Should content marketers be worried about AI? It’s a hot topic—and one you can’t spend too much time debating. Tools like ChatGPT are disrupting the pace of content creation and strategy. One expert prediction forecasts that AI will create 90% of digital content by 2025.
While the stage is still being set, one thing seems undeniable. Content marketers must prepare their strategies for a future where AI is more than an afterthought. Here are a few insights on how to future-proof your approach to content creation in the age of AI.
Audit What You Have
AI may produce content faster than humans, but search engines like Google are more interested in quality than quantity. Before you determine how AI can fit into your strategies and processes, it helps to identify existing gaps. Auditing your content and examining your processes for opportunities is where you need to begin.
Content audits should include key performance indicators, such as search engine rankings and conversion rates. See if there are areas where performance isn’t aligning with your content strategy’s goals. If pieces are buried in the search engine results pages, it might be because they’re not optimized for the latest algorithms. An audit could lead you to conclude it’s time to outsource your SEO to keep on top of the latest developments.
Your in-house team might need a hand with maintaining your content’s visibility and authority. Audits can also reveal places where AI could enhance your existing processes. You could use tools to generate blog post outlines, brainstorm topics and produce initial drafts. Having human writers step in to ensure quality, specifics and personality can balance efficiency with relevance.
Plan Content for Different Stages
AI-driven content tools can churn out words and responses based on the criteria you give them. However, you’re still in the driver’s seat when it comes to planning pieces for various stages of the buyer’s journey. AI can’t always differentiate between someone looking for possible solutions and someone wanting in-depth information on specific products.
These tools may not know when it’s more appropriate to direct a lead to a blog post versus an FAQ document. At this stage, human input is still necessary to engage, inform and persuade different types of audiences. It’s up to your team to determine what content will appeal to potential buyers as they move through the sales funnel.
An AI program can analyze and help narrow down the predominant pain points of leads in the awareness stage. But you’ll need to put your strategic skills to work to address those pain points in the most compelling ways. Maybe you test short-form videos and longer-form blog posts to see what drives more conversions. Planning and experimenting with content for all sales funnel stages ensures your strategy is well-rounded enough to satisfy your entire audience.
Identify Your Content’s Value
You don’t need to start implementing AI content tools all at once. Future-proofing your strategy doesn’t mean occupying either extreme end of the spectrum. You can start with small changes, such as testing AI-written content against 100% human-written content. The results of these tests will show where the value lies in each approach.
But you’ll want to decide what KPIs to measure and be sure you’re comparing like against like. Say your strategy’s goal is to increase leads by 10%. You have AI generate the foundations of a blog post, adding a human touch to round out the piece. For comparison’s sake, you have a member of your team create a similar blog post from scratch. You publish them both and see which one’s more effective at meeting your KPI.
What you’ll learn is where and how AI-written content can create value. On the flip side, you’ll see where it can’t measure up to pieces written solely by humans. Another way to identify value is to optimize human-produced content with AI-driven suggestions. Test out the changes and compare the latest performance measurements to past results.
Focus on Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is about showing what you in particular can bring to the table. Unique perspectives, observations and case studies help differentiate your content. Even if you use AI tools to get a piece started, adding human stories will make it stand out.
While AI can create content faster, it may come out sounding generic. Non-unique content doesn’t do much for your brand’s authority. Those pieces will get lost in the sea of competition, and it will be harder for audiences to engage with them.
When designing your content strategy, look at your company’s core competencies. Identify the subject matter experts among your ranks and learn about their individual backgrounds. More than likely, there are ideas for competitive, compelling content in those stories. You can use them to plan a blog series detailing your SMEs’ insights and expertise.
You might also decide to revisit existing materials and see where you can augment them with internal experts’ perspectives. Whatever you can do to make your brand personalized and human will help put it on the map.
The Future of Content Strategy
AI is something content marketers are learning to adapt to. The full range of the technology’s capabilities may not yet—or ever—be known. However, AI is a disruptive enough force for content creators to take notice. Future-proofing your strategy means learning to find the sweet spot between AI and human-written content. Just remember to stay open to the possibility that the sweet spot may change as time goes on.