AI can do pretty much everything these days. When it comes to marketing, AI can help companies hyper-segment their audiences, make heads or tails of data analytics, outline the key learning points of a virtual training seminar, identify SEO keywords…
The list goes on.
Of course, one of the most popular applications for AI is content development. Need a witty social post to go along with a national holiday? ChatGPT can spit something out in seconds. How about a catchy email subject line for your monthly e-Newsletter? AI can do that, too.
Yes, artificial intelligence can save time and act as a resource when you have a nasty case of writer’s block, but can AI truly take the place of a human writer?
As an experiment, we asked ChatGPT to write a blog that explains why AI is not a replacement for human-generated content. We received a lengthy response, including phrases such as “intuitive nature of human creativity” and “ever-evolving digital landscape.” According to ChatGPT, AI-generated content lacks emotional connection, creativity, originality, authenticity, and voice.
We couldn’t agree more.
And, to this point, even though the AI-generated blog content made some great arguments against itself, the content lacked personality, style, and an inherent understanding of what it means to be human. Case in point, right?
Let’s be honest: sniffing out AI-generated content is pretty easy—it sounds like it was written by a robot, mostly because it was written by a robot. AI can’t generate unique ideas (yet), so anything propagated by AI has already been thought, written, and read before. So, unless your goal is to sound unoriginal, AI is not a replacement for human writers.
It does, however, have its place in marketing. Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider when using AI to market your business.
The Dos and Don’ts of Using AI in Marketing
Use AI to complement human effort; not to replace it.
Let’s say we wanted to write a blog about the benefits of social media marketing for small businesses. We might use AI to generate content explaining what social media marketing is. The definition of social media marketing is fact; it’s something that can be defined in clear terms, and of which the definition doesn’t change. Explaining what social media marketing is doesn’t require any expert analysis or insight.
However, when it comes to outlining the benefits of social media marketing for small businesses, AI is not going to have the insight we have gained from years and years of experience in the field. AI is not going to be able to tell that story.
AI might be able to generate a list of the obvious benefits of social media marketing, but it’s not going to have the authenticity or depth that sharing our own real-world experiences is going to have. It’s that authenticity and depth that allows readers to connect with your content on an emotional level. That is what builds relationships and trust.
Another example would be using AI to generate an idea for a blog topic or social post…but not to write the content itself.
So, in short, you should leverage AI to save time generating content about well-defined subjects that don’t require deep thought or analysis. Don’t use AI to generate the “meat and potatoes” of your content—that should come from YOU, as the thought-leader and industry authority.
Use AI to identify SEO keywords, but not to write SEO content.
The connection between AI-generated content and search engine optimization (SEO) is less of a question mark than it was even six months ago—especially with the recent rollout of Google’s latest significant core update.
To be clear, AI-generated content will not be penalized by Google, per se. However, Google will reward only high-quality content that follows their E-E-A-T principles: expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Considering that AI can only distill information that already exists, an article written solely by AI—solely for SEO—probably isn’t going to help you all that much.
Rather than take an AI-first approach to SEO, take a content-first approach…then use AI to help you identify specific keywords or phrases to include in your article. That way, your content will reflect your expertise and personal experience—which makes Google happy—while strategically incorporating the right keywords in the right places—which also makes Google happy.
Automate admin processes (and some, but not all, data analysis).
Just last week, a colleague of ours mentioned that they were using AI to process a list of 301 redirects in preparation for a website launch. Historically, we have done this work manually as we develop the new website—as we go along, we populate a list of any changing URLs, and we structure it in a format that can be imported and executed to the new website with the click of the mouse. It takes less than a minute to populate the spreadsheet with the old and new URL structure, but over hundreds of pages—that’s hundreds of minutes (and thousands of dollars).
We’ll hand that task over to AI in a heartbeat.
AI has also been getting a lot of attention for its ability to analyze data, identify insights and trends, combine several streams of data into one comprehensive report, and even predict outcomes.
It sure is nice to be able to export a spreadsheet of Facebook ad analytics, upload it to AI, and let the robots tell us what’s working and what’s not. However, this is no substitution for truly understanding what your data and analytics mean. That understanding is what allows us, as marketing experts, to design effective marketing strategies for our clients.
We put together weekly or monthly performance reports for many of our clients, outlining the work that was done, the results it generated, any leads that came in, SEO performance data, social engagement metrics, and any insight we have about the good, the bad, or the ugly. I would estimate that 90% of our clients see that report and think, I’ll take a look at that when I have more time. We all know that “more time” rarely comes.
But, while these reports are valuable for our clients, they’re arguably even more valuable to us. We need to know which initiatives are performing well, which ones aren’t, where there are new opportunities, how ad spends should be adjusted across platforms, which types of content audiences are responding to…
…the list goes on.
Sure, we can use AI to automate some of this reporting process (we wish we could automate the entire process, because reporting is tedious, time-consuming, and—frankly—boring), but only when it doesn’t interfere with the ability to wrap our human heads around the data.
How We Ensure Authentic & Authoritative Content for our Clients
If authenticity and authority are so important, then working with an agency to develop your content may sound like the evil stepsister to using AI. Trust us, it’s not. At least not with our agency…
This is what we do to ensure our clients’ voices, stories, and experiences are heard and shared authentically:
We build relationships with our clients.
Our account managers meet with clients on a weekly or bi-weekly basis—whatever works for them. In fact, we have stopped accepting clients who are unable to commit to a weekly or bi-weekly marketing meeting, since the success of their strategies really is contingent upon this back-and-forth.
These ongoing meetings allow us to build relationships with our clients. While we certainly talk strategy, explore new ideas, and outline priorities, we also chat about our days, what we did over the weekend, and—of course—our beloved pets! Because of this, we are able to create content that accurately reflects our clients’ personalities. We can adopt a tone and voice that represent their individuality. As we write, we think about how our client would be explaining the topic—we can hear their voice in our heads. We include anecdotes that they have shared. We use the same language that they use.
We don’t care how good your prompts are; there is no way to upload a personal relationship into AI.
We stay up-to-speed on current events.
AI struggles to provide real-time information, and it lacks browsing capabilities. When there is breaking news relevant to our clients’ businesses or industries, our team is responsible for relaying this information to their audience. This is what builds trust. This is called “establishing industry authority.”
There is no substitution for having humans on the lookout for relevant news, so your business never fails to present itself as an authority.
Building a brand that resonates with humans requires humans.
Branding is a crucial component of marketing—it needs to be consistent across all platforms. Having a strong brand isn’t just important for big businesses—small businesses need branding, too. It’s how they differentiate themselves from the competition, establish trust with their audience, and generate brand awareness and recognition.
An important part of branding is finding your voice, and sticking with it across all media channels and platforms. Whether it’s using certain emojis consistently in your social posts, adding a dash of humor to your content, or maintaining an all-business-all-the-time tone, we know how to remain true to your brand. For example, one of our legal clients is a big fan of puns, and prefers her social media and blog posts to be written with a more whimsical voice—even when the content is a bit more serious. While AI can be “punny” if you tell it to be, it can also severely miss the mark—especially with sensitive content—because it lacks the ability to truly understand our clients’ branding and create content that showcases their voice.
At Birdhouse Marketing & Design, we see AI as a powerful tool with a lot of useful applications—but not as a replacement for the unique capabilities that each of our team members brings to the table. It’s a supplement; not a stand-in. We’re all about human power, supercharged by technology…
Talk to a Human About Your Marketing Needs
Get in touch with one of the real, live humans on our team today. Call (617) 433-8026 or submit the brief form below to let us know how we can help you do more of whatever it is you do.