There is much talk out there about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the content writing space, and whether it is expected to take over all our content requirements in the coming years. ChatGPT has recently made headlines across the globe and usage of AI to produce anything from school assignments to marketing content has naturally increased.
AI programs are not new, and already exist in many forms. Many of us use it on a daily basis for things like getting directions, predictive text on messages, or asking an electronic assistant for help. Using AI in these formats is super helpful and helps to make our lives easier.
So, what does the use of AI mean for content creators? When looking at AI in the content marketing space, a quick search online will render dozens of programs available that claim to write everything from social media posts to full blown articles in mere seconds. Content writers, bloggers, and other content creators can use these programs as a tool to help them create content more efficiently and effectively.
As the technology advances, we can expect more interactions with AI, but are we getting carried away by thinking it will be something like Hollywood fiction? Let’s not put our feet up just yet! Using AI programs as a tool (in any industry) can be useful, but assuming they will take over and complete work to a high standard independently is preposterous.
While AI programs can be a great help to content creators, there are also some challenges that users will face when using such tools. One of the main challenges is that AI programs are not able to understand the context of the content, nor can they convey feeling, or highlight the specific humour or individuality of a person or business.
This can lead to them creating inaccurate or mediocre content that may be vague and could apply to anyone. They are not (yet) able to generate new ideas and then go ahead and write about them.
Another point to note here is cultural sensitivity. There may be content produced which, if misinterpreted, may be damaging or offensive to different cultures or minority groups, for example.
Anything that is created by an AI program will need to be thoroughly fact checked for credibility. Misconstrued or false information can cause a raft of issues with the intended audience, so a human is required to weed out the inaccuracies and ensure the information is factually correct. AI programs comb countless pages of information on the Internet to help them create content, some of which we know can be untrue or simply irrelevant.
AI programs can also prove to be expensive, with most operating a subscription-based service, and some content creators may not have the budget to invest in such programs.
As with most computer programs, they are often only as good as what is inputted by a human. Dependent on the number of keywords or information provided, the result may look impressive at first glance, but repetition of words and sentences/phrases can make for a very long and arduous piece of work.
Automating some of the content creation process is a benefit of using AI programs, whether that be simple headings or assisting with generating entire articles or blog posts. They can also be useful for checking grammar, spelling, and other errors in content, as well as suggest changes to make content more engaging.
AI programs can suggest a list of paragraph headings, which can provide a structured outline for your piece. You may choose to use some or all the program’s suggestions, or simply use it for ideation. Of course, SEO is important for article or blog content posted online.
By telling the program all your intended keywords, it will help by proliferating the document with them. Obviously, the more keywords input into the program, the more often they will be used. There is some debate however that Google considers AI content to be spam, and using it could cause your site to drop in search rankings.
The use of AI programs can also be useful to assist with more formulaic or repetitive content that businesses may produce, such as email intros or regular standard letters. Overall, the tools can be helpful for content creators to produce rough first drafts or starting points (helps to alleviate writer’s block!). Of course, anything created in this manner will need to be thoroughly checked and edited or rewritten prior to any final version going live. Some programs can also assist with sourcing of relevant images and videos to go with the written content.
Future of AI Programs for Content Creation
We live in a technologically advanced world, with the speed of technology accelerating faster all the time. It is no surprise that AI tools are becoming more prevalent in many industries, and part of our everyday lives. AI programs are becoming increasingly powerful and, in many formats, it can become more difficult to ascertain what is real and what is computer generated.
We can expect AI content tools to soon be able to easily analyze user data and provide content creators with insights and recommendations that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort to find. They will also become more accessible and affordable, and likely become another essential tool in a marketer’s toolbox.
Recently I set about researching and experimenting with AI programs, not only to educate myself on the technology, but also to upskill in my field. There are a myriad of programs available to assist with content creation (or many other disciplines). One of the most talked about is ChatGPT, which can create basic social media posts, but also longer form content.
The buzz and the marketing has made this technology seem new. Yet, there have been many other programs like Jasper, which offers a free trial, and requires your credit card details. Once the trial has ended, you will be charged the full rate for the service if you do not cancel prior, so best to make a diary note! I found programs such as WriteSonic better as they allow you to sign up without credit card details, however you are limited to how many ‘premium words’ you can use during your trial. The number of words offered should be plenty in order to get a feel for the program and produce at least one piece of work.
In the first part of the WriteSonic trial, I was prompted to provide a title. I was given a list of potential alternatives – handy even if you would like to create a combination of two or more. I was then asked to provide the article outline for the piece. This is where I entered all the relevant keywords to help build my article. It then showed three lists of paragraph headings – sections where content is broken up – of which I selected one (I had the option for it to generate more if I didn’t like any of them). Following this, I selected my preferred tone of voice, point of view, language e.g., English, and added a clear call to action.
What I received was what looked like an impressive article consisting of over 1300 words, broken up into 10 paragraphs with good headings. This is where it gets interesting! Reading through the first paragraph I was impressed with the initial direction and content, however as it went on, the subsequent paragraphs were somewhat repetitive, just written slightly differently. Some had entirely the same sentences in each. The content appeared to be robotic in nature, with paragraphs containing several succinct sentences of similar lengths, and the tone was all a bit, well, bland.
Now, I’m not saying it was all bad. What I had was a good starting point – great if you are looking for some inspiration to kick of a written piece of work. Anything created will require thorough editing and reworking from a human, and perhaps a little editing of the tone of voice. That said, I think it is entirely up to the quality and quantity of the information fed to the program by the user in order to produce a good piece.
In conclusion, there are a large number of programs available today to assist with content creation. We have looked at some of the benefits of using these tools, along with some of the drawbacks. There is no doubt they can make it easier for content creators to come up with creative solutions, generate SEO friendly content and potentially save time.
The main takeaway here is that it is not a case of ‘Woop! Robots can now create all our content for us.’ A good content marketing strategy requires planning, thought and action – from humans! The content you create is designed to engage and connect with people. It is becoming easier to ask a smart program to spit out a lot of mediocre content, but will your audience be impressed by that?
The need for humans to write and create quality content to engage and resonate with a target audience is still there! Using AI technology as a tool can be highly beneficial and a win-win for you and your customers, but it is not going to replace human creativity. AI tools will definitely have a place in a marketer’s toolbox as we continue to create engaging content for our clients.
If you would like to know more, or if we can help with your content marketing requirements, we have a number of packages available.