The landscape for written content is significantly changing thanks to AI and tools like ChatGPT. Now, vast amounts of text are being pushed out faster than ever. So how can you write content that competes and stands out? Copywriter Gemma Hawdon shares her tips.
Here’s the thing.
While some businesses are using AI intelligently to ramp up efficiencies, others are falling into an over-reliance that compromises quality. And considering 94.12 per cent of the time, human-written content outranks AI-generated content in search engines, there is massive opportunity for the willing in 2024!
So, how do you write content that stands out and competes in the AI era?
1. Get to know your audience.
It’s one of the oldest laws of great copy and has never been more relevant than now. While AI can be programmed to cater to specific interests, it lacks the intuition and cultural awareness of humans. As a human writer, you have the empathy and experience to connect with your audience on a deeper level, but you must get to know them first.
Interestingly, this is where AI can be useful. For example, Facebook uses AI to make sense of the data it collects about the people connected to your page. Through Facebook Audience Insights, you can see your audience’s age, gender, education, job, relationship status and interests.
Image Source: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-audience-insights/
And Google has long been using AI to track and analyse the interactions on your website. Through Google Analytics, you can learn more about visitors’ behaviour, such as the pages and subjects that are holding their attention. You’ll need to browse your analytics dashboard to learn which of your webpages are the most popular. You can also integrate heat maps (like Crazy Egg) to highlight which sections of a page users are clicking on.
Combine the data available to you through AI with traditional research methods like customer interviews and polls, and you can build your audience personas to get a clear, visual representation of who they are as people.
2. Use E-E-A-T to your advantage
Experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) are the qualities Google uses to evaluate content. Despite Google acknowledging the role AI plays in “serving as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web”, its primary focus remains on quality, originality, and user-experience.
Tools like ChatGPT have nothing of their own to share with us. And if we’re to invest in a business and brand, we want to know who we’re dealing with. We want to learn something new from you.
Your mistakes. Your insights. Your stories. YOU.
Give us your time and learnings, and we’ll reward you with more shares and backlinks than AI can ever create.
Include topics that aren’t SEO keyword based
Without devaluing the power of SEO, a low search volume doesn’t necessarily mean a topic has no audience. Many marketers use AI and high search volumes to identify topics and steer their content strategy. But how will your content be unique if you only focus on overly dissected SEO topics?
Audiences are hungry for new ideas with 71 per cent of decision-makers consuming thought leadership content to spark inspiration for their business. The problem with AI content is that it’s recycled from existing information on the web, so it fails to bring anything new to the table.
By tapping into fresh subjects that matter to your customers and audience, your content is more likely to be shared and referred to, strengthening not only your brand’s presence, but also your SEO through external backlinks.
Tools like Ubersuggest, Answer The Public and Semrush Topic Research are handy for identifying and brainstorming topics that have been less explored. Just watch out for the ones with low keyword difficulty (and, therefore, less competition).
Image source: https://answerthepublic.com/
4. Be human
We’ve always connected more deeply to content written for by and for humans, not algorithms. So, it’s ironic that we’re now inundated with content written for humans by algorithms.
Human-centred content meets real human needs. It involves understanding what motivations, challenges, concerns, and struggles your audience is facing, and how you can address these things in a way that will most appeal to them.
AI can’t create human-centred content with the same depth that humans can. So, play to your strengths and use this to your benefit:
- Connect with your audience by using language, tone, and messaging that resonates.
- Be relative by tapping into the things that matter to them.
- Reassure them by addressing their doubts and concerns.
- Be useful by providing information they need and want.
5. Recognise where AI is useful
AI has its place, so long as you collaborate with it, not rely on it. Tools like ChatGPT are great for prompting ideas, researching, and providing inspiration.
If you’re struggling to think of relevant subjects to write about, you can prompt ChatGPT to come up with ideas relative to your audience and industry. You can then weigh these against your audience needs to decide how much value they offer.
Sometimes the hardest part of writing is beginning and filling the blank page. ChatGPT can be handy for providing a first draft you can build upon. It’s then up to you or your content team to challenge this content by making it 100% unique and improving its value and relevance for your readers.
6. Be accurate and accountable
Despite ChatGPT’s impressive knack for mimicking human conversation, its outputs are not always accurate. OpenAI openly acknowledges that ChatGPT “sometimes writes plausible sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”
Put simply, ChatGPT sometimes just makes things up.
As software becomes more sophisticated, distinguishing between AI content and human content can be challenging, leading to a lack of trust in published information. Over-reliance on AI, such as failing to fact-check and question its output, could impose a heavy penalty on your brand.
Even if you use AI for research or creating an initial draft, be accountable for your final published version:
- Verify facts.
- Challenge context and meaning.
- Edit tone and language to align with your audience and brand.
- Reorganise structure and layout to strengthen clarity and impact.
7. Protect your ownership
AI content is already causing controversy, with many people worried about data ownership, bias and misinformation. The origins of text created by tools like ChatGPT are difficult to trace – and may include copyrighted material.
The legal ramifications of using AI content are currently unknown and, according to Open AI (the company that owns ChatGPT), it’s “up to us to ensure the way we use it doesn’t violate any laws”. With so much uncertainty, it’s worth protecting the ownership of your content by making sure it’s legally compliant:
- Seek publishing permissions where necessary
- Source supporting evidence
- Publish original content
Commercial AI checkers are already available to detect AI-generated content. If your content is written by humans (and you can confidently state this is the case) – advertise it. Become the authentic voice in your field; the source of accurate, trusted information offering certainty amongst the scepticism.
While the process of content production has evolved with AI, the need for quality, originality and – most importantly, humanity – remains unchanged.
AI content has been around in some form or shape since the 1950s and it’s here to stay. There’s no doubt, it will continue to improve over the next few years. When used well, it can increase speed and efficiency, inspire ideas, support research, improve grammar, and more.
But we shouldn’t become over-dependent on its capabilities.
Understanding its limitations and vulnerabilities to unearth points of difference will help your content stand out and earn your audience’s attention and respect.
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