Artificial Intelligence (AI) is big news these days, with disagreements about ownership of AI data and copyright, like in the cases of art generated by Midjourney. Meanwhile, there are claims from some reports, that AI is replacing so many human jobs that, by 2025, over 85 million human jobs could have been redistributed to non-living counterparts. Now, there’s no doubt that AI has revolutionised many industries across the globe, including content marketing, and the gig economy. There are tech and money saving apps everywhere to streamline efficiency and make our lives savvier. But with this ability to analyse and interpret large amounts of data with a lightning-fast turnaround time, has AI become a powerful enough tool for generating product engagement, sales copy, and website content?
In the field of content marketing, AI can be used to analyse customer demographics, behaviours, and preferences, allowing businesses to create well-targeted personalised campaigns that are more likely to engage and convert their audiences for their clients. For example, if an AI-powered content marketing platform was used on the back end of a website like Tripadvisor, it might use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyse customer reviews of accommodation, venues and their feedback. It could use this data to identify common themes or sentiments, and suggest new product features or marketing copy for hotels and holiday lets based on the data.
However, as mentioned earlier, the beginning of 2023 has seen AI’s increasing capabilities raising real-life eyebrows, with widening concerns about its impact on traditional human jobs and specialisms. As AI technology improves, it is becoming much cheaper for businesses to automate tasks that were previously done by humans to cut their overheads, including content marketing. This trend has put pressure on content marketers and other professionals, as they may struggle to not only compete with human competitors, but also with the efficiency and low cost of AI.
Why humanity matters in content creation
While AI can handle many content marketing tasks, it is still not capable of writing articles and pitches with the same level of creativity, nuance, and human empathy as a skilled content marketeer. AI is not able to empathise and consider outside of a set algorithm data set meaning, in a human world, it’s entirely fallible. For example, an AI might be able to write a basic sales pitch or product description, but it is unlikely to be able to craft compelling, engaging content that truly connects, or suggest additional face-to-face meetings to revise drafts in order to create content that resonates with an audience. AI is also unlikely to have the most up-to-date knowledge of specific competitors, brands, or product specifics in order to promote positive brand awareness in the client’s niche.
Back in 2020, police departments in the United States attempted to roll out AI to support the predictive profiling of potential criminals in Miami. The aim was to quickly suggest in a fair manner who the police might need to be more aware of. Unfortunately, because AI learnt from the police force’s historically biased human profiling training data, in combination with a lack of transparency, the algorithm simply reinforced stereotypes, targeting specific communities because of its lack of human ethics and awareness.
Now, if you apply this in the world of SEO, errors in understanding are particularly important for search engines like Google which are increasingly focused on User Experience (UX) and the quality of the content on websites. Google has always changed goal posts and criteria for what it believes is useful or quality content. Recently, I’ve been reading more on Neil Patel’s blog about how Google has implemented a number of algorithm updates, such as its E.A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) update. This update prioritises websites with high-quality, trustworthy content written by experts in their field – backed up with relatable, human experiences and context. Websites that violate the grey areas of Google’s policies by using AI to generate content may be slapped with a ban on their search console and see a decline in their search rankings and overall SEO performance, potentially hitting a brand hard!
In addition, the use of AI to generate content can negatively impact the domain authority (DA) and domain rating (DR) of a brand’s website, which are measures of the strength and quality of a website. This, in turn, can affect the user experience mentioned earlier, as visitors are less likely to trust and engage with content from low-quality or untrustworthy websites. It could also make the unthinkable happen in this digital age we’re in; it could bury the brand’s site on lower pages of search engines rendering it invisible.
Thinking hard on this, and reading numerous recent related articles, I believe it is important for businesses and website publishers to carefully consider stepping into the use of AI content marketing. While AI can be a useful and cost-effective tool, it should not be used to replace human content marketers or to generate low-quality, ‘spammy’ content. I honestly think it’s essential, for now, for businesses to focus on working with skilled, experienced human content creators who can bring unique ideas, creativity, and empathy to their work.
To help paint a picture of my thinking, consider a fictional business that uses AI to generate website content in an effort to be savvier with its money and time. Initially, the business might see some success, maybe with increased website traffic and sales. However, over time, Google’s algorithm updates begin to negatively impact the business’s search rankings and overall SEO performance. Anti-AI individuals create programs like GPTZEro and start to take on AI-tech just like Flynn in the 1988 sci-fi classic Tron, highlighting the flaws in the business’ content more. The website falls further and further, along with its DA, DR and ultimately its sales – the brand is annihilated.
The content marketer’s viewpoint
In contrast, businesses that work with skilled human content marketers are able to create high-quality, engaging content that resonates with their audience and helps to build trust and credibility. These content creators bring unique insights, ideas, and perspectives to their work, and are able to adapt to the specific needs and goals of a business or brand.
But don’t take my word for it. I reached out to one of the leading content marketing teams in my area for their thoughts on how AI is potentially encroaching on their stomping ground. Lucy, the director of Method Marketing, gave these insights:
“I find AI exciting and terrifying in equal measure! The rate at which the technology and its capabilities have developed is astonishing but it’s by no means perfect. Any content marketing materials created by an AI have to be stringently checked and edited to ensure accuracy, if nothing else.
In our trials, we’ve found data was misreported or taken from inaccurate sources. We also have concerns around the originality of the content created. If AIs are just scraping content together from existing sources, there’s no room for original thinking, making the content much the same as any other.”
Telling, therefore, that as things stand, AI content creation is more likely in the view of established professionals to harm your brand than enhance it. I’m not suggesting that AI doesn’t have a place in content generation, in fact, it’s a useful tool for brainstorming ideas when initially considering the structure of an article or content piece. But letting an AI content marketing algorithm loose on your client’s entire portfolio of drafts, content and copy is a very risky strategy.
One day a balance will, I’m sure, be found with humans and their developing tech companions, but for now, I’m embracing content and collaborations with thinking, breathing, invested and passionate humans. Whilst AI has made significant advances in the field of content marketing, it is still no match for the creativity, turn of phrase, and human empathy of a skilled content marketing team. Sure, AI can crank out a basic sales pitch or product description, but it will never be able to craft content that truly resonates with a human’s ‘being’. So, at least for now, human content creators in the UK and across the world reign supreme in the digital content world.
As AI continues to improve, it’s possible that many creative industries will need to adapt and learn to work hand-in-virtual-hand with AI. But until then, let’s give a warm round of applause to all the talented human content creators out there, who will always be the beating heart of great content. I salute you all and will stand beside you and Flynn on the grid if humanity calls for it!