Is AI Coming for the Content Writers Next?10 min read

by | May 5, 2022 | Marketing, Tech

Potential purveyors of AI-generated content

​For better or worse, artificial intelligence (AI) already runs our search engines, controls what we see on our social media feeds, makes Netflix recommendations, and chats with us while we’re waiting for the next available human customer service rep. Is AI coming for our content next?

AI-generated content has actually been around for a while and has come a long way since the “article spinners” of the early 2000s. Media companies like Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, and The Washington Post have used AI to summarize news and help reporters with rough drafts.

Will AI eventually put content writers out of a job? I don’t think so. Here are two reasons why.

Reason #1: Google Says AI Generated Content is “Spam”

John Mueller (Google’s Search Advocate) recently said AI-generated content is considered spam according to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. The question came up during an April “SEO Office Hours” hangout.

Mueller said Google doesn’t take into consideration how the AI writing tools are being used. Using them in any capacity is considered spam. However, he also admitted that Google can’t detect what’’s written by a machine versus a human (at least not yet). Members of Google’s webspam team are authorized to take manual action if they suspect content was automatically generated.

The bottom line—Google considers all AI content to be spam, and they will probably get better at detecting it.

Kevin Indig (who writes a weekly SEO-focused newsletter) has some interesting ideas about how Google might do this, including treating AI-generated content similar to purchased backlinks or validating and tracking human-written content through a ledger. Here’s a link to his article if you’d like to go deeper down the rabbit hole.

Reason #2: Content Needs a Human Touch

Even if Google has a hard time telling the difference between AI-written and human-written content, your audience will know what’s genuine and what feels like a robot.

That doesn’t mean we should dismiss AI altogether.

Similar to how marketing automation helps your team become more efficient, there’s potential for AI to help writers get more done. But, your content still needs a human touch.

Miranda Miller, Senior Managing Editor over at Search Engine Journal says using AI is all about “intelligent application.” Whether generating ideas or helping you catch spelling mistakes, AI can help humans improve the quality (and quantity) of their content.

AI Can Generate Ideas

The internet hosts thousands of idea generators ready to help you find the perfect wizard name (Izilore Brightwanderer) or Regency-era heroine (Gwendolyn Harington).

More practical tools like Hire Peggy or Jasper can give you ideas for ad headlines, product descriptions, and other short-form content. These tools (especially the free ones) come with limitations. Always review (or rework) the AI’s suggestions to make sure things are technically correct and on-brand. After all, you know your brand and your audience better than an AI.

For example, I tried out Hire Peggy while researching this blog. Peggy came up with three headline ideas for a DVS Facebook ad

  • DVS is Your Ad Agency
  • Turn Ideas into Forces
  • The Business of Business

Granted, this was a free trial, so I didn’t have high expectations. But these had me a bit confused. I would need to play around with the software to see if I could fine-tune it to capture the DVS voice more accurately.

AI Can Help Improve Your Process

AI could be your new writing buddy. I use Grammarly extensively and found it gives better suggestions than the built-in spelling and grammar checkers from Google Docs or Microsoft Word. The AI “writing assistant” is great at catching accidental homonyms and passive voice, but I don’t blindly apply every suggestion.

Other tools can help with content strategy by identifying potential keywords or topics for your blog. HubSpot’s Content Strategy Tool and Semrush’s Content Marketing toolset use machine learning to offer suggestions on which topic clusters to focus on and which ideas are likely to perform well. Not every suggestion is a winner, but it’s worth a try if you need help with your content strategy.

Your Audience Still Needs You to Be a Human

AI-generated content has gotten more sophisticated, but your audience still wants to connect with a human. Especially in B2B marketing, where longer sales cycles and higher costs per sale are common. Try out a few AI tools to help you become more efficient, but never forget that your audience is human, and they’d rather connect with you—and not a computer program.

Need help with your content marketing? Drop us a line, we’d be happy to help! (No robots here, we promise!)