If you haven’t heard the jokes yet, you will. ChatGPT is the terminator, and all of us content marketers are Sarah Connor. It’s only a matter of time before the evil machines seize our jobs out from under us and send us scrambling for one of the six journalism positions left on the planet. If, someway, somehow, we want to stay in marketing, our only desperate recourse will be to learn how keywords actually work, or worse… try PAID SEARCH.
…Ok, so the reality isn’t all that dramatic, no matter what those jokers in SEO want you to believe. There is, however, a grain of truth behind all the ribbing: the fact is, ChatGPT and advanced machine learning AI like it is going to change how content marketing works forever. In fact, it already is. It’s just not going to replace content marketing or content marketers.
In fact, with the right outlook and attitude, ChatGPT represents more of an exciting opportunity for content marketers than an existential threat. While we’ll probably never be able to use it to do our jobs, it can make several processes more streamlined, informed, and strategic.
Even more importantly, as ChatGPT starts to affect content marketing, it has a way of revealing what has always been most important — and human — about the process in the first place. By paying close attention to how ChatGPT is changing content marketing, therefore, we can better understand not only what our roles will look like in the future, but also how to perform those roles better than ever.
In that spirit, I want to take a look at five ways ChatGPT will (or already is) changing content marketing forever — and how we can use each of these changes to learn how to do our jobs even better.“With the right outlook and attitude, ChatGPT represents more of an exciting opportunity for content marketers than an existential threat.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
1 — Human content will need human insights to stand out
I promised I wasn’t going to get too “fire and brimstone” in this article, so I’m starting with the worst news. Yes, ChatGPT and the predictive AI tools to follow will almost inevitably be used to generate a great deal of content. The truth is, they’re simply too fast and tempting not to use.
Given simple prompts, ChatGPT can generate an article of any pre-specified length about virtually any topic imaginable in an instant. This article will make sense, “sound” human (to an extent based on the topic and prompt), and will probably even be relatively accurate.
There’s a clear use-case for content like this: quick and simple, FAQ-style answers. The usage will be similar to the way companies are already using AI-trained chatbots: they’ll use AI to populate FAQs near-instantly. Others may even use the technology to write more traditional content marketing blogs on simple topics with SEO value.
This won’t be “high-quality” content, of course, but as long as it answers the query clearly and accurately, it will get the job done. If content marketers want to write up an article on a topic themselves rather than handing it off to ChatGPT, therefore, we’ll have to make the case for why that topic requires or deserves “the human touch.”
That “human touch” will be the conclusions our content comes to. ChatGPT can present, summarize, and even synthesize pre-existing information by pulling it from a wide variety of sources, but it can’t generate new insights out of that information.
Therefore, the content we write ourselves will have to go further than collecting and reciting information. We’ll have to use the information we collect to say something new.“The content we write ourselves will have to go further than collecting and reciting information. We’ll have to use the information we collect to say something new.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
2 — AI will make SEO optimization easier and faster
ChatGPT uses a machine learning process called Large Language Model to very quickly process huge amounts of text related to particular subject matter, infer relationships between words within the text, and then recreate those relationships predictively and in a way that makes sense grammatically and structurally. The way this process works makes it very helpful for optimizing content for SEO in a few different ways.
Marketers are already using ChatGPT to write simple content that includes or answers questions about keywords to support search engine optimization. Even if they end up substantially rewriting the content the AI produces, just seeing how the predictive model talks about the subject matter gives them a good place to start.
This process can be particularly helpful for content concepting. Content marketers can type in the keywords provided by their SEO teams and see what kind of subject matter the AI produces given the prompt in order to understand how they should approach writing about their subject matter in a manner that’s in-line with other content about it.
To get a little more technical, ChatGPT can also give content marketers an opportunity to easily incorporate semantically-related keywords into their content. Semantically-related keywords are words and phrases that are related to keywords conceptually. When search engines look for the keywords in question, they also search for semantically-related keywords, in order to make sure the content they’re providing in their search engine result pages (SERPs) is truly relevant to the query.
Because of the way ChatGPT aggregates existing content related to subject matter, it tends to be very good about including semantically-related keywords in the content it generates. Using ChatGPT could be a good way to check for and include particularly important semantically-related keywords. By writing content featuring the words ChatGPT seems to continuously find and include when discussing your SEO keyword, you could be “telling” search engines that your content is particularly relevant.“ChatGPT can also give content marketers an opportunity to easily incorporate semantically-related keywords into their content.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
3 — Sourcing & data will become major content differentiators
ChatGPT aggregates text related to subject matter, but it doesn’t “reference” that text. It can’t use or cite sources, pull data from studies, or quote survey results. ChatGPT content, therefore, will be conspicuously short of empirical facts and hard data — and may even include false information. This will make providing sources for the assertions you make more important than ever.
The type of content that will continue to require “the human touch” in the years to come will be the content that involves original research and/or analysis of research. It will reference sources and provide data-backed evidence for the assertions it makes.
Even more crucially, it will use this evidence to arrive at new, insightful conclusions and/or to express informed opinions that will help the reader come to a new and deeper understanding of the subject matter in question. Ultimately, this is the service human writers provide that the AI can’t; it can bring together everything that’s being said about a subject matter, but it can’t say anything new.
The more AI-driven content proliferates the internet, therefore, the more valuable real data will become to content marketing. Conducting surveys, interviewing expert sources, and referencing research will become the cornerstone of the type of content marketers will continue to produce themselves. Expect future content marketing initiatives to revolve around making use of original and/or sourced data, interviews, surveys, and studies.“The more AI-driven content proliferates the internet, therefore, the more valuable real data will become to content marketing.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
4 — Targeting will be a big way content marketers remain relevant
ChatGPT doesn’t really “know” who it’s writing for. It doesn’t know what information is particularly relevant to your audience or why. Turns out having that understanding is… pretty important to content marketing, to say the least.
Good content marketing, like all marketing, is all about understanding to whom you are speaking and why. You need to understand what’s important about your subject matter to your particular audience — and, of course, how you can explain it to them, both on their own terms and in a way that communicates that your brand knows what it’s talking about and is ready to help.
At least in the immediate term, ChatGPT-generated content is going to be broad and generalized. It will summarize a topic, but it won’t delve into how that topic matters to particular groups of people. That will be your job.
The marketing that sticks out from ChatGPT-generated content is the same kind of content that stands out today: content that understands its audience and provides specific value to them. No matter how much information ChatGPT processes and regurgitates, it will never be able to do the legwork to understand how to make that information useful to your audience the way you can. Expect future content marketing initiatives to emphasize targeting more than ever, and endeavor to understand your audience as well as possible, just like you do now.“The marketing that sticks out from ChatGPT-generated content is the same kind of content that stands out today: content that understands its audience and provides specific value to them.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
5 — AI will become a “writing partner,” not a replacement
Even if AI isn’t going to outright “replace” content marketers the way we might have nightmares about, the truth is it will probably have an ever-increasing presence in our day-to-day work. It might not write all the content for us, but we’ll probably start using it to get started.
Some marketers even believe this will become the main role of content marketers in the future, especially as AI becomes more advanced. AI will create the first pass at a piece of content, and then rather than writing it themselves, content marketers will input further prompts to improve on the first pass, then selectively edit what they end up with, adding sourcing, context, an informed point of view, and personalized targeting, all to make it more specific to their readers and relevant to their brand.
In fact, content marketers are already experimenting with this possibility more and more all the time.
Hopefully, this article helped you feel a little less nervous about the future of AI-assisted content marketing. In fact, I think we all have reason to be more excited than worried!
No matter how advanced AI becomes, the truth is there will always be a market for informed, insightful human content written from experience, with a real point of view, and for a particular purpose. The trick to making ourselves useful in the future will be the same as it always has been: understand our audience and provide them with the best, most human content we can.
…and maybe tell a joke now and then. The AI are still pretty bad at that. But then, maybe it’s my prompts.