Bienfang Sketch books made by Speedball Art, based in Statesville, North Carolina, manufactured in Canada.

One thing AI can’t do for you is to think like a reporter when it comes to creating original and fresh content — especially with regard to manufacturers and their audiences.

What does “think like a reporter” mean? It means asking lots of questions that begin with “why,” “what,” and “how.”

✔ Why is the message you want to communicate important?

✔ What led you to make those changes in your production process?

✔ How do you train your people? Or, how do you keep the lines of communication open?

✔ Why do you have that particular machine or machines? What challenges have they solved for you?

✔ What makes your company different from the dozens or hundreds of others like yours? etc.

I prefer to interview manufacturers by phone so that I type without distraction while they talk. I often ask lots of follow on questions. (If it’s a Zoom or Teams call, I keep my camera off.)

If the interview is in person or I’m doing a facility tour, I bring my trusty notebook and pen.

I also bring my notebook to tradeshows, conferences, and other venues or events where I want to take notes. It’s never failed me.

Image is the pile of notebooks I have going back to 2017. I periodically go through them and recycle the pages, covers, and coils.