You may have heard all the latest buzz about AI – probably ChatGPT – as it’s been all over social media this year. And you might be wondering what all the fuss is about!
It’s not as if AI is new. It’s been curating our video streaming recommendations and social media feeds, powering chatbots, and driving that pesky Autocorrect function for ages.
So why all the fuss now? Because now AI can truly create. It’s generative, meaning what it produces is new material. Whether that be images, music, or text, it’s not just copying from what already exists. It’s analyzing and recombining it in different ways. And that’s what makes it so powerful.
And useful for you…
If you spend a fair bit of your time chained to your computer creating blog posts, social media content or other written material instead of playing with dogs, wouldn’t you like a way to cut that screen time if you could?
Yes? Then today’s your lucky day because I’m going to show you exactly how you can do that — without hiring a second pair of hands.
You’ve already been using AI…
At a very basic level, AI writers such as ChatGPT, Bing, Bard, and Jasper, are just beefed-up chatbots powered by predictive text. The user inputs a prompt, and the tool analyzes that text to respond to the request.
The more sophisticated tools are so impressive because they’ve been trained on such huge data sets: their responses appear uncannily human. The two you’ve probably seen the most in the news right now are ChatGPT and Bing.
ChatGPT (from OpenAI) doesn’t directly access the internet but has stored vast amounts of data it pulls from. However, anything published after 2021 is missing, as that’s when the training was stopped. By contrast, Bing (from Microsoft) IS pulling directly from the internet. It’s integrated into Microsoft’s latest internet browser and search engine, Microsoft Edge.
What can AI do for you and your business?
In a nutshell, it can do many of the writing tasks you hate — the ones that are boring, difficult and time consuming. Here are a few uses to get you started:
Generate content ideas
You can use AI to overcome writer’s block when you know you need to write a blog post or some other long form content but you’re all out of creativity.
I asked ChatGPT to give me 5 blog ideas about puppy training and here’s what it gave me:
Obviously, these look pretty simplistic — but I chose a very simple topic to demo what it can do! You’d be surprised at how often you’ll find an idea you’d not thought of, and these brief ideas might be just what you need to get the mental cogs whirring.
Sometimes creating outlines can be a real pain. What should go where? With a complex topic sketching out the outline can take almost as much effort as writing the post. But the pain is over! ChatGPT can do a good job for you in a fraction of the time.
I asked it to give me an outline for the first blog suggestion:
Not bad. It might need a little tweaking, but the bones are good. If this was a complex topic having subtopics laid out like this would make settling on a final structure much simpler.
Hate coming up with good headlines? There is a real art to creating clickable headlines without creating click-bait.
I asked ChatGPT to create headlines for my puppy training blog. Here’s what I got:
Nothing too earth-shattering here so I asked it to beef them up a bit for more attention:
Definitely better! If headlines give you nightmares, this could be a winner for you. Not everything AI generates is going to be perfect but at least you have some starting points to work with and polish.
SEO – create meta descriptions
Once you’ve written your blog post you’ll need to craft a meta description to go with it. The meta description is the bit of text that appears under a result in a search engine results page like this:
The meta description is what tempts readers to click through to your post. Trying to come up with a succinct but descriptive meta description can be a nightmare! Again, you can take the sting out of the process by using your new best friend. I didn’t specify any keywords but if I had, it would have included them in the outputs:
SEO – find Keywords
Some people have found AI great for generating keywords for their blogs and content. However, if you do use it for this, you’d want to check the keywords it generates are actual search terms.
When Ahrefs used ChatGPT to generate keywords around the topic of “golf”, their Keywords Explorer tool showed that none of the returned phrases had any search demand — no one was using them for organic searches. Which kinda made them a bit useless!
Create Social media posts
Once you’ve written (the traditional way, not using AI — I’ll explain why in a minute) and published the blog post you’ll probably want to share it on social media.
I don’t have a dog training blog post to give as an example so here’s one from Click and Repeat:
It’s even given me the hashtags to use. You can also get it to brainstorm social campaigns and content calendars. Although ChatGPT doesn’t access the internet, it’s pulling the relevant information from the URL and additional information I gave it.
What are the pitfalls?
AI tools such as ChatGPT can really cut the boring work of content creation. But…they have some pretty major limitations and caveats to keep in mind.
Doesn’t work well for long form content
The biggest thing to remember when using AI tools is that they’re not human. I know, that’s a pretty weird statement. Of course you know they’re not human! But you may be surprised at just how much it feels as if there is a sentient being on the other side of the screen.
And that “feeling” of talking to a human can make it easy to forget that AI doesn’t have all the skills that make humans, well, human. Your AI buddy doesn’t have empathy, moral judgment, or a good grasp of nuance. Sure, it can do humor — and sarcasm:
But when you write long-form content such as blog posts or educational material your clients and audience are wanting to hear from you, in your voice — with your insights and opinions. AI can’t replicate that for you. It also may not “agree” with your training ethics or moral stance — and it can’t “understand” your core values and principles so those will be missing from the content it produces for you.
If you’re using content to build “know, like and trust,” using AI to create that content will surely miss the mark because YOU are missing from the piece.
Results aren’t always accurate
You’d think machines would be above deceit, wouldn’t you? Well, surprisingly, AI has been known to lie. If it’s asked something and it doesn’t know the answer it can sometimes make stuff up! In fact, the makers of ChatGPT go as far as to include some warnings on the opening screen to this effect:
And it’s worth remembering that the results you get out are only as good as the data it was pulled from. If there is misinformation liberally scattered through the original data, it’s highly likely to appear in your results. AI can’t know truth from fiction when fiction has been presented as truth.
Risks of plagiarism
Although we’re told that ChatGPT doesn’t regurgitate text verbatim from the data it’s been fed, there are anecdotal reports of users recognizing blocks of text from articles they’ve previously read on the topic they’ve used as a prompt. Closer inspection has shown that yes, the text has been used in its original form.
That might not bother you much, but it’s highly likely to bother the original author should they stumble upon your usage. And really, who wants to be passing off someone else’s work as their own anyway?
As with so many other tools, it’s best to keep AI’s limitations in mind. Fact check and edit everything before you publish it. This is especially true if you use AI for research, as this is the area where things seem to be most likely to go awry.
As long as you keep these caveats front and center, you can have a lot of fun — and save heaps of time — by using AI tools to help with the drudge tasks of content marketing. Why not give it a go?