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Content marketing strategy with AI

by Kathie Jurek

AI Content Marketing Strategy: How Human-Centric Content Can Boost Your Results

For any marketer who has ever found writing tedious and monotonous, Artificial Intelligence (AI), tools based on large language models like ChatGPT, Google’s Gemini, Microsoft’s CoPilot, and Apple’s forthcoming Apple Intelligence seem poised to reshape the industry. Who wouldn’t want to save six to eight hours spent toiling away on a blog post if you could only spend five minutes or fewer coming up with a prompt to feed into an AI for your content strategy?

Challenges in using AI content marketing

A year since ChatGPT exploded in popularity, the potential of AI in its current state for the marketing industry has largely shaken out. Several things are still true today: AIs are terrific at generating a load of text, but only sometimes good at thinking through complex topics the same way humans can. We’ve all heard that AI chatbots need very careful prompting to return useful information, and even then, that information can often be inaccurate, making it not so easy to trust it.

Even worse, how often have you read something online only to realize it has that AI-generated, bot-like tone? The output produced by an AI may look clean and be grammatically correct, but it’s often missing two aspects of good copy: emotional intelligence and cultural awareness. Emotional intelligence is particularly tricky for AIs to get right, and it’s critical for good strategy and copy because you’re often writing to an audience that isn’t exactly like you. You can try feeding an LLM page and pages of persona research, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t have the same ability to discern people’s hopes instinctively, wants, and dreams as a human does.

As far as cultural sensitivity goes, an AI may be aware of different cultures and current events but may not be capable of connecting the dots. When preparing the right message to put in front of an important audience, it’s paramount to have a person involved.

Together with Carmina Bacani, Founder of Seattle-based Infuse Marketing, I put together an AI-driven content marketing guide the savvy marketer should use (hint: it’s not writing blog posts).

 

As a research assistant

As a technical marketer, every piece of content I create comes with a lot of background research. ChatGPT usually has a good answer to the basic questions I use when brainstorming or interrogating a brief, saving me from going back to the more technical folks with countless basic questions (what does “permissionless” mean, anyway?)

 

Bacani suggests:

“ChatGPT is adequate at providing strategic insights into content creation that used to be partially covered by junior strategists. Prompts asking for insights about audience and competitor research can usually provide a good starting point for places you can go deeper.”

A few questions we’ve asked in the past include:

  • What are the differences between [brand] and [brand]?
  • Imagine you are a product marketer for [brand]. What pieces of blog content would you include in a go-to-market plan?
  • Write 10 interview questions for [person] on [topic].

As a personal editor

“Find the spelling and grammatical errors in the following text, including any instances of passive voice” is a personal favorite prompt of mine. I can usually sniff out my typos, but after hours of staring at something, it’s good to have a second set of eyes when several stakeholders have been involved and made their edits.

The one thing AI usually can’t spot is the nuances of human life, culture, and sensitive topics that a human proofreader can catch. It’s also not great at capturing a brand’s tone, even if you feed it their brand guidelines. But it is decent at the little things.

As a starting place

When someone hears I’m a copywriter, they often assume I’m a stellar writer who never has writer’s block and turns out perfect prose for hours each day. In reality, the opposite is true — the better you become at writing, the worse every idea sounds. We become our own worst critics, especially the closer we get to a topic.

Generative AI is useful for giving me a place to start exploring a topic by testing ideas: for example, asking about 5 ways robots can used to automate a supply chain. It’s not about copying and pasting the text it churns out, but rather reading it with a critical eye toward what topics we can pull from it. One of those ways might catch my eye and lead to a new piece of content.

Can AI understand your brand?

When ChatGPT exploded in the winter of 2022, a few folks asked me if I was worried about my job security, as if our AI overlords were hovering overhead ready to hurl me into obscurity.

My response then is the same now: Have you used an AI?

Have you worked with a writer before, the kind who intuitively understood what you do, what you need to talk about, and how and where to have those conversations? Bacani conveys:

 

“AI will not replace writers nor marketers, however, individuals who know how to use AI could replace those who don’t. The best marketing agencies use AI in fusion with experienced creatives who can pull all the pieces together.”

It’s still essential to be hands-on and cater to a brand’s voice and messaging to personalize content — you can’t just copy-paste content straight from AI software to your brand’s channels to see what resonates. AIs have ingested more text than any human could ever hope to, but they can’t yet adequately understand the nuances of the human experience.

 

Generate ideas. Not text.

Despite the drawbacks, we believe AI has a place in marketers’ everyday work. But where it saves time isn’t generating text, but providing much-needed support as a research assistant, editor, and place to bounce ideas around. Marketers, especially small businesses, are always trying to do more with less, so it makes sense that the smart ones would incorporate AI-assisted content marketing techniques to the extent that it’s appropriate.

For Carmina, it’s essential to her holistic approach to brand building. She explains:

Infuse Marketing understands both AI and the needs of small businesses, which is a powerful combination in today’s world. You have to be able to generate work at scale, while also understanding how specific industries like real estate, non profit and architecture/design work.”

 

Future of AI-integrated content marketing

Finally, AI is always evolving. New models are being developed and enhanced, and maybe someday I can ask an AI to write me a blog post about AIs in marketing. Hopefully, it’ll have a decent sense of humor by then.

How do you use AI to augment your marketing content or as a business? We’d love to hear some creative new approaches!

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