- Mar 20, 2023
Before ChatGPT took the world by storm in late 2022, Artificial intelligence (AI) belonged to the confines of Hollywood disaster movies and soulless generic local news snippets. When ChatGPT launched and gained one million users in five days in December 2022, it made AI accessible to everyday people overnight. It was as simple as an elaborate chatbot, using a question and answer conversation format. As it was launched for free, the whole world was invited to act as beta-testers and AI ambassadors, which, as we know, worked beyond anybody’s wildest expectations.
Unsurprisingly, the marketing industry was one of the early adopters of AI in its business approach. Using SEO and data analytics, this industry had always been at the forefront of digital innovation and AI-powered tools and technologies easily found their place in the tech arsenal of marketing and advertising options. AI technology enabled copywriters and marketers to create content in a short amount of time, seemingly freeing up their schedules to focus on other critical tasks. Is this really the case?
In this article, I will explore how AI has changed copywriting and content marketing, providing examples of AI tools, potential uses, and limitations.
What is AI in copywriting and content marketing?
AI describes a wide range of technologies that mimic human cognitive abilities, such as learning, reasoning, and decision-making. In the context of copywriting and content marketing, AI refers to the use of algorithms and software to create and optimise content, which can refer to text as well as to video, audio or art.
Analysing data, identifying patterns, and generating insights, AI tools create content that are meant to resonate with a target audience, driving engagement, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
How the target audience is defined and how well the content resonates with it, largely depends on the human input behind the AI.
Examples of AI tools in copywriting and content marketing
Articly.ai presents itself as the ultimate solution for bloggers and content creators looking to optimise their online presence. The AI tool automates article creation and publication, including suggesting commercially licensed images, which is very unique. Articly.ai being relatively new, it’s not perfect and struggles to generate relevant content in niche industries, but it’s getting better.
ChatGPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) almost needs no introduction. This AI-powered language model was developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based AI research lab, and uses machine learning to generate human-like text based on a given prompt or topic. Students, teachers, professionals, everybody has been using ChatGPT to generate a wide range of content, from research papers to blog posts, product descriptions, and for marketers, social media content. The key to a successful ChatGPT experience is finding the right prompt.
Examples of prompts include:
- “Goal: write a blog post about using credit card reward points to get more first-class tickets. Desired output from you: provide an outline for this blogpost with a sentence expanding on that point.”
- “[text]. Explain the previous text like I’m 11 years old.”
- “Topic: [insert] Provide a succinct list of the desires that customers looking to achieve the above topic will have.”
Copy.ai churns out content via an editor that looks and feels like a slightly different version of Google Docs, which is far simpler than Microsoft Word. This online editor will feel like a second home if you’re used to blog-style content management systems. Some of the templates it offers include sales copy, digital ad copy, social media content, or emails, which can be handy as well as limiting. It cannot freely generate content without a template or format. Its biggest drawback, like ChatGPT, is that Copy.ai needs a lot of fact-checking and just plain checking to make sure that the content is relevant to the given guidelines.
For anybody struggling with grammar or spelling, Grammarly has been a godsend. This writing assistant identifies grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and even suggests improvements to sentence structure and tone. As it has been around for a long time, Grammarly is a very stable tool that can be integrated with most major writing platforms.
Another content generator, Jasper is a nifty tool to write short-form copy, social media posts, or ad copy. Like any content AI, Jasper’s content and links need to be fact-checked for accuracy, but its users are generally very satisfied with the results.
For copywriters, Persado can be a great tool to incorporate emotions into marketing language. For instance, Persado can generate multiple subject lines that are all relevant to specific emails being sent, taking into account past performance of given emotional language. If your business manages a fun, hip, cool, testing-friendly brand, Persado is perfect. If your industry is highly regulated, requiring very specific guidelines on subject lines, then it’s not for you.
Wordsmith generates human-sounding narratives from data, which can be very useful in data-heavy industries such as finance, sports, e-commerce or business intelligence. Based on raw data, the initial data entry will dictate the outcome and is the most time-consuming part for any user, but the resulting descriptions are easy to read, follow and navigate. Wordsmith can also be integrated with various platforms, such as Tableau, Power BI, and more.
Zimmwriter is an AI content generator with a twist. What makes ZimmWriter so powerful is that you can use it from virtually any program. You can call ZimmWriter to perform a task by clicking one of the magic commands from Notepad, Microsoft Word, Google Docs etc. ZimmWriter also includes an SEO Writer that can create long-form blog posts based on H1 and H2 titles, as well as some parameters.
One of the key benefits of Zimmwriter is its ability to generate content quickly and efficiently. This can be particularly useful for businesses that need to produce a large volume of content in a short amount of time.
Benefits of using AI in copywriting and content marketing
Shorter turnaround times
One of the primary benefits of using AI in copywriting and content marketing is saving time on research, ideation, and content creation, which means that copywriters and marketers can deliver assets more quickly.
Improved content quality
Used with the right safeguards in place, AI can help improve the quality of content by identifying grammatical errors, ensuring adherence to best practices, and even creating personalised content that resonates with audiences.
If there’s an area that marketers are not going to miss as far as delegating control, it’s SEO–at least the tedious aspects of it. AI-powered tools can help improve SEO by identifying the most effective keywords and optimising content accordingly. Additionally, AI can help with on-page optimization, such as meta descriptions, header tags, and alt text.
The smartest marketing approach will incorporate copy AI in the right places. For campaigns that require deep strategic planning and carefully crafted messages, a professional copywriter will always be necessary. But, for those instances where bias needs to be removed (like multi-arm bandit testing for email subject lines) or multiple assets need to be replicated quickly, AI is the answer.
Overcoming writer’s block
While AI tools cannot replicate human creativity, they can certainly help with detailed outlines, key points, and ideas. Particularly in industries where technical expertise requires a lot of knowledge, an AI content generator could help writers create authoritative content and kickstart the creative process.
Challenges of using AI in copywriting and content marketing
What is the most Googlable answer to any question? That’s what AI tools can give you in seconds, but the risk is that it won’t set you apart from the competition. Obviously, one of the challenges of using AI in copywriting and content marketing is that it lacks the creativity and nuance of human input.
AI tools give you the most vanilla answer to any question, unless you start to poke them, and you poke them again to narrow down and finetune the answer until it is usable for your needs. If you do not have a strategy or know where you are going in terms of brand perception or expected results, it’s not going to land you where you want.
Gender and ethnic bias
Another concern about AI is its potential to perpetuate biases and stereotypes in the content it generates. If you ever used an AI art tool called MidJourney, you will find out that it comes with an unhealthy dose of bias on many levels.
For instance, MidJourney generally doesn’t make people of colour appear unless asked for specifically. Midjourney also consistently underrepresents women across senior professional roles, according to a PR agency after conducting an experiment. Worryingly the team ran the top 20 highest paid jobs in the UK through the Midjourney platform and 88% of the images reinforced male gender stereotypes. From Chief Executive to Locum Consultant, Tax Partner to Aircraft Pilot, artificial intelligence revealed an overwhelming bias towards white men.
ChatGPT has also been exposed for having a sexist or racist bias, offering “mansplaining as a service.” The truth is, AI acts more as a reflection of our current world than as a window to our future one. As a result, it will come down to human scrutiny to unpick and avoid ingrained AI biases. Unless we do that, AI will simply normalise existing bias and that is not a world to look forward to.
I’ll take three examples to illustrate how personal data can be at risk in an AI world. Across the globe, companies are increasingly buying AI tools to keep an eye on their workers. Unfortunately, many of these tools are downright intrusive, discriminatory, and in some cases illegal, which has led some companies to backpedal and restrict the data collected.
In the health sector, many companies run virtual care platforms that collect, share and use personal information uploaded by patients. This data, when shared with analytics companies, gives them insight into the nature of someone’s health concern and when used to create algorithms, AI systems, automatic decision making systems — can incorporate social biases.
Last, take ChatGPT. Even in cases where data is publicly available, ChatGPT has the potential to breach textual integrity, a fundamental legal principle of privacy which ensures that information is not revealed outside of the context it was produced in. The prompts that a user inputs into ChatGPT can also be a privacy risk, as any sensitive information inadvertently handed over could become public domain.
For example, if a legal professional used the tool to draft an agreement or contract, any information included in this content becomes part of ChatGPT’s database and could be included in a response to another user’s prompt.
The “right to be forgotten” is particularly important in cases where information is inaccurate, biassed or misleading, which seems to be a burgeoning threat for ChatGPT. If the tool’s training data includes errors or misinformation, or even if the algorithm used to train it is biassed, it can lead to the spread of false information in sensitive areas like politics.
Do not assume that AI data is compliant with privacy laws, as it probably is not. Any business using AI must ensure that they are following best practices around data privacy and security to protect their customers’ personal information.
The use of AI in copywriting and content marketing is still in its early stages, and we can expect to see further advancements in the field in the coming years. As AI continues to improve, we may see more sophisticated tools that can understand and respond to human emotions, generate content that is more nuanced and creative, and provide more natural and personalised interactions with customers.
What we need to keep in mind, though, is that AI tools do not make great content or copy without expert human input. It’s like a professional cooking range. Unless you know how to use it, you are not going to become a Michelin starred chef right away. AI will make it easier for writers to find new and better ways to explain products, brands, and other content. AI can also help writers find new ways to produce better-quality articles.
With these techniques, you can ensure your copywriting is well-written and ready to go. Ultimately, this will make it easier for businesses to find reliable, high-quality content. At the end of the day, it’s all in how we use the tools at our disposal, and whether or not we use them.