Technological disruption is commonplace in content marketing. But generative AI hits differently and closer to home.
These versatile tools can speed up tedious production tasks and save writers the frustration of staring at a blank page. But you can’t just plug them in and sit back while they do all the work.
The value of AI tools depends on the effort you put into them. You can make smart decisions about how to apply these technologies and carefully modify your production to ensure it meets brand standards.
What is the best way to implement AI content capabilities? We asked some experts present at World of Content Marketing for their best AI advice and recommendations. Here’s what they say you should – and shouldn’t – do:
Do: Use AI for writing and editing assistance
Generative AI tools can help you overcome page lank syndrome by acting as your research and brainstorming partner. They can also help you stay true to your brand, providing editing advice on tone and style. Some generative AI tools also provide SEO assistance during the writing process or use your proprietary content to create spinoffs. – Wendy Coveyco-founder and CEO, TREW Marketing
The best way to use AI for content can be summed up with this phrase: “Say it better.” There are times when what you have expressed, especially in writing, is not what you want it to be – something is missing, confusing, or just plain “wrong.” It is in these moments that AI becomes incredibly valuable. – Marcus Sheridan, Vice President, Marcus Sheridan
Use AI to verify that all long-form copy consistently matches the brand voice and tone. It’s also a simple and free way to proofread. – Jennifer Harmoncontent strategist and creator, Convince & Convert
Don’t: Replace qualified (human) team members
Generative AI should make your work easier, not replace the work done by professional creatives. This is useful for filling bandwidth or resource gaps, such as creating an image quickly instead of sifting through stock footage for hours. It can suggest article titles and newsletter subject lines if that’s not your strong point. You can use it to generate ideas about the scope of a topic to ensure you don’t leave out an important subtopic. – Ruth Carterevil genius, Geek Law Firm
Teams that see generative AI as a way to reduce staff and increase content without making process improvements are doomed. There are reasons why journalists and content strategists have developed processes like style guides, content summaries, fact-checking, and developmental edits. Generative AI does not make these elements skippable. – Jeff Coyleco-founder and chief strategy officer, MarketMuse, Inc.
Do: Refine your audience’s understanding
Create an AI-powered marketing persona. Compare it to your personality research. Improve it until you feel it’s pretty accurate, then ask it lots of questions:
- What does your audience worry about?
- Where do they get their information?
- Which topics are most useful for accomplishing their work?
- What drives them to seek answers or help?
- What information do they need before they want to become a lead?
Unlike humans, you can interrogate your new AI character day and night. We never tire of sharing ideas with you. – Andy Crestodinaco-founder and CMO, Orbit Media Studios
Generative AI tends to provide good insights into how audiences search and how to prioritize their needs. For example, ask ChatGPT: “What are the top features that (our core audience) should prioritize when purchasing (our products/services)?” and you will see exactly what points your content needs to address. – Zontée HouDirector of Strategy, Convince & Convert
Don’t: Overlook the legal, ethical, or quality implications of AI
Biases and ethical concerns are associated with generative AI, and there are legitimate concerns about quality, authenticity, security, and privacy. Human oversight and review is essential, and this review requires diverse perspectives to ensure inclusiveness and provide context that AI may miss. By being aware of these pitfalls, organizations can harness the benefits of generative AI while ensuring responsible and effective implementation. – Karen McFarlaneMarketing Director, LetterShop x KMC
I am particularly concerned about the legal aspects associated with AI regarding copyright and privacy issues. If you provide proprietary information to these chatbots, it is accessible to anyone using the chatbot. Also, on the originality side, if your content looks like everyone else’s (because all chatbots can do is regurgitate content), how will that help you stand out? – Michelle Garrettconsultant and writer, Garrett Public Relations
Do: Create production efficiencies and iterative assets
I transformed our long-form content into short-form videos for YouTube, video clips for Instagram, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, and more. Additionally, using AI to create accessible transcripts has saved considerable time. AI is helping me promote our content in more ways and in less time than I thought possible. – Cathy McPhillipsDirector of Growth, Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute
As a podcaster, I can upload an audio file and the generative AI tools will produce a range of content including suggested episode titles, timed transcription, show notes, newsletter content, posts LinkedIn, tweets, etc. This content still needs some editing, but it makes my job a lot easier. – Bernie Borgesvice president, content marketing, iQor
Generative AI is ideal for content-heavy jobs like paid social, email subject lines, tweets, and more. AI can provide various options with the right inputs, but it takes an expert to identify the best option. The AI provides a lot of ingredients, but it’s not a meal. – Kristyn Wilsonexecutive vice president of digital public relations and communications, Adept
Don’t: Publish raw AI output
Generative AI is ideal for resolving the blank page or repurposing one form of content over another in draft form. We’ve also found creative ways to use it to analyze keywords and competitors, feature articles, and create webinar emails and social copy. But AI copying is starting to seem obvious and boring. Avoid publishing AI content without a strong editor to flesh it out and add opinion, humor, and personality. – Michael BrennerCEO, Marketing Insider Group
Do: Amplify content promotion
One use case I’ve put into practice is writing social media post copy to accompany an article I’m sharing. I copy and paste the body of the article into ChatGPT and tell it how many sentences to generate. I make some edits to the copy provided and check it to ensure it does not introduce any inaccuracies. – Dennis Shiaofounder, Attention Retention
Don’t: Assume that AI automatically improves results
Make sure AI actually improves your processes and results. Track the time it takes you to complete a task and measure it against the time it takes you when using AI. – Brian Piperdirector of content strategy and assessment, University of Rochester
Relying too much on AI tools for writing purposes without deploying timely and thorough engineering efforts can lead to poor results. Great learning models rely on word probabilities, which means that if your prompts lack detail, you’ll get generic results that fail to impress. It’s about understanding the nature of these models and the importance of providing precise instructions to achieve the desired result. – Christopher Pennchief data scientist, Trust Insights
The potential of AI is in your (human) hands
Take a critical look at your content program to see where you need the most help, then plug in AI to lighten the load. Like any other content marketing tool, the more thought you put into your usage plans, the better results you can achieve.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute