The world of digital marketing is rapidly changing thanks to new advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Marketing channels from social media and paid advertising to email and content marketing are all experiencing rapid disruption and innovation courtesy of industry-changing technology rooted in AI and machine learning.
Specifically, generative AI tools like ChatGPT are disrupting the content creation process and influencing marketing strategies for businesses across a broad spectrum of industries.
AI for Content Generation: What Do We Know?
However, there cannot be any doubt about the efficiency benefits and marketing possibilities that generative AI gives marketers.
As a marketer, you may be wondering how to leverage these new technologies ethically and responsibly. There are ways that you can improve efficiency and productivity in your firm with the help of AI, liberating your hard-working teams from many arduous, time-consuming and repetitive administrative tasks.
However, even if you rely on outsourced content or virtual assistants to help with the running of your business, automating every aspect of your business to AI poses several risks, which is why careful oversight and supervision are still crucial.
This guide will provide an overview of generative AI, discuss challenges when using it for marketing, outline key benefits, provide use cases, and offer best practices for integrating it into your content marketing.
What is Generative AI, and How Does It Impact Content Creation?
Generative AI refers to algorithms that can generate fresh, original content, like text, images, audio, and video. The most popular form right now is text generation, like ChatGPT, although other generative AI text programs have emerged such as Bard (Google) and Claude (Anthropic), while image AI generation tools like Midjourney are also growing in popularity.
For the purposes of this article, we will be looking at text generation models.
The concept behind this AI-powered technology is rooted in natural language processing and machine learning. The program is equipped to understand the users’ prompt (request) and produce natural-sounding, realistic and credible text on virtually any topic.
The conversational nature and interface make refining and fine-tuning the text easy to do, with the user guiding the AI program, which then learns and understands what the user is requesting for better, more accurate results.
At first glance, for content marketers, this technology allows you to:
- Dramatically increase content output and efficiency
- Produce high-quality drafts that only need light editing
- Create content in multiple formats like blog posts, social media captions, emails, etc.
- Save time on research by getting AI to summarize sources
- Receive content ideas and outlines to spark creativity and overcome writers’ block
In essence, generative AI acts like an intelligent writer on your team, exponentially increasing your content creation abilities.
Key Challenges When Using Generative AI for Marketing
It’s evident that generative AI chatbots like ChatGPT present undeniable benefits for marketers who need to produce swathes of content at scale.
However, integrating generative AI en masse across an organization presents some key challenges, whether for in-house marketers working in specific silos or full-scale digital agencies running several campaigns for other businesses simultaneously.
Maintaining Brand Voice and Tone
AI-generated content may not match your (or your clients’) desired brand voice. It takes effort to fine-tune the AI with examples of your tone and style, capture your audiences’ pain points, and highlight all your relevant unique selling points (USPs). You will likely need to make refinements and tweaks.
Preventing Duplicate or Plagiarized Content
A generative AI tool is unique in the sense that it can only reproduce the content that it is able to find in its index. Therefore, it’s highly likely that you will find it dispensing content that already exists on the web, which is why you must check AI outputs for plagiarism or duplicate content.
Upholding Quality Standards
AI programs are still prone to making grammar, factual, spelling, punctuation, and reasoning errors, although these are gradually being addressed. This is why human supervision and manual reviews are critical to creating content that adds value and serves a purpose.
Adhering to Ethics and Guidelines
You must use AI responsibly by properly attributing it and avoiding harmful instructions. While programs are becoming more transparent in their occasional accuracy slip-ups, it’s the responsibility of users to ensure that any dispensed content is not used maliciously or perpetuates dangerous misinformation.
Integrating with Other Systems
It takes work to smoothly integrate AI into your incumbent tech stack and content workflows. It’s likely that you will need to entrust specific tasks first and analyze the effectiveness of AI on productivity and results before deploying it for larger, admin-heavy tasks.
Key Benefits of Using Generative AI for Content Marketing
Despite the ethical conundrum of widespread generative AI use and the possible human job implications that it can have, businesses can experience clear and apparent benefits when using the technology sensibly and methodically.
Increased Output and Efficiency
AI lets you create far more content than is possible manually, producing long-format pieces in a matter of minutes as opposed to hours of researching, fact-finding and verifying statistics.
Despite the fact that marketers will likely have to do this anyway, given generative AI’s propensity for ‘hallucinations’ and sourcing of non-existent stats, it can undoubtedly free up valuable hours for teams to focus on high-value work.
More Topics and Formats Covered
AI makes it easy to expand your content across more subjects, formats, and channels. It can often draw natural parallels between target keywords, topics and angles, making original content and suggestions easier to put forward. Over time, it can generate meaningful topic overviews and briefs to pitch to clients, again, saving you valuable time.
High-Quality, Consistent Drafts
The AI, with guidance from the user, can eventually create engaging polished drafts outlining topics and arguments, minimizing the need for extensive editing.
The more clear instructions you can give the tool as far as consistency, tone, style, facts, messaging, keywords, and word count are concerned, the better standard of writing you can expect from the program. Again, oversight is important to ensure that anomalies are accounted for.
Enhanced Creativity and Ideation
AI can work wonders at generating outlines and ideas to jumpstart your creative process. Content writers are no strangers to struggling with idea generation, but AI programs can trigger those ‘lightbulb’ moments where winning ideas can be born out of thin air.
Additionally, when sub-editing and pitching, AI programs can make stylistic adjustments to paragraphs and passages of text that need sprucing up and enhancing.
Generative AI can cut costs associated with outsourcing or growing your team. While AI should not, at this stage certainly, be viewed as a direct replacement for human workers, it should definitely be viewed as a tangible asset worth investing in.
There are clear cost-efficiency factors worth bearing in mind if using AI more responsibly saves your upfront costs in recruiting and onboarding staff.
Use Cases of Generative AI in Content Marketing
There are some specific ways to utilize generative AI-powered chatbots and text generators in your content marketing. These are just examples, as businesses across sectors will likely be able to find unique uses for generative AI content in their specific marketing strategies.
Blog Posts and Articles
Produce outlines or draft blog posts and articles on trending topics in your industry tailored to your audience. Find topical stories and angles to make this content stand out on your website and drive traffic to your service or product pages.
Social Media Content
Craft engaging social media captions, posts, or case studies personalized to each platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others. The draft content can be unique and optimized to fit within character limits and incorporate relevant hashtags for maximum visibility.
Newsletters and Emails
Write informative and promotional email newsletters, mailshots, or digital brochures tailored to different segments. Use AI to generate the bulk of the text while you make gradual refinements for the forthcoming issues. This marketing channel still has tremendous value and your time can be best spent with much of the text generation handled by AI.
Advertising and Landing Page Copy
Quickly generate effective copy for pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, landing pages, banners, directory listings, and so on that speak to your audience. AI can help generate bespoke text for each listing that caters to your target audience at specific stages of the marketing funnel.
Produce keyword-optimized content like schema markup, meta descriptions, Page Titles, H1s, alt text and geo-pages with the help of AI. AI chatbots can generate text as well as lines of code that can help you create bare-bone page templates for easier rollout across your website.
Your website content can be bolstered heavily with the help of AI, where FAQs, category pages, testimonials, location pages, and even your information pages can be created in a matter of minutes.
Craft detailed and enticing product descriptions for eCommerce sites and marketing materials. Capture all the essential technical and informational product details for maximum effectiveness.
It’s clear that investor interest in AI has reached a fever pitch if the year-to-date statistics are anything to go by:
Best Practices for Using Generative AI in Content Marketing
To harness generative AI safely and effectively in your organization, keep these best practices in mind:
- Clearly explain the context, tone, audience, goals, and format requirements in your prompts to help the tool capture all the essentials in the first draft.
- Start with a few test outputs to assess if the AI understands your brand voice. Refine prompts if needed.
- Review all AI content thoroughly before publishing to fix errors. Use plagiarism checkers on any AI or hybrid content to ensure that you are not at risk.
- Edit drafts to improve flow, clarity, and impact. Don’t publish AI content verbatim and without strategic sub-edits.
- Avoid unethical instructions like duplicating others’ work or creating defamatory content.
- Focus the AI on less stringent and quality-assured work like drafting, note-taking, idea generation and research. Leave top-level strategy, creativity, and client pitches to account managers until ready to delegate sub-tasks to AI.
- Continuously train the AI by providing examples of high-quality on-brand content.
- Treat the AI as a collaborative writer, not a replacement. Leverage its strengths while mitigating limitations.
- Review content marketing metrics to assess the impact of AI-generated content. Refine approaches as needed.
Limitations to Keep in Mind
While generative AI has many benefits, also remember these inherent limitations:
- AI lacks human creativity, nuance, judgment, and discretion. It may miss the mark tonally, and may not get it right at all.
- Factual inaccuracies, mistakes, tautologies, hallucinations and logical flaws are common. AI doesn’t have the true independence or comprehension of the human brain.
- Long-format content may lack originality or seem generic without human creativity.
- Personalization for audience niches or segments is difficult for AI to do without excessive guidance and refinement.
- Long-term brand building through storytelling and engagement is challenging.
- Legal risks exist around copyright, plagiarism, misinformation, and offensiveness.
By understanding both the advantages and limitations, you can strategically integrate generative AI as one component of your overall content marketing stack. Used properly, it can significantly amplify your efforts.
Ready to Integrate Generative AI into Your Content Marketing?
As this guide outlines, generative AI offers tremendous potential to increase the efficiency, creativity, and performance of your content marketing campaigns, as well as the productivity of your team.
With the right strategies, you can harness AI to gain a valuable competitive advantage in your industry and set yourself apart from a crowded marketplace.
Of course, challenges exist around quality, accuracy, ethics, and limitations. However, following best practices and recommendations will help you maximize benefits while minimizing risks. It’s crucial to find the appropriate balance between AI-powered efficiency and relieving administrative burdens while augmenting your team in the right aspects.
The key is treating generative AI as a supplemental tool, not a complete solution. Focus it on high-volume tasks like drafting while leveraging human creativity and oversight where it thrives. Used responsibly alongside other technologies, generative AI can take your marketing to the next level.