AI-generated content: should our business use it?

August 1, 2023
Topics covered in this article:

Should our business start using generative AI (the latest in artificial intelligence) to create content more easily or faster or without the need for a professional writer or editor?

In the last few months, we’ve received this question, or a variation of it, a lot. And I mean, a lot.

My short answer to “should we use it,” is, sure. Check it out. It’s a new tool like any other. It’s not going to completely replace the need for professional-level writing, editing, content strategy, or writers and editors, for that matter. But it may help augment their efforts.

The bigger question is, how should a tech or automotive or any business build AI into its communication or content strategy? Because AI is here to stay, and the technology being built into business tools with speed we have never seen before.

Imagine AI generated this image of a professional content strategist.

AI Chatbots are a starting place for content

As you may or may not know by now, you can use a chatbot like ChatGPT, Google Bard, or Bing Chat to generate website, social media, and blog content for you. For example, to help you write an article, you can ask it to generate things like:

  • Ideas, concepts, or angles (a thesis)
  • Outlines
  • A list of potential sources
  • Draft copy
  • Edited versions of drafts to adjust tone, flow, voice, structure, grammar, ease of reading, reading level, etc
  • Alternative subheads and headings

And it will do so immediately. I had lots of fun trying to write this article that way, and I spent a whole day playing with it and not succeeding in a decent first draft. It absorbed a whole bunch of time and I could have written the article faster without it.

But what it did do was provide different perspectives and insights that helped me shape this article. For example:

8 Tips to effectively use AI chatbots for content creation

Here are some tips (from me, not AI) on leveraging AI for generating articles, essays, blog posts, etc:

  1. Be concerned about privacy. Every AI I sampled noted that the information you provide will be given to a human to review. Avoid providing any information you wouldn’t publish publicly at that moment. It may also be used to “train” the AI itself.
  2. Use AI for fresh ideas, structure, research, and outlines to give to a subject matter expert and/or professional writer. The output might not be quite right, but it’ll get you going.
  3. Assume that the AI output is plagiarized. AI generates content based on other people’s work, so it may give you concepts, phrases, or entire pieces that are very similar to something owned or copyrighted by someone else. Do not publish this verbatim.
  4. Ask the AI to provide sources every time. Double check that these sources are reputable (and exist; AI has been known to make things up).
  5. Provide the AI as much information as possible (while considering company and personal privacy) about what you want, including:
  • Voice
  • Tone and “temperature”
  • Length
  • Sources
  • Unique references not yet published
  • Word choice
  • Examples
  • Perspective
  • Conclusion
  • Audience
  • Samples

6. Completely. Make it your own. Check sources, get it peer reviewed. Scrub for oddities and inaccuracies.

7. Disclose that you used AI, and how you used it, to create the article. I anticipate that this will be a worldwide regulation sometime in the near future, anyway.

8. If you’re working with freelance writers, make sure they disclose whether they are planning to use AI as a tool with their work, and ask them to send their process.

Why didn’t I use AI to write about the pros and cons of AI-generated content?

As I mentioned, I asked a few different AIs to write this article for me. Although I followed all my own advice above, the articles that were generated were formulaic, generic, rambling, overly formal, and often about a tangental topic, even though it was using the keywords I provided. In other words, they were boring and wrong.

I could have heavily edited them, yes, but the substance was just not there to fix.

AI-generated content mistakes

For example, the AI made the common amateur-writer mistake of  including overused and “empty” user benefits such as speed, ease, efficiency, personalized, and engagement. You can use those words for describe just about any tech brand. The AI is seeking patterns, not creating original insights.

As another example, the risks the AI suggested were mostly about needing a review for “inaccuracies and oddities” and adding a human touch, as if these tasks were easy. Inaccuracies can bring a company down. And lacking a human touch means losing your customer’s attention.

Human touch requires humans.

Generative AI is rapidly evolving

On the plus side, these AI generated articles essentially showed me what not to write about. They were showing me what’s already out there.

And, by definition, generative AI is rapidly evolving as people use it. What's more people are harnessing the power of generative AI into their own software, which may give it more usefulness and dependable outputs.

I’m all for AI. But it's not a replacement for human ingenuity, experience, or creativity. Let’s keep exploring.

About the Author: Shelly Bowen

Shelly Bowen, content strategist

Shelly Bowen, MFA, is a content writer, content strategist, and founder of Pybop.

For decades, Shelly has written for businesses on complex topics from disease prevention and medical devices to alternative energy and leveraging data. Today, she's hyper-focused on supporting B-B technology businesses. In her spare time, she hikes, kayaks, draws, and works on her T-Bird.

A wide variety of brands rely on Shelly as an essential freelance writer and content strategy resource.

Follow Shelly on Instagram @pybop or connect on LinkedIn. More about Shelly and Pybop.

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