We’re living in a post-ChatGPT world. One place where we’re seeing a lot of discussion is around content. So what does AI mean for content marketing and content creators? The discussions I’m having with colleagues and clients are two-fold. First, what will AI mean for owned content like blogs? And second, how do search engines using AI affect SEO? In short, AI won’t drive out innovative ideas, or interesting content, and it’s certainly not currently an SEO threat to quality content.
Stay Focused on Quality Content
From an SEO and digital PR perspective, it’s not as straightforward as “Google is penalizing AI content” because there’s no signal that they are explicitly targeting AI content. But a lot of ChatGPT content is iterative or not very insightful and, sometimes, flat-out false.
I’ve been testing searches out on Bing, Google, and other AI search engines, and my observations are consistent with Google’s long-touted philosophy for content that drives dividends. Google has long said that it will prioritize content that is “helpful, reliable, and people-first.”
Google knows the internet needs no more “stuff,” and it wants people searching to find genuinely helpful content. If you’re a reader, and you’ve tested out ChatGPT content, you’ve probably noticed it’s not all that insightful. That’s because, for all the talk of a sentient AI, it is not actually sentient. My Dad, who worked at IBM used to say “junk in, junk out” about computers, and that is so very true about AI. And since there is a lot of junk content, there will always be a lot of junk AI content. The world’s greatest thinkers aren’t teaching AI, because there aren’t enough of them to teach AI at the scale currently necessary. Most AI-generated content would not (now) be categorized as quality. Could that change? Sure.
“I use it, but I edit it,”
Well, that will undoubtedly help. Be sure to fact-check. Until about a year ago, I was testing long-form writing with a well-known AI content engine. I once had a blog post with a completely made-up source, including an author, a book, and a quote. It was fascinating but fake. Plus, my human content team generates better content that performs way better in search, so using AI didn’t pay off in my case, even for SEO content.
I know lots of people using ChatGPT for their blog posts. I can only imagine the rate at which this stuff is going up on the internet. But great content, like the world’s greatest thinkers, is rare, and there’s only room in every search for a #1 position – and it’s extremely unlikely that AI-generated content will surpass everything else out there anytime soon. In short, you CAN use ChatGPT to write a blog post, but I won’t recommend it.
AI-Generated Content for Thought Leadership
The more technical or expert content, the less likely these generative engines can create value.
Plus, the entire point of creating thought leadership content is to provide your insights – and that’s something ChatGPT can’t do. Only you can provide your ideas and perspectives. As a leader, you’ve spent so much time becoming an expert; why would you threaten that reputation to save 30 minutes?
Repeatedly, automation has let me down. That’s why the content on this site with my name is written by me. The only person who writes my content is me. Now, do I think executive ghostwriters are valuable? You bet I do, but ghostwriters take the time to learn an executive’s voice, and adhere to the point of view, so that’s very different from using AI to create a “thought leadership” piece. But regarding my reputation, there is a clear delineation on this blog of my content and content written by my (human) content team, and that’s because, as an entrepreneur, my reputation is valuable, and I bet yours is too.
Is creating quality content difficult? Yes. Does quality content pay off? Yes. I believe actual thought leadership content, like this article, will increase in value, while ChatGPT content will decrease in value. So since creating content is an investment, why not invest in improving returns?
Where Generative AI is Useful for Content
Is AI-generated content useless? No. But it’s essential to consider the context.
ChatGPT and content platforms like Jasper can be most helpful in triggering ideas. ChatGPT is a pretty good communicator and excellent for creating outlines. I recently used ChatGPT to create a book outline, which triggered some ideas. Ultimately, I’ll probably view those suggestions much like my first drafts – part of the process but distanced from the result.
I also think ChatGPT can be useful in creating questions that create many results. Testing your questions on ChatGPT will give you a sense of the content that’s out there on the web and the depth of that content and help you decide if you want to add to that body of thought or not.
Like a calculator, or Excel, using AI will make creating content smoother and faster, but it won’t be a substitute for creativity or critical thinking for content. If you’re writing to improve your reputation, increase awareness or improve SEO, there isn’t much reason to use ChatGPT to create content right now.