The Reality of AI Tools in Content Creation

Imagine you’re a mortgage lender, private lender or real estate brokerage receiving blog post content from a marketing firm hours after you requested it on a consistent basis. Cool, right? And then they always get immediately posted to your website.

Three months later, you discover that your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings haven’t improved at all and may have even dropped. You’re justifiably concerned.

After all, the goal of publishing content on your website is to let Google know what you’re about so that it can serve up your page for relevant searches. The hope is your content would appear at or close to the top of the page, attracting more visitors to your site.

So, what happened?

I’ll tell you what may have happened. Given the turn times you’ve experienced for receiving the content, there’s a good chance Google scanned it and determined that it was written by ChatGPT, Gemini, Jasper or some other AI tool, with little or no sign of any human added value.

The purpose of this blog post is not to slam the use of AI. Quite the opposite! The purpose is to provide you with insight on the right way and the wrong way to use AI when creating content.

As Jason Bressler, EVP and CTO of United Wholesale Mortgage shared at the recent MISMO Summit, people won’t be replaced by AI, but people who do not use it will.

It is important that we all understand what AI is good at and what it’s not good at in the realm of creating marketing content.

So, let’s get into it.

Using AI for Content Creation: The Current Landscape

The first non-numerical application of a digital computer goes back to January 7, 1954. It was a demonstration of translation from Russian to English which was the result of a collaboration between IBM and Georgetown University.

Next came ELIZA, the world’s first chatbot, in 1966! This chatbot demonstrated a machine’s ability to exhibit some level of intelligent behavior.

Given how long ago this started and our human need to learn and evolve, it is not surprising that we are where we are today.

Now, we have access to automated content writers and analyzers including Surfer, Clearscope.io, Jasper, Rytr, ChatGPT, Gemini, Castmagic.io, etc. They all have their pros and cons and provide everything from headline suggestions and ensuring SEO-ready content, to converting audio conversations to content and much more.

There are many great ways to use various AI tools when writing copy, but many ways to abuse them as well.

Let’s get the ugly side out of the way first…

The worst possible way you can use AI is to generate copy of any kind, whether it’s a headline, social post, article, white paper, or anything else with no human review or interaction. Just accepting what it spits out and assuming it’s smarter than you, knows your audience better and what will resonate with them is just plain dangerous. In fact, I would call it the 8th deadly sin because it is so bad for you and your brand. You could even call it willful ignorance. Because anyone who does this knows they are trying to cheat the system and not adding any value.

This doesn’t mean that just because you review the copy that you should use AI to write your blog post. Even just moving some words around or including a few lines of self-generated content will not necessarily produce your desired results. If the vast majority of your copy is still AI generated, you’re still taking the shortcut and not adding actual value.

The Drawbacks of Relying on AI for Content Creation

There are many risks to AI generated copy from a search engine, quality and originality perspective.

According to Neil Patel, human written copy ranks higher 94.12% of the time! Also, on average, AI-written content generates less than 20% of the traffic of human written content.

And it doesn’t stop there. AI-written content has tell-tale signs like repetitiveness, inconsistencies, factually incorrect information, a formulaic structure and many times it also reads like it’s canned or uses unnatural phrasing that reads awkward as well. Google’s algorithm is able to detect much of this which is why AI content doesn’t perform all that well.

So, let’s explore some of these drawbacks in more depth.

  • Lack of Originality
    All AI does is take information that is already available on the internet and regurgitates it. In fact, there was a study that showed that 60% of ChatGPT output contained plagiarism on average.

    So why should you expect to be rewarded in SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings for something that includes plagiarized copy and offers no original thought, personality or depth?

    Google’s guidelines state that if you want to be successful in Google Search, you need to produce original, high-quality content that is written with people in mind, not the search engine. After all, if you really are thinking about your target audience and giving them good information, you would not offshore the assignment to ChatGPT or some other tool without substantial human interaction. You would use AI as a starting point to suggest some ideas or provide a rough outline to get started, write it yourself so it has the human touch, and ensure its value. You would use information that comes from your own research or experience.

    Google had a recent core update that dealt with spam and low-quality content. This core update resulted in a 45% reduction in poor quality, spammy content. There were many legitimate companies that suffered huge hits to their search rankings in mid-April when the rollout was complete. Their mistake was thinking that they could get away with saving money by not using real copywriters.

  • Not Connecting with Your Audience
    Have you ever had a conversation with someone and noted that they kept it very superficial, even when you tried to engage them at a deeper level – not just briefly, but throughout an entire conversation? How would you feel about spending dinner with this person or going to a game with them?

    The answer is that you wouldn’t care to. That person may have been very pleasant, well spoken, and polite, but not someone you could enjoy a dinner with. You may even think they didn’t really like you or care about meeting you.

    This lack of connection is what happens when you use an AI content generator to produce and distribute content that has no human or limited human interaction with it.

    If you don’t think Google can pick up on this, think again. This is not 2010. Google is much older and wiser now especially after recent updates.

  • Providing Inaccurate Information
    AI is trained on data fed to it by humans. Humans have biases, can be factually inaccurate at times, and can generally provide a lot of nuanced information. Therefore, the output is only as good as the data input. Even though you can expect to see a lot of high-quality information from an AI tool, you can also expect to receive information of low quality as well.

    For example, AI can hallucinate answers to your questions.

    Here’s how that works. AI tools are trained by large sets of data which they then analyze to find patterns and make predictions. Biased information can lead the tool to make false predictions based on recognizing patterns that don’t really exist. This is how a hallucination is created.

    For example, you may have heard about the law firm that introduced a legal brief with cases to defend their argument to a judge. When the defendant’s team raised concerns about the validity of the cases cited, the prosecution was forced to admit to using ChatGPT to create the brief. Ultimately, because of this, the case was dismissed and the prosecution was fined.

Use AI as Your Assistant Rather Than Your Replacement

Now that we got all the darker aspects of using AI for content creation out of the way, let’s step into the light!

I will now provide you with ways to use AI that will help you immensely in terms of saving time and providing more thoughtful content than you ever have before.

  • Keyword Research
    When you’re writing content that you want to rank well in search engines, it’s important to integrate the right keywords and phrases. Using AI tools like Surfer, Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz can help you identify keywords and phrases so that you can appropriately use them within your content.

    These tools can also help you uncover hidden opportunities through analyzing your competitors’ content and understand the search intent behind keywords so you can tailor your content.

    However, I will caution you against what’s known as “keyword stuffing.” This is done more often than you think and can make your copy awkward to laborious to read. It can also be caught by search engines which will de-prioritize your content due to a potentially poor user experience. Think about it – when a reader is constantly confronted with the same words and phrases over and over again, it’s just plain annoying.

  • Idea Generation
    You may have so much content on your website already that it’s hard to come up with new, fresh ideas for blog posts. Or maybe you are tasked with writing a white paper about a topic you know well, but need some ideas for titles that will be concise yet compelling enough to encourage the recipient to want to read it. Or maybe you need a suggested outline for a writing project to help you get it off the ground.

    Many AI tools can assist you with these scenarios.

    When the tool you select completes the task, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and review the output. And be sure to manipulate the output to make it yours and ensure it truly fits your target audience.

    One more thing you can do, especially if you already have a ton of content, is use AI to suggest ways to repurpose existing content to get more mileage out of it.

    NOTE: When you’re using an AI tool for generating ideas, always remember that the tool is learning from your input. Accordingly, if you’re writing on a topic or developing headlines or outlines that you don’t want to be made public, be very cautious about what you type into the tool. Or simply do not use any AI tool in these cases.

  • Topic Clusters
    Topic clusters are also known as content clusters. Content clustering is an SEO strategy that helps you come up with a package of content that includes a pillar page title or topic and cluster, or topic, pages that fall underneath the pillar topic.

    For example, if you were to go to Gemini and prompt it to “Create a content cluster around marketing for real estate brokerages,” it will provide you with a suggested title for a pillar page, cluster page titles, blog post titles and other content that support the pillar page.

    This is a great way to use AI because it helps get the creative juices flowing.

    Again, always add your human touch. It may be easy to just accept what the tool provides, but you need to manage it so that the tool doesn’t end up managing you and your brand by extension.

  • Proofreading
    If you want to check your blog post for errors, a good AI tool can go beyond typical spell checks or grammar issues and also check for syntax errors.

    But again, I must point this out…be careful of this one!

    If you are writing content for an e-book, white paper, case study, press release or anything else that contains sensitive, non-public information, do not even think about using Chat GPT, Jasper, Gemini or any other tool that is not what we call a “walled garden” or a closed ecosystem.

    As I stated earlier, these items will become part of the public domain.

    Instead, stick with whatever is functionally available within Microsoft Word or similar programs to conduct a spellcheck or check for grammar issues. Then use a professional proofreader for a final look.

AI can be of tremendous value to content creators if used properly – as an assistant. Using it without human input to complete assignments intended to provide something of value to your audience is where you can go very wrong and compromise your integrity and your brand. My hope is that by sharing this information, you have better insight about AI and content creation. You can avoid the dangerous pitfalls that exist and provide more value to your audience by leveraging these tools in the best way possible – the way they were intended!