marketing measure up?

Get Started

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
Get Started
Advanced They Ask, You Answer  |   Artificial Intelligence

How to Build a Brand That AI Loves

John Becker

By John Becker

Aug 31, 2023

According to Wil Reynolds, the first reports of SEO dying were in 1999, which kicked off the longest, slowest, most dramatic, most over-reported death in history.

And here we are, almost 25 years later, and SEO has still got vital signs, despite regular reports that search engine optimization is, in fact, dead and gone.

And now, AI has come along to upend both sides of search. On one side, generative AI is spitting out content and flooding the internet. On the other, AI search tools are generating responses that may replace the traditional SERP. 

I can promise you, once again, that SEO is not dead. But still, AI has rocked the foundation of search engines as we know them, and businesses would be foolish to ignore what’s happening.


It was hard enough getting found when Google Search ruled the world. But with the advent of generative search, the rules of the game have changed. 

The question is, how do we make sure our businesses get found by our buyers in this new search landscape?

Generative search: What we know — and what we don’t know

When Chat-GPT launched in late 2022, it sent ripples through nearly every industry.

Within a few months, OpenAI announced a partnership with Microsoft, which operates Bing, the second-biggest search engine in the world. Soon, we had a generative search tool. Instead of displaying links to other websites, Bing would generate an answer to a question based on huge amounts of data ChatGPT had ingested. 

So whether you were asking about refrigerator maintenance or loan refinancing, you’d get an answer, not a link to an answer.  

Since then, Google has introduced Bard, an LLM-powered chat tool to compete with ChatGPT, and a generative search experience, that looks like this.


And while generative search is new, it’s not that different. 

We’ve long been moving toward fewer clicks in search results. Featured snippets and “people also ask” sections already give users information without taking them off the SERP. So a generative search experience feels more like the next step than a total departure. 

How to Build a Brand That AI Loves-02-2

Still, there’s a lot we don’t know.

  • We know very little about how AI selects information, evaluates it, and synthesizes it into an answer. 
  • We don’t know how search tools will cite content or recommend links, but we’ve seen some early indications.
  • We don’t know how these platforms will sell ad space or otherwise monetize themselves. 

But we do know that search tools are a vital pathway for customers to find our websites, to find our businesses. So, how do we proceed?  

First off, keep the change in perspective

Marketing expert Marcus Sheridan reminds us that about 1.5 million people still pay a monthly subscription for AOL. This is a good stat to keep in mind during times of relentless change. People cling to what they know. Is generative search going to offer so many immediate benefits that the masses will leave traditional search behind? Not likely.   

People still rent DVDs from Netflix by mail. People still prefer printed airline tickets.

They will still search through Google just as they have for years. This means SEO is not dead. Google Search is not dead.

Remember that even though tools change, the principles remain

AI expert Briana Walgenbach says that the goal of our content is not to rank high in Google or to get crawled by LLMs. The goal is always the same: to build trust with your buyers by answering their questions.

When you do that without trying to game an algorithm, you’re building a brand that AI will love.


Early indications from generative search show that it’s boosting trusted institutions (government websites, nonprofits, media outlets) to provide credible answers. 

But it’s not just them. Marcus reports that he’s been receiving a small but steady list of leads who have found him through ChatGPT, not Google or LinkedIn. That’s because he’s steadily created quality content and built a trustworthy brand.

Putting generative search in context

At this point, generative search provides surface-level answers that satisfy very top-of-the-funnel buyers, Marcus says. Think “What is…” type questions. As they become more serious, they’ll want more detail, whether from a video, a guidebook, an article, or a podcast. 

Then they’ll move off the search results page and onto a site where they can find what they’re looking for. 

This doesn’t mean you should ignore TOFU content, but that’s usually the type of content that brings in a lot of junky traffic that doesn’t turn into dollars.

Focus on your website experience

AI should prompt you to think more creatively about the way visitors get to your site. Will many still come through Google? Of course. Will some come through generative search results? Probably. 

Additional discovery platforms will become even more important as traditional channels get choked with AI-generated drivel. That means social media, YouTube, podcasts, events, and word of mouth.


When they get to your website, how’s the experience? 

Marcus reminds us that we need to answer their questions and make it easy to buy from us. That means producing great content, organizing it on your site, and creating self-selection tools that invite the customer into a pleasant, personalized experience.  

AIO to replace SEO

Over the past few decades, companies have spent billions to have SEO specialists help them get found. Some experts were trustworthy and scrupulous, some were not. 

Be on the lookout for shady AIO (Artificial Intelligence Optimization) experts who promise to go behind a curtain and perform some magic that gets you included in generative search results. They’ll be eager to take your money, but the results may not materialize. 

When in doubt, hold true to your principles: Put the buyer first. Provide value. Build trust. The best search tools will find and recognize that.

And look for companies that share those values. 

If you want help navigating this shifting landscape, schedule a time to talk with our team. We can help take the guesswork out of AI. 

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.

Related Articles

Think of Your Business as ‘E-Commerce’ — No Matter What You Sell

November 15, 2023
John Becker John Becker

TOFU Video: Reaching Early-Stage Customers with Your Video Content

November 13, 2023
John Becker John Becker

How to Build a Brand That AI Loves

August 31, 2023
John Becker John Becker

How To Measure The Trust You've Built With Your Audience (with template)

August 7, 2023
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

Looking for Better Applicants? Focus on Candidate Education

May 15, 2023
John Becker John Becker

Your Content Initiative Can't Succeed Without Help From The Sales Team

March 22, 2023
Zach Basner Zach Basner

My Competitor is Already Succeeding with They Ask, You Answer — Should I Change My Approach?

February 22, 2023
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

What Marketing Tasks Should I Still Outsource?

January 11, 2023
Chris Duprey Chris Duprey

Why You Need To Start Thinking of Your Candidates Like Customers

September 14, 2022
Zach Basner Zach Basner

How To Inspire Your Marketing Team To Try New Ideas

July 25, 2022
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

Certified Coaching Program vs. They Ask, You Answer Certification: What’s The Difference?

June 22, 2022
John Becker John Becker

Using They Ask, You Answer in Customer Service

April 1, 2022
John Becker John Becker

How To Be a Great Subject Matter Expert for Your Content Team

January 13, 2022
John Becker John Becker

9 Reasons Teams Fail To Achieve They Ask, You Answer Success

January 4, 2022
John Becker John Becker

The Selling 7: 5 Best Landing Page Video Examples

December 23, 2021
Zach Basner Zach Basner

Is a Content Manager Salary Really Worth the Investment?

December 20, 2021
John Becker John Becker

4 Common Misconceptions About They Ask, You Answer

December 9, 2021
Will Schultz Will Schultz

Building A Team For They Ask, You Answer Success

December 6, 2021
John Becker John Becker

The Digital Marketing Plan to Franchise Your Business: They Ask, You Answer

September 7, 2021
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

In a Thriving They Ask, You Answer Company, What Role Should the CEO Play?

January 27, 2021
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

5 Traits that the Most Successful They Ask, You Answer Companies Share

November 23, 2020
John Becker John Becker

9 Ways to Find More Time to Make They Ask, You Answer Work in Your Company

August 17, 2020
John Becker John Becker

Demystifying The Selling 7: 80% Videos vs. Product and Service Videos

April 24, 2020
Zach Basner Zach Basner

How Do You Integrate 'The Big 5' into a Pillar Content Strategy?

July 10, 2019
John Becker John Becker