By Kimberly Michener, Sr. Director, Brand & Marketing Communications, Identity Digital
AI tools are being promoted as replacements for graphic designers and content writers, but some early adopters are learning tough lessons.
If you’re an entrepreneur, innovator, dreamer, or small business owner, you’re most likely wearing multiple hats – spanning accounting to operations and everything in between. So any advantage you can gain by working smarter instead of harder is a huge bonus.
Let’s assume you already have the foundational steps in place, such as your company name and branding. Let’s also presume you’ve already picked out a new web address that gives you an authentic digital identity, expressing what’s unique about your business from the very first impression by using both sides of the “dot” in a domain name. (If you’re not there yet or don’t know what we are talking about, read this first.)
The big question is how will you get prospective customers to your website so they can get to know you and buy your products or services? Some organizations invest in pay-per-click (PPC) ads, which you only pay for after viewers have taken action (i.e., “clicked”). The downside is that it can become cost prohibitive, and you’re not building engagement.
The other option is writing thought-provoking, SEO-friendly content. This strategy has the advantage of attracting prospects and building engagement. Plus, one good piece of content can hold its value for years. However, the two downsides of writing content are that it takes time to develop good topics, and hiring a writer or agency can be expensive. As a result, some business owners opt to write the content themselves. Still, even if they enjoy writing, most find it challenging to continually develop fresh ideas and prioritize writing among their many tasks.
Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, there’s a new option for creating content that promises to reduce or eliminate the previous challenges and create excellent content regularly.
Enter AI-Assisted Writing and Marketing
Since the debut of OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, last November, the topic of AI-assisted writing has gone viral. In that short time, ChatGPT has been used to write convincing college essays and apply to jobs on a user’s behalf. It was even reported to have passed an MBA exam given by a Wharton professor. Not surprisingly, most opinion pieces on this topic take a polarized stance. For example, some claim ChatGPT will make several jobs obsolete in the near future, while others, like this Washington Post reporter, say it will “result in lower-quality work and fewer jobs.”
Emerging technologies always raise a lot of questions. But the crucial question for our purposes here is, can an AI-assisted writing program like ChatGPT (or a competitive solution, such as Jasper.ai) help you generate content more quickly and consistently than doing it yourself and less expensively than hiring a writer? The answer to that question is very likely yes – if you heed the following tips:
Tip #1: AI tools require human expertise. One of the biggest misconceptions about these tools is that anyone can type a simple command into a dialogue box, press enter and get excellent results in seconds. A case in point is Cosmo’s June 2022 AI issue, “Meet the World’s First Artificially Intelligent Magazine Cover,” followed by, “And it only took 20 seconds to make.” However, a deeper look into the process reveals two facts: the digital artist operating the software, Karen X. Cheng, is an award-winning director with over 500 million views. And second, she described the process as taking “thousands and thousands of iterations, hours of meetings and hundreds of hours using the tool” to get to the final input that generated the image “in 20 seconds.”
Whether you’re an award-winning writer or marketer, expect to invest several hours upfront learning how to use AI tools properly.
Tip #2: AI-generated content must be reviewed by a human. Once you’ve learned how to use an AI tool, you can’t just post articles online without thoroughly checking them. Unfortunately, prominent technology news site CNET is learning this lesson the hard way after it started quietly publishing articles generated by an unspecified “AI engine” last November. Within a couple of months, media company Futurism discovered multiple errors in several pieces, such as this financial explainer excerpt:
“For example, if you deposit $10,000 into a savings account that earns 3% interest compounding annually, you’ll earn $10,300 at the end of the first year.”
In the excerpt above, the person would earn $300, not $10,300. The latter would be their earnings plus their original investment. Besides containing errors, the AI-written articles were found to have extensive plagiarism.
Tip #3: AI tools require human creativity. Despite the word “intelligent” bandied about with these programs, they’re not there – yet. Where this comes into play with writing articles is coming up with topics, knowing what’s most important to the target audience and providing insights that compel readers to come back for more. The content generated by AI tools is only as good as its input commands, which means the GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) principle is still at play here.
Final Thoughts on AI-Assisted Writing
The emerging field of AI software tools is taking off, and its future looks bright, despite some bumpy roads ahead. The key to optimizing this technology for your organization is not viewing it as replacing human creative talent. Instead, you should see it as a powerful collaboration tool that will improve over time as it’s used and refined.
In addition, you don’t need to wait for AI-assisted writing and marketing tools to be perfected before you start using them. Instead, familiarize yourself with them now to learn how the future of writing, marketing, analytics, driving, healthcare, financial investments – pretty much everything – is being improved by AI.
Finally, there’s a famous saying among AI enthusiasts you should keep in mind: “People mistakenly believe AI is going to steal their job. It won’t, but someone who uses AI better than they do will.”
Kim joined Identity Digital in 2021. She heads up brand and marketing communications and was instrumental in spearheading the successful Identity Digital rebrand and consumer campaign launch. Kim brings two decades of marketing experience from both agencies and enterprises in tech and various other industries. Before Identity Digital, she managed the advertising program at Epson America.