Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has been used for many years in a variety of industries, but its recent application in marketing and advertising has led to some interesting new developments. (According to Salesforce, the year-on-year growth of the use of AI in marketing is 186%.)
Content is a crucial component of digital marketing campaigns, and marketers must develop compelling messages that resonate with their target audiences. As businesses strive to create more and better content, many are turning to AI as a way to boost their productivity. In response to this increased demand, several companies have created AI writing tools that can generate blog posts, press releases and other digital content for websites, social media channels and other online marketing initiatives. Some programmes also contain features for writing copy, such as ad headlines, testimonials, and product descriptions.
AI has already shown itself to be effective for marketing automation and customer service. In fact, it has been reported by Juniper Research that the use of chatbots in retail, banking and healthcare will lead to annual cost savings of $11 billion by 2023.
So, how does AI content generation factor in? Will businesses start using AI instead of humans for all of their content creation? This article aims to answer these questions and look at the ways in which these AI writing tools provide value in content marketing, as well as their drawbacks.
What is AI Generated Content?
AI generated content refers to computer generated content, rather than content that is manually written by humans. As well as generating text, many programmes include content planning and idea generation features.
AI text generator tools allow marketers to quickly create large amounts of content at a lower cost than hiring a team of human writers. In its early days, AI generated content may have failed to impress readers, but it has improved to the point that it is almost indistinguishable from human-generated content in many cases (almost being the key word; it is vital that any AI content is edited and humanised).
Many content generation platforms allow users to select keywords and topics and then create a piece of content based on those selections that is optimised for SEO purposes.
It is not just text that AI generates; there has been a rise in AI graphic and art creation software which is capable of producing impressive results. These programmes typically use text to image algorithms; users type in a description of what their graphic should look like and the programme creates a visual representation of it. Some tools even allow users to specify that their image should be created in the style of a famous artist.
As well as art, there is AI video generation software. Some of these programmes are capable of taking in a video script as input and outputting a talking head style video presented by an extremely realistic-looking virtual human.
Why Are Digital Marketers Using AI for Content Creation?
Using AI to create content can be helpful for organisations with smaller budgets, as the technology can quickly create large amounts of content at a lower cost than hiring a team of human writers to do the same work.
It also removes the operational burden of hiring writers and the costs involved in the hiring process. Hiring talented writers at a desirable rate is not an always easy task and re-hiring is often necessary when they cannot meet the required standards.
Unfortunately, freelancing sites contain many new freelancers who are looking to get their foot in the door and in some cases, they seek jobs that are not suitable for their skillset. It is not uncommon for writers to submit work that has been heavily corrected by an editor, only to pass it off as their own work. This can happen when they are not a native speaker of the language required, which they may be able to mask by getting help with proposals and using samples written by other people.
These deceptive practises can waste a significant amount of time. Certain freelancing sites try to make the hiring process more efficient by recommending talent; however, the algorithms are not perfect and their recommendations are often not suitable. Another common issue is subcontracting; some freelancers will subcontract work and not check the quality before submitting it.
All of these issues make AI content generators a much more appealing prospect for many businesses, especially those who do not have the budget to pay the higher rates demanded by the most talented professionals and do not employ content creators on a full-time basis.
How Do AI Text Generator Tools Produce Content?
Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, programmes learn and continually improve after being exposed to data. After AI writing tools analyse a large amount of data, they can then create new content based on what they have learnt.
To be precise, the technology behind AI content generation is Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG). NLP algorithms work by breaking down text into individual fragments, such as individual words or punctuation. These fragments are then analysed to determine their role in speech, which teaches computers to understand text in the way humans do. NLG algorithms take this data and use it to generate syntactically correct sentences that express the meaning of the original text.
From the perspective of a user, all that is required is to choose the type of content to be produced, along with a description, keywords, and other optional parameters such as tone of voice. The AI then creates the content in real-time. Some tools provide different variations of each piece of content so the user has more options (which is also useful for split-testing).
The Benefits and Drawbacks of AI Generated Content
- Rapid creation: AI programs create content quickly. This can be especially helpful for events like new product releases that require a large amount of content to be created in a short period of time.
- Saving time: Using AI software to create content can save marketers time so they can instead spend time on other tasks, such as developing strategies and connecting with customers.
- Cost savings: As mentioned, the costs of paying content creators and hiring them are saved through using AI. Instead, marketers need only pay a subscription fee each month.
- Improved brand consistency: When marketers use AI to create new content, they can program the algorithm to include brand-related keywords. This ensures that all new content created by AI is consistent with previous content created by humans.
- Flexible tone of voice: As mentioned, many AI writing tools allow the user to specify the tone of voice of the piece of text to be generated. This ensures that the tone can match the audience that will be reading it, which is a skill that not all writers may be able to pull off successfully (especially if they need to adjust their tone for various brands). Thus, it reduces the extent of editing required and ensures consistency across multiple pieces.
- Original content: AI content is original, reducing the risk of plagiarism.
- Error-free content: While proofreading any content is of course a necessity, AI generated content is error-free, minimising the time required for editing.
- Support for multiple languages: Some tools allow marketers to generate content in a wide range of languages which is ideal for companies with global audiences.
Generating content using AI is not the perfect solution, as explained below.
- Lack of social engagement: Some marketers have found that content created by AI fails to engage readers, who are often able to identify the content as computer-generated. This can be particularly problematic if the content is used for social media posts, as readers who are unimpressed are likely to disengage and stop following the social media accounts in-question. However, all AI generated content should be edited and humanised, so it could be argued that this issue is in fact a consequence of poor or insufficient editing.
- Inaccurate information: Some AIs are known to make up statistics. When it comes to discussing hard facts, it is essential to double check everything. This adds some time back onto the content creation process, but in most cases, more time is saved compared to when a human is writing everything from scratch.
- Poor performance for certain topics: AI software is designed to learn from large amounts of data, but the data must be high quality. If not enough high quality information on a certain topic is available (perhaps a very niche topic or something highly technical), the AI will not perform well. It all depends on whether the topic in question is within the scope of the AI program; if it is not, it will need to be fed human-generated content instead. In this case, it may be better to use human writers.
Marketers are increasingly turning to AI to quickly generate large volumes of content for their digital campaigns without having to pay a team of writers. Despite its effectiveness, it is important to understand that it is not a replacement for human beings (at least not yet). Instead, AI can help humans to be more efficient, allowing them to spend more time on creative and strategic tasks.
The use of AI in digital marketing is expected to grow in the years to come, but marketers must ensure that their AI programs are producing high quality content that is adequately fact-checked and edited. There is no excuse for compromising on the value provided to the audience by relying solely on an AI.
To learn more about how you can bring AI into your marketing strategy, from content to automation, get in touch and our team can ensure your business is future proofed.