Every day it seems like there’s some news story in the media or online advertising with vivid graphics touting the amazing power of AI content generation. It’s filled with promises of improving efficiency, helping you save time, and taking content creation off your to-do list. It can all be very tantalizing.
Though you’re only right to wonder if AI content generation really can replace flesh-and-blood human copywriters. Not to mention how it could affect your brand voice.
Are AI Content Generators Really Artificial Intelligence?
When it comes to content generation the term AI can be a little misleading. It’s not actually artificial intelligence. It’s not going to become self-aware and bomb humanity out of existence.
AI content generators are actually just a form of machine learning. Human beings put information into it, and the machine’s algorithm finds ways to spin that information in different ways. With feedback, it can start to learn which phrases and styles of expression are more successful for answering the information put into it.
It does this using sophisticated underlying coding, pre-existing data, and algorithms. This includes text that is generated via natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG) technology. All with minimal human input.
How Does AI Content Creation Work?
An AI content generator relies on a human to input prompts and key information points related to the topic, tone, and content length. The AI generator uses these data points and prompts to search the internet, much like a sophisticated internet search engine.
It draws information that it considers relevant to its internal parameters. The AI generator then uses NLP and NLG methods to patch together a suitable piece of content. All in a matter of seconds as opposed to the hours it takes a professionally trained human content writer.
The most popular form of AI content comes from Generative Artificial Intelligence which is an algorithm that can create seemingly new digital media content. It outstrips other content-generating algorithms by creating multiple variations of a topic, or object and then screening the results to choose the variations that meet the inputted criteria.
Can Google & Other Search Engines Detect AI Content
The nuts and bolts details of Google’s all-powerful algorithm are a secret that they keep close to the vest. However, Google has come out to say that it can detect AI-generated content. They note that: “Using automation — including AI — to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results is a violation of our spam policies.”
However, Google does recognize that there are times when automation can be helpful. Such as for generating weather alerts, box scores for sports, and even product descriptions.
When it comes to using AI-generated content as a means of augmenting quality content written and supervised by human beings, Google further recommended adding automation or AI disclosures to the written content though it is not necessary.
So, when it comes to using AI content for nuts and bolts elements or disseminating dry information, Google isn’t looking to penalize anyone’s rankings. Though when you start trying to use AI content or other forms of automation for SEO and or to try to improve your organic rankings, then you might just be playing with fire.
Best Practices for Using AI Content Generation in 2023
Setting aside AI-generated content for SEO, there are still a lot of different ways that AI content can be helpful for businesses. Though there still needs to be a modest amount of human oversight when doing things like:
Generating First Drafts
If you’re a small business and you don’t have a trained writer on staff, AI-generated content can be a feasible starting point. The AI can give you a working introduction with paragraph structures and a sound conclusion.
You can then go in with your expertise to add the kind of helpful information and real-life, authentic experience that your readers are truly trying to tap into. This lets you create valuable content in a short amount of time, without needing a degree in creative writing.
Improving Your Own Writing Skills
Ideally, an AI content generator is trained by multiple human beings who know how to write in perfect English. The content it produces will meet all the required grammar and sentence structure rules. So, when you go in to edit it and augment that first or second draft with your human hands, you can start to see little nuts and bolts of things that you can improve in your own writing.
Product Descriptions & Base Text
AI content generators are a great way to accelerate the process of writing product descriptions. If you set them up with detail, they can create engaging product descriptions which saves you a ton of time on what can be a tedious job.
Generating Marketing Content For Print
One of the best things you can use AI content for is print production. Let’s say you have a print catalog or display materials like a tradeshow banner and brochures. AI can generate engaging content in seconds with all the key details and descriptions. Just bear in mind that directly repurposing this content for digital marketing without any human edits or helpful content added could get you red-flagged by a search engine.
Can AI Be Used for Branding?
One of the biggest potential foibles of using AI-generated content is that AI generators are designed to draw information from other sources. This means they are also likely scanning your competitors and other outside sources.
AI writers use context to create content that often has any insight. It puts related sentences together making sure to tick all the boxes. This creates a form of written communication without the “Voice” you get from a human writer. Thus AI-generated content struggles to create connections or evoke emotion.
Of course, one of the most important elements of any business’s brand strategy is the “Branding Voice” which needs to create connections and evoke emotions in new and existing customers. When you let AI-generated content influence your brand message you risk accidentally altering your brand voice.
If you’re an established brand, your loyal and potential new customers are accustomed to your original brand voice. They rely on it to be consistent and on-message. If that brand voice is even a little bit off, it creates feelings of skepticism about what else might have changed in your products and services. This can create a nosedive in your engagement and conversion rates.
Can AI Write Long-Form Content
Long-form content is one area where the weaknesses of AI content start to get exposed. AI can hit the high notes of a subject through its quick searches and combining relevant information that is input by a human being.
The longer the content is, such as a pillar post or a long-form marketing post the more AI’s robotic sentence structure starts to drag. This is due in part to the way long-form content and marketing messages rely on making “Unexpected but Relevant Connections” in the reader’s mind.
This is only possible in human beings through a psychological concept known as “Theory of Mind.” It allows you, me, and the old lady down the street to imagine what someone else is thinking. We then communicate with them in a way that makes them feel like we’re talking directly to them.
The human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe. Billions of years of biology created it, and millions of years of real-world human interaction helped our big squishy brains evolve into the most engaging communication device on the planet. It’s the best tool for connecting human thoughts and emotions with other human minds.
AI-generated content is handy. It can save you a lot of time with nuts-and-bolts things. It can get your first draft off on the right foot. It can come up with some great product descriptions. It can put together alerts and organize technical information to save you time and money.
The concern comes in when you ask it to do too much. Especially since a lot of the firms that create them tend to over-promise and under-deliver. Letting AI write marketing pieces for you, sales letters, and long-form content, is like letting Stevie Wonder drive your brand voice home.