Is your team using (or considering using) AI writing tools to develop marketing content? If so, you’re in good company.
A recent survey by Aira found that nearly 59% of marketers surveyed already use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to optimize their existing content. However, the same study uncovered that only 13% of marketers believe AI-generated content is indistinguishable from human-generated content.
Despite the gaps in what AI can produce today, these tools will only get better and more intelligent. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT continue to improve with each new release, and many businesses are already starting to see value in using them.
For busy marketers with limited budgets, doing more with less makes artificial intelligence writing tools attractive. But because AI isn’t capable of replacing thoughtful, creative, oxygen-breathing content creators (at least not yet!), it’s essential to know when and how you can rely on them.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and risks of generative AI writing tools, and get tips for using them to your advantage for more efficient, effective marketing content.
What is generative AI?
Generative AI is a type of machine learning system. With machine learning, AI models “learn” to mimic human intelligence to perform specific tasks. The most common type of generative AI is called a large language model (LLM).
ChatGPT—the thing we’ve heard about nonstop for the last year or so—is an LLM. It’s trained on massive amounts of information from books, websites, social media, news articles, and other text sources. LLMs can generate different outputs like headlines, stories, chatbot conversation flows, articles, captions, slogans, or code.
Sounds great! So, why do I need a writer or editor when I can use ChatGPT for free?
It’s true that with the right prompt, ChatGPT can spit out an entire blog post in mere seconds. But while the technology is pretty incredible, it has some shortcomings, and there are good reasons to tread carefully
Here are a few reasons you need human oversight when using AI writing tools to create marketing content:
To get good outputs, AI needs the right human inputs
Remember that an AI is just a sophisticated mimic—not a creative thinker or marketing expert. It also doesn’t know your customers like you do. You need people knowledgeable about the subject matter and your audience to provide specific prompts to get what you want from AI writing tools like ChatGPT.
AI can’t always distinguish between fact and fiction
Without human oversight to ensure the information it produces is true. Generative AI models sometimes produce inaccurate or nonsensical outputs (a phenomenon experts call “AI hallucinations”).
Computer World recently reported that after Microsoft’s news portal MSN replaced some of its journalists with AI, they started republishing disinformation, fake news, and stories about mermaids and bigfoot.
You can’t trust AI models with private information
Many generative AI tools take the information users enter and feed it back into its LLM to learn from.
So if you were to enter confidential or proprietary information about your business or customers in an AI prompt, that information could be compromised. At the very least, this could damage your trusted reputation with customers. At worst, it could open your business up to lawsuits.
AI still writes like a robot pretending to be human
As far as AI writing tools like ChatGPT have come, they’re still just robots mimicking a conversational human tone.
They can do it pretty well but still don’t come close to a good human writer. Why? Because humans have emotions and can relate to the challenges and feelings of their audience—something even the most sophisticated AI cannot do.
Examples of AI vs. human writing
Let’s look at two writing samples, one written by a human and the other by ChatGPT. Both were given a prompt to write two paragraphs about the benefits of buying an electric bike.
Electric bikes have gained significant popularity in recent years due to their numerous benefits. First and foremost, they are environmentally friendly, emitting zero carbon emissions and reducing air pollution. They also provide a low-cost mode of transportation, requiring minimal maintenance and charging costs compared to traditional vehicles. Additionally, electric bikes offer a convenient way to travel longer distances, allowing riders to cover greater distances without getting exhausted. With an electric bike, you can easily navigate through traffic and reach your destination quickly, making them ideal for commuting to work or running errands. Overall, buying an electric bike is a wise investment that benefits your wallet and the environment.
If you’ve gone out and about recently to enjoy the warm spring weather, you may have noticed quite a few people zipping around on electric bikes. In the last couple of years, e-bikes have become nearly as big of a cultural phenomenon as pickleball (well, almost). While they come with a much bigger price tag than a traditional bicycle, many biking enthusiasts find the benefits outweigh the cost and consider them a great eco-friendly alternative to cars. Riders can experience the joy of biking with the added benefit of electric power when they get tired. You get the wind in your hair without the charley horse in your leg.
Could you tell which version was which? If you guessed ChatGPT wrote version 1, you’re right. Specifically, it was written by ChatGPT version 3.5. (The new ChatGPT-4 model is said to be significantly better at capturing human tone.)
While ChatGPT did a great job listing the many benefits of owning an electric bike, the human writer was better able to capture the feelings associated with riding one. But that doesn’t mean the AI version isn’t useful. It could provide a great jumping-off point for a person to improve upon.
Good use cases for AI writing tools
Powerful AI tools like ChatGPT are just that—tools. Thinking of AI as a replacement for human workers is overestimating its abilities (and underestimating your people). That being said, AI marketing writing tools can be handy for content creation and help your team work smarter and faster.
Here are a few ways to use AI writing tools for content marketing:
Research and topic generation
Researching can be time-consuming for content marketers. Our brains can only sift through and compile so much information in one day. Input nearly any subject, and AI can compile relevant sources in seconds. You can also ask it for some “unconventional” subtopic ideas for a fresh take on your subject.
For example, we asked ChatGPT to provide an unconventional blog idea for electric bikes:
Title: “The Electric Bike Revolution: Redefining Urban Exploration”
In an era dominated by technological advancements and a growing concern for the environment, the rise of electric bikes has sparked a revolution in urban exploration.
While most discussions about electric bikes focus on their eco-friendliness and practicality, let’s delve into an unconventional perspective that goes beyond the traditional benefits. Buckle up as we embark on a journey that explores the electrifying transformation of our cities and the unique experiences that electric bikes offer.
Copywriting and social media
ChatGPT can help marketers get “unstuck” when writing headlines, descriptions, ad copy, social media posts, and more. While AI can’t replace your clever copywriter or social media manager, it can generate some solid ideas for them to get the ball rolling.
For example, we asked ChatGPT to write a Tweet about electric bikes. It not only provided some decent copy but included emojis and relevant hashtags, too:
🚲⚡️ Looking to ditch traffic jams and reduce your carbon footprint? Join the e-bike revolution! Electric bikes offer a fun, eco-friendly, and efficient way to commute. Say goodbye to stressful commutes and hello to a greener, more enjoyable ride. #eBike #SustainableTransport
There is one problem that every human writer has that AI can help fix: human errors. Just input your text, and ChatGPT can check your spelling and grammar and provide corrections. Many popular copywriting tools like Grammarly incorporate AI into their products to help marketers improve writing accuracy and quality.
While AI writing tools are excellent for sparking ideas and assisting in content creation, you still need an experienced writer or editor to review anything generated to ensure it reflects your brand voice and adds value for your audience.
Remember, AI just regurgitates a version of information it learned by consuming other sources. To stand out from the competition, your content should be creative, original, and have a unique point of view.
4 tips for creating stronger ChatGPT outputs
It’s okay to embrace technology and AI tools for marketing without losing what makes your brand voice and message unique. When using AI writing tools, here are a few ways to gut-check the content to ensure it sounds like it came from the trusted humans behind your organization.
Be very specific in your prompts
While generative AI might seem like magic, it’s not, and it can’t tell what you’re thinking or trying to get out of it. The more specifics you provide in your prompts, the more closely the outputs will be to what you’re trying to achieve.
Take out jargon or complex sentences
Sometimes, when you ask a robot to write something, it sounds like a robot wrote it. (Shocker, right?) ChatGPT tends to write long sentences with far too many words or use jargon that adds little value to the content. A good editor can spot those problems a mile away.
Put yourself in the audience’s shoes
Does the content address what your readers are feeling or experiencing? Think about the e-bike example. The AI only captured facts about e-bikes, not the feeling you get when riding one. Make sure your content speaks to the emotions of your audience.
Read your content aloud
This is good advice whether you’re reviewing something written by AI or a real person. Reading content aloud can help you determine if it’s written in a conversational tone. In other words, think about whether or not you would say the words the way they’re written in a conversation with a friend or colleague.
Every good marketing team wants to publish content that boosts search rankings, engages target audiences, and converts leads. With a team of savvy, creative (human) marketers powered by AI writing tools, that work can be accomplished faster and more efficiently.
As Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes, put it:
“Writing is a full-body contact sport. You need to participate fully. Your brain. Your hands. Your personality. Your voice. All of it. We can’t passively sit back and let AI write for us. The way to use AI is as a gymnast using a spotter and a coach—a way to help you create with more confidence—even fearlessly. Yet it’s your talent that drives AI. You are the gymnast!”Ann Handley
Mastering the art of writing marketing copy that converts
If the thought of having to learn how to master prompt writing in order to make the most of AI content tools seems overwhelming, we can help. The experienced writing team at our award-winning marketing agency understands that it takes a human touch to create engaging campaign assets that turn prospects into customers. Let’s talk.