2023 delivered so many highly anticipated things in the world of content, like the final season of Succession (masterful), Prince Harry’s tell-all (hmm)… and the game-changing ChatGPT.
This AI content generation tool landed with a bang and the uptake was astounding. I mean, who wouldn’t want in on something that promised to write in 20 seconds what would have previously taken four hours?
For a moment, I had a vision of myself producing quality articles in a matter of minutes, then spending the rest of my day relaxing at the salon. I could finally achieve that much-aspired-for combo of being rich and having very little to do.
Then I tried ChatGPT. I tinkered with it but it didn’t thrill me. I listened to some podcasts. And I went back and had another go.
Six months after the tool went viral, I’m barely using it. Because yes, it helps. But I’ve found that by the time I’m done giving it instructions and reworking what it comes up with, I haven’t saved any time (perhaps because I’m basically a content-producing machine myself. )
I’m not saying don’t use ChatGPT. It’s still a helpful tool, especially if jotting things down doesn’t come naturally to you.
But before you type in ‘Write me 600 words about…’, and chuck the results up on your website, there are a couple of things you really need to know.
In an AI world, authority and credibility matter more than ever
Now that anyone can ‘write’ an article in 30 seconds, original thought is more valuable than ever.
As Search Engine Journal explains, E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. It is part of the algorithm used to ensure the best websites surface highest in search results.
Ask ChatGPT to write an article or blog post, and it will do so at lightning speed. But you won’t know for sure where the information is coming from and if it’s really credible.
Sure, you can ask ChatGPT to cite sources… but take the time to check them and you are likely to end up confused or staring at a 404 page that doesn’t load. Your option is to trust what’s been generated and risk your reputation, or lose time to additional research.
ChatGPT will do its best and it comes across as very confident. But if you publish content that assures your readers of fake news… you’ll be doing more harm than good.
Expertise, authority and trust don’t come from a machine. They are built when information comes directly from an individual who understands the business and its customer’s challenges.
To add to this, some writers are coming forward and taking legal action over copyright issues caused by ChatGPT. If you’re writing to establish expertise, authority and trust, you need to credit your sources and make sure what the machine creates isn’t a carbon copy of someone’s work.
Originality matters (and so does quality writing)
It won’t be long before people start to be able to spot AI-generated copy, because ChatGPT can’t help but generate the same thing, especially if it doesn’t follow a long list of prompts.
Throw in a simple instruction and your content will be painfully generic. You have probably already spotted a few examples of obviously machine-generated stuff.
But what about prompts? Ok, let’s say you want a witty paragraph about how the internet loves cats. Here’s an example that the tool generated with the help of half a dozen specific instructions.
Oh my goodness, let me tell you about the internet’s obsession with cats! It’s like a full-blown love affair. Everywhere you look, there are funny cat videos, cute cat memes, and adorable cat pictures. I mean, who can resist those fluffy little faces and their hilarious antics? It’s like an instant mood booster. You can spend hours scrolling through cat content, and before you know it, you’re deep in the rabbit hole of adorable whiskers and playful paws. It’s just one of those things that brings people together and puts a smile on everyone’s face. Long live the internet’s love for cats!
It took multiple prompts to get this result, and that’s for a single paragraph. It pretty much matches the time it would take a skilled copywriter to put it together. And a good copywriter’s version would be a lot less cringe than this paragraph.
There’s no substitute for NEW
Sure, AI can churn out and edit a few basic articles if you have the time to do so.
But if you really want to grow your business, you need to tell the stories that ChatGPT doesn’t know about… because you’re the first to share them. This is where a collaboration with a copywriter who can take your message and help get it out there will come into its own.
How to use ChatGPT the right way
Still keen to give things a go with AI as your sidekick? Here are some tips so you don’t inadvertently shoot yourself in the foot:
- Read before you publish: Make sure you’re posting content that is accurate and relevant to your audience, or it’s not worth hitting publish (and you could potentially land yourself in hot water)
- Add your own touches or replace what doesn’t work: Instead of writing full articles, ChatGPT is best used for creating outlines or generating ideas. If you do use it to create full articles, add your own perspective. It’s also smart to add content that is relevant to your audience, product or location.
- Always double-check ChatGPT sources: Make sure that the sources cited by ChatGPT are still available to the reader and that they are accurate and recent. If they’re not, find something from a reputable authority to link to.
- Add unique quotes: Add a voice or tip from a senior figure or expert within your business. This adds those authenticity and trust factors, and stops your content from looking generic.
- Learn how to use prompts: Prompts are the text you write into ChatGPT to tell it what you want it to write. I added ‘chatty’ to my prompt to change the tone of the cats + internet text. In particular, learn to maximise your prompts to insert SEO keywords into your content. There are lots of handy prompt guides online, for example here and here.
But then again, if you’re busy…
- ChatGPT + Me: Engage a copywriter: If you need it fast and cheap, talk to a copywriter about your budget. Say you’re ok with them using ChatGPT and ask what they can do for the money you have available. It’s the best way to save yourself from the time and pain of content creation, while taking advantage of the tools that are out there.
And don’t forget… if you create great copy, you need a strategy to get it in front of people. Have some articles written, then break them down and share them in different formats on your website, on social media and via your EDM.
Need help with content creation? Give me an hour of your time and I’ll give* you a month worth of content, including original articles and social media posts. Email [email protected] or book a call to get started.
Clea Jones is a freelance content creator who finds whacky bylines irritating.