8+ AI Content Generation Tools & Our Strategies
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AI content generation is the buzzword on every marketer’s lips. A new addition to the tech stack, AI content generators aim to make content marketing more efficient and cost-effective.
In recent years, AI has gone from futuristic to reality. We’ve seen AI transform manufacturing, customer service, and financial industries. So is content marketing up next? Will AI-content generators make writers redundant?
While there’s been an increase in available AI-assisted writing tools, most content marketers are skeptical.
So should you start using AI content generators to help your content marketing efforts?
In this guide, we evaluate when AI-generated content is useful and when it’s potentially harmful. We also analyze how they’re affecting search results and what Google has to say about it. Plus, Ryan Law, VP of content agency Animalz weighed in on whether AI tools are helpful in a recent Clearscope webinar.
9 AI content creation tools to check out
To get a feel for what AI content generators can (and can’t) do, check these nine AI content tools. Most of the tools below offer a free plan to give it a try before you buying. Also, we did not include any pricing information below – you’ll need to check the site’s individually for their pricing.
AI-content generator Jasper has 52 templates for long and short-form content. Some of its most useful templates include:
Amazon product descriptions
Meta title and descriptions
Social media posts
Email subject line
To help content writers fight against writers' block, there’s a Blog Post Intro paragraph template to get initial ideas flowing.
Copy.ai requires little human input to generate copy, outlines, and ideas. There’s a First Draft Wizard template that only requires keywords, tone of voice, the goal of the article, and a blog post title. The AI-generator then builds a blog post outline and a few talking points for each heading.
Copy.ai supports over 25 languages so it could potentially be useful for content creators building global marketing campaigns.
Copysmith is another popular AI tool for content writing and copywriting. Again like other content generators on this list, it comes with multiple templates designed for creating ad copy, ecommerce product descriptions, and long-form content.
There’s also a Copysmith Chrome extension designed to help marketers create content on the go.
Writesonic is an AI tool with specific features designed to create copy that increases both leads and sales.
One group of templates is geared towards long-form content writing and lets you create articles, sum up content, and reword as required.
The other set of templates is designed for copywriters with options for generating landing pages, product descriptions, and social media captions.
Kafkai is one of the original AI writing tools designed for writing relevant content for SEO. Instead of using templates like other AI generators on this list, Kafkai provides article writing in 37 different niches like finance, health, and real estate.
As with other generators, Kafkai creates articles of a set length, 500-900 words. There’s also a WordPress plugin to speed up the creation workflow.
6. Article Forge
Article Forge is another content generator that concentrates on creating original SEO content. Just like other tools on this list it requires minimum human input. Enter a keyword or any other useful information, and the deep learning model will produce a complete article with headings, text, images, videos, and even links.
AI content tool Articoolo focuses on creating short articles, usually under the 500-word mark. Using Articoolo you can generate new articles or rewrite old posts. The tool can also summarize texts and suggest titles. Unlike other generators, Articoolo doesn’t provide any content templates.
Rytr is another popular writing assistant and content generator. The toolset comes with 30 templates designed to help create copy for CTAs, email series, Google ads, and product descriptions. There are also several templates for generating long-form content and blog outlines.
Unlike other tools on this list, Rytr lets you change your tone by providing 20+ available writing tones. You can also choose from 25+ input languages.
Built by the content marketplace Pepper Content, Peppertype is an AI content assistant. The AI toolset specializes in generating copy ideas for social media captions, ads, and SEO meta descriptions.
While it’s geared more towards short-form copy outputs, it can assist with long-form content too. For content updates, there are Content Rewriter, Content Simplifier, and Content Expander templates. To help eliminate writers' block there are Paragraph Writer and Blog Heading Expander templates.
How we use Artificial Intelligence
While AI tools won’t be taking over your digital marketing strategy any time soon, they can be valuable assistants. Ryan explains that when used correctly they can act as an extension of the skill you already have.
AI tools can be especially helpful if you manage a small business or startup with limited resources. For example, an AI-content generator could help you come up with some bullet points for product descriptions so you can direct your creative resources to other parts of your business.
For advanced marketers, AI works well for low-effort repetitive tasks. So if you hate writing meta descriptions or struggle to come up with five title suggestions, AI tools can act as an extension of your creativity. If you’re building lots of content briefs every month, AI tools can help you generate a few ideas to get the ball rolling on each.
Here’s what ChatGPT can do to enhance your content marketing:
Social copy: Emulates the style of existing posts to create on-brand social content.
Titles and headers: Turns rough content ideas into infinite heading variants.
Website copy: Generates hero copy, title variations, and value propositions.
Ideas and brainstorming: Identifies related ideas based on a starting topic.
Meta descriptions: Creates usable summaries that work well as metadata.
Feedback: Provides feedback on weak arguments (but not factual).
Rephrasing and summarizing:
Grouping like items: Useful for keyword clustering following keyword research.
What is AI-generated content?
AI-generated content is when a machine creates content for you. AI content often describes written content like blog posts, marketing copy, and articles.
AI content generators require some human input like a description, prompt, or parameters. Depending on the content the generator will create, the input could be a keyword, phrase, or short paragraph.
AI-generated content aims to eliminate the need for human intervention during content production. Marketers might use AI-content generators to automate or program any piece of the content marketing process that is expensive or time-consuming.
Recommended reading: How To Engineer Better AI Prompts for Your SEO Content Strategy
What is GPT and how does it work?
GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer.
Open AI’s GPT is a machine learning model trained with internet data to create any kind of text.
Since it’s generative, it can create longer sentences based on the input. Unlike other neural networks that can only spit out yes or no answers, GPT’s pre-trained model can perform multiple functions like translation, code websites, and even solve medical questions.
Transformer is the neural network’s architecture, created by Google’s scientists in 2017.
Open AI’s GPT works by compressing data and consuming millions of sample texts to convert words into vectors (numerical representations). Later, the natural language processing model converts the compressed text into human-friendly sentences.
For that reason, this language model is often a top choice for marketers looking to automate elements of their content production process.
When is AI-generated content potentially harmful?
While it looks like AI content generators have the power to speed up your content lifecycle, they’re not always the answer. If AI-generated content was beginning to sound too good to be true, that’s because in many cases it is.
From a content marketing perspective, one big drawback of AI-generated content is that it’s not totally original. Content generators simply collect information that’s already available within its parameters. So while the content will pass a plagiarism check, it won’t include original research, insights, or data.
In practice, this means AI-generated content can create simple pieces of text. But it’s incapable of sharing opinions or creating thought leadership pieces of content.
Plus, AI-generators can’t write about current events or rapidly changing topics either. GPT also struggles with subjects that society hasn’t formed a general consensus on such as gun laws, abortion laws, politics, and religious issues. If you attempt to generate text on these topics you might end up with biased, inaccurate, or out-of-date text.
So what happens when you ask an AI content generator to create an article with minimal input?
In a recent experiment, Ryan Law, VP of Marketing at Animalz decided to put GPT to the test and see how well it could write a blog post from scratch with minimal input.
The result? An illogical blog post that included little reasoning and went outside the intended scope of the piece. The article fails to share original insights and even provides incorrect evidence.
Most concerningly though, GPT made up some quotes from people that were never said before. That’s enough to send shivers through any content marketer’s spine.
There’s also the issue of bias to contend with. AI can’t tell which words or data are biased so is liable to generate potentially offensive text.
Between making up quotes and using offensive language, it’s clear that AI content generators have the potential to damage your organization’s reputation if used incorrectly.
Suffice to say, we do not recommend using AI content generators to create blog content. At least without heavy proofreading, editing, fact checking, and running the content through a plagiarism checker.
Is AI content overhyped?
While the trend is flattening, it’s worth adding to your metaphorical tool bag.
Whether it’s OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, or one of the many other other competitors there is value in leveraging it for your work – even as a creative.
Plus, it’s only getting better. OpenAI released GPT-4 which is significantly better than GPT-3. And Google is working on their GPT-4 equivalent, Genesis.
When is AI-generated content useful?
AI-generated content shines at regurgitating what everyone agrees upon. This type of content might include defining terms, answering “what is” questions, stating facts, and providing historical accounts of events that are agreed upon. The content could be compared to information that’s readily available on sites like Wikipedia. And it’s what makes them decent chatbots.
For example, AI-generated content could be helpful for describing a well-known existing product like an Apple iWatch.
By entering the name of the product, GPT will give you an output that reads along these lines, “The Apple iWatch is a wearable device that allows users to stay connected and track their fitness. The device has a sleek design and is available in a variety of colors. It features a touch screen display and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The iWatch can be used to make phone calls, send text messages, and track fitness activity.”
Not bad, the description is accurate, and while it’s a little boring there’s no major cause for concern.
AI is also useful when marketers get stuck with writer's block. To save writers from staring at a blank screen, it can generate a few quick ideas. These could form the basis of their initial research and outline.
However, a well-researched content outline typically helps better than AI. Instead of depending on content that’s already been created, you can build unique research and insights into your outline.
At their best, AI-content generators require a lot of human supervision.
AI-assisted writing vs. AI-generated writing
If the end goal is high-quality content, totally relying on AI-generated writing won’t benefit your content marketing strategy.
As we’ve mentioned, AI content generator tools don’t have the ability to create insight-led original content for your target audience.
But they still can play a helpful part as AI writing assistants.
Ryan Law explains that there’s a huge difference between AI-assisted writing and AI-generated writing.
He writes for Animalz, “The former [AI-assisted writing] will lift content marketing to new heights; the latter will trigger the “search singularity,” an implosion of homogenous, copycat content on an unparalleled scale.”
Ultimately, AI is much better at assisting with elements of the content creation process. The key is to automate elements of production, but not leave it to AI completely. He explains that it shouldn’t be a substitute for human writers but instead be an assistant. “Humans are still doing the heavy lifting, we are still creating cohesive narratives, and we're still vetting things for accuracy,” he says.
Ryan also explains that it’s best to leave AI for elements that don’t require much skill. He adds that the problems emerge when we rely solely on AI-generated writing and when we say “hey go away write a big long form post and we don't bother vetting it for accuracy or interest or narrative structure”.
The key takeaway here is to use AI tools to help you in areas where you are weak, like brainstorming content ideas, coming up with new titles, new angles, or even pitches (more on this later).
How AI-generated content affects content marketing
AI-generated content can seem like the solution to solving time-consuming and costly components of content marketing production. But it’s vital to think about how AI-generated content impacts content marketing on a larger scale.
AI writers create content based on pre-existing information available to everyone. That means there’s no uniqueness.
When the first few pages of Google results are all identical replicas of one another, users don’t win. Instead of landing on a helpful result, they’ll continue to land on copycat posts that don’t provide new information.
It’s an experience we can all relate to––typing in a search query into Google, and clicking through the first five results, only to find identical web pages. It’s frustrating, to say the least.
Television personality Adam Savage agrees. During the filming of his popular show, “One Day Build”, he takes a moment to rant about Google search and its overwhelming amount of copycat listicle results for laser printers. Instead of finding a laser printer he could use, he finds endless results that include in-check printers––something that has a totally different use case.
He even appeals to his viewers to send over laser printer recommendations because he can’t find what he’s looking for online. Understandably he’s pretty incredulous that the world’s most popular search engine can’t pull up a single relevant result.
Adam Savage’s rant about Google Search doesn’t just highlight a current problem with search engines––it shows what the future of search increasingly looks like. If AI content generators were to take over writing all of these product recommendation lists, you can bet the scenario won’t improve any time soon.
Ryan explains this is due to AI content generators picking up the best and worst of human-created content. Since AI-generators only have existing content to fuel their output, they can’t approach any subjects with originality or innovation.
“I would say AI content is bad, but so is most human content. If you spend any time looking at these search results for almost any query the same problems that plague AI-generated content plague human-written content. There’s a lack of narrative structure, poor evidence citation, lack of original insight and information in the content.”
On the flip side, AI writing tools have the capacity to create more articles in less time than human writers. Surely that means brands could rank much more quickly for more keywords in less time?
We hear you.
If you’re concerned about your competitors swooping in with the latest AI-content generator and creating hundreds or thousands of articles overnight, and out-ranking you, remember that most content, especially AI-generated, won’t provide people with more value or information.
The lack of value add and information gain may even cause AI-generated articles to fall in search rankings.
Information gain is a measurement of the new information provided by a given article over and above articles on the same topic. As AI-content generators continue to push out copycat content, it’s possible we might see information gain scores used by Google to influence search rankings.
Information gain is always something that’s going to be rewarded by readers. As Ryan says, “If you read something, there is always more information you want that you haven’t had access to and your content can provide that.” He explains that primary research is the ultimate form of information gain and can help human-created content stand out from AI-generated content.
“By adding original survey data, expert quotes, or addressing neglected parts of the topic, your content is adding brand new information to the discussion––something AI content can’t yet replicate”.
Brands can also push back against copycat AI-generated content by diversifying their content strategy beyond SEO-driven pieces. Ryan explains that thought leadership pieces are more original and harder for AI content generators to replicate.
“Tactical SEO content is easy for AI to replicate. Opinion, experience, and analysis are harder”, Ryan says. “We call this thought leadership: generating awareness, and building trust, by sharing a company’s earned secrets. This can take many forms, each of which is next to impossible to create using AI alone.”
Google’s stance on AI-generated content
Using AI to generate articles also has the potential to clash with Google’s existing and future Webmaster guidelines.
Google buckets AI-generated content as automatically generated content which is similar to the black hat SEO technique, content spinning. In case you didn’t know content spinning is pretty serious in Google’s eyes––the search engine actively penalizes sites known to spin content.
Although, here it’s important to distinguish that, unlike most spun content, AI-created text is not plagiarism. Instead, it’s an original text based on the information it has available.
To debunk some of the theories surrounding AI content and what Google really thinks of it,
John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate answered questions about the future of AI content in a recent live Q&A with SEO professionals.
He explains that using machine-learning tools to generate content is essentially the same as just shuffling words around, which is not in line with what Google wants to rank in the SERPs.
“It's automatically-generated content, and that means for us, it's still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam,” he says. “I imagine, like with any of these other technologies, there will be a little bit of a cat-and-mouse game, where sometimes people will do something, and they get away with it. And then the web spam team catches up, and solves that issue on a broader scale.”
In a recent Tweet, Mueller added “As far as I can tell, most sites have trouble creating higher-quality content, they don't need help creating low-quality content.”
Tweet from Google's John Mueller.
Google’s warning is loud and clear on this one––if you’re thinking of using AI tools to generate content, do so sparingly, and proceed with caution.
Before you cancel your AI-tool subscriptions, remember that AI does have a place in content––it’s just a case of using it correctly. Instead of using them to replace humans, consider how they can help expand your team’s capabilities.
Mueller explains how instead of automating the whole content production process, AI writing tools can be helpful assistants instead. “Maybe over time, these AI tools will evolve in that direction that you use them to be more efficient in your writing or to make sure that you’re writing in a proper way like the spelling and the grammar checking tools, which are also based on machine learning. But I don’t know what the future brings there.”
Ultimately Google has restated to focus on producing “original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities E-E-A-T.”
Ready to try AI content? Experiment with how it can help your content generation
Not too long ago, AI sounded like something that existed in a far away dystopian future. Cut to the present, and content generators are becoming an increasingly popular addition to any marketer’s tech stack.
The key to getting the best out of AI content generators is to use them where your team needs a helping hand. Whether that’s writing hundreds of product descriptions or generating some unique title ideas, that’s where AI writing tools shine. Set realistic expectations and AI content tools have the potential to enhance your marketing campaigns.
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